In 2009 the US Direct Marketing Association (DMA) produced a report: ‘The Power of Direct’, which revealed that every $1 invested in email marketing produced a return of $43.08.
Additionally, Forrester Research, an independent IT and business research company, estimates that the European email marketing sector will be worth around £2.15 billion by 2012.
Email marketing is far more than a cheap and easy alternative to direct mail. The fact is, anyone can do email marketing – but not everyone can do it well.
Here are 4 proven ways for creating better email campaigns:
Devise a Secure System for Collecting Email Addresses
Every time your business connects with a customer you should seek to capture their email address. You can do this through your website, via a call centre, surveys, exhibitions, point-of-sale, prize draws and so on.
There are strict rules regarding the keeping of personal data and how you use it. The Direct Marketing Association Email Marketing Council produces Best Practice Guidelines that will prevent you falling foul of the regulations.
Do make it easy for your prospects to opt-in or opt-out of your mailings. People who sign up to receive your emails/ newsletters/ offers need to be reassured they can unsubscribe easily, with one click of the mouse preferably.
Create an Attention-grabbing Subject Line
Internet marketing is all about satisfying your readers’ short attention span. Also bear in mind that some email service providers will display only the first 38-47 characters of your subject line in a recipient’s inbox – and for mobile devices the subject line is shorter still.
Therefore keep your subject lines short and to the point – and test them repeatedly. It’s often helpful to devise your subject line last – after you have finalised your message.
Keep Your Message Content Relevant
‘Irrelevancy’ has been dubbed the new spam, so make sure what you write is both relevant and engaging for your readers. Try not to think of it as blasting out an email to an entire database, try to picture one single customer that encapsulates your target market and write just for him or her. Personalise your communications as much as possible. For greater impact make sure each email focuses on one single message rather than several.
Sending Emails at the Right Time Can make a Huge Difference to Your Response Levels
A UK market research team analysed over 650,000 emails sent by some 34 companies. The results might surprise you.
Here’s what they discovered about the best and worst times to deliver your emails:
- 10pm to 9am – the worst time to send email (the email equivalent of the ‘black hole’).
- 9am-10am – the second best time for email opening, consumers are happy to be distracted by special offers, live events, and deals on consumer goods.
- 10am-noon – your prospects are focussing on work-related matters rather than opening marketing emails.
- Noon-2pm – somewhat surprisingly, the survey found consumers prefer to spend their lunch break checking out news alerts and online magazines rather than catching up on emails.
- 2pm-3pm – the immediate post-lunch period – again with the main focus on work, the only emails that elicited a response were those relating to financial services.
- 3pm-5pm –workers begin winding down, with more of a focus on their personal situation. Another positive time to send emails relating to property and finance.
- 5pm-7pm – a great time for recipients to receive offers about holidays and B2B promotions.
- 7pm-10pm – the best time to engage your customer: all sorts of communications fair well in this time slot, particularly offers on clothing and special interests. Gym, sports and leisure promotions are exceptionally well received during this period.
Knowing what to send and when to send it are your keys to success in email marketing. By concentrating on providing relevant content, creating an engaging subject line and experimenting with different times to send your emails, you will discover what works best for your business, and your response levels should increase accordingly.