Tag Archives: direct marketing e-mail best practices

Taking direct marketing back to the future

While many marketers continue their search for the next-best, latest-and-greatest media tactic to get the word out about their product or service, others are holding their ground and staying true to traditional methods.

Direct marketing is making a comeback and now considered the “new black” in the marketing world, despite the opportunity new marketing methods like social media may bring to the table.

In a recent column at BtoB Magazine, Scott Hornstein, president of marketing, Hornstein Associates, and CMO, Wired Assets Data Corp., shares his expert insight as to why you should be putting what’s left of your budget into direct marketing.

“These are the times that try marketers’ souls. On the other hand, this is not the time to hide or be timid. It is the time to be effective, and to redeploy the majority of what’s left of your marketing budget into direct marketing for one very good reason: The strategy is, at its core, measurable and ROI-driven.”

He says there are six critical factors that will lead to direct marketing success:

  1. Integrating direct marketing into your overall media mix. Your customers don’t all hang out in the same place, so reinforce your message across a variety of media tools.
  2. Integrating a healthy dose of customer care. “Our carefully crafted brands can be blown up in three minutes of poor customer care.”
  3. Invest in database quality. The success of your marketing is only as good as your list.
  4. Account for everything, but report only key metrics. Pay attention to what matters most.
  5. Measure performance and set aggressive standards. “Each direct marketing effort should achieve at least a 10% response rate.”
  6. Measure the expense to revenue ratio. If it’s over 25% you’re spending too much, go back and fix your process.

What do you think? Should we take another look at the tried-and-true marketing methods like direct marketing because they are so measurable and ROI-driven? Are economic tough times forcing your organization to trend this way?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Proof content is king, even in a bad economy

HRmarketer recently (and thankfully) shared their results and method behind an impressive direct email marketing campaign they recently launched for one of their members.

With an email campaign promoting content, specifically a white paper, they pulled in more than 400 downloads, an email open rate of 7.1% and a click-thru rate of 16.5%, and that was only in the first 24 hours.

Even more impressive, they launched the email campaign on the same day the stock market tanked, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and a collapsed Merrill Lynch was bought up by Bank of America.

Their campaign succeeded because the white paper dealt with hot topics important to top HR executives who still had to report to the office despite recent happenings on Wall Street.

“Why more companies don’t leverage content in their direct marketing campaigns is beyond me. It is the most cost-effective lead generating marketing activity that I am aware of,” said HRMarketer’s Mark Williams.

Direct email campaigns like this are proof that content is still king, even in a bad economy. More than just a good deal, people are searching for quality and valuable content from the companies they trust.

Head on over to HRMarketer for a full run-down of the campaign and other direct email marketing campaigns like this that produced impressive results. Williams also reviews a list of best practices on how to leverage content in marketing and public relations campaigns.

Use content to drive traffic

Use content to drive traffic

New email marketing rules for nonresponders

The folks at Marketing Sherpa have released new evidence warning other marketers to be careful removing “nonresponders” from email distribution lists too quickly, because you may have more time than you think.

Marketing Sherpa conducted an experiment “that every marketer should consider” to find out why customers were not opening their emails. The editorial team picked up the phone and called some of their nonresponders asking: “Why don’t you open anymore? Why don’t you click?”

The most common answer may surprise you, just as it did the Marketing Sherpa team:

“I do. I like your email. Don’t stop sending it. I may not always have time to read it, but I want it.”

The research team took a look at past data showing that more than 40% of online advertising responses may be delayed responses. Responders saw the ad, didn’t click on it, but visited the website or called on their own time, up to 30 days later.

Depending on how busy someone is or if they’re at work, customers don’t have the time to read everything in their in-box. Sometimes it is simply the presence of your brand name and subject line in recipients’ in-boxes that can trigger a customer to make a purchase once their ready. Here’s the latest marketing advice from the Sherpas:

“Given reputation-based filter concerns alone, you should be at least decreasing frequency to nonresponders so you’re not pinging them all the time. You might also want to survey them by email and/or by other methods. And, cross-reference your other customer records with email. Find out which of your “nonresponders” may actually be responding like crazy through other channels than the email links you send them.”

Simply put:

“The new email rule is: Don’t fire nonresponders before asking first. Until you know why, you can’t fix things.”

Direct marketing e-mail best practices

“Direct marketing e-mail is a powerful marketing tool and still one of the best ways to reach HR buyers,” according to Kevin Grossman at HRmarketer.

With extensive experience marketing directly to HR decision makers across the U.S., those at HRmarketer are some of the best in the business when it comes to e-mail marketing. Luckily for us, they’re happy to share some of their best practices for direct e-mail campaigns.

Fact: The open rate for “flat” print direct mail is on average 2.73%, and for e-mail it is 1.12%. Direct e-mails that offer a compelling content “offer” in the form of a free downloadable white paper or research report are significantly more likely to generate a response than promotional offers. Save the promotion offers for your print campaigns and for current customers.

The HRmarketers recommend seven key components to remember in your direct e-mail marketing campaigns:

  1. List size. Send to a list of at least 5,000 people once each quarter and expect to spend between $0.25 and $0.50 per e-mail.
  2. Compelling offer. You’ll have better response rates with direct e-mail when offering compelling content (i.e. free white paper or research report). “Save the promotional offers for your print campaigns and current customers.”
  3. Straightforward subject line. Keep it short, simple and straightforward. “Tell what’s inside, don’t sell what’s inside.” Do a few tests to see what works best for you.
  4. HTML content. The look of your e-mails should match the look and feel of your website. Offer a single call-to-action. Avoid “spammy” words like free, guarantee, opportunity, and order now. Don’t hide your text in an image, rather use rich text in the body of your e-mail. Attach tracking codes to links to track where visitors are coming from.
  5. Landing page. Create a landing page that matches the look of the e-mail and your website. Reinforce your call-to-action from the email and the value of the original offer. Take yourself through the customer experience to make sure everything is flowing correctly.
  6. Lead acquisition form. Collect at least the visitor’s name and email address. Asking for too much may have visitors abandoning your site.
  7. Lead follow-up. “The best time to follow-up on a Web lead is within 24 hours.” Be aware of the limited opportunity window and have your sales team prepared to capitalize on new prospects.

An addition to the list: Remember that the people you’re sending to are people. Talk to them like people and in words they understand. Listen to what your customers want and do your best to give it to them.