I recently read a white paper on “Ten Steps to Effective E-mail Marketing.” While social media is growing in popularity and importance, e-mail marketing, done correctly, is still an important element of an integrated marketing campaign.
Here are the 10 steps to consider:
1. Establish a single, integrated marketing platform. Using an e-mail system for mass mailing and outlook for one-on-one e-mails makes it difficult to track all of your communications with prospects and customers.
2. Manage customer data effectively. If you have a long sales cycle, or hope to have a long-term relationship with your customers, it’s important for you to have an integrated view of your electronic communications and to track responses, demographic data and website browsing history.
3. Form a single view of customer data. Allow customer and prospects to enter in new e-mail addresses as they change. Handle “bounced” e-mails on a campaign by campaign basis will allow you to stay on top of your e-mail marketing list and keep it as fresh and accurate as possible.
4. Start the relationship right. Give subscribers detailed opt-in options. Send only timely, relevant, appropriate messages. Ask permission to send other types of communications and confirm the frequency preferences. You cannot ask permission too many times. Also ask in which format subscribers prefer to receive e-mail — HTML, text or mobile messages?
5. Create compelling, relevant content. Overt sales approaches are not effective. Content needs to be compelling, relevant and delivered at the right time. E-mails should be personalized to garner and hold the attention of the target audience. Four of 10 subscribers “mark as spam” when they receive irrelevant content. Create dynamic, personalized landing pages based on the profile of the individual who clicks the link in the e-mail.
6. Have a dialog with the customers. Customer and prospects now expect companies to engage them in conversations, ask their opinions, and present content that takes these conversations into account.
7. Spam-proof all messages. Perform seed list tests before sending out the campaign to ensure there are no issues preventing the e-mail from being delivered to in boxes.
8. Respond in real-time with the right content. Use automated dialogs and ongoing nurturing campaigns to continue to engage customers, and to monitor and immediately respond to customer responses, life cycles and buying cycles. Create triggered alerts for customers by using their preferences to support event dates that allow them to tell you when something special is happening.
9. Leverage social media. The biggest barrier to integrating social media and e-mail is the lack of integrated thinking by e-mail marketers to take interactions outside the e-mail box. When you create an e-mail, create a microsite with the appropriate social media channel(s). Direct the e-mail recipient to the social site of their choice. When the recipient shares the offer and related content with their social network, you can gain knowledge about click-throughs, visits and referrals.
10. Build a solid infrastructure to ensure e-mail deliverability. Deliverability is the second most important challenge for marketers according to Marketing Sherpa. A sound infrastructure includes authentication standards, certification methods, IP and domain-based reputation management, ISP throttling, white and black list management, feedback loops and bounce management.
Have you learned some things that can increase the efficiency of your e-mail efforts?