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4 Things to Keep in Mind When Expanding Your Email Efforts

To grow your business or your email program, and to appeal to as many subscribers across the spectrum as possible, you need to branch out and diversify your email holdings. However, you need to think strategically when boosting frequency or adding new mailings or message categories.

In this article, Lena Waters explains gives us some guidelines:

1. Permission isn't portable Sure, you have no better audience to market your new email messages to than the database of people who have already given you permission to email them. That doesn't mean they want anything else that they didn't specifically sign up for. Don't confuse "interest" with "permission." Never assume you have their permission to email them anything they didn't request.

2. Each message must deliver high value If you merely want to send email more often, rather than introduce a new product or message, do you have enough content to make each message valuable to subscribers? Moving from a bi-weekly message to a weekly means you need to have twice as much fresh content, otherwise subscribers might assume they're receiving duplicate mailings and either junk them unopened, unsubscribe, or report them as spam.

The trick is to introduce your expanded marketing program to your current customers so cleverly that you don't violate their expectations or your original permission grant. You can do it, too, if you respect your subscribers' interests and expectations by introducing relevant new programs carefully.

3. Strategies for adding more subscriber contacts Run the numbers first. Technically, we should file this discussion under "increasing frequency," because at the heart of it, that's what you'll be doing. You think each category of email message is in its own stand-alone silo, but some of your subscribers might not distinguish between a regular weekly newsletter and an on-the-fly solo offer.

EmailLabs has put together a formula to help you assess whether you would gain enough in sales, registrations, or other relevant metrics to cover the costs of more frequent mailings.

4. Promote from within using four existing message channels You can safely upsell existing subscribers using three message channels already open to you. The fourth is a little trickier, but it can pay off if you do it right.

  • Regularly scheduled mailings: when you need to upsell your current subscribers, always start by promoting the spotlighted mailing in messages they already receive. For example, a limited-run newsletter focused around an event or season that you promote within your main newsletter and which readers are given a separate link to sign up.

  • Transactional messages: many marketers fail to mine gold from these messages, which come as close to guaranteed opens as anything you'll get in email. If buyers don't sign up for your email program during the buying or registration process, you get another shot in the transactional email you send out to confirm the purchase. Just remember: No pre-checked boxes on the sign-up form! It still has to be their decision.

  • Welcome emails: because new subscribers are usually your most enthusiastic, capitalize on them by promoting your other email offerings in this message, which goes out to new subscribers as soon as they confirm their requests. Keep it brief, focus on the benefit, and link directly to the subscriber's preference page. Once again: No pre-checked boxes! Of course, I'm assuming you do send out an automated welcome email as part of your subscription program. If you don't, you're missing a huge opportunity here to engage your new subscribers without trampling on their permission grant.

  • One-off sample issues: this is where upselling can get tricky. Food marketers know that sampling a new product in the supermarket is the best way to drive sales. Email is different, though. If you think sending a sample issue will get you the most attention, go for it. But, follow these guidelines to avoid even a whiff of in-house spamming. Test the sample first on a relevant segment of your list, such as recent buyers, new subscribers, or subscribers who have not responded to mailings in a certain time period. State clearly near the top that the mailing is a sample only, that subscribers will continue to receive it only if they sign up for it, and link to the preference page.

Source: iMedia Connection

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