Internet Marketing for Beginners: Email marketing optimization 101
If you are new to email marketing this post should provide a framework to build on, and if you’re an experienced pro it never hurts to think about the basics every once in a while.
Let me tell you what this blog post – and optimization in general – is not about: it’s not about a set of “best practices” rules that you follow time and time again to achieve the best possible outcome. What this blog post is about is taking a look at the basic series of priorities in email marketing that are critical to optimizing any campaign, and how to better understand the psychology of your target audience in order to make continuing improvements to any email marketing efforts.
As a new reporter at MarketingSherpa, I’m currently taking the online certification and training courses offered by our sister company, MarketingExperiments. The first course I’m taking is about email marketing optimization. Here are a few beginner tips I’ve noticed…
Why should I give you my email address?
What are the basic priorities in email marketing? MarketingExperiments has developed a simple heuristic that puts the four critical optimization categories in order of importance:
The order of importance is probably pretty obvious – if you don’t capture an email address there’s no message to be opened. If the message isn’t opened there’s no possibility of clickthrough, and if there’s no clickthrough then the landing page won’t get visited.
All of this leads to the single biggest issue in email marketing right now – email capture has become very difficult. The people in front of the other computer screen have become very wary about spam and privacy, and very reluctantly give out their email address.
I know this. In fact I have more than one free Web-based email address, and I bet you are no different. The same goes for the people we’re trying to reach.
The value prop of an email capture form
MarketingExperiments has developed a second heuristic that is applied to each of the four categories listed above:
Don’t be put off by the possibly complex-looking formula. This heuristic is the key to understanding the psychology of your target audience. Since email capture has become something of an email marketing problem, and is the most important step in any campaign, let’s look at this formula through the email capture lens, but keep in mind it should be applied to all four critical categories.
For effective email capture (eme in this example) your audience needs to see two kinds of relevance – the offer and the incentive. The offer simply answers the “why” question, as in, “Why should I give my email address to this person/company/website?,” and is the value you promise in exchange for the address. The incentive is just what it sounds like – an appealing element in the process that helps you get an email capture. Both offer relevance and incentive relevance, done correctly, are working for you.
On the other side of the ledger, and working against your success, are friction and anxiety. Friction is psychological resistance in your audience and anxiety is psychological concern. You want to remove any concern your audience might have about providing their email addresses, but friction is a little different because you need to have some friction.
Just asking for an email address is an element of friction, and if you don’t ask for it, it’s going to be pretty tough to get that address. What you want to do is minimize the resistance in your audience and remove any concern they might have.
When you look at email marketing optimization in terms of four critical categories that can be broken down into a handful of elements shared by each category, it’s obvious that no singular set of best practices rules will give you optimal results. But thinking about each element in each category, and repeating that process on a regular basis, will help you achieve continuing improvement. Now that’s optimization.