Opinions

An Outline For The Successful Email Marketing Of Any Business

Posted by Curt Keller on July 28th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

A recent article in the Denver Business Journal entitled Email Remains Biggest, Best Emarketing Medium, presented a thorough yet concise summary of the outstanding value and best practices involved in promoting a business via email.

This article was rather unique since similar articles regularly appear in magazines and websites which are dedicated to online communications, but this piece was in a broad scale horizontal regional business periodical.

The readership of the magazine certainly includes many business owners and managers not currently engaging in or perhaps even contemplating email marketing. Many of the points made by Jeff Kear in the article bear repeating for the edification of all email marketers, both neophytes and seasoned experts.

Summary of impressive statistics

The article begins with a summary of impressive email marketing statistics:

  • 74% of all online adults prefer email as their method of marketing communication, and this preference is consistent among age groups
  • 93% of all online individuals subscribe to at least one recurring campaign
  • 88% of all online individuals check their inbox every day, and 94% do so at least once a week

Success Tips

Kear then goes on to list some primary tips for success which certainly merit being jotted down on Post-It Notes and affixed to every email marketer's computer screen as the pure basics of the process:

Clean your list – He mentions that people change email addresses very frequently and that it is common for any online individual to have dozens of email accounts that are either stale or extinct. Due to this rapid expiration, sending out an email to the entire list once a year requesting an update to contact information can help weed out the dormant and the dead.

Offer valuable incentives – In order to attract new subscribers, a valuable and sought-after incentive product or reward should be offered. Kear suggests "white papers, how-to guides, webinars, case studies, relevant giveaways and videos."

Use more text – Sixty percent or more of all emails are read in email clients or browser types which automatically remove the graphics by default, thus it is not recommended to design emails with a concentration of graphics, especially above the fold.

Treasure the top left – The top left "10 o'clock" corner is the first area most readers look at, therefore it is the best place for your primary message and even the call to action. Many emails squander this advantage by following the "letterhead" layout and placing the brand logo at top left. In the majority of displays this will be seen as nothing but a small red X.

Personalize the From line – From lines should be specific and personal, so Kear suggests relating the name to the type of email you're sending, and placing an employee's name there as well, adhering to case studies which have shown that it can have a beneficial effect on open rates: "Julie Scriptor, XYZ Skateboards Newsletter"

Strive to be relevant – The ability of your newsletter to be relevant to your audience has a direct effect on your email metrics. Kear suggests crafting subject lines under thirty characters which are specific and direct, and warns against clichés or marketing hype in your content. Instead focus on instructive content with offers of real value which help your reader make meaningful connections.

Be consistent – Studies show that it can take up to ten touches before a prospect is ready to consummate the transaction, so maintaining consistent and regular email newsletter frequency can keep the prospects engaged and in the funnel. Kear also suggests that the preferred frequency is more than once a month, echoing various surveys which have found that a considerable number of etailers send email newsletters three times a week or more!

An admirable summary

Kear's article does an admirable job of summing up the essence of email marketing best practices. With the addition of a nod to the importance of newsletter campaign subscription list segmentation and A/B Split or multivariate testing, the Denver Business Journal piece definitely becomes a valid outline to achieving success in the email marketing of any business.

Curt Keller is CEO and co-founder of Benchmark Email, one of the world's leading, global email marketing services for small businesses.

3 Responses to “An Outline For The Successful Email Marketing Of Any Business”

  1. I thinking cleaning your list is very important. You're campaign numbers will be incorrectly skewed if you don't keep your list up-to-date. For instance, if 10% of the emails on your list are inactive, A-you're list isn't as big as you think it is and B-your delivery rate might be off. You can't judge the effectiveness of your email marketing if you don't have a clean list.

  2. In addition to the traditional email marketing (mass email) one should look at another marketing opportunity and that is the emails we all send from our corporate email addresses every day. I represent a company that has developed a solution for just those emails and thus this post.
    The basic idea behind wrapmail (OTC: WRAP) is to utilize the facts that all businesses have websites and employees that send emails every day. These emails can become complete marketing tools and help promote, brand, sell and cross-sell in addition to drive traffic to the website and conduct research.
    WrapMail can also be used to create personal email stationary based on social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace) hobbies, interests etc for anyone’s personal email.
    Wrapmail is available for free at http://www.wrapmail.com and wrapped emails arrive with no red x!

  3. Jeff Kear says:

    Hello Curt - Thanks so much for passing the ideas in my article along. I write a monthly column for the DBJ and try to offer practical advice to the small business owner. Most entrepreneurs out there are DIY when it comes to marketing, so I try to keep things simple and straightforward. I just stopped by your company's site and am going to try a free trial. I currently use Emma, and although they have been fine, I like your offerings, prices and general brand attitude, as it reflects my approach to marketing. Keep things simple and make it easy for people to engage with your brand.

    Thanks again, and take care,
    Jeff

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