4 Steps to Get Started on E-mail Marketing

On early December 2009, a marketing intern at a Fortune 500 contacted me via LinkedIn and asked me how to get started on e-mail marketing. While responding to his message, I realized that it would be a good idea to share it with the readers of idaconcpts.

The first step is to get acquainted with the tenets of permission marketing and how to apply them to create permission-based e-mail marketing campaigns.

Continue reading 4 Steps to Get Started on Email Marketing

Are you deceived by your e-mail campaigns?

Measuring the success of your permission e-mail campaigns is often oversimplified.  Marketing managers are often happy to see rising open rates and click-through rates. (If you have no idea on how to measure the click-through rates of your e-mail campaigns, here’s an easy tutorial using Google Analytics). The problem of being content with just measuring open rates and click-through rates from our e-mail campaigns is that we are victims of the brochure mentality.

What’s the problem with the brochure mentality?

The brochure mentality is the mindset that tells us that as long people get our brochure, open it and browse it for a while; somehow they will get “aware of our brand” or that they will “eventually act on it”. Notice that how exactly the readers of a brochure become aware of the brand or act on it is not really defined, it is just left to, yes you got that right, pure chance.

I am sure that newsletter services and talented newsletter writers will challenge the above statement. But think about it for just a second. When discussing with a graphic designer or an e-mail newsletter, how often do you discuss about the actual objective of your e-mail campaign defined in one sentence and whose success can be tracked with one simple measure?

I am not talking about how many people click on your “read more” link or how many people open your “Labor Day Blowout Sale!” e-mail. I am talking about how many people actually end handing you cash in exchange for the product or service that you offer.

Let’s take a look at what Avinash Kaushik has to say on this (Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, p. 220):

Before you start your analytics, it is important to understand, at least at a high level, that there several important steps to the process of executing e-mail campaigns:

  • Define business objectives and how e-mail fits into them.

I just quoted the first step out of 4 to emphasize the importance of this concept.  If you’re a frozen yogurt shop, are you in the business of selling frozen yogurt or are you in the business of making people open e-mails? If you’re a humane society that protects animal rights, are you working hard towards increasing the number of people adopting stray dogs or are you working hard that people click on a YouTube video of a sad dog looking for a home?

Before jumping into e-mail (and social media, for that matter) campaigns, you’ve got to have a clear idea of what objectives you want out of it. A clear one sentence objective that can be tracked with one measure.

Here are some great real life examples that I have encountered during my online marketing practice:

  • Bake shop: Sell my daily excess inventory of red velvet cupcakes, about 14, before they spoil.
  • Online coupon service: Generate 5 paying customers during a week.

Not so fast, monkey!

There are several e-mail newsletter services that work great (e.g. MailChimp), but before you sign up for any of them,  do your homework. Even though some offer free trials, hold off signing up for them until you have figured out your one sentence objective whose success can be tracked with one measure.

Helpful Links:

E-mail Marketing Open and Click-Through Rates Worldwide

Welcome back!

Back in March 2009, we reviewed how to measure the click-through rate (CTR) of your e-mail permission marketing campaign with Google Analytics, so I believe it would be very useful to now provide you a benchmark to compare your collected CTRs. For Internet startups, these will be critical benchmarks.

Earlier this July 2009, eMarketer just released a list of e-mail marketing open rates worldwide, by industry and list size for the second half of 2008.

But before I show you these e-mail marketing open rates, let’s review some e-mail permission marketing fundamentals that you must gather:

  1. Number of e-mails sent
  2. Number of opened e-mails
  3. Number of bounced e-mails
  4. Number of unsubscriptions ( You MUST provide this option! Remember that we are doing e-mail permission marketing. No permission = no e-mail.)

With these metrics you will determine:

  1. Delivery rate = (number of e-mails sent – number of e-mails bounced) / number of e-mails sent
  2. Unsubscribe rate = number of unsubscriptions / number of e-mails delivered
  3. Open rate = number of opened e-mails / number of emails delivered
  4. Click-through rate (CTR) = number of clicks / number of e-mails opened

Once you have your open rate and CTR, now you can compare them to these benchmarks provided by eMarketer:

E-Mail Marketing Open and Click-Through Rates - eMarketer

 

E-Mail Marketing Open and Click-Through Rates - eMarketer

How well do you rank against these open and click-through rates?

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