With the ever-changing e-mail landscape, I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever get to a point where best practices remain stable. Think about it. Just when you think you have your e-mail permission process compliant, the Federal Trade Commission updates CAN-SPAM efforts. As soon as your e-mail reputation score is high, new spam traps are put into place that require you to re-authenticate.
Sometimes it can be frustrating to keep up with e-mail best practices. Regardless of the constant changes, though, there are some tactics and techniques that consistently drive a high ROI (define). This week, we take a deeper dive into three (because that’s the magic number) of the top tips in driving e-mail response.
Forms Inside an E-mail
If you want to reduce the churn between e-mail clicks and conversion, one of the best tactics you can use is to put a search box or form in your e-mail. Retailers and travel companies have found this tactic effective for a number of years. For many people reading e-mail, however, the form won’t work. Some e-mail clients strip out code; others don’t render the forms well. Pivotal Veracity has a great chart that tells you exactly how each e-mail client treats forms. And in test after test, e-mail marketers have found that the ROI outweighs the usability issues every time. What is the most frequently used form in an e-mail? A search box.
I’ve been in the e-mail space for over 10 years. The debate over rich media’s effectiveness and purpose has been a constant discussion that’s never resolved. There are as many arguments for rich media inside e-mail as against. Similar to forms, rich media simply doesn’t work in all e-mail clients. Yet if the creative design is good, rich media remains a strong driver of clicks and conversions (especially in the B2B (define) space). The best-performing rich media campaigns start with a frame and creative shot that entices you to click and ends with a frame of directions, such as “Get more,” “Try it,” or “Go to companysite.com.” If this isn’t a tactic you’ve tried, it’s worth considering.
The Apology E-mail
I proudly admit to having created almost every type of mistake in e-mail campaigns there is. It’s actually where some of my best lessons have come from. That said, nothing drives stronger increases in open rates (and future readership rates) than the apology e-mail. I’m not suggesting you intentionally mess up an e-mail campaign so you can create an apology effort. Rather, a subject line saying, “Oops, we goofed,” “Our apologies,” or anything else that relates to potential issues will stand out in an e-mail box and drive a tremendous amount of readership. There have been many companies, like JetBlue, that have become pros at handling these types of messages. Whether sincere or a gimmick, apologies drive closer e-mail relationships.
The world of e-mail will continue to evolve as e-mail becomes more mobile and more devices hit the market. As smart marketers, it will be our job to know when to get on the trend bandwagon and when to hold steady with tactics we know will drive the results our companies need and expect. This list should get your creative juices flowing on some of the more interesting ways to keep your readers engaged this summer.
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