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Archive | April, 2017

Guidelines for Growing the Opt-In List

It requires dreadfully hard work to build a robust, responsive and high-quality mailing list. Just flooding thousands of emails to the list of recipients in the database won’t do the trick. The truth is that acquiring email addresses is just a small part of the large process of email marketing. It is very important to realize that the company should build an individual relationship with every person behind the email address. If the starting is wrong, every chance for building a rewarding relationship with the subscribers is instantly killed. And on the other side, if the company proves itself worthy to its list of subscribers, then many happy years lie ahead for both the parties.

For list building some key components need to be kept into account like the method of acquiring the email addresses, how new subscribers should be welcomed, and how the relationship is maintained after the opt-in process. Acquiring the list of addresses is the easiest part of list building. But the basic rule here is to take explicit permission from the owner to send emails. Violation of this rule is going against the U.S. CAN-SPAM law regarding commercial email. This also leads to breaking of the relationship with the customer.

Addresses can be collected by online and offline means. Links for email opt-in should be posted on every page of the website, including the registration page and every transactional page. Paid search can be used to reach elevate the position in search engines results. The land up page should include a vivid link to the sign up page. Alliances can be searched who have a similar or a complementary business so to promote one’s company in return of promoting the other company. Incentives such as email only discount and free shipping can be offered to increase the subscription list. If the list is being rented from another organization make sure the list contains subscribers which have given permission. Offline means include collecting email addresses from visitors to the company, trade show or on-site. Email addresses can be asked for in appropriate situations by the customer support employees and telephone sales workers. Links for subscription can be posted in all printed material such as newspapers, flyers, magazines, bags, store signs, customer survey and feedback forms, catalogs, etc.

The next important step is to welcome the new subscriber. Because of the flood of emails filling one’s inbox, it is a tough to make one read the email and trust in it. A welcome message, with appropriate content, helps in building the relationship of trust with the subscriber. In fact, a complete welcome program must be build for this purpose. Welcoming a subscriber actually starts from the website’s registration page. This page should clearly explain the content, benefits and frequency to the subscribers. The opt-in page should be easy to navigate and shouldn’t be bothersome with numerous questions to be answered. For start four fields are sufficient: first name, last name, email address and format preferences. The other information can be collected via optional forms. After sign-up a thank you page must pop up immediately. This doses the confirmation job and leads the subscriber to the optional form. Next, a welcome email should be send to the customer. This email will not only build up the initial trust but will also check the validity of the email address. This email should include links to optional forms and the detailed preference page. It can also contain the subscription benefits and sample of the past best newsletters.

The next step of relationship management is the most important and delicate phase because of the personal relationship with every subscriber. If it is not taken care of properly, all the effort taken to collect email addresses for subscription list will be wasted. The subscriber’s preferences must be honored in order to expand the email program. The trends in bounces, inactivity and unsubscribing can be noted by the list statistics. Occasional special offers and surveys can be created for sustaining the interest of the readers. People who haven’t opened the emails for a long time should be concentrated upon, especially. Send follow-up emails and query messages.

Opt-in list building takes lots of time, energy and dedication. Certainly all the effort is worth it in the end, which can be seen by the healthy growth of the mailing list.

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The Biggest Email Brand Killers

One of the biggest mistakes to do is to use email like the electronic version of direct marketing media such as postal mailers, catalogs, radio, television, newspaper inserts and even brochures. A world class brand builder can become a sure fire brand killer in no time if it is treated with ignorance, carelessness, and laziness. The brand killing capability is very much dependant on the email’s relationship with the recipients. The relationship is more personal because of the intimate relationship between the people and their computer. And because of this intimacy, positive and negative feelings are encourages by the company’s name. No mail is as irritating as junk mail and the penalties for such emails are getting much stiffer. A flood of spam complaints can affect the email program to the extent of shutting it down.

The email is becoming a personal medium, slowly. The recipient should be made in charge, he should be able to decide from whom he should receive email from, what kind of email he wants to receive and when he can stop receiving those emails. An email program which dose not includes all these conveniences will do severe damage to the company’s or brand’s name.

The first thing to concentrate upon is to remove poor permission practices. If this thing isn’t taken care of, nothing done after that will make up for the loss. In simple words, it is completely wrong to email a commercial message to anyone who hasn’t given the permission to do so. Sometimes, a person is simply signed up for receiving email while registering on the website because of checking boxes in a hurry. Thus, it is important for the registration page to display the privacy policy which says that the registration also includes agreement for receiving emails. And in spite of this, there is a high chance to get large complaints because of the unclear opt-in process. Some companies send emails to a person who has downloaded whitepaper or brochure form the website. It is better for the check box be not checked before hand. The job of checking the box should be left to the visitor.

In spite of taking these precautions sometimes it happen that the recipient will head straight to the report spam button when they do not want to receive email anymore. This happens when the recipient dose not trust the unsubscribe process. The first reason for the loss of trust is because of not sending the message in the desired format: text or HTML. The readers subscribe intrusting the company and when their email program fails to honor their trust, the company has to pay for this. It is very important to give the reader the option to choose from text or HTML format. Usually technical people prefer only text messages where as the teenagers prefer messages in the HTML format.

The content of the email should exactly meet the requested information. If a subscriber has asked for sales announcements then do not send them company news. Similarly, the frequency of email should also be kept in mind. If request has been made to receive a weekly newsletter, do not send bi-weekly newsletters. An occasional exception such as sales bulletins or news can be used sparingly. Customers complain a lot about the pouring of emails during the holiday season. It is better to focus on the quality rather than quantity.
It is not a compulsion that the content of the email look like spam and considered as a spam. If the recipients able to recognize the sender or dose not consider him to authentic, the mail directly goes to the spam folder. Three things should be considered to keep away from this problem. The sender or the subject shouldn’t appear vague. The content should be relevant to the brand name and its products. The unsubscribe procedure should be checked regularly. Failed unsubscribe and repeated requests for unsubscribing not only blocks the email program but also kills the brand name. Along with checking this link, it is highly recommended to check other links as well. Clicking on the link should take directly to the landing page and not on home page or a ‘Page Not Found’ page. Also, effort must be made in reducing the number of clicks done to achieve a certain action.

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Getting Better Email Open Rates

The success of email campaigns can be gauged by the number of email open rates. The more number of readers read the email, the greater chances of people taking the desired action. But for this, the readers must be motivated into clicking on the link.

The very first thing which any reader will notice is the subject line. It is the most important factor which should resonates with the mind of the readers and should compel them to open and read the email. The subject line should be personalized depending upon the recipient’s interest, and other factors. So creativity needs to involve creating words of motivation. The brand should make its mark so much so that the customers must set up expectations for the brand. Recipients should be anticipating the emails. For this the services or products provided by the company should meet their current needs and interest. The recipients should know what to expect when they are opening the email and they should be made to feel that they will miss something very important if they didn’t open your email.

Apart from the subject line, lot of attraction also lies in the content of the newsletter. The content must be original along with being compelling. If the content of the email can be found elsewhere, the customers may forgo the thought of opening the email and instead going for the one of a kind content. The content should also have valuable information which can be used by the readers. It could concentrate on the free offer, or the big discount.

Another factor which forces the reader to open the email is his relationship with the company. Email readers fall into different categories. They can be irregular purchasers, potential clients, information hungry subscribers or existing clients. The method by which they decided to subscribe and the reason also tells a lot about the customer’s interest. Did they find the website through a search engine or did they sign up when buying products? The subscribers who have sought for information and then signed up for the emails are more likely to open the email, when compared to subscribers who signed up while buying a product because of a pre-checked box meant for signing up which they forget to uncheck.

A strong personality is must for the success of the email. If the actual CEO or the marketing director is behind the newsletter, the readers get more interest in the email and the email open rates will boom immediately. The email list should be of high quality and should be well-maintained always. Also, efforts must be made in expanding the email list with targeted audiences which are more likely to open the email and take the desired action. Most of the times, long-time list members become inactive. So the list must be segmented based on list age and the inactive customers must be offered interesting incentive to bring them out of the hibernation.

The mailing frequency is also a very critical issue. Too frequently send mails will hamper the growth of email open rates as the recipients will get irritated, so does scarcely send mails as the recipients will not remember who you are. The time of sending also is important. Test different time and days for finding out which time works best for every type of audience. The time of the year should also be considered here. People tend to open emails less frequently in summer which means lower email open rates. Holiday season means good email open rates for commercial emails and lesser email open rates for information oriented emails and newsletters. The number of legitimate opt-in emails being caught in the spam filters is increasing by the day. Although the message is being shown as ‘delivered’, the end recipient won’t be seeing the email at all. Care should be taken to avoid certain words and symbols which are the cause of spam filtration.

The bottom line is to do every job exceedingly well in order to achieve higher email open rates. For email newsletters, sixty percent email open rates can be achieved and for commercial emails, about forty percent email open rates can be achieved.

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