What’s it take to run a successful email program? Any marketer will tell you to have a sign-up on your website, a sign-up on your social accounts, and to make sure you have an opt-out link in every email. Above these basic tips there are numerous nuances to the world of email that require hours of research and can be tricky to navigate.
The 201 approach includes taking a deep dive into the audience you’re speaking to, making sure your content speaks to them. Without a more thorough evaluation, a campaign will fall flat.
The recommendations outlined here will not replace the value of a dedicated email marketer, but they can guide you to the right program and encourage self-evaluation to increase ROI.
Treat your lead like a budding relationship
Take it slow
Oversharing is the same as information overload. If your lead was inbound, then it means that your product or service caught their attention. A piqued interest is a first step towards a beautiful relationship.
However, interest isn’t infatuation, so grow the communication based on your established commonality. Don’t assume they’re thinking wedding vows because you both love documentaries.
Maintain the right amount of communication
When you start a new relationship, it’s easy to be excited and want to talk every day. Obsession can be a relationship killer just as much as ghosting. Let them know you’re still interested without having them wake up to 10 missed calls and 30 text messages.
Keep the relationship moving forward
At some point, you’ll need to bring this relationship into more of your world. Start by introducing them to similar products/services; much like that friend who isn’t your bff but is very relatable and easy to talk to. If this introduction goes well, you’ll know you have the makings of a strong bond.
There are always more fish in the sea
Recognize when a relationship isn’t going to work out. Pick-up on cues by your customer to know when to stop reaching out. Desperation is a very unattractive quality and can tarnish your brand permanently with a consumer.
No email is perfect, but you can get close
Myth: If I write perfect HTML, my email will look perfect when I send a test.
Fact: Often, you will write absolutely beautiful code that will come across as inconsistent and sporadically spaced when you receive your first test. Minor variances or line breaks can be converted differently in different platforms. This is perfectly normal and why QA testing is so critical to ensure clean, clear design delivery.
Myth: If my email looked good in one inbox, it’ll be fine in all others.
Fact: Every ISP (internet service provider) interprets HTML code differently. Just because they’re all reading the same language (HTML) it doesn’t mean we’re all hearing the same thing. Much like the tone in your voice can be interpreted based on who hears you, ISPs will read your code based on their own set of standards.
Myth: I can design an email that will look exactly the same no matter what device or platform it is viewed on.
Fact: This can be possible, if you create a single column, image based email. However, following this path has severe restrictions and no guarantees it will render across all ISPs. Image based emails have a higher likelihood of being flagged as SPAM and greatly constrain your ability to design for an optimal mobile user experience.
Myth: Once I work out the bugs for one platform, that code will always work.
Fact: Email clients are constantly looking for ways to better their consumers’ experience with their inbox. This means they frequently update their technology, which in turn impacts your emails’ rendering. These repeated, often unannounced changes only reinforce the importance of testing and utilizing email preview tools.
Gain knowledge from subscribers lost
Free marketing insights
Unsubscribes are par for the course in any campaign execution. However, if a specific message shows a statistically significant spike in opt-outs you can usually infer there is something about the messaging that the audience didn’t respond well to. Track your content topics and note when there’s an increase (or decrease) in unsubscribes.
Symptom of a larger content issue
If you see a continual increase in subscribers leaving your audience, you most likely need to take a harder look at the overall email program. Typical issues are related to cadence, content relevance to audience, and email fatigue.
A loss can still be a gain
Exit surveys are one way to learn why subscribers no longer want to receive your messages. The best practice is to keep questionnaires simple and to offer them after you’ve confirmed the unsubscribe submission. This shows the subscriber you’re honoring their request and you care about why they’re leaving.
Looking for additional email marketing insights? We reached out to six email marketing experts here at RRD Marketing Solutions and asked them: “What can retail brands do to legitimately increase their email marketing ROI?” Their responses were written with you in mind.
Lauren Jacenty is the Go-To-Market Administrator for RRD Marketing Solutions.