What constitutes a successful email marketing campaign? Number of recipients? Quality of advertising copy? A short-term increase in sales or subscriptions?
If success is measured only in numerical terms, an email marketing campaign would need to generate results in the form of hits, clicks or conversions. Advertisers also examine the number of people who were reached or targeted by a campaign, if only so that they can quantify success as a ratio of output (effort or cost). But sometimes the numbers are unimportant. Sometimes the true measure of a successful email marketing campaign is the extent to which prospects are exposed to a brand.
How can advertisers ensure that their email marketing campaigns sufficiently increase brand exposure?Testing.
The first – and often biggest – mistake in email marketing is to not test the campaign before it goes live. Copy must be reviewed meticulously; not only should all spelling and grammatical mistakes be corrected (unless deliberate), but care must be taken to ensure that an appropriate message is conveyed to recipients. Comical or embarrassing mistakes in the copy may occasionally give rise to viral success, but they also undermine prospects' trust and confidence in a brand.
Testing a marketing email is important for several other reasons, the most important of which involves spam. Unfortunately, email spam filters, though far more sophisticated than they were a decade ago, err on the side of caution when it comes to catching suspicious-looking messages. By testing recipient addresses with Windows Live Mail, Yahoo! Mail and Thunderbird, not to mention the most popular email clients, such as Gmail, Apple Mail and Outlook, advertisers can establish whether their marketing messages are likely to end up in recipients' junk folders.
Applying tweaks to the subject line and text body can make a huge difference. However, in many cases the problem stems from the sender's address, which really ought to feature the primary URL (e.g., email@example.com would more likely be caught by spam filters than firstname.lastname@example.org).
Another stage of optimisation involves maintaining a clean database. Any incorrect or inactive entries should be removed. Advertisers must also allow users to unsubscribe without difficulty.Design.
According to the research-based consultancy, Litmus, almost two-fifths of all emails are viewed for the first time on mobile devices. Designing marketing emails for only PCs and laptops, therefore, could exclude a large proportion of the target audience.
If HTML is used in a marketing email, which it so often is these days, media queries in CSS can be used to adjust its style, structure and layout. This enables advertisers to provide a similar experience to all recipients, regardless of whether they are reading the email on a 5.5-inch iPhone or a 27-inch 5k Retina iMac.
In addition to being responsive, or fluid, the design of a marketing email ought to be eye-catching. Copy should be relatively succinct, consisting of simple sentences and easy-to-read phrases. Paragraphs should be no more than 15-20 words in length so that text can be scanned quickly. Headings can be used to grab the reader's attention. Links to the destination website should always point to landing pages that are relevant to the offer.
Thought must also be applied to different time zones, the different days of the week and best times for optimum delivery depending on your target audience.
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