Digital MarketingEmail MarketingMature and Improve Your E-mail Campaign in 2011

Mature and Improve Your E-mail Campaign in 2011

Learn how to maximize subscriber engagement with your e-mail and build trust with your subscribers with these tips.

My previous column covered the fundamentals and advanced marketing e-mail practices that should keep you off the “worst” section of Forrester’s lists of “best” and “worst” e-mail campaigns for 2010.

Among other discouraging reports, Forrester found that the average score for B2B campaigns actually dropped since its last review in 2006. So, in this column, let’s review tips to mature and improve your e-mail campaigns before Forrester’s next review.

1. Optimize your presentation

You can have the best e-mail list in the world, but if you don’t nail the presentation, very few will engage in your message. Coordinating your subject line, e-mail pre-header/header, content, offer, call to action, and social integration is the key to maximizing your open and click-through rates.

To maximize subscriber engagement with your e-mail, your message needs to answer three questions:

  • Who is it from?

    As marketers, we know our sub-brands, official product names, and the CMO’s full name, but do your subscribers know all this, too?

    Communicate the content essentials upfront. Use a pre-header with HTML-based system text to summarize the content and provide a link to the call action above your official header. This gives your mobile viewers key content at the top of the message without the need to wade through HTML code.

    Optimize your message header for images off. As most ISPs and e-mail clients block images by default, it is key to use system text in your footer without depending on images. Keep your header short and compact. Communicate your brand name and key message points in system text. Include site navigation links as system text to drive the click.

  • What’s in it for me?

    Analyze your content from your subscriber’s eye as well. Is information relevant? Does it address or solve a pressing business problem? Is it worth my time to click and want to learn more?

    Entice your subscribers with a good subject line. Communicate value and leave them wanting more to drive the click. Don’t include all the information they need in the subject line itself. They may not open or click and you will never know if they found your content valuable.

  • How do I take action?

    Evaluate your creative to gauge if it is easily scanned and the call to action is clear. At best, you have no more than eight seconds of your subscriber’s attention. Make sure your content is engaging and whets the appetite to click and learn more on your website.

    2. Look to build trust.

    Building trust with your subscribers is one of the most important elements of e-mail marketing. Communicate that you respect their time and strive to provide them with relevant content. If you abuse this trust, recipients will unsubscribe, preventing you from e-mailing them until you rebuild their trust.

    • Will your subscriber recognize your sender name?

      Look at your subject line and header through the eyes of a prospect or new customer. Does the “from” or sender line clearly communicate who sent the e-mail? Would the recipient recognize the brand names, product names, and personal names?

      Avoid using executive names that the subscriber will most likely not recognize. The subscriber has to have a relationship with the sender to make this tactic succeed.

    • Does your e-mail give the subscriber some control?

      Provide a link where subscribers can choose the types of e-mail communications they want to receive or change their address or format.

      Avoid allowing subscribers to manage frequency. They will most often choose a frequency less often than they typically respond.

      Instead, ask yourself if the message you are planning is relevant to your subscribers. If not, don’t e-mail.

    • Does your e-mail footer make you look trustworthy?

      The footer is a key element for your subscribers to ensure that your e-mail is legitimate:

      • Include your physical address and phone number (and contact name if possible).
      • State the reason the subscriber is receiving the e-mail and how you obtained permission to send the e-mail.
      • Include links to unsubscribe (including the amount of time for it to take effect), change e-mail preferences, and access your privacy policy.

    The Last Word

    Use these tips and advice to analyze your own e-mail program for gaps and to help your e-mail program mature.

    If you succeed, your program will successfully generate more leads and revenue, and you’ll help B2B e-mail marketing get rated number one the next time Forrester analyzes e-mail programs.

  • Related Articles

    What does the future hold for email? We asked our readers

    Email What does the future hold for email? We asked our readers

    2m Rebecca Sentance
    Round-up: The Future of Email

    Email Round-up: The Future of Email

    2m Rebecca Sentance
    How these 11 brands are nailing cart abandonment emails

    Email How these 11 brands are nailing cart abandonment emails

    2m Tereza Litsa
    How fashion brand Thread is delivering hyper-personalized emails at scale

    AI How fashion brand Thread is delivering hyper-personalized emails at scale

    2m Chris Camps
    How rich media can bring your emails to life

    Email How rich media can bring your emails to life

    2m Clark Boyd
    Inbox innovation: The tools and technology powering the future of email

    Advanced Email Marketing Inbox innovation: The tools and technology powering the future of email

    2m Chris Camps
    4 ways to make sure your email technology is mobile optimized

    Email 4 ways to make sure your email technology is mobile optimized

    2m Rebecca Sentance
    Do brands still need bulk email software?

    Email Do brands still need bulk email software?

    2m Al Roberts