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Email not dead yet… if you use it right

10/12/2010

I recently attended a seminar given by a very knowledgeable chap called Marc Munier from pure360marketing.co.uk.  His 20,000 hours of working with email marketing and campaigning was distilled into a hugely enlightening session which, because it wasn’t an open event, I can’t share with you.  However, I thought his 10 tips to getting the most out of email marketing were worth tailoring and sharing.  I don’t know Marc personally but I’m sure if you want to follow up his ideas, the team at pure360 would be glad to hear from you.

  1. Data Capture.  When people visit your website capture email addresses.  use social media, newsletters etc wherever possible to ask for the right amount of information.  What’s the right amount?  Basically it’s the amount they are prepared to happily give in exchange for the value they think they will receive as a result.
  2. Manage Expectations.  Be clear about actions and consequences.  If you will use their data for X every Y weeks, say so up front and make good on your promise.  It’s not just about the negative worries about SPAM but more the promise of value in the future.  If you say you will send out regular video updates of a project then you have to do so.
  3. Welcome – email response rates are proven to drop just hours after sign-up to newsletters or other calls to action (like ‘I want to be a volunteer’ or ‘send me more information’) so welcome people who have given you their email addresses quickly using smart autoresponders and mail delivery tools.
  4. Personalise emails Wherever you can.  Using the recipient’s name in the subject field can increase open rates by 20%!  OK, we don’t always have perfect data but we nearly always know something that differentiates them from the general public even if it’s just that they are interested in what you do.  Use this knowledge in your communications
  5. Design for the preview pane.  Include big text calls to action at the top of your email so it appears quickly and you don’t waste your chance to make a first impression if images or other fancy stuff won’t load.
  6. Focus on conversions.  Treat emails with a similar ethos to social media ie; your email should be a conversation jumping off point, not just a broadcast message.
  7. Overtly link to your social media presences to encourage and develop the conversations.
  8. Provide very clear Calls to Action.  Be clear about what you want the recipient to do and make it easy.  Lots of charity communications talk about the charity – it’s not about you! It’s about providing sufficiently compelling messages that the reader wants to act in the way you want them to…
  9. Integrate your channels.  It’s been proven that integrating activity across multiple media uplifts response rates eg; if you are sending out an email fundraising campaign alongside TV or press messages, make sure they are linked and mutually reinforcing.  How many fundraisers don’t know about PR features until they actually hit?!? this is a wasted opportunity to integrate activity.
  10. Get the basics right.  Amidst template design, copywriting and image selection, it’s often forgotten that the operational aspects of email campaigns can kill any chance of success: proof-reading, reliable servers to send email, no content which will fall foul of firewalls etc.

I hope you find Marc’s tips as useful as I did.

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