How To Refresh Your Email Campaigns For Success

Email SequenceOne of the great things about an autoresponder is that it can be used as a set and forget mechanism. Unfortunately that also means your emailed messages can be left for so long that they can become stale and irrelevant to your list. If you suspect you’re not getting the results you used to from your list or that there is room for improvement here are eight steps you can take to update and improve your email marketing.

1. React To Your Metrics

Study the metrics from your email marketing and see how well it is working. Are there emails that are not opened as often as others in your campaign? Try different headlines. Are there links that are clicked infrequently? Look into the information or offer the link leads to and decide if it’s still relevant to your audience and whether you can offer something better. Are there some subscribers who are engaged and some who are not? See if you can segment your list to encourage better engagement. And so on.

2. Ensure your promotions are still viable

If you’re promoting the same products and services via affiliate links that you were promoting last year, it’s important to check these are still available. The vendor may have changed the offer or discontinued it. Even if it remains unchanged you should review its relevance to your list. Over the past year you may have gained new insights into their needs and pain points. Look for offers that can help your list even more and add them to your campaign or swap them with the ones that are least successful.

3. Improve Your CTAs

Having decided what you will promote to your list you can look at the Calls To Action you are using. Events and developments in your niche over the past year may mean you could try a different approach. What worked a year ago might be old news today. You can also take a look at your metrics again to look at the effect of the CTAs you have in place now. See if there is a type of CTA that works best with your list and try to improve upon them so that you’ll get even better results.

4. Review Technology

Each year software is released that claims to improve list conversion and retention. Take a look at what is new that could make your landing pages easier to setup, change or convert. If you don’t use a video on your landing page this is the time to consider it. You need to stay informed about new technology and methods for building your list so you can decide whether to change or not.

5. Be Responsive

Most emails are now read using mobile devices. If your email marketing isn’t responsively designed, you could be missing out on most of your potential market. Even if your email marketing is based on responsive sites you must check that is also true about the web pages you ask your list to click through to see. Are they on responsive, mobile-friendly sites? If not, they need to be. If the sites are your own the solution is obvious. If your links lead to sites belonging to others it may be worth asking if they have plans to ugrade to responsive sites, especially if your conversions at their site have dropped.

6. Consider Refreshing Designs

Updating your artwork or the layout of your emails can be a good way to encourage your audience to take notice. Changing your graphics, logo, or changing the look and feel of the emails you send out can act as a relaunch and breathe new life into your email marketing campaigns

7. Update Your Segmentation Strategy

Many people don’t start segmenting their list until after their email campaigns have been running for a while. Some never segment. Often the first segmentation put in place is between buyers and non-buyers, but there is more you can do. Again, look to your metrics to see if there is an opportunity to provide more targeted messages. You can segment by product interest, topic interest, how responsive people are to offers, and more. You can get a better return on investment the more you segment your list because it will enable you to deliver the best message to each part of your audience.

8. Make Greater Use Of Social Media

You may already use social media in your marketing campaigns, but do you use it within your emails so your subscribers can help you get more subscribers? You should also be inviting your subscribers to join you on social media. If your audience is reading your emails and interacting with you on social media, you’ve got the best of both worlds and more chance of conversions.

If you’ve set up an email campaign you need to keep it fresh and relevant to your list if you want to get the most from it. Schedule to review your email marketing at least once a year, just like you get your car checked for roadworthiness. In both cases you’ll get better results from a well maintained machine.

Content Ideas For Better Emails

Magnifying glassover lightbulb of idea related wordsIf you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to writing emails here are some content suggestions you may find useful.

Offer solutions

Before entering your niche you should have performed some initial research. You should have identified the problems and challenges faced by people in your niche. If you can provide solutions to problems you know your target audience has they will be more likely to appreciate hearing from you and continue opening your emails.

Tell a story

People love reading stories they can identify with. There’s a whole section of the magazine rack devoted to it. A story might focus on someone in a situation similar to theirs, it could be about how the products or services you offer have helped your customers, or it could be about someone who has already achieved what they aspire to. If you offer an opportunity for some interaction when you have told a compelling story you are likely to get a lot more responses from your audience. If you don’t have any relevant stories of your own, set up a contest for your readers. Let them tell their stories, select the best, award prizes, then share the winning stories with the rest of your audience.

Stimulate engagement

Every email you write should have a clear point and ideally include a call to action. If you don’t ask your audience to do something, whether it is click a link, respond, comment, or buy now, they are unlikely to do it. If you want your readers to do something after consuming your email put it in writing. Even if you don’t have a link for them to click you can ask for their feedback, opinions, or any experiences similar to those mentioned in your email.

Build relationships

People buy from those they know, like and trust. Engaging your audience in social media and on your blog can help build a relationship, and you can also do this via your emails. Don’t write as if you are a faceless, impersonal department in a huge corporation. Be human. Occasionally reveal something about yourself or your business that your readers can identify with. If you also cover some of the above suggestions in a series of emails your audience will feel more connected to you.

Each of your emails should inform, educate, and entertain. Often the best emails are ones that keep to the point. Give your reader too many things to think about or too many different links to click and you’re likely to lose them. Try to incorporate each of the above suggestions into your email sequence and your list is more likely to be an engaged and responsive one.

Email Marketing: The law and opting in

Laws regarding email marketing are designed to protect you and your subscriber. If you’re “promoting or advertising a commercial product or service through electronic communication,” then you should be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act and any other legislation that applies in your country.

UK anti-spam law is mainly aimed at restricting the sending of unsolicited marketing emails (i.e. spam) to individual subscribers. There are rules for sending email to businesses, but I’m going to mainly address communicating with individuals here.

You are allowed to send direct marketing emails to individuals if they have “previously notify the sender” of their consent. That is, they have ‘opted in’ to being a subscriber and receiving emails from you. Opting in means the subscriber must have taken positive action. It doesn’t count if they don’t deselect an opt in box that is pre-ticked. The usually accepted positive actions are to tick an opt in box or provide their email address in a field on a webpage.

In UK law the opt-in is considered temporary, with the subscriber only giving their consent ‘for the time being’. You can however assume their consent is valid until there is good reason for you to believe otherwise.

Every marketing email you send must clearly identify you as the sender and must also give the person receiving the email the ability to opt out of (or ‘unsubscribe from’) further emails.

Once someone has purchased from you, you may add them to your email list. Emailing advertisements to customers is not considered unsolicited email, and in general nor is sending such emails to businesses rather than individuals. However the subject of your advertisements should be related to your business. For example, you should not be sending advertisements about cheap holidays if this type of business is not related to yours in any way.

If you are going to let a third party advertise in your emails you should obtain the consent of your subscribers first. If you don’t, your emails might be regarded as unsolicited direct marketing.

If you buy or rent an emailing list from a third party, ask the list provider if you have the right to use it for email marketing. You are allowed to use lists of individuals collected by a third party on your behalf, providing it was made clear to the subscriber that their details would be passed to businesses offering the type of products and/or services that you offer.

Sending your emails through a reputable autoresponder service should make it less likely that you will break the law. However you need to be aware of their terms of service as they would probably cancel your account if you break any of them, whether on purpose or as a result of ignorance.

You should also be aware of any email marketing rules set down by your ISP. They can quickly withdraw their service if they receive justified complaints regarding your email marketing.

If you hire another company to manage your email list, you will still be held responsible if the company breaks any of these rules. In the UK the Information Commissioner would start proceedings against you because you would be regarded as the ‘instigator’ of the offending communication.

The best course of action is to give all your subscribers the opportunity to opt in and clearly explain what they can expect after they have signed up. Provide good, useful content, respond to any complaints or unsubscibe requests and you should be fine.

More information about CAN–SPAM compliance can be found here:
https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

More information on UK email marketing can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/marketing-advertising-law/direct-marketing
http://www.lawdonut.co.uk/law/sales-and-marketing/marketing-and-advertising/your-email-marketing-and-anti-spam-law

Your Email List – What Do They Want?

Table of marketing channelsLast week I looked at some of the metrics you can use to monitor your email campaigns. This week the results of a couple of surveys related to email marketing caught my attention.

According to Direct Marketing Association UK email is the preferred method of communication for UK internet users. However, this doesn’t mean they are prepared to accept anything into their inboxes.

Of the online shoppers surveyed it was found they were not in favour of too many branded messages. In fact 39% said they would unsubscribe if branded messages became too frequent. However emails that were judged as helpful were approved of, as long as they provided information that was relevant to the reader.

The key seems to be personalisation and relevancy. 64% of respondents prefered it when a brand recommended a product they had already shown some interest in (for example items on a wish list), 60% of respondents prefered emails that were personalised (for example referring to a past purchase), and 56% of respondents said the emails would be more appealing if they focused on offers based on the reader’s interests.

So how can this be addressed? As I see it, it depends on gathering data and using it to segment lists. This means asking your subscribers questions, either within an email or by directing them to an online survey. Carefully selected questions and analysis of the answers should help you discover what your subscribers respond to and help build a picture of their interests.