10 Tactics and Tips to Take Your Marketing Program to the Next Level

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1 10 Tactics and Tips to Take Your Marketing Program to the Next Level Brought to you by em+c, a Target Marketing Group Publication

2 10 Tactics and Tips to Take Your Marketing Program to the Next Level By consistently producing the highest return on investment of any marketing vehicle, it s easy to see why is a part of most every marketer s toolbox. Overflowing consumer in-boxes attest to that fact. But quantity doesn t necessarily mean quality. With more demands upon consumers time and dollars than ever, marketing messages are frequently discarded without a second thought. The challenge then is having your messages stand out among the clutter. That encompasses a number of factors, including getting your message delivered. After that, catchy subject lines, relevant content, enticing offers, eye-catching creative and more determine whether your message connects with consumers. To help marketers optimize their marketing programs, here s a list of best practices to follow: 1. Segment your messages based on customer behavior to achieve higher deliverability rates. A recent report from the research firm Aberdeen Group found that marketers who followed this best practice enjoyed an average deliverability rate of 90.2 percent, a 9 percent year-over-year improvement in deliverability compared to industry average performers. 2. Prepare your campaigns for internet service providers (ISPs) increasing focus on user engagement metrics. As opposed to the traditional clickthrough, open and conversion rates ISPs track, recent reports suggest they ll be looking more closely at how engaged consumers are with s they receive. As a result, marketers should focus their energy into improving new metrics such as the not spam rate and the rate of mailing to inactive accounts. Improve content relevancy and clean up mailing practices rather than increasing volume. To maintain a high deliverability rate, marketers must remain in CAN-SPAM compliance. This involves taking the following actions: DON T use false or misleading headers. The s To and From lines must accurately identify who sent the . DON T use deceptive subject lines. This could mislead readers about the content of the message. DO provide a return address that permits the recipient to request that no further s are sent to their address, and honor that request. You must be able to process opt-out requests up to 30 days after the original and be acted upon within 10 working days of receipt. DO ensure that your messages include a valid postal address. DON T generate addresses by combining multiple permutations of names, letters or numbers. DON T harvest addresses. DON T take advantage of open relays or proxies without permission. DON T use scripts to register for multiple accounts for commercial purposes. 2

3 DON T send commercial through another computer without permission. DON T use a computer to retransmit messages and mislead a recipient or internet access service about the origin of the . DON T use false information to register for multiple accounts or domain names. 3. Establish an A/B subject line testing system. The only way to know if techniques such as personalizing subject lines; using all caps; promoting offers, sales and discounts; using short or long subject lines; ask a question of the recipient; etc. work for your business is to test them regularly. It s now routine for service providers (ESPs) to offer a testing component to their platforms. 4. Test formatting and delivery across multiple clients. There are dozens of clients (e.g., Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Lotus, Entourage, Appl , Thunderbird, etc.) and webmail services (e.g., AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.), and each renders s slightly different. Prepare your s to be relevant and coherent to recipients even if images aren t rendered properly. Keep in mind, most ESPs default setting is to have images turned off. Text in the body of s and bad subject lines e.g., words like test and sales ; exclamation points can cause mail servers to block s. Test to ensure your isn t getting caught in a spam filter. 5. Create landing pages that match your s. Use your to generate initial interest from recipients, then transfer them to a page that has a consistent tone and feel with your . This can include everything from the design of the HTML template to the content that you use in your message. The colors, images and fonts should be cohesive. Include a clear call to action on all landing pages. There should be at least one link to your general website URL in your marketing message, as well as a link directing recipients toward a targeted landing page with a clear purpose. Why are you asking your readers to click through? Do you want them to sign up for a service? Do you want them to sign up for your program? Do you want them to download a whitepaper? Landing pages must end with a call to action that motivates recipients to take a specific step. 6.Find the optimal balance for your creative There are four key elements in design: graphics, layout, color and images. When creating your newsletter, find the balance between these components that works for you. Don t try to cram the design full of graphic elements and colors. Rather, keep the layout clean with a few splashes of color and assorted images. Too much of any one element can be distracting. Generally, great images in combination with large, catchy headings work well. 7. Constantly expand and measure your audience of quality prospects. To help accomplish this, conduct a top-to-bottom review of all your prospect and customer touchpoints including retail point-of-sale retail systems to optimize file growth. This includes cross-pollination of 3

4 online marketing tactics, such as mobile marketing and social media, to ensure a broader ecrm approach is taken. 8. Establish a rhythm that encompasses the cadence, frequency and sequencing of your program. Defining the correct rhythm for a program means understanding that frequency and cadence vary depending upon which period of the life cycle the subscriber is in with you. A new-to-file subscriber with profile characteristics that resemble your most engaged audience, for example, can receive (and should) more s than other segments of your subscriber base. Depending on a subscriber s level of engagement with your brand, the recommended rhythm may also be different. Hyperactive engagers i.e., those who open, click and convert at the highest rates on your file warrant a special approach all their own. Monitoring subscriber churn is also an important element in understanding optimal rhythm. Between declining engagement and increasing churn, those are two clear informational drivers to help optimize your program s rhythm. 9. Socialize your . Socialized appears to have finally gone mainstream. Regardless of the social channels used for incentive-based referral programs, marketers have clearly embraced social media as an integrated marketing channel. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is the nation s leading domestic, low-cost airline. Southwest s Click N Save program enables customers to opt in to receive instant access to promotions as soon as they become available. Here s why Southwest s Click N Save promotion works: Social sharing and forward to a friend. Southwest.com enables subscribers to share its promotions with their friends and family by posting them to their Facebook profiles, tweeting about them or sending s. The technology behind these processes is streamlined to make it as easy as possible for recipients to share. 10. Institute a triggered program. Almost 60 percent of online retailers don t send s or do any type of follow-up marketing to shoppers who abandon carts, according to a recent survey. Abandoned cart s are the most basic and lucrative of a class of s called triggered . Merchants who ignore triggered are missing out on some easy money. Triggered s produce more than 15 times greater sales per delivered. Triggered s get their name from being triggered by something a shopper did. This could be placing an order, leaving a site with products still in the shopping cart, signing up for your program, requesting a catalog and other actions. The should be sent immediately after the trigger from the retailer itself or its ESP (usually a day or more later). Produced from a standard creative template, triggered s are sent automatically once set up. 4

5 Create a series of s for each trigger, such as the following for a customer who just placed an order: thank-you with offer (one day to three days after order); send a survey: How was your experience? (seven days later); cross-sale based on what the shopper purchased (14 days later); recommend to a friend: coupon for the shopper and a friend (21 days later); and product rate and review (28 days later). Continue to include several different links back to your website in each in the series. Rather than dumping shoppers back on your homepage, entice them with a list of customer favorites, clearance items, hot new products, etc. And create series for the other triggers mentioned as well. Ask shoppers who abandoned carts if they had some difficulty checking out, for example. Or remind them of the great items already in their carts. You can also warn that you re on the verge of clearing out these old carts, so shoppers should complete checkout in the next three days to get the items they ve already selected. 5

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