Tags: email campaign strategy

5 Important Tips for Your Email Marketing Poll

Beyond • June 8, 2011

If email marketing is all about making a connection with the people who receive your email, then there is no better addition to your email than a poll. What better way is there to find out what your readers are really looking for than to ask them? When it comes to small business, the more you know about the people you are marketing to, the more successful your business will be. So you want to add a poll to your next email marketing newsletter? Here’s what you should know. It’s All in the Subject Line Email marketing, while seemingly complex, is really very simple to get right. You need to know your audience, you need to give them content that will get them excited and you need to have a killer subject line. Of these three things, nothing is more important than the subject line. If you have a bogus subject line, one that looks too spammy ($$$DEALSDEALSDEALS!!!) or even worse, no subject line at all, your email isn’t going to get opened. If your email isn’t opened you’ve already lost. Pump up your poll in the subject line. Get them excited. If your readers know that taking the poll is in their best interest, they’ll be sure to take it. Set a Realistic Close Date You don’t want your poll to be open forever, but then again, you don’t want to close the poll before everyone who wants to take part can put their two cents in. Use the habits of your readers to your advantage and make sure to give everyone enough time to take part. Give Them Options (but Not Too Many) Make sure to keep the available options for answering the questions in your poll to a minimum. Three seems to be the magic number, four if you include an “other” option. And speaking of that ever popular “other” option, if you choose to include it among the answers to your poll, give the people who take your poll a chance to explain why they chose it. Keep It Short The whole point of an email marketing poll is to let your audience know that you are interested in what they have to say, and to use that to make their experience with your business more efficient and enjoyable. What polls are not meant to be is long and boring. People should have fun taking the poll and it should be over quickly. Keep it short to ensure that people don’t give up on it halfway through. Don’t Forget to Be Polite You already showed your customers that you care about what they think by including a poll in your newsletter. Now take it to the next level. Each and every person who takes your poll should be thanked for their contribution. Even better, give everyone a coupon or discount for products or services. The information you get from the polls will be well worth it and rewarding your customers for taking the poll will only up their loyalty. Remember that email marketing is all about connecting with the customer and proving to them that your company not only offers value but cares about what their customers think. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to increasing sales.

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6 Solid Topics for Your Non-Profit Newsletter

Beyond • May 17, 2011

Running a non-profit organization is a rewarding albeit complicated job. A great deal of the work that goes into running a non-profit lies in convincing people that your organization is worth contributing to. There are a number of different ways to spread the word about the good deeds your non-profit can accomplish. A strong, creative email newsletter is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to reach a wide, diverse audience. Here are a few tips on what you should include in your non-profit newsletter. Before and After Show your readers how your non-profit actively changes lives. If your organization builds homes for underprivileged families, give your readers before and after photos of a client’s living situation. Non-profits that place abandoned pets in new homes can ask the new owners for a short video or written piece that explains how their new addition has changed their lives. Get creative and your readers are sure to take notice. Give Them Some Options Give you readers an example of how easy it is to take part and make a difference. Make a list of ways people can contribute to help your organization achieve its goals. This could be anything from answering phones to licking envelopes to collecting signatures. Make sure that your readers know that while donating money helps, donating their time can be just as effective. Volunteer Profile It takes all kinds of people to make a non-profit run successfully. Why not showcase one of your volunteers in your newsletter to show your readers the different kinds of people that contribute. Ask your volunteer to explain what brought them to your organization, how they found it and how they feel they are making a difference in the lives of your clients. Interview an Expert The more informed the public is as to what your goals are and why your non-profit is helpful, the more likely they are to want to contribute. Interview an expert in your field and make sure to focus on how a non-profit like yours benefits your community. Upcoming Events Have a food drive coming up? Is your organization holding a charity dinner any time soon? Let your audience know the when and the where by adding a calendar of upcoming events to your newsletter. Make sure to include a phone number, email address or web page that your readers can go to to get more information about the event. History Everyone likes a good story. Tell your readers the beginnings of your non-profit, who started the organization and why. If you give your readers some insight into why your non-profit came into being, they may be inspired to take action themselves and start pitching in. The key to a successful non-profit newsletter is creativity. You need to engage your audience in interesting and entertaining ways while convincing them that you need their support to accomplish your mission.

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How to Use Email Marketing in the Oncoming Election: Dos and Don’ts

Beyond • May 13, 2011

It wasn’t too long ago that we bore witness to the most talked about presidential election in American history. We’re still more than a year away but before you know it we’ll be back at the booths to determine who will lead our nation over the next term. Naturally, the next big election will be the perfect time to seize the moment. It presents a huge opportunity for the email marketer, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about it. Do Encourage Subscribers to Vote Whether it’s voting in municipal officials or representatives at the federal level, election initiatives are usually built around increasing turnout at the polls. Every voice does matter, so one of the best things you can do with your email marketing is highlight the importance of voting. You’d be surprised at how many people you can influence by explaining why they should get out and exercise their freedoms. Don’t Try to Sway Them Which Way to Vote Some people are as sensitive about their political stances as they are their religious beliefs. From the dinner table to the online community, discussions regarding political preferences have been known to get pretty heated. While it may seem like a novel idea to some, trying to convince your readers to lean one way or another is a can of worms best left unopened. Do Exhibit Your Passion and Expertise So you’ve decided to build an email campaign around the election. Why not make it count by going all out? If you are trying to persuade people on why they should vote, display a passionate tone that is more likely to get them to see your point. If you are leveraging the event to push a promotion, make sure you are basing your campaign on factual information and not merely opinions. Don’t Show Support for a Particular Party The only thing worse than using email marketing to convince subscribers which way to vote is using it to support a certain political party. This sort of approach could result in the type of dialogue that hurts your efforts rather than helps them. In a worst case scenario, subscribers may decide to cut ties with you completely. Do Provide Value in Your Communications Capitalizing on the election frenzy can be a great way to inform, educate and even boost sales. And while this type of campaign may require a different approach, many aspects remain the same, mainly from the standpoint of delivering valuable content. This may be the perfect opportunity to reward your customers with incentives for voting or simply putting up with you over the last term. Don’t Waste Time Political candidates tend to get started pretty early with their election day marketing initiatives. While it isn’t necessary to keep up with them every step of the way, timing is still crucial to your success. The last thing you want to do is deploy your campaign when subscribers are already occupied interacting with savvy competitors who beat you to the punch.

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Cater to Your Organization Supporters with Survey & Behavior Data

Beyond • May 4, 2011

Even with gold above $1,500 per ounce, personal information on your supporters is worth more than its weight in that precious metal. Having access to a rich array of data on who your constituents are and what are their preferred ways to interact with your association or organization is not only a keystone to your entire email campaign strategy, but also the most effective way to compare your campaigns, identify trends and analyze what is working… and what is not. Your Constituents Want to Be Recognized as Special Recognizing the relationship that your supporter has been having with your organization in the most minute detail will provide you with an accurate conclusion as to the type of experience that they want with you in the future. Once you have a profound understanding of not only their current behavior but also their hopes and aspirations, you will be able to provide the specific targeted and thoroughly customized email content that will motivate them to the greatest degree. Your constituents have elevated expectations of your organization, thus they will not only expect but demand a personalized communication experience in each of their interactions with you. They don’t want to be just another faceless number to be endlessly milked for donations of time and money; they want to be recognized as special individuals who stand out among the overall group of supporters. Correlation of Demographic, Interest & Attitude Data Is Key This level of empathic information about your supporters does not come from simply collecting their name, birthday and email address, but can only be deduced from detailed information provided by them with regards to their demographics, interests and attitudes. Harnessing this invaluable data and correlating it to the behaviors that they have historically shown when interacting with your organization online will provide you with an advanced level of information that you can use to compose an accurate constituent profile. Once this critical profile is complete, the conclusion of compiling an email strategy that is custom tailored to the individual becomes a reasonably easy task. An Effective Survey Goes Beyond the Pedantic In order to garner this level of personal profile information, associations and organizations around the world utilize a variety of means. One of the most successful and popular ones is the application of an online survey. Within the questions found in your survey lie the possibilities to craft gateways to the most extended levels of individual attitude and interest determinations available to any organization. A truly effective survey goes beyond the unimaginatively pedantic and into the explorations of what your constituents truly feel, desire, expect and hope for through their interaction with your organization. These types of questions will result in the precise kinds of answers that can be translated into clear and applicable solutions to your email campaign segmentation and customization strategies. Trackable Links Allow the Capture of Critical Behavioral Data Once your survey answers have provided a thorough insight into your supporter, you are now ready to layer an additional dimension of understanding through the analysis of the data capturing their behavior as they interact with your website. Trackable links embedded into the website’s content will flag the presence of any of your visitors and allow you to determine their specific interests. If your organization is involved in wildlife issues and a particular constituent who has signed up for your African Savannah appeal is spending an inordinate amount of time on your Humpback Whale pages, it indicates that they are prime candidates to support your Marine Mammal cause. Providing that individual with a way to get involved in another aspect of your organization can expand their commitment to your causes. Applying survey and behavior data to your email strategy will allow your supporters to feel you are “reading their minds” when it comes to the types of interactions they wish to have with your organization. This form of special and fully customized email communication is a method that has proven successful in increasing your email metrics across the board, and is the best way to truly engage your constituents.

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