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E-mailing Strategies Online

Aug 17, 2007
As the end of the first quarter draws near, it's time to review your e-mail efforts to determine if you're still on the road to success. Though sales and response rates are key indicators to how well your program is performing, there are 12 critical areas where you can rate your program's effectiveness to forecast how well you can expect the rest of the year to go.

The questions were initially proposed by Andy Goldman, an associate director of my company's e-mail practice. "These questions represent categories that are core areas for analysis with our clients' e-mail marketing programs," said Goldman. "They reflect the entire customer journey with e-mail, and they lead to a consideration of areas for growth and optimization."

Will your e-mail efforts succeed in 2006? Find out by answering these questions for your organization's programs, then answer them for your top two competitors. Comparing results will offer some clear direction of how the rest of 2006 should be managed.

The E-Mail Marketing Success Forecast

* Opt-in environment:

o How simple is it to access your opt-in environment? Is your subscription link buried on your Web site?

o How well does the opt-in process explain all the communication types available and establish relevance?

o Does your opt-in process decrease attrition by providing examples of the content people will receive if they sign up?

o Is there a place where potential subscribers can see samples or access live versions of prior e-mail content (old newsletter versions, etc.)?

o Is the registration process labor intensive? (If e-mail isn't one of the first four requested fields, you run the risk of losing up to 50 percent of interested parties.)

* Creative and content:

o Does your subject line advise the e-mail's purpose and the offer?

o Is the copy format readable under all e-mail circumstance? Does it render well on a mobile device or BlackBerry? Are the text versions actually designed?

o Is the message visually optimized? For example, are images strategically placed to move the eye toward the call to action?

o Does the e-mail's layout support the brand? Does it carry a consistent brand message through the entire user flow?

* List and usage:

o Do you have an established cadence that's clearly communicated to the readers (e.g., a monthly newsletter or seasonal update)?

o Do you have a third-party list rental strategy? For example, are you renting lists your competitors just used? Do your offers under-perform compared to your competitors'?

o Do your programs have triggers built into them? Meaning, when someone opts in, does she receive a welcome e-mail? When she downloads a white paper, does she get a follow-up e-mail to verify receipt and take advantage of a cross- or up-sell opportunity?
About the Author
Jim Mack is the leading authority in teaching actual methods - proven, practical strategies that work. In fact, Jim truly lives the principles he teaches and is the epitome of leading by example. See him at http://www.whoisjimmack.com and http://www.passivecashcow.com
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