Effective Email Newsletter
Having an effective email newsletter campaign can radically increase your website traffic. With over 100 billion emails sent and received per day, in 2013 how do you cut through the clutter and get your customer to engage emails. And what happens when a client wants to start emailing an opt-in subscriber list that hasn’t been touched in 5 years?
Opt-In-Email subscriber Retention
We have all heard the statistics, MarketingSherpa estimates our opt in email lists devalue by 25% every year. According to this statistic our opt in email database of 22,280 email subscribers should have diluted to about 5,222 emails. Rather than reinventing the wheel I took our intro template right from one of the most successful Email Service Providers (ESP) – Mail Chimp. With some clever email best practices described below we retained 12,650 email subscribers, most emails bounced and only 2,092 unsubscribed.
2 Questions come to mind when receiving a potential unsolicited email
- Who are you?
- Why are you emailing me?
Be sure to answer these questions right away and give recipients a chance to easily unsubscribe.
A Few Key Notes To Take From This Behavioral Email Campaign
I gave you permission before but that doesn’t mean that you still have it, things change especially after 1,825 days have passed. Imagine calling a girl 5 years after she gave you her phone number, you surely expect to get hung up on. In this example we tell them they opted into our list a while back and we finally got around to creating a nifty newsletter campaign.
What Can You Expect From Us?
Set the right expectations and you won’t piss people off. If you are going to be sending out email campaigns 1x per week ensure that you relay that information in your email or you will quickly find your way into the spam folder.
After setting expectations give an option to unsubscribe, in addition to the standard unsubscribe link at the bottom footer we added a hyperlink in the text of the email. Managing emails takes a lot of work, I much rather manage a list of 1,000 engaged recipients than 20,000 recipients who aren’t opening my emails. Strike for quality over quantity, and clean your subscriber list after a certain period of unresponsiveness.
Deliver Value Immediately
Targeting pilots and aviation enthusiasts we collaborated on an Airpark Life eBook a first of it’s kind resulting in over 160 form fills from the landing page.
Testing HTML vs Text Emails
Being huge advocates of testing we tried HTML templates, text templates and A/B Tested subject lines. It was interesting to test HTML vs Text. Text emails often lead to higher engagement (click thrus) but also more responses, text emails elicited 1 to 1 conversations which is fantastic for conversions. Overall some campaigns had open rates of 40% + and click thru rates above 8% and the welcome series lead to 2,491 page views on the website! Ok now we set the precedent for success and need to continue to deliver value.
Rather than pretending we knew it all we asked our subscribers for a favor which would ultimately benefit them. We asked what they would like to see more of from our blog and our emails, and the responses were terrific. Resulting in 1268 pageviews and over 15 responses we began content writing to please our email subscribers.
When asking questions we opted for text and a more 1 to 1 relationship with the email subscriber, when delivering content HTML allowed us to use visuals to engage the subscribers but we always kept the emails short and sweet with a call to action to a blog post or a landing page on the website.
We also experimented sending emails in increments of an hour to ensure better deliverability, the problem with this is the timing of the emails sent, if sending to one of the lists with 6,000 spread in groups of 500 the there would be too many variables for any statistical significance in the A/B Test.
Staying on top of trends allowed us to break industry news to our subscribers. The Missing Malaysia flight was discussed on the blog, website, and social media thanks to the email campaign.
All in all you can definitely say these folks are engaged and looking forward to receiving our emails on a weekly basis, and it could have gone a completely different way if we had treated the list a blast, rather than showing our subscribers we cared about what they had to say and the stories they had to share.
There are some things I wish I would have done differently mostly due to a lack of time and software capability and moving forward I apply these to all new campaigns. No longer taking solo email projects our agency eCommerce Cosmos delivers a team of email marketing experts with experience in a plethora of industries.
Behavioral Email Best Practices
I should have created a custom unsubscribe series.
Leadformix is a fantastic software but it didn’t allow for a custom unsubscribe series that led the user back to the site to let us know what they were unsubscribing for. Would they rather receive emails once a month, once every 6 months? Maybe not via inbox but would they want to connect with us socially?
I should have tried more A/B testing.
Most A/B Tests though interesting, did not provide any data of statistical significance. With thousands of emails being sent I should have split the email lists into groups of 500 so when A/B testing subject lines, time differences of emails sent wouldn’t have affected open and click thru rates.
I should have combined direct mail with email.
With email marketing being extremely economical recipients would have answered to a personalized postcard leading them to a landing page to opt into our campaign. Companies continue to mail out catalogs out today because it works, and it’s a fantastic way to establish your brand recognition.
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