If you’ve read about The Open Rate Paradox as championed by Dela Quist and Alchemy Worx, you’ll be familiar with the rallying cry of sending more relevant email. Most email experts get up in arms about the topic of email frequency, with both sides arguing the pros and cons of sending more.
At Interact 2013, we were able to hear from Dela Quist himself, who started off with an overview of demand response marketing versus demand generation marketing. While demand response marketing is based on giving the customer what you think they want, demand generation marketing is based on making the customer want what you have.
Are Email Marketers Leaving Money On The Table?
Anyone without an email address is the digital equivalent of being homeless. If you ask people if they want more email, they will say no, but if you ask people for preferred communications channel, they would say that it was email. Sell to them, because that is what they want you to do. Most brands reach more qualified customers and prospects via email than TV. Perhaps a reluctance to sell is based on email marketers being filled with fear and self-loathing because of the negative image of the industry.
“Engagement is like having a deaf blind canary in a coal mine”
Understanding the nature of engagement is key to email marketing success, yet many people who talk about engagement have no measurable goal.
79% of people who receive email do nothing with it, and only 1 in 2,000 people will mark your email as spam. A particular client’s cost of stopping an unsubscribe was $400, while the cost of acquiring a new customer was $5. New people on your mailing list are most likely to open emails and transact with you.
According to Dela, marketing emails have a far higher chance of getting into the inbox at 95% and open rates increase on days of higher email volume. He advises companies to hire someone specifically to grow lists, as that is the easiest way to grow revenue – and to fire them if they fail. Two other tactics for growing revenue? Segmentation and increasing email frequency.
“Anyone who doesn’t send an email to their entire list once a week is dumb”
Email drives sales in other channels. Send an email with a different subject line to people who didn’t open it the first time – it can lead to a 40% lift in open rates. Dela says that 80% of email marketers use batch and blast because it works, and also introduces the concept of The Nudge Effect, where subject lines tend to influence people who do not open their emails. Being in the inbox is important, even if emails aren’t opened. It is important to understand that every email you send is affected by the one you sent before and the one after. While 90% of emails are opened within 24 hours of sending, only 15% of purchases may take place then, with the revenue possibly being generated days or months after deployment.
At Alchemy Worx, it is a policy that every email sent is a re-activation opportunity. You can’t re-engage with an email you don’t get, and businesses with the highest frequency sends have the most engaged database. Deliverability begins and ends with the quality of your data, but marketing should not be driven by deliverability issues.
As always, Dela’s talk was a firecracker of a session inviting rebuttals from the audience and great debate. If you’d like to find out more about the issues that he highlighted check out his book:
Looking to increase your email frequency? Troubleshoot your deliverability issues first with our guide on How To Send Zillions of Email A Day!
Email Marketing News Digest
In this week’s issue, we look at a preview statistic from the 2013 DMA Tracking Study, the average company response time to complaint emails, reasons why consumers mark email as spam and ways to work that subject line!
One third of respondents in the 2013 DMA tracking study still feel that 20% or less of the emails they received were relevant – a clarion call to marketers to start doing more segmentation with their lists. Superficial personalization may well be falling out of favour, but subscribers appreciate emails that are properly customized to their preferences. The official 2013 DMA tracking study will be launched on October 17 and needless to say, we’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing the results.
When it comes to email enquiries, 59% of companies take more than 8 hours to respond, and 26.5% take 24 hours or more. Email remains the most common channel for complaining with 42% of respondents listing it as their preferred channel and 36% listing the phone. For comparison, the average Twitter response time is 4.6 hours. If you’re one of these companies that have a long lag time in responding to customers then it seems that automation may be the way to go.
Read about how US Airways has managed to raise customer satisfaction in the case study, or watch the video below.
Here’s a finding that would make most email marketers sit up and take notice: Reasons why subscribers mark your email as spam.
Subject lines remain one of the main determinants on whether an email is opened. If subscribers can’t be bothered to click on your email, they can’t see your special enticing offer, which means the possibility of a sale is absolutely zero. Here are some ways to get your subject lines noticed.
- Incorporate special characters like ✈
- Frontload subject lines with the most important information
- Include Quick Action buttons from Gmail that allow subscribers to convert without opening your mail
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
Mistakes. That dreaded word. We’ve all made them, and now here are some ideas on how to avoid email marketing mistakes in the first place – especially during the holiday season.
Here are Scrooge’s latest hits – the common complaints email marketers hear during the holiday season.
Do these sound familiar? If they do, then check out some of the tips in this article for dealing with these issues. From re-mailing specific segments of the subscriber list, to having a pre-season email plan, dedicated IPs and list cleaning – there should be something in here to help you preserve your brand reputation, while keeping all stakeholders happy.
Senior Marketing Manager Justin Bridgegan from MarketingSherpa, provides some advice from his experience of writing 1000 emails.
- Tip 1: Your email audience is most like skimming so stand out quickly.
- Tip 2: Used benefit-focused language and offer real value as opposed to selling all the time.
- Tip 3: Clarity is key
- Tip 4: Always test
As Justin states, he’s found 10,000 ways not to write an email, so distilling his years of wisdom into 4 concise points is most helpful!
Here are the first 10 of the 20 habits of highly ineffective email marketers from email expert Loren McDonald:
- Relying on meaningless metrics
- Not deriving deeper insights from data
- Benchmarking against the average vs the best
- Underutilizing great email technology features
- Not looking to other departments for resources
- Underinvesting in staff education
- Waiting to be told what the prevailing email best practice is
- Not auditing email and web experience
- Settling for email’s status quo
- Not getting involved in email vendor discussions
To sum up, just being good enough isn’t good enough when it comes to email marketing!
Here’s another list of mistakes that marketers sometimes make.
- Mistake No.1 – Not Segmenting
- Mistake No. 2 – Not Customizing
- Mistake No. 3 – Not Testing
- Mistake No. 4 – Not Linking To Your Website
- Mistake No. 5 – Not Optimizing Your Email For Mobile
- Mistake No. 6 – Not Having An Email Marketing Strategy
A whooping 77% of consumers indicated that email is their preferred channel when it comes to permission-based promotional marketing, so marketers would do well to heed these lists!
And here’s one last mistake not to make – forgetting to build your email calendar around holidays.
Before embarking on your holiday email marketing strategy, discover the Keys to Deliverability Success with this free webinar!
We’re looking at more email best practices this week. Whether it’s dealing with email frequency, apology emails or a new measure of engagement, experts share their tips and insights on optimizing the email experience.
We’ve previously covered the debate on email frequency. While extra emails might drive more sales, here are 2 considerations to reduce the negative impact from upping email frequency.
Segment your lists and send more to those that are more likely to respond. Here’s a diagram that might be useful for guiding sending frequency.
The other consideration when deciding whether or not to up your sending frequency is your sender score and IP reputation. Here’s some research from Return Path on inbox placement rates.
Clearly, if you have a poor sender score, increasing your email frequency shouldn’t be the first thing to come to mind for better ROI from email. Work on improving your sender score instead.
Every email marketer has made a mistake some time or another. Be it a small typo hidden away in copy or a glaring typo in the subject line, here are some email best practices for dealing with errors.
- Segment and target the people who have received the error email or engaged with it in some way instead of sending an apology email out to the entire list.
- Be truthful about what went wrong or try conversational and playful language when you apologize, depending on the context.
- Create a flexible template to use in case an apology has to be sent out. Having the same email template with a differing subject line might confuse readers into labeling it as spam if they think that they received a duplicate email.
President of Return Path, George Bilbrey, makes the case for analyzing head-to-head engagement – where marketers look at a user’s behaviour in relation to the presence of other mail that are competing for attention. These tests allow marketers an insight into subscriber preferences when it comes to product positioning, tone and more.
Experts share their tips on email best practices in a time where new technology and changing customer behaviour challenge conventional marketing tactics.
- Don’t forget about cross-channel communication: Help customers share data across multiple devices.
- Don’t drop the data: Email isn’t the only channel that matters. Look at data across various customer touchpoints.
- Don’t write a book: With smaller screen size in an attention economy, it’s best to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple)
- Don’t overlook transactional messages: Order and shipping confirmations are sent during the peak period of engagement for a customer. Capitalize on upsell opportunities.
- Don’t forget to test for usability on mobile: Make sure customers can click through orders to get essential information such as order tracking.
- Don’t put prices in pictures: Don’t put essential information in images. If an email picture doesn’t load by default on mobile, potential customers might skip the mail entirely.
- Don’t say the word “blast” with regard to email marketing.
Learn how to optimize your transactional messages for upsell opportunities when you download a copy of the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook!
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
A recent eConsultancy email marketing census showed that 55% of respondents attributed more than 10% of their total sales to the email marketing channel. Given the importance of email in procuring revenue, recent debate has risen over the frequency of email sending.
An advocate for testing increased email frequency, Ken Magill interviews two experts who offer a different take:
“We’re of the opinion that treating everybody the same with frequency is not the right approach. We can radically increase frequency by orders of magnitude if it’s for that right group based on their engagement and we’ll make a lot more money. And what we’re seeing is by decreasing frequency to people who aren’t that engaged, we’re making more money that way, too.” – Forest Bronzan, CEO of Email Aptitude
“[Y]ou want to increase frequency for customers where it makes sense, and it probably doesn’t take a lot of whizbangery. Look at your own data and bump it up for recent openers, and see where the clicks and revenue go. Your skittish marketer likely feels comfortable starting to test here.” – Michael Iarrobino, Product Manager for FreshAddress
Eloqua answers the question of how much is too much with hard data and analysis.
Here’s how resending an email to people who didn’t open it the first time worked for one company.
Before the email was resent, several changes were made to the email.
- The subject line was tweaked
- The header copy was tweaked
- The timing was adjusted
- The measurements for success were pre-defined
|Original Results||Resending Results|
|Open rate: 37.5%||Open rate: 13%|
|Click to open rate: 8.5%||Click to open rate: 16%|
|Conversion rate: 1.5%||Conversion rate: 0.5%|
Looking at the conversion rate, if this had been a promotional email there would have been a 33% lift in revenue just from resending an email.
Marketing strategist, Kestrel Lemen, has recorded a short video to answer the question, “How often should I send a remail?”
Take a look at some of the biggest influences on email marketing.
While sending frequency is an important topic, what comes first is knowing the basics of email marketing – which is why we’ve put together an Email Best Practices 101 eBook for your viewing leisure. Read it today!