According to research from customer relationship marketing agency Merkle, 87% of internet users checked personal email daily in 2010, a number that has changed little since 2007. Among those with a separate email account for commercial email, 60% checked daily, down just 1 percentage point since 2008.
Further, social media usage is hardly taking away from email. Rather, social media users are significantly more likely than other internet users to check their email four or more times per day, and less likely to check infrequently.
Email is very well known as a direct-response tool, and there is plenty of free advice available to help sellers maximize their results and measure them effectively. But what about tips for editorial emails designed with content instead of sales as the primary driver?
Hotmail seems to have made some adjustments to their filtering recently. Given some senders are unaffected, this appears to be a threshold change or a calculation change, tightening up their standards. The changes have been around for long enough now it does look like the filtering is working as intended and Hotmail is not going to roll these changes back.
Conventional wisdom says that the standard layout width for an email is 600 pixels wide. In order for your email creative to render properly on a smart phone, you will need to design your layouts at approximately 480 pixels wide, or 80% of your original layout size. In order to be readable on a regular cell phone screen, your email will need to scale down to 50% of its original size, which is a tall order. According to the panel, 85% of the email delivered today is not readable when it’s scaled down to 50% of its size.
Here are some of the tips she shares:
Make sure that you’re designing your emails using a grid system. This means that you need to layout your content in vertically and horizontally aligned blocks, with “streets and alleyways” in-between them. This will enable your design to shrink down without losing its integrity.
Make sure that your text is readable on a mobile device. Think about larger headlines and body size copy and use short, direct calls to action. A
Consider a Single Column Layout.
Always test rendering on mobile devices when creating master templates to ensure they accomplish your readability goals.
use background colors to visually separate topics instead of horizontal rule
Instead of designing at 600 pixels wide, try reducing your layout to 450, 500 or 525 pixels.
Make sure your point is conveyed with or without images enabled.
Use a Viewport Meta Tag. Using this piece of code will make email render properly on the iPhone, rather than shrinking the full email. It also makes the email render more quickly. View a code example here.
February 2011 research from Yahoo! Mail and Ipsos OTX MediaCT found that US adult internet users subscribe to an average of almost three daily or weekly shopping emails or newsletters, and 56% of internet users subscribe to at least two of the emails.
Subscribers also say they regularly read the emails. Among those who subscribe to at least two, 61% said they read all of the messages. And most access the emails at least once a day.
More than six in 10 respondents reported subscribing to more of these emails now than last year, and nearly half were still excited enough about them that they said they “can’t wait” to see the latest deals in the messages.
The survey also found that for most consumers, daily deal emails are appearing in their main inbox. Just 27% of internet users said they had a separate email account for such offers, further reinforcing the perception among subscribers that these emails are desirable and relevant.
Her answer (and also mine) is this: If I have the choice of a qualified email address or a “like” of my Facebook business page, I choose the email address.
Why? Here are some of her reasons:
“Likes” are good but the real value comes in your ability to inspire them to action past the “like”. Just because someone “likes” your page doesn’t mean they have ever looked at anything you’ve posted since the first day they clicked “like”. The majority of Facebook “likers” will never visit the page they liked again. It’s up to you to inspire your Facebook fans to further engage and join your community.
It is more intimate. It helps us nurture client relationships. We know who’s opening what content. We know what they like, what they don’t like. We are then able to better serve them up entertaining content on the Facebook page, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn conversations.
eMail builds trust and thought leadership. Obviously the email subscriber has more skin in the game than a simple “liker”. From first click of the “subscribe” button they are making a silent statement of trust. It’s up to me what I do with that trust.
I can easily get my email subscribers to my Facebook page. Not always so easy to get a Facebook “liker’s” email address.
It works. Bottom line, every time I send out an email to our audience, the phone rings. Can’t say the same thing for every time I post on my Facebook page or get a Facebook like. We are seeing good results with integrating email to our marketing and social media efforts. I can’t imagine our business without our automated email nurturing system integrated into the DNA of our audience communications.
A welcome series is an automated series of emails that are sent automatically, to a new subscriber, based on a behavior (signed up on web site, purchased an item, etc…) and at a predetermined frequency (daily, weekly, etc…). It’s an extremely efficient and effective communications that is well received by the reader and will provide you a return.
1. Differentiate the messages. The welcome series should stand out and stand alone. Don’t dilute the messages by sending your promotional campaigns at the same time.
2. Segment the audience. Target messaging based on the subscription point of entry. If a buyer opts in to your list during the checkout process, your welcome series could include member benefits, return policies, preference inquiries, and surveys. For those subscribers who joined your list without making a purchase, the series could include special offers, product reviews, and video testimonials to encourage a first sale.
3. Determine the right number of messages. Whether you send two, three, or more messages depends entirely on your audience, sales process, and campaign goals. There isn’t a right number; the key is testing to find what works best for you.
4. Set the right cadence of messages. The first message should be sent immediately upon subscription and clearly state it is the first of however many messages are in the series. It should also inform subscribers when to expect the other messages. After that, the rest of the welcome messages could be sent daily, weekly, or at whatever interval seems to work best for your audience.
5. Set specific goals. The overall goal of your welcome series should be to engage your subscribers and build brand advocates. But each specific message in the series should have its own particular goal while they work together to build your brand message.
6. Automate. Use a behaviorally triggered email solution to automate the messages. That way, you’ll guarantee that the messages are timely and effective. Each email can be set up in advance and deployed automatically, saving you time and resources.
7. Use clear subject lines. Stand out in over-crowded inboxes by including the term “welcome message” along with the number in the series.
Read the full article and check out the examples on the OpenMoves Blog.
Should you ever remove inactive, but non-bouncing, non-complaining, addresses from your email file? If so, why, and how do you determine when? The answer, as always, is "it depends". However, there could be two scenarios in which you may want to consider removing inactive addresses from your list: 1) high CPM costs and 2) deliverability issues.