Small businesses have it rough. When it comes to email marketing, they typically don’t have the resources of larger companies. Their budget constraints affect all aspects of a campaign, from building an opt-in mailing list to developing the creative and tracking its results. It’s the last piece of the campaign I’ll focus on today.
American Meadows supplies flower seeds throughout North America. It began as a tourist attraction in the 1980s, but the seed catalog quickly became the main focus. As the Internet took off, so did American Meadows’ online presence, and the company now relies solely on the Internet for its advertising. Of course, email marketing is a key part of that.
At first, American Meadows used server logs to track its email marketing efforts. Founder Ray Allen would look at the real-time hourly stats and could see when a spike in traffic occurred after sending out a mailing.
"I could see the browser traffic, but that’s all I knew," Allen says. "The quality of the spike and the ability to quantitatively measure the traffic wasn’t there, and that wasn’t good enough."
So he invested in a service called ConversionRuler.com, a subscription-based performance-tracking reporting service. Allen now uses it to track each of his seasonal newsletters and weekly offers. With the data he has gathered via the ConversionRuler tool, he applies what he has learned to achieve better results from future campaigns. Here’s some of what Allen has discovered:
These are just a few of the results Allen has either confirmed or learned by using the tracking service. He notes ConversionRuler starts at $19.99 a month and goes up in price based on volume. Other companies offering similar services include Clicklab, LISTSERV Maestro, and Site Stats.
For small businesses that haven’t tracked email marketing campaigns because it seemed too expensive, investigate tracking software and service options. The knowledge you gain may be well worth the investment.
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Heidi is a freelance writer who covers the Internet for both consumers and businesses. She's a former editor of the E-mail Publishing Resource Center and coauthor of "Sometimes the Messenger Should Be Shot: Building a Spam-Free E-mail Marketing Program." Her work also appears in Smart Computing, PC Novice, What's Working Online, and Editor & Publisher.
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