Email Marketing Best Practice


Email marketing is very attractive to marketers.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s a good way to get your message in front of your customers.

However, I’ve got some bad news – email isn’t as simple as you’d think.  Because of the benefits of email marketing, there are a lot of businesses doing it!  And that means that your email communications need to cut through the noise and excite the recipient.

But don’t despair!  Over the next two blogs, I will give you some tips which will help you make the most of your email campaigns.  Here is part 1 and it’s all about numbers (but not boring ones):

If you are running campaigns at the moment, then it is likely that you have a whole raft of data just waiting to be analysed.  Here is how to approach an evaluation of your email campaigns:

Sent – this is the number by which all others will be judged!  While in itself it’s not that insightful, when compared with other metrics it can tell a story.  For this reason, ‘sent’ should not be looked at in isolation.  Whether you send 2 or 200,000 emails, it doesn’t matter unless people are reading them, and you can’t tell this until you see other measures.

Delivered – this should be the same as ‘sent’, right?  Wrong!  This is the number of emails that were successfully delivered.  There are all sorts of reasons why your email would not be delivered and they are called soft and hard bounces.  A soft bounce might be because the recipient’s email box is full, and soft bounces are normally re-sent at another time.  A hard bounce is where the email address is invalid – this can often be fixed by checking through your email list (.con instead of .com is a common problem).

Opened – this is a really important measure.  This is the number of people who actually open the email, so the key element here is an engaging subject line.  You have received emails which sound so dull from their subject line that you just delete it straight away, so you know the problem!  Personalised and engaging subjects that relate to the needs of the recipient will ensure your open rate is strong.

Clicks – the holy grail of email marketing!  These are the number of clicks that people have made on your email to take them off to another place, e.g. your website.  There are no short-cuts for getting a good click rate – good content that is recipient focused is what you need to focus on.

Unsubscribe – its often very disheartening to receive unsubscribes.  So try to find out why to prevent them in the future.  On the unsubscribe page on your website, ask the users why it is that they don’t want to receive your emails anymore – was the frequency too much, have they moved jobs / circumstances, etc.  This is useful feed-back that you should take on board.

Benchmark – there are a number of studies which can show you what an average open, click or unsubscribe rate is.  Here is one of the best –  These rates can easily be calculated from your data by dividing numbers into the number of emails that you have sent.  E.g. to find click rate, take the number of clicks (e.g. 30) and divide it by the number of emails that you have sent (e.g. 500) – your click rate is 6%.

That’s all for this week, but come back next week for Part 2 of my email marketing tips!

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