Friday, November 30, 2007

Enhancing Email Response

The process of email marketing may not always bear the kind of results that you expect. In fact, even after doing all the basics right the response rates may fall way short of expectations. The good news is that email responses can be enhanced with a little bit of analysis and research.

We’ve discussed the importance of gathering statistical data during email campaigns. With this information now available and a few creative segmentation strategies, email response can be improved a great deal. Your emails may reach three sets of readers:

.. Those who deleted the email without even opening it
.. Those who opened the email but did not read it or click on the offer made
.. Those who read the email, clicked on the link provided but did not accept your offer

The set which represents readers who never opened your email is probably the biggest. In fact, it’s possible that at least 50% of readers discarded your email as junk. To boost response rates of such readers, you should segment these as a group and change the subject line of the email or the sender’s name and address. Chances are good that you’ll find some of the changes work better than others, and that some of the non-openers to the first message have opened up the new message based on a single and possibly simple change. Perhaps this change lies in a new appeal in the subject line, or perhaps it's due to the message coming from a living person instead of an impersonal company. Record and save those variables and continue to test and fine-tune them with each subsequent campaign. The next segment is comprised of readers who read the email but were not interested enough to click on the offer and land on your website. This segment may be pretty big as well. It is very likely that most of these readers may have read a couple of lines at the beginning of the mail and deleted it. The best possible remedy in such cases is to analyze that section of your promotion. Does it say enough to make people want to read further? If not, reformatting and/or reworking the introductory copy and headline may be all it takes to increase your clicks.

Finally, we have the last segment comprised of readers who actually read the email and were interested enough to click through and reach your website. However, once they got there, their interest faded and they chose not to follow through with the transaction. This segment of people will normally be much smaller when compared with the above two segments.

In such cases it’s best to take a hard, objective look at the landing page. Something is clearly missing or is not being communicated effectively. Does the offer remain clear? Is the form too cumbersome or too long? Can you revise the form, and perhaps also revise some of the required form fields within it, for purposes of having these potential customers complete their first transaction? Sometimes it may pay to instill a little humor in your email. There have been many instances when potential clients were so moved by a humorous gesture in the email so they immediately decided to do some business with the marketer. Make some assumptions and apply them to your next campaign. It's all about getting potential customers to feel good about you and what you have to offer.

Considerable time and effort may be required to improve the email responses you get. That said, the fruits such a process can bear over a period of time can be well worth it.