Email has always been a great way to drive short term revenue with special offers. But an email newsletter can be the perfect, cost effective way to stay in touch with your current customers or community. In addition to special offers, we have used email to drive visits to websites and sign ups on Facebook Fan pages. Some of our clients have achieved great open rates, in the high 40 to 50% range because we follow the best practices for opt-in subscriptions and never, never spam.
Things have changed. Learn about CAN-SPAM. Sending unsolicited email or spamming people or can get your email blocked by major ISPs and you will not be notified. ISPs and domains no longer just filter on content or spam complaints but check the reputations of business and commercial email senders. Take an active role in developing a good email reputation by understanding using best practices to make sure your email reaches your customers’ inbox.
Offer your potential audience the opportunity to opt-in to your email, by providing several opportunities to sign up. It’s not a numbers game. Don’t let enthusiasm to grow your list compromise best practices and your email reputation. Never harvest addresses from info@ or common addresses. Maintaining a clean list is critical and provides better results. Too many bounces or spam complaints will endanger your ability to get your email through. Read the reports from the ISPs and take action by cleaning your list frequently. Sending to old addresses can also affect your email reputation. Discard bad addresses and domains. Move inactive addresses to another list to contact individually at a later date.
Be clear about the kind of messages you are sending. Are they commercial or informational? Provide meaningful content that is wanted and valued. Make sure the “From” line contains easily identifiable information, a key to increasing open rates. Monitor the open rates and track any click through activity to your website. The best barometer of your ability to create interest is the unsubscribe rate. Identify trends before your marketing objectives are compromised.
Use the right tools. There are a number of easy-to-use do-it-yourself email tools with varying capability for reporting but these are just tools. Many of the larger Email service providers offer advice on best practices. They also offer great newsletters, white papers, tips and tricks but track trends. These are great for digging a bit deeper into the secrets of email. Before selecting a commercial email partner, interview several companies. Services vary and remember they will be the keepers of your data and your email reputation.
One thing to remember, it’s all about your list. Don’t limit your data collection to just email addresses. Get complete contact information so you can begin to build a data warehouse of your contacts to be utilized for other off line marketing activates. The more you know about your contacts, the easier it is to tailor your offerings. A fully integrated marketing program takes advantage of all the marketing media to improve your ROI, keep your customers engaged and provide a road map for the success of your business.
Consistency is key. ROI and ROA are important, but providing a sense of connection between your company and your constituents is priceless. Have fun.