Raise your hand if you enjoy spam. A collective glance around the room reveals, no… no one does. While this is generally a given, well-intended email marketing campaigns can be pushed to the wayside; the consumer overwhelmed and fatigued with the sheer volume of email campaigns received. 

So what can you do to counteract this trend of more email, less impact? You’re busy – and they’re busy, but there are a few simple steps to help make your email marketing campaigns stand out and be that little bit more effective. According to ‘The Big Australian Email Report, 2009′ in the next 12 months, 65% of email marketers are going to increase emphasis on email campaigns, so you’ve got to stay ahead of the game to remain effective.

It’s not rocket science, but here’s a timely reminder before you hit send on yet another ‘email blast’ to make you feel like you are staying on top of your online communications. Think about the following:

1. Content

Think about what the consumer wants and act accordingly – another given, but one that is often ignored when trying to push a campaign out the door. Relevance is essential to curb the growing consumer fatigue with email campaigns. An email is not a place for lengthy debate. Short, concise headers that engage interest are what’s required with a link to your website (or others) for the bulk of the information. The upside of this is you also create traffic for your site. This is where you may have the chance to tell more about your company, product or service. Send fewer emails that are more relevant, save cyberspace and your customer information overload.

Tip:

  • The subject line is the most important piece of information, 35% of email users open messages based on what’s contained in the subject line.
  • Keep in mind that the wording of the subject line can also trigger spam filters that cause mail servers to reject your email.
  • Preferably plan out your content three months ahead to align with your other marketing and communications strategies.

2. Segmentation

Okay, better and more engaging content? Obvious enough, however assuming you have this sorted, the next most important weapon that should be in your email marketing campaign artillery is segmentation and personalisation. 

Segmenting emails takes only slightly more effort on behalf of the sender, and could be the difference between an open and an unsubscribe.

Unfortunately your ability to send segmented email requires clean and well-populated data about the interests of each recipient and the software you use to manage your email marketing.

Tip:

  • Arrange an email with a benefit for having clients update their own information including segmentation information to update and clean your data.

3. Measurement

So you’ve sent your campaign to your database, what now? Eservices Email’s ‘The Big Australian Email Report, 2009′ found 55% of marketers do not employ any testing to optimise email campaigns.

AB testing is a method of multivariate testing that changes single elements of the campaign such as ‘time of day delivered’ and compares the outcomes. Opens, click-throughs and other results are analysed to determine the most successful strategy. Over time, it’s an easy way to learn which strategies work best for you.

67% of email marketers are employing segmentation and personalisation, making their campaigns all the more effective and sophisticated. A further 10% employ more advanced methods that apply auto inserts in campaign text based on database contact’s information adding accurate personalisation to email campaigns, enticing the consumer to open the email which seems to speak directly to them, containing relevant information for them.

Tips:

  • A simple example of AB testing is to send an identical email at the same time to a mix of customers with a different subject header. Measure which one has a higher open rate.
  • Look for an email marketing tool with in-depth reporting that is easy to use and digest. The main measurement stats you need are: opens, bounces, unsubscribes and open over time.
  • Whatever level of email marketing your organisation is at, there is always room for improvement. Most important put yourself in your customer’s shoes, what information would you want to receive, and how often and of course, ‘What’s in it for me?’

Looking to the near future, mobile is the real up-and-comer. It has been the biggest shift in operating environments/systems – and the trend line is sharp – less than 2.1% of emails are opened on mobile devices, but this is up by more than 400% in 12 months, from 0.05 in 2008. It’s critical email marketers begin to consider the mobile format in planning. 

Another important category of email has emerged: transactional emails. These are emails sent to a customer regarding business processes – times such as statements, receipts, confirmation of orders etc., and as they relate directly to the customer’s actions, are more likely to be opened. Don’t forget to use these as methods of communication for other messages.