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Posts Tagged ‘welcome messages’

Email Marketing Basics: 4 tactics of the incredible email marketer

January 10th, 2013 1 comment

When I went to the movies over the holidays, I saw the preview for the new Steve Carrell movie — “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” — about a magician.

Maybe it’s the fact that a good illusionist has to get the audience to opt in to the performance. Or maybe it’s because the trailer featured many scenes in Las Vegas, site of the upcoming Email Summit 2013.

Either way, it got me thinking of some of the key tactics every email marketer should know. So I turned to MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Handbook – Second Edition to pull out some basics.

For example, while every magician should know The Best Coin Fold and The Mystery of Princess Karnac, every email marketer should know …

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4 Email Marketing Tips: 72-day study reveals what you can learn from presidential campaigns

May 29th, 2012 2 comments

In today’s blog post, I provide four examples of how not to run your email marketing, based on U.S. presidential campaigns. I will also provide four tips for the campaigns on how to improve their efforts, which I think many marketers can learn from as well. I tried to keep this blog post as politically neutral as possible, which turned out to be easier than I thought when I started since  most of the efforts were pretty poor.

 

The 72-day study of presidential campaign email marketing

I enjoy David Meerman Scott’s use of U.S. presidential campaigns as marketing case studies in his blog posts. I agree with him that the lessons learned can be applied by all organizations. Inspired by this and with my focus  on email marketing at MarketingSherpa,  I signed up on March 7 to receive emails from each U.S. presidential candidate: President Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  (Please note Newt Gingrich did not provide an opportunity to register for email alerts.)

I consider the need for candidates to win over my vote for president of the United States to be a complex sale, and I correlate it with the long sales cycles of B2B organizations. After watching my inbox fill up over 72 days, here is what I discovered from my unscientific study of the candidates’ email campaigns as related to B2B email marketing best practices. Unfortunately, the experiment turned into mostly what not to do.

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Email Marketing: How to sprinkle subscribers with a well-timed welcome in 5 steps

November 18th, 2011 2 comments

As a native New Englander, I’m accustomed to swings in climate conditions. However, this past month’s weather pattern offered something different. More than 16 inches of snow fell in late October, causing my children to trick or treat in their snow boots. A week later, the temperature reached the low 70s, as if Mother Nature gave homeowners one last chance to clean up their yards before winter settled in.

Part of my Fall family chores is to empty water from the irrigation lines to our lawn sprinkler system.

In MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Strategies Workshop, I use the analogy that automated lawn sprinklers systems are very similar to automated email campaigns. I admit that I would in no way have a green grass if I did not have a sprinkler system set to water the lawn every Tuesday and Friday. If I used a hose and sprinkler set, I would most likely be reactive and only water when I noticed the grass turning brown. I’d also be inconsistent on the length of time I watered my tiny meadow.

With the irrigation system, I can select the day, time of day and duration of the water. It works so well that I save time and money, and I can set it and forget it.

 

Automated emails for higher open rates

I don’t recommend you “set and forget” automated emails, but they are similar in their efficiency, as these campaigns are triggered to be sent on defined sets of rules based on dates, events or behaviors.

Because of their timing and relevancy, automated campaigns achieve higher open rates than traditional email messages. In fact, in the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we discovered 43% of marketers found emails sent based on triggers to be very effective, leading all other tactics including segmentation based on subscriber behavior and use of loyalty programs.

The research also found 80% of organizations sent automated emails, with automated messages making up an average 22% of the overall email volume. The chart below shows the most popular automated email messages sent by marketers.

 

Chart: Manners matter most with automated email messages

Q. What type of automated, event-triggered, lifecycle email messages does your organization deploy? 

Click to enlarge

 

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Welcome Messages: Are You Making a Good First Impression on New Opt-ins?

I’ve just completed another MarketingSherpa Email Essentials Workshop Training session, and have another quick tale from the road:

In the recent Workshop in Atlanta, one attendee submitted the URL of his email sign-up page for a critique, but said that he wasn’t submitting a welcome message because he didn’t believe there was one. Lo and behold, when I signed up for his email list I received a welcome message. I then understood why he didn’t realize it existed — it was utterly forgettable.

There are so many things that a welcome message can and should be; so many ways it can get the email relationship off on the right foot. We critiqued this welcome message during the workshop; I look forward to seeing the marketer implement the ideas we discussed to make it more effective.

 

Do you know if a welcome message is sent to new subscribers to your email list? If it is, do you know what it says? Whether it’s text or HTML? Who to contact if you need to update or change it?

I’m often surprised at how many marketers overlook this critical aspect of a new email relationship. Here are a few tips on welcome messages (just a small taste of what we cover in the email list growth section of the Workshop).

Welcome messages are one of the most common types of transactional email messages. A survey published in MarketingSherpa’s Best Practices in Email Marketing Handbook found that:

- 54% of respondents stated that they open and read transactional messages “very often or always.”

- Only 21% of respondents reported opening and reading other opt-in email with the same frequency.

Bottom line: Your welcome message (and other transactional messages) are probably opened and read by two-and-a-half times as many people as your email marketing messages. They are worthy of your attention.

Yet many organizations don’t think much about their welcome messages. Case in point: Exhibit A below.

text-only welcome message

This welcome isn’t bad, but it’s not reaching its full potential. It does thank the reader for subscribing. Then it reiterates the information provided at sign-up — but why? There’s really no reason.

Contrast this with Exhibit B: A welcome email from NFL Shop.

HTML welcome message

NFL Shop’s welcome message is in HTML, not text. But that alone doesn’t make it better. Just as the previous message did, it thanks the recipient for subscribing. But then it goes a few steps further.

- The benefits of having an email relationship with NFL Shop are front and center, in bullet points so they are easy to skim. This gets the recipient excited about receiving future email messages from NFL Shop.

- They also provide a link to get a free team catalog. They are making it easy for people to learn more about the merchandise they offer to entice them to shop and buy.

- Speaking of which, I love the “Begin Shopping” button on the right side of the email. It drives people back to the site to browse and buy, which is NFL Shop’s bottom line goal.

As good as this welcome message is, they are still missing an opportunity. See all the blank space below the “Begin Shopping” button? Why aren’t they using it to provide a coupon for a discount on my next purchase? They could add urgency by having the offer expire a week after the date that the welcome message was sent. That would give recipients an extra incentive to go back to the NFL Shop site and buy.

In a nutshell, an effective welcome message should:

o Thank the subscriber for signing up

o Reiterate the benefits of the email relationship

o Include a call-to-action

o Offer an incentive to encourage the desired action

Dating analogies are rampant in the email world, so here’s another. When someone signs up for your email list, they’re expressing interest in having an online relationship with your organization. Sending an effective welcome message right away is critical for leveraging this “honeymoon” period and getting the relationship off on the right foot.