MCH Channel_e Best Practices for Marketers

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1 MCH Channel_e Best Practices for Marketers

2 Best Practices for Marketers Communicating with your prospects and customers through is a popular channel that provides almost immediate response. To help you achieve the best results from your Channel_e campaign, the MCH team has compiled this list of marketing best practices. The Step-by-Step Process Step 1: Planning 1. Define the objective and expectations of your campaign. 2. Establish your target audience, controlling the number per domain. Step 2: Develop Your 1. Develop your subject line, content, and design (creative). 2. Follow the CAN-SPAM Laws. Step 3: Test, Test, and Test 1. Develop your test plan and checklist. 2. Review your HTML to see how it renders in multiple clients. 3. Proof your HTML to a seed list. Engage your peers, outside experts, and/ or a friend for first reactions. 4. Test multiple versions of your HTML (A/B Split). 5. Test your target audience. 6. Review your test results. Step 4: Final Decisions 1. Establish your remarketing s (also known as trigger s). Determine who you will send a follow-up to based on opens, clicks and non-responders. 2. Finalize the target audience, subject, content, and design based on test results. Step 5: Deploy 1. Schedule and deploy your s during business hours. Step 6: Review your Campaign Results 1. Partner with MCH - Review your MCH provided report with your MCH sales representative. Our team of experienced marketing professionals will work closely with you to develop programs that are compliant and highly deliverable. 2. Establish what did or did not work so the next campaign can be tailored for increased success. Step 7: Start planning your next Channel_e campaign. 2

3 General Marketing Success Strategies There are multiple factors in marketing that can influence your campaign results. The more best practices that you engage in, the higher probability of a successful campaign. A well thought-out and planned campaign will almost always lead to better results than one that is rushed. Send relevant, timely, targeted, valuable s. Know your product and typical buyers so that you can target your campaigns appropriately. Include helpful tips, informative articles, promotions, and other incentives to keep your recipients engaged. Offer a gift with purchase, donation, sign up, etc. and follow through with this incentive. Follow best practices for content design (See MCH Channel_e Best Practices for Designers). Hire a designer who has expertise with design or outsource your design. Always remain CAN-SPAM Compliant. Keep your opt-out files up-to-date. Provide them to any third-party mailer you are using. Follow-up with your recipients using remarketing (trigger) messages. Keep your short and simple. Drive recipients to your website landing page or product page. People are more likely to read content on your website than in your . Include a link to your Privacy Policy. Use a from name that is a recognizable company name. Steer away from personal names or role names in the From line. Do not include attachments in your . Do not repeat the same over and over to the same recipients. Avoid sending during off hours. Develop a consistent schedule with a consistent number of s. Deploy on the same day each week when possible. Deploy approximately the same number of s each time. 3

4 Target Your Audience Create content targeted to specific recipients. Your content should reflect the product, sign-up, survey, etc. you are trying to convey. Do not include non-relevant information that will lead the recipient to mark the as SPAM or simply delete without any further action. Creating relevant content will help increase the likelihood of customers taking an action, like clicking through or sharing. Target your s for people that are likely to buy. Your MCH sales representative is highly skilled and will consult with you when choosing your target audience. Know the Law: CAN-SPAM Compliancy The U.S. CAN-SPAM act is not difficult for you to follow as long as you re aware of a few basic requirements. Include an unsubscribe link, physical or postal address, and company name. Your physical (non-web) address must visibly appear in the message. Omitting it or using tricks to hide it are illegal. A post office box is an acceptable real world address as long it s truly a functional method to identify and communicate with you. Make it easy to unsubscribe. You must have a working, web-based opt-out system that remains active for at least 30 days following deployment of your message. You are required to honor all opt-out requests within 10 days of their submission. As the sender of the message, you must honor any opt-out requests you have received regardless of the service provider you use now or in the future. If you have received opt-out requests from anyone through any marketing in the past, you must provide those addresses to MCH or any other services company to suppress from your campaigns. Avoid misleading content. Your subject line must provide a reasonable idea of the true topic of your message. Deceptive or misleading subject lines or content are a violation. Your header information (such as the From line) must not be deceptive or fraudulent. Comply with Canadian or other countries CAN-SPAM laws. MCH does not to Canada or other countries, however if your customer/buyer list has non-u.s. addresses, ensure you fully understand their CAN-SPAM laws. For example, Canada has much stricter laws than the U.S. 4

5 Subject Line Best Practices Use a strong and relevant subject line. Create a subject line that is not misleading. Ask yourself Is there a benefit or incentive to the recipient to open the ? or Would you open an with the subject line you are using? At a glance, the recipient should want to read your and not delete it. Avoid overused or common phrases. Avoid special characters. Keep your subject line under 50 characters. A general rule is to keep your subject line short (28-39 characters typically yield the highest click thru rates). Consider how it will render. Helpful documentation on subject lines: litmus.com/resources/subject-line-checker Personalize your s. Use personalization like the recipient s name and/or title, company name, etc. The recipient is more likely to read the if it is personalized. It is recommended to avoid personalization in your subject line. If this is something you feel strongly about, then we recommend doing a test. Include Social Marketing links to share your . Our ESP, WhatCounts provided the following information on this topic. The more your topic is trending, the more your content s SEO rank increases. ISPs assume if your content is distributed via social channels then it must be worthy. Include multiple links to accomplish the objective of sending the campaign. The objective is typically to drive recipients to your landing page or product page on your website. Links produce effective and action-driven results that can be monitored. Give the audience a variety of content and links to act on. Avoid Trigger Spam words blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30684/the-ultimate-list-of- -spamtrigger- Words.aspx Always ask users to add you to their contact list. 5

6 Always Test A/B Testing Test different designs, from addresses, content, and subject lines to see which one gets the higher response. Change the incentive. Change a link. Change graphics, border, logo, etc. Test one variable at a time. Test different segmentations to see which recipients are responding and which are not. Test to see how the design will render in different clients. Preview your on multiple clients and mobile devices. Check with images turned on and then with images turned off. Frequency and Timing Avoid sending s too frequently or without good reason. Personalize communication around holidays or other special times. Don t send s after business hours. Send campaigns when customers are most likely to read them. Sending during peak reading times (such as morning) will generate the maximum opens and click through rates especially when it s announcing something that s happening soon. Remarketing s (aka Trigger s) Remarket your message to those who opened, clicked, or did not respond. This should be well thought out during the planning stage of the initial deployment. Design the flow/logic of the message(s) you will send. 6

7 Deliverability Information To improve on deliverability rates: Avoid sending high-volume s at once into a single domain. It is important to throttle s or break these out into separate campaigns when wanting to target multiple s at one domain. Optimize for mobile use media queries for device and tablet detection for rendering. Use general role based addresses for replies Optimize segmentation to a select group of recipients. Remove bad addresses as soon as possible. MCH uses a deliverability team with our vendor, constantly remaining current with the ISPs requirements. A higher click-thru rate is another way of signaling to ISPs that you are a trusted source. Engagement will be more critical as time goes by because ISPs are taking note. Deliverability Terminology Soft Bounce: A soft bounce is an address that is temporarily unable to receive . Some of the basic reasons for soft bounces include: Mailbox is full/over quota. Server is down or not responding. Out of office. Most service providers will continue attempting to deliver the message for a period of time after receiving a notification of a soft bounce from the destination server. Hard Bounce: A hard bounce is an address that is permanently unable to receive . Some of the basic reasons for hard bounces include: Mailbox does not exist/bad address. Malformed address (contains bad characters). Most service providers will not retry a hard bounce and should automatically unsubscribe that address from the sender s mailing list. Sent vs. Delivered Sent: The number of unique addresses the sending server sent. Delivered: The number of unique addresses the receiving server(s) acknowledged receipt of. NOTE: This does not mean a recipient received the . The only way to truly know the recipient received the is if they open it. 7

8 Bulk Rates: Complaints/Global Opt-Outs/Unsubscribes Unsubscribe: An recipient requests to be removed from the list for this particular communication and any future like s. Global-Opt Out: An recipient requests to be removed from all communications from you or your company. Complaints: The number of times someone has hit the spam button on your message This damages your reputation and causes less of your s to be delivered to all recipients from that domain. How is an Open identified? HTML If Images are turned Off: When a link is clicked, an open is registered. If Images are turned On: When an image is downloaded (tracking image calls the server), an open is registered. Text When a link is clicked, an open is registered. Preview Pane If images load: When an image loads in the preview pane, then an open is registered. Images do not load: When an image does not load in the preview pane, then an open is not registered. Understanding Anti-Spam: B2B Three (3) types of anti-spam systems Integrated: built into corporate mail servers (i.e. SpamAssassin, MS Forefront). Cloud-based SaaS: spam filtering before it reaches the corporate mail (i.e. Postini). Appliance: actual mail filterer servers that sit on-premise in a customer s location. Corporate policies are typically more strict on how much mail can be received into their server at one time. It is critical that you limit how much mail you send to any one server at a time. We recommend throttling your deploy when you reach addresses per domain. If you have more than a 100 per domain, we recommend two options: Segmenting your campaigns into multiple deploys. OR Reducing the number of s you are going to send for this deploy. We realize this isn t optimal since counts could significantly drop but response rates will be higher. 8

9 Getting and Setting Expectations It is important to understand the differences in prospecting deploys and customer/ opt-in deployments. Following best practices will get higher response rates. Continually tweak and optimize your campaigns. Make sure benchmarks are established against prospect s (not opt-in s) so that like stats can be measured. Opt-in and customer lists tend to get higher open rates (avg. = 20%+), while rented lists tend to have a lower open rate. Sending just one one time is likely not going to produce the expected results. It is important to establish a full marketing plan that includes testing. Still have question? Please call us at 1- or 9

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