A Melissa Data White Paper. 10 Key Elements in Campaign Strategy & Design

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1 A Melissa Data White Paper 10 Key Elements in Campaign Strategy & Design

2 2 10 Key Elements in Campaign Strategy & Design marketing is a powerful tool that allows you to reach thousands of people at minimal expense. It is direct, so you do not need to worry about people happening to come upon your ad, and it s affordable, without printing and postage costs. marketing can be used alone or as part of your overall direct marketing mix, in conjunction with tools such as direct mail, telemarketing, and other types of Internet marketing. Used this way, you can leverage the particular strengths of marketing and supplement them with other direct marketing tools. We did some research to come up with what we think are the most basic, and valuable Key Elements in Campaign Strategy and Design so you can get started right away. Our revered sources include Target Marketing Magazine; DirectMarketingIQ Report; Jonathan Chicquette, Marketfish, Inc.; and Blaine Mathieu, CMO, Lyris Technologies. Types of Marketing There are two major types of marketing: opt-in marketing and third-party marketing. Both types have their particular strengths and weaknesses and are called for in differing situations. Opt-In Marketing When you develop and acquire your own list, from sources such as customer comment cards, website registrations, and the like, this is opt-in marketing. Your list is your own, and each person on the list knows they will be getting communications from you. The strength of this type of marketing is that the list is very clean, and the customers are expecting your communications. The weakness is that it does take time to build your own opt-in list, and with it you are unable to reach out to new prospects. Third-Party Marketing Third-party marketing involves using an list acquired from a third-party source. This may include registrants of a particular website who have allowed for affiliates of that site to contact them. While it is illegal to use random alphanumeric combinations to come up with an list, it is legal to share s provided that the recipients have allowed for this. Third-party marketing allows you to reach new customers who may have never heard of you before, and is convenient if you have not built up a whole list of your own or if you simply wish to supplement that list.

3 3 10 Key Elements in Campaign Strategy & Design 1) Planning Figure out how to provide real value to your recipients. What s the budget and scope of your campaign? How many people are you sending it to? Define your audience. Decide on which demographic and psychographic you want, as well as geographic locations. By increasing the relevance of the messages, including the subject line and types of offers featured, you can improve the open and conversion rates from your messages. Think about the intended outcome of your campaign. Are you trying to sell a product, promote a new brand, or just get some attention for your company name? Now, decide how often you want to communicate and what kinds of content you want to send: press releases; product announcements; newsletters; etc. It is always a good idea to include some special offers in the , with expiration dates generally within a month. Some marketing is focused on an upcoming event, with the design being more of an invitation and less of an offer. This strategy works well as it brings customers to your door for whatever special event you are offering and gives you the perfect opportunity to sell to them while they are there. Whatever your strategy, make sure that your focus is clear and that as you look at the body yourself, you see where your own eyes would go and make sure it is the right place. 2) Content Once you ve planned your campaign, you need to create content that addresses one question: What s in it for my target audience? Make it the foundation of your written content, from the subject line to the call to action, and keep these things in mind: Write a subject line that describes what s inside your message. Keep your subject line short characters. Make your hook your first sentence compelling. Keep your message to the point. Use an active voice to keep readers attention. Create a simple, clear call to action. Avoid content that triggers spam alerts. Check your grammar and spelling. 3) Design Once you have your message, make it sparkle with a good design. First, take what you know about your target audience and create a branded theme around that. Don t go too wild on design, otherwise your risks looking cluttered. A simple design is the best design. Keep in mind these other basic rules:

4 4 Keep your call to action close to the top. Balance your images with your text content. Use white space as needed. Use images and graphics wisely to ensure your design renders well across ESPs. Many clients block images by default. So unless recipients specifically turn images on, they ll see empty boxes where your images should be. You don t need to eliminate graphics, but remember that blocked images are very routine. When reviewing layouts, be sure to consider two versions: one with images visible, and one with images blocked. Both need to work equally well for the success of your . One of the most important elements in design is the call-to-action. Make it easy to find, and compelling. Because your graphics may not be seen, it is vital to refrain from placing calls-to-action into a graphic. Instead, make them stand out using text-based HTML that s tricked out with fonts, borders, colors, or even background images to pull the reader s eye. Use graphics to reinforce messaging, not for messaging itself. And make sure your design is usable in . Design for a maximum width of 600 pixels (px) for a general audience. However if you know your target audience is using an client that can accommodate wider s, you may design up to 750px safely. 4) Code Basic HTML is the best code for design. For some Web-based services, CSS is not always appropriate and will be disabled when your hits the inbox. Make sure you use tables as your framework and nest appropriately when padding and margin are needed. Not every client is the same. But you still want your design to make it into every possible inbox legibly. Adapt accordingly. Here are some additional tips: Create a plain-text version of your HTML by sending it in Multipart/Alternative MIME format. Images should be hosted on your publicly accessible Web server. Use valid, clean HTML. Some blast programs offer the ability to design your using a template which inserts your content into their pre-designed code. Others offer custom design for a nominal fee. HTML design should provide a catchy, professional look that draws readers in and sends them down the page using a well-designed eye trail. 5) Testing Be sure to run your campaign through its paces before it hits the open air. If you don t have one already, create a checklist that includes, in order, the tests you need to do before releasing a campaign. Here are some things to check:

5 5 Appearance: Do all your images and links work? Does your look good on different platforms and clients, including mobile? Does it look and feel the way you want it to? Content: How does your subject line look when rendered in an inbox? (Check against as many of the clients as you can.) Does your call to action stand out and is it easy to understand? Test different subject lines and offers to see which performs best based on click-through and open rates. What s your spam score? Test against the most common spam filters and see how your campaign rates. Do you have your address and unsubscribe information clearly stated in the footer (or header) of your ? 6) Avoiding Spam Filters While it is impossible to totally avoid spam filters, you can mitigate this issue by avoiding certain key words and phrases in your and subject line. Words like free, guarantee, sale, and the like are higher triggers for spam filters than more neutral words especially in the subject line. Spam filters generally tally up your spam trigger words and, once you pass a certain threshold, they flag you as spam. This means you might be safe using one or two spam trigger words but you should avoid using too many. Attachments in your will also be a red flag for spam. 7) CAN-SPAM Compliance The CAN-SPAM Act provides certain requirements that all senders must comply with in order to be legal. This law requires that all commercial s have an easy opt-out method, such as a link, a clearly printed address and phone number of the company sending the mail, and an honest (not misleading) subject line. Make sure to research this law and comply with all of its requirements when sending your out. Click here to view the The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business or go to: 8) Blasting Your Campaign Once you have your communication designed, and you are confident that it is fully CAN-SPAM compliant, you must determine how to send it. There are several options for you to consider when making this decision. Send It Yourself If you are a large company with many resources, you could consider sending it yourself. This does require a large amount of bandwidth as well as the right software to send with, so it is too large of an investment for most small-to-medium sized companies to make.

6 6 Send it Via a Third Party Service If you are unable to send your s yourself, you can have a third party service blast your s for you. If you are using an opt-in list, there are many programs that will allow you to send through them Constant Contact, MailChimp, icontact, and the like. If you are using a third-party or rented list, the options are fewer. Inquire with the company you are purchasing or renting the list from if they have sending services available for your campaign. 9) Repetition Repetition is important in marketing because the first impression does not always get opened and seen. Some sources recommend repeating the same blast up to seven times for the best ROI on your blast. If you do not wish to repeat the same blast several times, you can send a similar but slightly different version each time. Reaching the same audience repeatedly is important to achieve the best results. 10) Results Reporting Be sure to analyze your results when you have sent your . Your service provider should give you a report of the amount and contact information of everyone who opened, clicked on, and unsubscribed from your blast. Make note of the Soft Bounces. These are addresses that are valid (in contrast to a hard bounce) and may be caused by an inbox exceeding capacity or may be returned due to filters setup on the recipient domain. You should treat soft bounces as an indication the user may still be interested in the offer but there are temporary server-side issues preventing delivery. Follow up with interested readers on a more personal basis for best results. Conclusion marketing is a challenging, yet rewarding endeavor that allows you to reach thousands of your customers or prospects in your local area at minimal cost. It is environmentally friendly, fairly convenient, and allows you to experiment with differing designs and strategies in a fairly easy way. While the process can be complex if you are going it alone, there are many resources out there to help you - from strategy and design to list selection, blast, and tracking. Inquire at every step of the way as to best practices and keep shooting for improvement as you go, and your marketing can be a successful initiative. About melissa data corp. Melissa Data offers CASS and PAVE certified mail preparation software, high quality sales leads and mailing lists, list hygiene and data enhancements, and marketing services everything you need for direct marketing success. Our solutions help you increase response rates, improve deliverability, and save on postage and mailing costs for higher ROI.

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