Category Archives: Email marketing

Effective list-growth tactics for B2B marketers

On-site registration and capturing information through call centers are the most effective email list-growth tactics for marketers, according to research by ExactTarget, Ball State University and the Email Marketers Club.

List rentals and outbound call-center attempts to solicit information are the least effective tactics, according to the email marketing research.

“Overall, the study found that the best way to grow email subscriber lists is to collect customers’ email addresses during times of high engagement and on occasions when the consumers’ perceive the marketer as adding value – at the point of sale, during online shopping and in-store via text messaging. These on-site list growth tactics rated as much as 60% higher than offline methods such as list rental and mass advertising.” (MarketingCharts)

Email subscription via text messaging is forecasted to grow by at least 500% in the next year, more than any other growth tactic, according to ExactTarget. They also predict that the practice of enabling subscribers to share email content with others in their social networks will increase almost 350% in 2009.

What are marketers’ top priorities for 2009?

  • 51% wanted to improve conversations
  • 41% will focus on improving email relevance
  • 38% are concerned with growing email lists
  • 5% list lowering costs as a top priority

The study also found a major rift in B2B vs. B2B email marketing. It turns out that B2B marketers are more successful in driving new subscriptions with ‘incentivized’ registration, while B2C marketers find more success with ‘non-incentivized’ subscriptions.

“The best performing list growth tactics are built on gathering subscriber data rather than hunting for it,’ said Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget’s director of research and strategy. “Whether you are a B2B or a B2C marketer, the best way to grow your subscriber list is to collect information during customer-initiated interactions.” (Marketing Charts)

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

Advertisements

Direct mail’s death by email

The latest reports on direct mail show that it’s doomed, eternally doomed.

What’s to blame for direct mail’s sad demise? Email and online coupons.

“The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim,” according to the latest research report from research firm Borrell Associates.

“Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover,” Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013. (MediaPost)

If Borrell’s predictions pan out, direct mail will no longer be the top placeholder for ad revenue and will fall to the fourth spot. The leaders will then be the Web, broadcast TV and newspapers.

“Email advertising is indeed skyrocketing while its traditional counterpart plummets,” Borrell notes. “In fact, last year, email advertising quietly moved to the No. 1 online ad category spot, surpassing all other forms of interactive advertising.” Last year, advertisers spent $12.1 billion on email marketing, more than they spent on display/banner advertising or search advertising.

The firm is also forecasting that most of the growth in email marketing will be local. Borrell expects local email advertising to grow from $848 million in 2008, to an estimated $2 billion in 2013.

However, the report also warns against jumping into email marketing without being prepared for potential risks.

“Managing large e-mail marketing campaigns require database marketing expertise, a savvy sales force, adequate e-mail management software, familiarity with the rules and regulations and a lot of patience.”

Great B2B subject lines tell the truth

I know, I know … April Fool’s Day was a week ago, but this was too good to pass up sharing.

Next year when April 1st rolls around, make sure you don’t find yourself in someone’s blog post covering the worst examples of a bad April Fool’s joke and pay attention to the lesson outlined in a recent post from Andrew Lennon at the Daily Anchor.

Lesson one: Don’t use your Facebook status to try to get a rise out of your significant other on April Fool’s day.

You can take a look at the screen shot of an example of this bad April Fool’s joke here. When you joke that you’re worried about “how to break the news” to a boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook, chances are they’re not going to appreciate it. Even worse, all of your Facebook friends will be embarrassed for you and your bad decision.

Lesson two: If you’re going to joke around with your customers on April Fool’s Day, tell at least a half-truth.

On April 1, Brenthaven sent its customers an email with this subject line: “Today Only! Buy a Brenthaven – Get a FREE CAR!!!”

When customers opened the email, they found out that it wasn’t a joke — they would really receive a free car with their purchase. Unfortunately, they would never be able to get behind the wheel of that car because it was a HotWheels.

If this email was sent out on any day other than April Fool’s, I’m sure there would be an incredible amount of upset customers calling the company and complaining. Since it was the funniest holiday of the year, they got away with it.

The moral of this story: Unless it’s April Fool’s Day, make sure your B2B email subject lines only speak the truth.

Quasi opt-ins or true subscribers? Who’s counting?

Armed with just one little chart, MarketingSherpa managed to send a chill down the spine of a marketer or two at their Email Summit last week. Titled, “The Current Myth of Opt-in,” their new chart explains why not every opt-in is necessarily a willing subscriber.

The Sherpas admit the chart may be somewhat confusing, but basically they found that over 50% of respondents reported that all of the email they received from legitimate companies, they had asked only for 25% of it or less. Almost 20% said they never asked for any of it.

Email opt-ins

Email opt-ins

They define the conundrum with a highly-technical term: the quasi opt-in event. Quasi opt-in events generally happen when site visitors submit information where there was a pre-checked box or in situations where people who just wanted a white paper ended also got a subscription to a newsletter with their download.

While all of it is legal for the most part, it may not be living up to the true definition of opt-in. Signing up a prospect for emails they never asked for can seriously damage the relationship you were trying to build.

The most important piece of advice the Sherpas share in the article is to segment your quasi opt-ins accordingly. These people should not be treated the same as a true subscriber.

“Think of them in the same way you would think of a co-registration name — both need to be wooed. Separate them from other new subscribers and make sure that messaging explains why they’re receiving the email, what they’re going to get from it and why they should stick around.”

If you continually surprise people with emails they never knew they signed up for, you’ll start to see many of your emails landing in spam folders. Show people why the information you’re sending would be valuable to them, then ask if they would be interested. Simple as that.

Tying sales and marketing together with technology

If you’re a marketer in search of a better way to tie your sales and marketing efforts together and have five minutes to spare, watch this video.

The video is from BNET’s Selling Power Daily Report, a series of online videos tailored for the busiest of business professionals.

In this video, Joan Kratz, senior vice president of marketing at Premiere Global, explains how technology has proven to be more effective than direct mail when it comes to prospecting and lead generation.

Only five minutes long and worth the watch. I would have embedded it directly into this blog, but WordPress isn’t accepting it. So, head on over to BNET and watch Technology Enabled Marketing.

What’s the best email subject line length?

New research shows that the length of your email subject lines may not be the most important factor when it comes to email performance.

While sending emails with shorter subject lines does correlate with higher open and click-thru rates, subject-line word order and content may be just as important to email performance, according to new research by U.S. marketing services firm Epsilon.

Epsilon analyzed more than one billion emails over almost 20,000 separate campaigns, finding that the relationship between subject-line length and open and click-thru rates is relatively weak.

The most critical email success factors include word order, word choice and brand and audience awareness, according to their analysis.

“Marketers should keep in mind that most recipients will likely decide to open an email based on their relationship with the sender and the first 38 to 47 characters of the subject line,” the report stated. “However, that decision may depend less on a subject line of 38 to 47 characters, and more on the information those 38 to 47 characters contain. campaign, the vital piece of information may be the brand name. For another, it may be the consumer benefit.”

Here’s what you should do:

  • Put the most emphasis on positioning the most important elements first. Put the most important information at the beginning of your subject lines.
  • Keep subject lines as short as possible. Use only as many characters as you need to convey the message. Use long subject lines only when there is a compelling reason to do so.

We usually spend the most time thinking about and testing the creative aspects of emails, leaving little time to focus on subject lines. Remember, more people will be looking at our subject lines than will ever take a peek at the creative.

Watch out for the most common marketing mistakes during a recession

Roughly 60% of American Marketing Association (AMA) members revealed that the worst mistake marketers can make during an economic slump is halting or reducing spending on key marketing programs, according to an AMA survey.

Other big mistakes include focusing on short-term tactics and sticking to the status quo, according to AMA member marketers.

Over 65% of survey respondents say the slowing economy is having a significant impact on marketing plans, making it a challenge to:

  • Demonstrate the value of marketing in the face of decreasing sales,
  • Reorganize marketing tactics to match changing business objectives, and
  • Focus on long-term marketing strategy.

After analyzing their survey results, the AMA outlined four strategies to help marketers improve their plans and get through the recession:

  1. Shape the message, don’t slash the price. Shape your message to highlight the value of your product or service instead of dropping your prices.
  2. Focus on whom not to target. Refine your target audience and focus on segments that will produce the greatest ROI.
  3. Stand apart from the crowd and invest in innovation. During times of economic uncertainty, marketers are less likely to take any risks on a new product or service. But, investing in research and development now will put your company in a good position when the market turns around.
  4. Sustain the brand. “63% of marketers say they can lessen the impact of a downturn by investing in brand building as part of their marketing plan.”