e-Mail Marketing the Right Way: Provide Value

email marketing[This is a guest contribution by Zachary Zawarski of Zadling]

I don’t subcribe to many e-mail newsletters, but if I do choose to opt into your e-mail list, you better make sure that you’re doing one thing: providing me with value.

We all know that e-mail marketing is a great way to produce sales for your website, but many business owners make the mistake of using mailing lists purely to push their products and services. That is the wrong way to conduct e-mail marketing.

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Average Email Campaign Stats of MailChimp Customers by Industry

Given that E-mail Permission Marketing: it works!, at idaconcpts, we’ve discussed about E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals and how to get started with your e-mail permission marketing campaign.

After you’ve learned how to Measure the CTR of Your E-mail Permission Marketing Campaign with Google Analytics, you will need some email marketing benchmarks by industry to be able to properly evaluate the performance of your campaigns.

On July 2009,  eMarketer provided a list of e-mail marketing open and click-through rates worldwide by industry and list size.  Here’s an important update to these e-mail stats via Mailchimp.

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Good and Bad Birthday Emails

Yesterday was my birthday.

Yay!

I received gifts!

Yay!

I received one great birthday gift via e-mail and I felt like the kitty going “nom nom nom”.

I received one terrible birthday gift via e-mail and I felt like the kitty going “nooo it are my birthday”.

Here’s the story of one company that sucks at doing birthday themed e-mails, and another company that got its stuff together.

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How Facebook Does E-mail Newsletters II

Does Facebook roll you the welcome mat?

In October 2009, we analyzed an e-mail newsletter from Facebook titled Ads Manager Announcement that was directed to the  Facebook Ads users. This newsletter is a great example of how to implement permission marketing, how to avoid the brochure mentality, and how to do seamless product placement.

Below is a snapshot of another newsletter release for Facebook Ads users on January 19, 2010:

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4 Steps to Get Started on Email 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.

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How Facebook does E-mail Newsletters

On 10/23/2009 Facebook sent out an e-mail newsletter titled “Ads Manager Announcement” to its Facebook Advertising users.

This newsletter is a great example of how to implement permission marketing, how to avoid the brochure mentality, and how to do seamless product placement.

Continue reading “How Facebook does E-mail Newsletters”

Keeping in Touch with Classmates via Facebook

Back in May 2009, I wrote a review of the application LinkedIn Polls available on LinkedIn and how LinkedIn Polls can be used to do some great permission e-mail marketing polling.

I strongly believe that this LinkedIn application is a great way to gather data fast and to create actionable bar graphs that you can e-mail to your colleagues.  More importantly it follows the fundamentals of permission e-mail marketing by making polls more personal, relevant and anticipated.

On this post I wanted to provide an example of how we can use LinkedIn Polls not only to meet the fundamentals of an e-mail permission marketing campaign but also to gather useful qualitative data from your respondents.

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Are you deceived by your email 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:

A Guide to Permission Marketing

For more info, check out:
  1. E-mail Permission Marketing: It Works!
  2. E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals
  3. How to Measure the CTR of Your E-Mail Permission Marketing Campaign with Google Analytics

A Guide to Permission Marketing





Permission E-mail Marketing Polling with LinkedIn Polls

Since February 2009, I’ve been talking about permission e-mail marketing here at idaconcpts.com because it turns regular e-mails into personal, relevant and anticipated messages.  An important part of the work of online marketers is polling because it provides greater insights to our questions and allows us to have better, more educated decision-making.

I have used Surveymonkey in the past and it works great but I have found that LinkedIn Polls allows polling to become more personal, relevant, and anticipated.

 

linkedin pollsLinkeIn Polls is one of the applications that LinkedIn launched in October 2008 and as all of these applications they are free but require you to have a registered account with LinkedIn.

To access LinkedIn Polls you need to first add the application to your LinkedIn profile:

LinkedIn_ Home

Creating a LinkedIn Poll is very simple and intuitive:

createapoll

You can submit your poll to either your 1st degree connections or a target audience of professionals in the U.S (this option is free for premium subscribers).  I would recommend to stick with the first option (targetting your first degree connections) because this makes your poll personal (“Hey Mike can you take a loot at this?”), relevant (“Susan, your input is important to me because I know your expertise in marketing while we worked together), and anticipated (Linkedin is a site for networking!).

An important caveat is that LinkedIn Polls is only as good as your networking power is already at LinkedIn.  However, don’t believe that I’m just talking about having several contacts, I’m also referring to the number of groups and associations that you belong to in LinkedIn.  If you’re active in several forums, you can get a lot of responses, and more importantly long threads of valuable qualitative data.

If you do have lots of contacts, LinedIn Polls has made it easy to segment by location and/or industry:

narrow

One of the most attractive feature of LinkedIn Polls is that it makes segmentation of your poll results a snap.  It provides attractive bar graphs by job title, company size, job function, gender, and age.

results1

results2

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One could easily argue that LinkedIn Polls needs options for cross-tabulation ,like Surveymonkey does, and further options for segmentations, but I strongly believe that this application is a great way to gather data fast and to create actionable bar graphs that you can e-mail to your colleagues.  More importantly it follows the fundamentals of permission e-mail marketing by making polls more personal, relevant and anticipated.