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27 entries from March 2009

Why Now's a Good Time to Take a Look at Your Welcome Emails

Email is traditionally a 'retention' tactic: You use it to retain your existing customers & grow them into bigger customers. But, when most of your existing clients are looking to cut costs, now's a great time to focus on the people who are actively telling you "we're interested...".

A 'welcome' email is exactly that: Customers & prospects telling you for the first time "hey, feel free to tell me more about yourselves". Here's a look at why you should pay some attention to your welcome emails.

What Makes Welcome Emails Different to Other Marketing Emails? One Thing...

  1. Most of your emails will be 'push' emails. They've told you "please talk to me at some point..." and you then choose how & when you'll talk to them via email. A 'welcome' email is a 'pull' email: They are saying "please talk to me... now!"

What Do You Mean By 'Welcome Email' Anyway? Two Things...

There are 2 basic types of welcome email:

  1. Welcome to our website/company. Send this out when someone registers on your site.
  2. Welcome to our emails. Send this out following an opt in.

Why Are They Important? Three Things...

  1. They're very likely to be read (or at least looked at). This could be the most opened emails you'll ever send!
  2. Signup is a very important phase in your relationship with customers & prospects. They've just told you "hey, I'm new and I want to get to know you"
  3. If a customer ever needs to find something out about your company quickly, this is one of the places they'll look.

What Should You Put in a Welcome Email? Four Things...

  1. The obvious bit: The words 'Welcome' & 'Thank you'.
  2. Overview of your company & contact details, links to your privacy policy & unsubscribe info.
  3. Information that will help the customer draw a more detailed picture of what you offer.
  4. A reason to contact you & further the relationship. A free whitepaper as a thank you? A guide to something you do really well?

Do These Have To Be 'One Size Fits All'? Five Things...

  1. If the signup is from a prospect, include something to help them become a customer (a special introductory offer maybe?)
  2. If the signup is from an existing customer, send them something specific to their point in the lifecycle with you. They bought a car from you 2 years ago & you know they'll be looking again in a year's time? How about a guide to next year's models? Finance options to upgrade sooner?
  3. If your business is broad, you don't have to pack it all into the email. Use links to pages on your site with more information on the specific topics your subscribers will be interested in.
  4. If your customers are neatly segmented, segment your welcome email! You sell to businesses AND consumers? Find out which is which before you send the first email & send one that's applicable to them.
  5. Or even... use the welcome email to segment. Filling signup forms with form options can reduce the number of signups. Using a simple signup form & then a mini-survey in your 'welcome' email may work for you.

Okay, I'm Sold... What Else Can I Do To Make These More Effective? Six Things...

  1. As this email will impact everyone who signs up with your business from now till eternity, you should tweak & optimise it. Figure out beforehand what it should achieve and how you will track that.
  2. Check the delivery, open and clickthrough rates. Change the email. Check them again. Did they go up or down?
  3. If you like, you can even set up a control group. Do your welcome emails affect sales through other channels? Set up a group of people who *don't* receive your welcome emails & you can find out.
  4. Have a look at timings too. Are these more effective if you send them immediately? After an hour? After a day?
  5. And it doesn't have to be just 1 email. You could set up a staged welcome program. Combine offers and 'softer' info about your business to convert customers without them feeling hard-sold.
  6. If you set up a series it needn't necessarily follow a 'Part 1, Part 2, Part 3' pattern. Some email systems let you get clever: "After Email 1: Did customer buy main product? If yes, send them a 'top accessories' email. If no, send them a 'special offer this week only' email". Like a film with 5 middles, 10 endings and 50 sequels all tailored to the audience.

How About You?

What's in your welcome email? Do you track it? Tell us in the comments!

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

links for 2009-03-10

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Forget relevance - it's about value!

As usual, Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx has decided to turn things on their head and not accept the 'norm'. In this case he's being irreverent to the holy 'relevance' mantra of email marketing....and he makes a good point.

In the latest issue of email-worx,, he talks about replacing 'relevance' with 'value' - as without value, it is very hard for your email program to be relevant. As he says 'Subscribers expect - and should get value!'

He goes onto say that an easy way to add value to your email program is to offer something which you can only get by being in the mailing list - that is, you can't get it by going directly to the website. This of course can be information, whitepapers, special offers, reduced shipping etc...

Watch the video here

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

links for 2009-03-04

  • both 8-bit and 24-bit PNG's are displayed as nothing more than broken images in Notes 6.5.4 and Notes 7. Thankfully, Notes 8 did offer full support.
    (tags: coding)
  • It's not only that we don't know how good we are, but also that our peers don't understand the value of what we do... So, why don't we get it? Why don't we know how good we are? Why don't our peers have a better appreciation for what we do? Morgan Stewart suggests some of the reasons
    (tags: industry)
  • when you start upping frequency, you begin to break expectations built over your previous mails or in sign-up forms. And you start moving along a curve which can end catastrophically.

    So you need to change things with care. And you need to combine any increase in frequency with some form of real compensation for the recipient.

    (tags: frequency)

  • An email subject line is a promise. Break that promise and you’re damaging a relationship.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

How to Double Your Clients: 5 Tips for ESPs to Survive in a Commoditised Market!

In a previous BeRelevant post, I offered 10 Tips for Signing Up with a New Email Service Provider. Much of this was based on getting the best price you possibly can.

Fred Testard left a great comment on the article which he called "The voice of the ESP". Here was the gist of it:

I understand that a marketer wants to pay the lower prices, I believe that the marketer should instead be willing to pay for the right price.

On the one hand, ESP market is very competitive and CPM rates can't stop getting lower and lower. On the other hand, email marketing requires more resources to monitor, analyse and understand campaign results as to provide marketers with relevant consulting.

An ESP provides much more than just a powerfull MTA [mail transport agent] with a delivrability monitoring... and it has a cost.

Here are 5 cheeky thoughts on how ESPs should change the way they pitch & the way they price, all aimed at standing out in a market that's becoming more and more commoditised.

1. Deliverability

Problem: You're now standing on a level playing field. 3 years ago deliverability was a differentiator (THE differentiator?). Today, almost every ESP has their own in-house team, everyone's set up with Return Path.

Solution: You can use this as a sales tool, but if your prospect is speaking to any other ESPs they'll be saying the same thing. Move on to the next stage. You've got your clients' emails into the inbox, now how are you making them perform?

2. Technology

Problem: The technology road you've gone down is already far ahead of your clients' internal technical limitations. You can do automated segmentation AND automatically multivariate test it AND feed the results back into the next loop of the triggered campaign. Probably 5% of your clients can integrate any of this with their in-house systems & databases.

Solution: Build technology that requires close to zero technical implementation for your clients. Build technology that is 'game changing', rather than evolutionary.

3. Price

Problem: 3 weeks ago, you told me you could not possibly go below $4 CPM. Today, now that you're out of the running & my CEO has signed off with your competitor, you're telling me you can do a fraction of that.

Solution: Genuinely, sincerely, offer your lowest CPM price to every client. Publish it on your website. If you ever drop it, pass the new price on to all your customers.

4. Tie-in

Problem: The longer I tie myself in with you, the cheaper you're willing to go. But if you suck after month one, I've just wasted 35 months budget!

Solution: Allow trial periods. Allow break clauses. If you offer me less risk than your competitor, I will look closely at you. If you offer me no risk at all, why wouldn't I try you out?

5. Consultancy

Problem: You want me to sign with you for 24 months & spend 5-figures a year on 'strategic services' because your in-house consultants are the best. How can I know they're the best without using them? How do I know I'm not going to be passed to an intern in 6 months time? And how can I know you're telling me the truth after you've dropped your price 5 times in as many weeks? (ok, maybe that's a cheap shot :)

Solution: Telling me your consultants are the best doesn't work, you have to show me. Offer consultancy on a pay-per-performance basis. Put together methodologies for improvement rather than ad-hoc deep dives.

Or, how about this, offer the consultancy up-front & for free. Give me the strategy document to present to my board showing exactly how we'll use email to increase results and why we're using your ESP to do it.

6. Bonus Points

Problem: All of your customers want to get more & more out of their email programs, but you have finite resources.

Solution: Wait, you have 2,000 email marketing managers talking to you every day and you HAVEN'T set up a mechanism so they can communicate & help each other?

What do you think?

Are you a marketer? Are you an ESP? What would you do to change the market? Tell us in the comments!

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

links for 2009-03-02

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!