Categories
Email marketing

The Importance Of A Killer Email Subject Line

I often get asked to send out a piece of email marketing communication and while the creative is stellar (very pretty) and there is a clear call-to-action, nobody has bothered to think about a killer subject line. Strange, considering you need a great subject line in order to grab someone’s attention and get them to open the email in the first place. Far too much time gets spent on the fluffy stuff like what colours and images should be used in the mailer, and too often not enough time is spent on crafting awesome copy.

If you get as much email as I do on a daily basis (and I’m sure you do), you will agree with me that the stuff that gets flagged or opened is the important and interesting stuff.

Business email aside, I subscribe to a whole bunch of different service and product related mailers which I get on a pretty frequent basis – everything from online shopping sales to discounted weekends away.

This is how I handle that type of promotional email.

I read the subject line and if it grabs me I either:

  • Open it and look at it immediately
  • Flag it and look at it later

But if the subject line doesn’t grab me, it ends up getting ignored.

At Manalytics we send loads of email on a daily basis and this much I know to be true: Having a great subject line, that gets people to open your email, is 90% of the battle won.

These are the types of subject lines that have always worked for us:

  • Lead with a question

Take a second to think about what happens when you read something? There is a little voice in your head that actually reads the words out aloud. They don’t come spewing out your mouth, but your brain mouths them, right? One word at a time

So if I asked you a question right now, something along the lines of, “Do you want to earn an online degree for free?”

It’s difficult not to automatically answer that question, even though you do it in a nano second. “Yes, maybe I do.”

And that is all a smart marketer is trying to do. Provide enough of a hook to spark some interest.

  • The bold statement

Why Donald Trump Will Never Get A Second Term!

That is a pretty bold statement isn’t it? If you have an interest in global politics, this would get your attention when it landed up in your email inbox.

If you are going to try and grab my attention, be bold. Watered down, airy-fairy email gets treated the way it should be – It just doesn’t get opened.

  • A bit of reverse psychology

Have you ever told a kid not to look in a particular drawer? What’s the likely outcome? You know for a fact they are going to open up the drawer to find out exactly why you told them not to look in there, in the first place.

I recently ran a competition mailer and instead of using a question or making a statement I simply said this: If you have a brand new Samsung fridge at home, don’t worry about this email.

Turns out it was the best open rate I’ve had for ages. By virtue of the fact that I asked people not to open the email, they did indeed end up opening the mail.

Let me leave you with this: If you are going to take the time and spend some money on email marketing, make sure you take some additional time to craft excellent copy for your subject line.

Or get someone to do it for you. We could always help. Drop us a line if you want to chat.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

Get Your Marketing Emails Delivered With These 6 BulletProof Tips

When it comes to email marketing, the only thing that counts is getting your email delivered to an inbox! When you send email for a living, like we do, you eat and sleep this type of thinking 24/7.

If our email doesn’t get delivered, we don’t pay the bills, so you can see our incentive for getting it right.

Trust me when I tell you, you can labour on email subject lines for hours , change your images a zillion times and profile your data to death, but it counts for absolutely nothing if your communication doesn’t ultimately hit the intended target – the recipients email inbox.

You must get your mail delivered to have any chance of an outcome, let alone a successful outcome.

So what counts the most when it comes to email delivery?

There are several contributing factors, and in this blog post we are going to cover the one that probably counts the most – Email Source.

Think of your IP address as your computer’s DNA (your unique identifier). Every computer, connected to the world wide web, has an IP address and when mailbox providers start filtering email (and it’s important to note that all email gets filtered), they absolutely check the reputation of IP addresses to decide which emails get placed in inboxes and which email gets flagged and binned.

Mailbox providers use sophisticated algorithms and their roll is to weed out the good mail from the bad mail and not allow the unscrupulous email through the front door. One of the things high on the mailbox provider checklist is the reputation of the IP address – the source and reputation of the email.

In essence, the question all mailbox providers and spam filters are asking is: Where does this email come from and what do we know about it?

IP reputation can and should be tracked using a sender score, which is determined by tracking, over time, the email sender’s performance, using a host of different metrics. If you have a high sender score, you’re doing a good job of playing by the rules. If your sender score is low, your email is going to struggle to pass the eagle-eyed gatekeepers, protecting inboxes around the world.

So what types of metrics influence your sender score? There are more factors at play, but these are the major ones:

  • Blacklists
  • Complaints
  • Email volume
  • Spam traps
  • Message composition
  • Dirty data
  1. Blacklists

You don’t even need to be in email marketing to guess what a blacklist is! It’s the naughty list every email marketer doesn’t want to land up on.  A report I recently read indicates that there might be as many as 300 publicly available blacklists (from the well-known to independent). Spammers get reported and added to these blacklists and mailbox providers and filtering companies use a number of them to cross-ref against. If you land up on something like The Spamhaus Block List (SBL) your email delivery is going to be severely impacted. It’s not so easy to get off a blacklist – you’ve got to motivate the reasons for being removed and then put forward remedies for future mailing. Truth is, if you SPAM for a living, you are going to inevitably end up on a blacklist. Even if you manage to get off, your practices will ensure it’s only a matter of time before you land up on one again.

2. Complaints

People who receive email they don’t want (or can’t unsubscribe from) complain. It’s not rocket science! Too many complaints means the email sender gets penalized and fewer emails get delivered into inboxes. Trying to implement a zero complaints policy is almost impossible nowadays. People sign up to stuff, then forget they signed up, then complain about receiving the electronic communication they signed up for in the first place (it’s weird but it’s true). But any email marketer worth his salt knows you need to handle complaints quickly and, more importantly, identify whether the complaint points towards something in your over-arching emailing strategy.

The reason you need to act quickly is because mailbox providers have one task in mind – Make sure the user is protected from bad email. So, it’s fair to say they take complaints pretty seriously. If you get too many complaints then you are sending emails to people who clearly don’t want the stuff you are sending. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

Oh, one last thing – make sure you have an ‘unsubscribe’ link in every single one of your email communications. People understandably get upset when they receive email they don’t have an option of unsubscribing from.

3. Email volume

Big spikes in email volume suggests to mailbox providers that you might be spamming. Consistent email volumes suggest good email marketing practices. Mailbox providers keep an eye on volume and senders looking to “moer it” don’t fair well, because it might well be another one of those ugly Viagra mailers looking to push past the inbox gatekeepers. I send email for a living so I can tell you that I’ve seen IP reputation tank quickly, when volumes spike. In actual fact, big send volumes, coupled with dirty data (we’ll get to that a little later) are in my mind the biggest contributors to terrible reputation scores.

Slow and steady email sends win the race in the long term.

4. Spam traps

As the name suggests, spam traps are traps that are laid for spammers, and when spammers get caught, they get penalized heavily.  It’s pretty sneaky, but spam traps are email addresses that don’t belong to active users and are used as bait to identify spammers and senders with dodgy marketing lists. Mailbox providers, filtering companies and blacklist administrators create and manage spam trap networks and if you hit a spam trap, it’s difficult to explain how you managed to get the email address of someone who doesn’t actually exist  or isn’t active (how did he sign up?). So, if you’ve been buying a dodgy email list and looking to start an email marketing empire, be warned that spam traps are designed to catch the types of dudes involved in crappy mailing practices.

5. Message composition

This is actually a blog post on its own, and I will cover it down the line in future articles, but your email message composition has a lot to do with your overall sender score. Everything from the words you decide to use in your email subject line, down to your copy-to-image ratio has some impact on your email getting delivered. Using words like ‘FREE’ in your subject line isn’t going to do you any favours, and using too many graphics in your mailer slows down the server’s ability to process mail and as a result it gets flagged.

6. Dirty data

When too many of your emails bounce (either a hard or a soft bounce), and in layman’s terms that is a simple “return to sender, address unknown” message from one server to the next, it points directly to poor list management. If you have a legitimate opt-in email list of people who have willingly signed up to receive your email communication, your bounce rate will be low and you are in the clear.

Here is an example to better illustrate my point:

John has a successful IT blog and has 20 000 people subscribed via email. John sends out a weekly newsletter and his email bounce rate is 1% (that means 99% of John’s email gets delivered). This is an excellent result and contributes massively to the sender score and overall IP reputation.

Jack wants to make a quick buck sending email. He has bought an email list from a mate of his and he is busy sending SPAM. Jack has 100 000 people on this list and what he doesn’t know is that only 10% of the emails are being delivered (therefore he has a 90% bounce rate). The data is dodgy and the extraordinarily high bounce rates indicates that this cannot be someone looking to send above board mail, because they don’t even know they are sending to email addresses that don’t exist.

List hygiene is critical to maintain good server reputation. Hard bounces should be removed and bounce rates should be no more than a couple of %.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line if you need any assistance with your email marketing strategy & delivery.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

Don’t Take A Punt On Email Marketing Without Knowing How To Measure Success

You’ve decided to take a punt on email marketing. Great idea, if executed correctly you will get an awesome return on your marketing spend. But what exactly is the objective of your campaign? Are you simply using it as a branding exercise and just need the promotional mailer opened? Are you looking for email opens to turn into clicks back to your website? Or are you looking for mailer clicks that turn into leads? Before you sign off a cent of marketing budget here are the 3 email metrics I think are critical to the success measurement of any email campaign:

  • How many emails have been delivered?

Sends mean nothing when it comes to email marketing, email deliveries are what really count. Let’s assume that I have a marketing database of 100,000 people and have email addresses for all of them. In my sales pitch I promise to take your marketing message and send it to these 100,000 people. In your mind, you’ve assumed that your marketing message is going to be sent to all 100,000 people and therefore seen by all 100,000 people, right?

I mean, if you send a bulk email message, it goes to everyone, right?

Nope, that is unfortunately not the case.

Truth is, maybe only 40% of 100,000 emails sent might actually get delivered.

If the list is “dirty” and by that I mean it contains invalid email addresses, your message is not going to reach those records.

Clean email data is key, so before you sign off on any email marketing campaign, ask for email delivery stats.

If the email delivery stats are in the 90% range, you’ve got a data partner you should book a campaign with.

If the email delivery stats are anything below that, you need to ask serious questions about the data & most importantly, the management of that data.

Rule of thumb, don’t pick an email data partner who can’t show you 90% & higher email delivery stats. You are wasting your time and money booking a campaign with them.

  • How many emails have been opened?

Now that you know your marketing message is being delivered to valid email addresses and you’ve taken care of the delivery rate question, the next thing you need to ask is “How many people have opened the email? Your email open rate is simply the number of emails opened/the number of emails delivered. If you sent out 10 emails and 1 person opened the mailer, your open rate is 10% (easy enough).

Email open rates can be influenced by a number of different factors including:

  • The email subject line (90% of the battle)
  • The type of email
  • Who the email has been sent from (Example promotions@zando.co.za)

Why are open rates important to measure?

Because you can have a 99% email delivery rate, but if nobody opens up the email, the delivery rate metrics count for nothing, right?

If you plan to use an external data provider to send your email marketing message, find out what open rates you can expect upfront, and perhaps look at doing a deal based on open rates, rather than delivered emails.

  • How many clicks did the mailer get?

Very few clients will simply pay for a ‘branded campaign’ – “Just send our offer via email, we only need exposure”. The more likely scenario is “Can we measure how many people clicked on our mailer links?” And that is a fair question. Clients want potential customers to move to action and the beautiful thing about email marketing (and digital marketing overall) is that everything is measurable.

Being able to track how many people clicked on the links in your email campaign is critical in determining how successful the campaign was. The more clicks you achieve, the more successful your campaign is likely to be. You want clicks and you ultimately want those clicks to do something post click. Perhaps it’s signing up to a newsletter, buying something online or requesting a call-back for an insurance offering.

Ask any potential data partner worth their salt, what type of CTR rates they get  which is a simple measurement of the amount of clicks divided by the amount of delivered emails. The higher the CTR rates the better the overall campaign has performed.

Ok, so in closing, should you throw some budget into email marketing campaigns? Absolutely, but only once you know what the objective of the campaign is and how you are going to measure it.

Ask about:

  • Email delivery rates
  • Email open rates
  • CTR rates

Then make your decision based on that. If you need any information on our email metrics, drop me a line.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

Reasons Why A Cold Email Always Hands Out A Beating To A Cold Call

A cool Scotsman from Fourways sent me a link to an article this week. It posed an interesting question so I thought I would share. If you put a cold call up against a cold email which one comes up trumps? To cold call or not to cold call, this the question? Do people even cold call anymore? That was my first reaction, but I know they do, because just like you, I still get loads of unsolicited calls from all types of companies, trying to sell me stuff, on a fairly regular basis. In my opinion cold calling is a complete waste of time and I think a cold email, if executed correctly, beats a cold call any day of the week and here are my reasons for that:

I’ve done my fair share of cold calling in the past (for my sins) and anyone who has spent hours dialing a cold list of “potential prospects” will testify to the fact that it is soul destroying graft, that isn’t recommend for peeps who are overly sensitive or have low self esteem issues 🙂  But the fact remains that many businesses, looking for new customers, still adopt this strategy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as far as I am aware, POPI will continue allowing cold calling as a direct marketing channel (so companies are safe from a compliance stand point), and secondly it’s a measurable form of cheap direct marketing that obviously still pays some dividends. Your call centre seat costs are fixed and if you dial enough people some will buy what you’re selling (only a handful, but still some).

But here are reasons why a cold email beats a cold call any day of the week and why I would lead with an email before I phoned anyone nowadays.

  • A cold email will reach more targets more often – FACT

In order to sell someone over the phone, you need to get hold of them first, right? The problem with trying to get hold of people over the phone is that fewer and fewer people pick up calls from private numbers that they don’t recognise. And you can’t blame them for that, can you? So even if your data is squeaky clean and your cellphone numbers actually match your personal records, more than 50% of the people you dial just ain’t going to pick up the phone to begin with.

Seems like a s@#% return on time and energy to me.

An email on the other hand always reaches its target, and with a simple push of a “send button” I can reach 50,000 people in less than an hour. How long would it take you to phone 50,000 people?

  • A cold email is far less intrusive than a cold call – FACT

People can’t stand getting cold calls for one simple reason – it’s intrusive! It’s “disruption marketing” at its best and people who are busy don’t like to be disrupted with a sales pitch (and that’s most of us today). Does this sound familiar? You see the “Private Number” flashing on your cell, you pick it up, hoping it isn’t a call centre and invariably it is.

Now you feel angry, resentful and irritated.

  1. You don’t have the time to deal with this right now
  2. You didn’t ask to be called in the first place
  3. You aren’t interested in another damn funeral plan

Why call people when you are going to piss the majority of them off? That’s my question. Surely there has to be a better way of establishing some level of interest before making a sales call?

The whole idea of cold calling is to determine interest, then if there is interest, close the deal. But what if you could determine interest before you called?

Perhaps you should have sent an email rather than making a cold call?

You see a promotional email is a very different animal. It’s far less in your face than a cold call, isn’t it?

Let’s answer these 3 easy questions to determine how intrusive a promotional email really is?

  1. Are you disrupting someone with your email? The answer is ‘No’.
  2. Are your pressurizing someone to make a decision right now? The answer is ‘No’.
  3. Are you giving them an opportunity to respond in their own time, if they are interested? The answer is ‘Yes’.

So let me leave you with this: Wouldn’t this be a much smarter way of going about your direct marketing campaign:

  • Send your marketing message via email first
  • People who are interested in your product or service will indicate that they are interested
  • You take the interested parties and then you dial them

Fewer phone calls, less pissed off people and happier call centre agents, who actually feel like coming to work.

Drop me a line if you want to kick off an email marketing campaign that generates clicks and then lead to sales. Or you can continue making thousands of cold calls.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

Two Reasons Why Your Direct Marketing Campaign Isn’t On Fire

As a species we’ve come a long way. Not that long ago we were dangling from trees, sniffing our armpits and now we are planning to set up camp on Mars. But here is the truth of the matter – as much as we are constantly evolving, some things just remain the same. We have all the information in the world at our finger tips, but a lot of human decision making in the 21st century is still instinctive, and failing to tap into that, as a marketer, is indeed the most EPIC of fails.

Humans make instinctive decisions because that is how we are hard-wired!

If your direct marketing campaign isn’t on fire, you are failing to pull one of two levers, that have been around since man was swinging a club and dragging his knuckles on the ground:

  • The fear lever
  • The greed lever

Are there two emotions that get you to move quicker, than fear and greed do? I don’t think so. Remember how quickly you got off your ass to get another helping of dinner last night? And how quickly did you move when you received a late payment notification from SARS?

Greed and Fear.

Before we evolved into flabby couch potatoes, ordering take-out from Apps, the world was a much more cruel place. Survival of the fittest was the name of the game. If you didn’t move fast enough something would eat you up (plain and simple). And if you didn’t make sure you maximized every meal opportunity (ate until your stomach was about to explode) it might have meant that you wouldn’t make it to your next meal.

That extreme harshness we, as a species, had to endure in our earliest years, fine-tuned and hard-wired some internal emotion triggers that will remain with us for a million more years.

So as marketers why aren’t we always tapping into that?

If we know fear and greed are the strongest of human emotions, why do we still push out lukewarm direct marketing campaigns? It’s because we are getting lazy.

Let me better illustrate my point:

A life insurance company is looking to promote its product via email, so they do what every other life insurance company does and they put all the “amazing benefits” of the product into a stock-standard email creative.

Unfortunately, what they fail to realize is that 99% of people they are targeting couldn’t care about their snazzy new life insurance product.

Why?

Because it’s life insurance (and in the eyes of the consumer it’s all the same)

So what happens when the email campaign goes out? The results are iffy, at best, and the client walks away feeling disgruntled about the money they spent.

Perhaps a strong emotion like greed should have been the starting point when putting the marketing campaign together.

Instead of making the life insurance product the focus of the campaign, what if we started with an offer that was too good to be true, and we pulled the greed lever? Or perhaps the fear lever? Or perhaps both.

What if we said that if you took up the life insurance product you would get the 1st 3 months free – Get cover today & only start paying in January 2017.

Or perhaps,

Sign up before the end of the month and we will waive all medical exams.

Talk about fear…Who wants a needle in the arm before their life cover is issued? Saving on premiums takes care of the greed emotion. No medical underwriting clearly takes care of the fear emotion.

Perhaps we should add them together for a knock out life insurance campaign?

If you want people to move, scare the hell out of them or give them an incentive.

Or don’t and burn more marketing budget. Your choice.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

Grab A Slice Of The Email Pie By Being A Cut Above The Rest

To say that I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters is a gross understatement! I subscribe to a ton of newsletters and basically have a dedicated email address set up just for my daily email subscription drop. Deal-a-day sites, stuff for dudes, hard hitting journalism and even a weekly tattoo newsletter…to name but a few. If you can name an email newsletter, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m subscribed to it.

And here is a little something I’ve picked up, trawling through endless subscription mailers day after day – the ones that are a cut above the rest have only two things in common:

They are consistent and relevant.

If you are sending email, the only question you need to be asking yourself is: “Are we being consistent and remaining relevant?”

Why is consistency key?

Because we are creatures of habit and we like everything in our life to be systematic and orderly. People that tell you they embrace change are lying through their teeth! Who wants change in their life? Change sucks. Change is work and work is effort and 99% of us, roaming around this rock, don’t want to exert more energy than is absolutely necessary.

When it comes to information consumption in the 21st century, consistency is key. There is so much information to consume that if we don’t have it delivered in an orderly fashion, our eyes just roll back and the drapes get drawn. Part of an email marketers job is to make sure the message he is delivering, is delivered when the end user expects it to be.

I want my morning news email delivered in my email inbox when I have my coffee at 07H15. 08H00 is too late because by then I have a mountain of other s%#@ to start dealing with. 07H30 is a push because my mind is already starting to prioritize my daily ‘to-do list’.

And I want my deal-a-day mailer delivered every day, not every second day (and believe me I have subscribed to some deal-a-day sites that don’t deliver every day)

You get my drift. Being consistent day in and day out is what separates the great email marketing from the good.

But consistency without relevance means nothing, right?

You can deliver your email to me at exactly 07H15 every morning but unless your message is relevant, you’ve wasted your time. Remain irrelevant and I soon become disinterested and basically a dormant worthless record in your database.

Understanding your audience is key to remaining relevant, so take your time and get your team to work out what it is that your subscribers like, don’t like or potentially might like. Then just give them the stuff they like and don’t over-complicate things.

Consistency and relevance – these are what count the most.

Remember, drop me a line if you need any assistance with your email marketing strategy or delivery.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Direct marketing

Bulletproof Your Direct Marketing Campaign Before It Kicks Off

There is nothing worse than having a direct marketing campaign fire off, and then realising, in a flat panic (having had your boss bring it to your attention) that their was an error in the campaign. It’s usually something as small as a typo, but incorrect remains incorrect and the axe is likely to fall on someone’s head for the screw up. Once your email or sms campaign starts, there is no ‘off button’ so follow this simple guide to make sure your campaign is bulletproof and avoid having the axe being dropped on your kop.

Test, then test again.

That is the digital marketing mantra before going live with anything. The reason why good digital marketers test again and again is because most of them have been burnt in the past by failing not to test.

  • Check the copy

Not all of us are blessed with great grammar and spelling skills. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that’s cool. If you know this isn’t your strong point, get someone else to sign off on the campaign copy before you hand it over. I’ve seen some of the biggest brands in SA send out direct marketing copy that clearly wasn’t signed off, and it’s a bad reflection when a multi-billion Rand company misspells a simple five letter word. An SMS message is only 160 characters long, so there ain’t any excuses for messing it up.

  • Check the CI guidelines

Big brands are really particular about their Corporate Identity, and you can’t blame them – they spend millions on their brand, so they have a right to demand that their logo is represented in a particular manner. If you are sending any direct marketing campaign that requires CI sign off do it before you blast off a message to millions of people, with the client’s brand completely misrepresented. Not only will the client never book again, you might even face a lawsuit (and who needs that drama in your life).

  • Deliver a test message (then deliver another test message)

If you are sending an SMS message, send yourself a test before you go live with the campaign. If there is a “reply” element to the SMS marketing message, reply to the message and test the response that you are looking for. If it’s a call back from a call centre, how long does it take? Does it meet your expectations? Does the call centre agent have an idea how the inquiry was generated?

Check every step of the process before you go live.

And it’s not a bad idea to remain on the marketing list if you are sending multiple SMS messages over a period of time.

If you are sending an email campaign, make sure you have checked the following key checklist items:

  1. The email renders in all the email clients correctly (like Outlook and Gmail).
  2. Are the links working? There is nothing worse than receiving an email you are interested in, and when you click on the link you get that dreaded 404 message (Oops the link is broken).
  3. Have you tested the landing page? It doesn’t help re-directing someone to a landing page and you have errors on that page
  4.  Are all the images pulling through from the server? Imagery in your mailers are critical, but they need to be served correctly
  5. Does the mailer render across all devices (desktop, tablet, mobile)? More and more people are picking up emails on their mobile devices, so sending an email that isn’t built in responsive design is useless.
  6. Has someone signed off on the subject line? Don’t assume you have creative license to knock out a subject line on behalf of a client.

Send yourself the email you want to deliver to thousands of people. If it makes you happy, the chances are it will make your audience happy.

Direct marketing is like any other marketing channel – you have a message, a creative (might just be 160 characters) and a target audience. Make sure your creative is 100% correct and your delivery channel has been tested before you give the green light.

Drop us a line if you want to chat about any direct marketing campaigns you want us to assist you with.

Until next time.

Brendan

Categories
Email marketing

4 Questions You Need To Ask Before Firing Off Your Email Campaign

I’ve always believed you can only call yourself an “expert” if you make your living from the very thing you claim to be an expert in. If you brew beer and make a living from it, I would consider you a beer brewing expert. But, if you make a living as an investment banker, and dabble in craft beer brewing, on the weekend, you are a hobbyist at best. Every one of the guys who contributes to this blog makes a great living from direct marketing, so we believe that qualifies us to call ourselves experts in the field of direct marketing, and as a result we are confident in handing out some advice via our blog.

In this week’s blog post we look at 4 simple questions you need to ask yourself before you fire off any email marketing campaign.

Let’s start with this – Are you doing any email marketing?

If email doesn’t form part of your digital marketing strategy, you are seriously missing a trick!

The truth is, if executed correctly, a well-thought-out email marketing campaign has one of the highest potential returns on marketing spend. And let’s face it, there isn’t a business out there which doesn’t want to get more mileage out of their overstretched marketing budget, right?

“With a return on investment (ROI) of 38 to 1 on every Dollar invested, email has the highest ROI among digital channels”
2016 State Of Email Report – Litmus

But let’s park the fact that email marketing offers crazy ROIs (as tough as that might be to do).

The real strength of email, as a digital marketing channel, lies in relationship building and customer retention, and it might well come as a surprise to you, but people actually want to receive well-thought-out and interesting email.

If it provides a great ROI, builds relationships and retains customers, why isn’t every business doing email marketing? It seems like a no-brainer, right?

Well, putting together a successful email marketing campaign can be tougher than it seems, if you go into it not being able to answer a couple of basic questions.

Sure, you can labour over the email creative, what subject line you are going to use and how often you are going to send. But, without knowing what the objective of the campaign is (and how you are going to measure it), you’re dead in the water before you have even started.

Because we are a bunch of dudes (we always like to keep things nice and simple), so we’ve narrowed our critical questions down to just 4:

  • What is the objective of the campaign?
  • What is the value exchange?
  • What is the desired outcome?
  • What are the success metrics?

Let’s look at a quick example to better illustrate the point:

BIC Insurance Brokers specialize in car insurance policies and have more than 10 000 existing clients on their books. They are looking to start an email marketing campaign to cross-sell a new life insurance offering into their existing policyholder base.

Cool, seems easy enough, so let’s ask ourselves a few questions and see if we can come up with good enough answers to push this from an idea into a campaign.

Q: What is the objective of the email campaign?

A: To cross-sell life insurance to an existing customer base

Q: What is the value exchange?

A: Existing policyholders get a reduced rate if they take up the time sensitive life cover offer

Q: What is the desired outcome?

A: To cross-sell 10% of the existing policyholder base and book 1000 new life insurance policies before October  2016.

Q: What are the success metrics?

A: 1000 new life insurance policies on books at an average premium of R200pm (R200 000 in
new premium income) before October 2016.

It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than this.

Before you get carried away with the “fluff” take some time to make sure you know exactly what you want out of your email marketing campaign.

Need any assistance with your email marketing strategy or campaigns? Drop us a line.

Brendan

Categories
Direct marketing

5 Ways To Convince Your Client “Direct Marketing” Isn’t A Dirty Word

Are you considering adding direct marketing channels, like sms and email to your client pitch, but you’re concerned the phrase “direct marketing” has a seriously negative connotation? We don’t want you worrying about being frog-marched from the boardroom and fretting about losing a potential pitch because you told your client they should send a text message instead of running a 728 x 90 banner on Fin24.

Why direct marketing has such a bum rap, I don’t know. It’s kinda like box wine, everybody used to enjoy a glass in the kitchen, now you wouldn’t be caught dead with your “papsak” at a braai (both are ‘oh so unfashionable’…). My point is that direct marketing has been around for decades because it works (just like wine in a box still delivers the same result as wine in a bottle) but in the new-age of digital marketing, buzz words like “programmatic buying” and “paid search”, are a much sexier sell to prospective clients.

So why is it that marketing managers are loathe to pitch an email or sms campaign?

Is it because email and sms marketing simply don’t work anymore? Nah, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with that!

It’s actually the “absolute directness” of direct marketing that has most marketing managers anxious about throwing it in the campaign mix – and as a result they completely overlook it. Sending an sms or email message directly to someone’s inbox gets people, who sign off on marketing budgets, so nervous that they would rather throw money in ten different directions before investing a cent into sms or email channels.

And it’s such a contradiction, isn’t it? We all have to agree that the most direct forms of marketing communication are the most effective. If I asked you if you want a slice of cake? Your answer would either be Yes or No. You can’t dodge the question because it is being fired directly at you.

But if I only left my cake specials up on my restaurant chalk board, would you even know the offers existed? Probably not. You have more chance selling cake by asking your patrons directly (no-brainer)

Direct marketing works because of the “absolute directness” of the message, but it’s the “absolute directness” of the marketing that has everyone getting all hot and bothered.

So where does the anxiety stem from?

4 letters sum it all up – SPAM

And SPAM is bad for another 5 letter word – BRAND

No brand wants to be associated with SPAM – An irrelevant or inappropriate message sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.

Nowadays, every mass marketing message is considered SPAM. Seems a little unfair to me.

If the very definition of SPAM is ” an irrelevant or inappropriate messaging to a large number of recipients” then what if the messaging is:

  • very relevant
  • completely appropriate
  • sent to a small niche target audience

Is the marketing message then considered SPAM?

If I sent an sms marketing message to a group of moms with school going kids about after-school daycare services, at really affordable rates, would the message be:

  • irrelevant
  • inappropriate
  • considered mass marketing

Let’s get real! You need to call a thing a a thing! We can all recognize SPAM when we see it, but it would be naive to think that every bit of mass electronic communication is SPAM.

Here are 5 ways to convince your client that direct marketing should form part of their overall marketing strategy:

  • It’s perfectly legal to send direct marketing messages like sms and email (this is key)
  • A targeted, well thought-out marketing message, delivered by sms or email, to an opt-in database is not SPAM (it’s SMART)
  • People who respond to direct marketing messages are genuinely interested in your product or service
  • It’s far more measurable than other marketing campaigns
  • It’s far more cost effective than other marketing initiatives

If you still having a problem convincing your client, drop me a line and I will meet you at your next client pitch.

Brendan

Categories
Marketing budget

The Moment You Realize You’ve Still Got Marketing Budget, But F#*# All Options

We’ve all experienced that harrowing moment when you realize you still have loads of marketing budget, but every channel you’ve explored has come up short (it’s time to reach for that rooi wyn and pack of styvie blues!). And clients can be uncompromising, can’t they? So what the hell do you do when you still have loads of marketing budget left in the month, but very few tricks left up your sleeve?

It’s our role as marketers to take our clients spend and get the best possible return on that money, right? I mean, in essence our job is nothing more than identifying the right target audience, positioning the correct message to that group, and then delivering the cheapest knockout message (with the most oomph) in order to drive as many people as we can towards a decision (and 90% of the time that decision ultimately needs to be a buying decision).

I mean it’s easy…yeah, right!

We all “sweat bullets” for our clients, and for the most part,we generally get it right 95% of the time. But, if I had R10 000 bucks for every time a campaign has run 100% smoothly, without any hiccups, I would have already retired on a tropical island, rocking my tie-dye vest and working on my plan to open a gin distillery.

The fact is, things seldom pan out exactly the way we want them to (in business and in life) and the smartest marketers I know are the most agile ones (and also those with the most contacts).

So back to the burning question?

What do you do if you have loads of marketing budget left and you’ve exhausted all your existing options?

FIND YOURSELF OTHER RELIABLE CHANNELS

I mean, how cool would it be to pick up the phone and book some budget with a channel you know delivers?

It should be as easy at that, but here is the real problem…

Marketers aren’t necessarily the best communicators or even great networkers.

The above-the-line agency guys seldom talk to the below-the-line guys. The dudes running banners and booking impressions seldom chat to the social media guys, who seldom talk to the direct marketing guys, who never talk to the paid search boys.

You get my drift?

Everybody is fighting for their own piece of the client pie (and like greedy school children, nobody is looking to share any of the cake)

Seems a little silly to me that we all face exactly the same problems when it comes to spending client budget, but yet we seldom look beyond our areas of expertise for fresh, interesting, and more importantly, potentially prosperous long-term partnerships?

Here is a perfect example of what I am getting at:

A good client of ours has a very strong relationship with a major SA telecoms company. He is a banner display dude and at a certain point last month ran up against a brick wall when it was pretty apparent he had more cellphone enquiries to deliver than days left in the month.

We’ve all experienced that sickening feeling!

So what did he do? He picked up the phone and called on a channel he knows will deliver for him.

We built a marketing plan that met his brief, executed it on behalf of him and absolutely killed it for the cellphone provider.

Banner guy needs help, so he turns to the direct marketing guys to assist. And we know we can call on him for exactly the same assistance.

We are the very best at what we do (if you don’t know what that is, click here) and I’m assuming you feel the same about what you do? If getting the best possible result for your clients is always your number one priority, perhaps we should be chatting and seeing what type of synergies exist.

Or we can just keep hitting the rooi wyn and styvie ten packs when we still have budget to spend and nobody to call.

Drop us a line if you are keen to see what synergies might exist.

Brendan