As we look toward 2008 and what it will bring in terms of email marketing, we pulled together four things that marketers can do to improve their campaigns and drive better results and higher returns in the New Year.
- Focus on the first few inches.
Think long and hard about the preview pane and what you're offering to entice recipients to take a look at your entire message. Since recipients don't need to (and probably won't) open the message to see what it contains unless enticed to do so, focusing the power of your brand and call-to-action at the top of the message is critically important. Messages must fit in the two-to-four-inch box that most preview panes present. Make sure that your most important messages are right at the top.
- Let customer actions guide your campaigns.
Incorporating Web analytics into your email marketing efforts will quickly take your campaigns to the proverbial next level. Doing so brings together a rich mix of customer preferences, enabling marketers to craft more meaningful messaging. In a crowded marketplace increasingly demanding relevance, such integration is vital to improving customer loyalty, accelerating the conversion process and driving measurable increases in marketing ROI. For example, by creating a new field in your email database such as "Page Most Often Visited" and populating it with the data that flows from your Web analytics application, you can better send relevant messages at a time when your customers are seeking out information from you.
- Take a new approach to list growth. Ask!
There are a surprising number of companies that, for whatever reason, fail to prominently position opt-in requests on their Web site. Silverpop's "List Growth Survey" found that only 37 percent of companies position opt-in requests on the home page, and only two out of 10 companies place opt-in links on every page of the Web site. With the prominence of search driving customers deeper into Web sites and bypassing the home page, companies need to request email addresses more often and in more locations.
- Grab ‘em in 60-seconds.
Email recipients typically give your message a quick minute. Grab them in that amount of time or wave farewell. Take the time to develop email creative that grabs attention and stops customers in their tracks.
Silverpop's "Email Creative That Works" study found the following:
- Messages that included the company name or brand in the subject line had significantly higher open rates-as much as a 15 percentage point increase.
- When navigation bars were included in email messages, those positioned on the left side of BtoC creative formats showed much higher click rates than when the bar was located elsewhere. For BtoB marketers, the best location for the navigation bar was at the top.
- Placing the call to action above the fold is critical for BtoB marketers, lifting average click rates by 3.5 percentage points. Surprisingly, it didn't make a significant difference in the click rate for BtoC messages.
- A somewhat counter-intuitive finding in the study showed that BtoB emails in a postcard format generated high average click rates, while BtoC messages in newsletter formats generated high click rates.
The coming year promises to be an interesting one for marketers. New technologies are enabling companies to reach out and engage with customers in unique and very personal ways. If you take the time to apply a few of these recommendations to your marketing program, 2008 could be a banner year!