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How to get greater results from your email marketing
Written on the 21 August 2007 by Tracey Voyce
One of the most repeated mantras of marketing is "test and measure". Marketing professionals are constantly testing their emails, newsletters and offers to find out what is most effective for generating results for their business. But testing and measuring isn't just for big companies with full-time marketing staff - you can test your own email marketing quickly and cost-effectively by following a few simple steps. And with a professional email marketing solution, like IntoResults, all the data is there for you, you just need to use it.
Let the facts give you the answers
With the email communication that you send out to your clients and prospects, you probably make decisions regarding subject lines, content and even the sending time based on your own personal opinions. While this may be working fine for you, have you thought about how much more success you would have if you based these decision on data collected directly from the recipients of your messages? For example, you might send your newsletters out during the afternoon because it suits your schedule, but your target market may be more likely to open your email if they get it in the morning. If you conducted regular tests into your email marketing, you would be aware of this, could adjust your scheduling accordingly and would more than likely experience an increased open rate for your emails.
Automated data simplifies decision-making
Testing and measuring is an important strategy for all businesses, because it helps you to find out what works best for getting your target market to open their emails, click through to your website or take an action. Most small and medium sized businesses don't do any testing for their email marketing, so imagine the competitive advantage you will have if you conduct a few simple tests to find out what is most effective for your audience. Here are some of the most important elements of email marketing campaigns that you can easily test:
Subject line - test what types of subject lines increase your open rates
Day and time sent - when you send your email marketing can have a huge impact on its success, so test out different days and times
Content - find out if you get greater response rates by sending emails with content specific to particular groups, such as different featured products for different sectors of your database
Greeting - test to see if you audience respond better to a short welcome letter from you or a just a simple personalised 'hello'
Links - test out your link text, size, colour and placement to see what gets the best results for your campaigns
Offers - send different offers and different wording or placement of offers to particular groups to see which is most effective for creating action
KPI tracking - it is also a good idea to keep a master record of all your statistics for each campaign so you can see if anything increases or drops off and you can make immediate changes
If you have the time, you can even go as far as to test the colours and layout of your email, the length of the stories and even the text size. However those mentioned above are the most important aspects of your email marketing that should be tested on a regular basis. So how do you actually do the testing? Here are the seven simple steps:
Decide on the element that you want to test - only choose one thing at a time, such as the subject line, otherwise you results will be too hard to measure
Create a control email - create your email using the IntoResults system as you usually do and keep the element you are testing the same as it normally is (ie. use the subject line you have used for your previous campaigns)
Create your test emails - create two (or the number of variants that you want to test) other emails that are exactly the same as the control email. Then change the element being tested in each version to something different (ie. so both test emails have a different subject line to the control email)
Split your database into sections - randomly divide your database into groups for each of the email you have (ie. a group for the control email and group for each of the test emails) and choose which email will be sent to each section
Send out your emails - schedule and send your emails as usual through the IntoResults system
Track results - using the reporting system on IntoResults, you will quickly and easily be able to tell which email was the most successful by analysing the open rates, click throughs and the actions taken by the recipients
Make appropriate changes - based on the results of your testing, you can make the appropriate changes to that particular element for your next email marketing campaign
As you can see, there is not a lot of extra work involved in testing, but it can have a significant impact on the results of your email marketing. Because it is so simple, I recommend testing at least the major elements, such as subject lines, day sent and offers, once every few months. This way, you can keep on top of the changing preferences of your target market and get your email marketing really working hard for your business.