Tags: Subject Lines

How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals

How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals

Practical Marketer • August 4, 2017

In any role in your business, it’s easy to fall into autopilot. Most of us are creatures of habit. How often is the reason for doing something, “we’ve always done it that way?” The truth is, we should spend no time or resources on any task without understanding the goal for it. What are you hoping to achieve? When it comes to email marketing, do you know the reason behind each and every email you send? Factors to Consider When Setting a Goal For your email marketing, the needs of your subscriber should almost come first and foremost. This is what makes an email great. Of course, we’re all doing email marketing because it’s great for our business too. Balancing these two is sides of a goal is what leads to great emails. Why Setting a Goal Makes for Great Emails When you understand the ultimate goal of an email, you can reverse engineer the steps it takes to achieve that purpose. Keeping a goal in mind puts every aspect of your email into focus. It lets you know what you need to achieve at each level of your email. Choosing Your Goal Yes, there are many different things that you achieve with email marketing. You can build trust, further your branding, increase your sales and so much more. In reality, it’s really just whether it’s a slow play or a long play towards boosting your bottom line. Knowing that the end game is always going to be sales, even if it’s hard to see how that email will impact sales in the short-term, you can pick your goal based on where that email plays into your overall sales funnel. Marketing is always about micro wins. You won’t go far if your only move is “here buy this.” You have to do the work and approach each small step (or goal) that will lead you towards that ultimate goal of a sale. So how do you do it? How To Achieve Your Goals As mentioned above, to achieve your goals work backwards from your end point. It’s important to gain a complete understanding of each of these levels, in order to truly make your emails great. Without this knowledge, you’re playing a guessing game and you cannot expect to achieve your goals. So, what are the steps a customer or subscribe must take for you to achieve your goal? Step 1: Provide a Clear Call To Action We’ve often shared the sage words of Flint McGlaughlin, Founder and Managing Director of MECLABS, who likes to say that you cannot sell anything with email marketing other than a click. The final goal will likely take place on a product page, landing page or another location outside of your email. That means that Call To Action (CTA) that compels a subscriber to reach that page must be on point. If you have properly identified a goal for your email, the CTA should be obvious. Your CTA should be clear and easy to follow. In fact, that there are impressive stats that demonstrate the benefit of only having one CTA in an email campaign. Recently, Toast tested having one clear CTA in their email campaigns. This test yielded increased clicks to the tune of 371% and boosted sales 1,617%. [caption id=\"attachment_6659\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"615\"] H&M used one clear and simple CTA.[/caption] Most subscribers are busy or in some cases just lazy. Don’t ask too much of subscribers. At this point, you may be thinking, “but Andy ... there are more than one things I may need a subscriber or customer to take action on!” That’s perfectly fine. Just use more than one email to achieve this. What makes a great CTA? A great CTA does three things well: Creates urgency. A subscriber should feel the need to act right away. Provides clear instructions on what you want the email recipient to do next. Gives confidence. Avoid friction or anxiety. There’s no risk when something is free, right? Here’s an example of those points in action: Don’t wait another minute to make a great email! Start email marketing free today. If you don’t already have one, click here to get your Free Plan now! It’s important to test the various CTAs that are available to you, to find out what works with your audience. Test what is more successful for you between buttons for CTAs or using linked text. If you opt for using buttons, the design of your button is another factor to consider. Color, size, placement and even something as simple as adding an arrow graphic, like a mouse cursor, can have a significant impact on your email marketing success. Simply adding an arrow icon to their CTA buttons gave Helzberg Diamonds a 26% increase in clicks. The copy you use to motive in your CTA is also important. One company, ContentVerve, used first-person phrasing and saw a 90% increase in Click-Through Rate (CTR). For example, \"Start my free 30 day trial\" vs. \"Start your free 30 day trial.\" Step 2: Write Compelling Email Copy Your CTA isn’t the only place that copy is important. Write compelling email copy that causes a subscriber to read your entire email through to the CTA. Follow these tips for writing quality email copy: Write quickly. It will help your enthusiasm and personality shine. Be brief. Write like each word costs you money. Subscribers have a short attention span. You don’t want them to lose interest. Write conversationally. Craft your emails as if you were having a face-to-face conversation with one subscriber. Look back at your copy and ask yourself if you would talk that way if you were in a conversation. No boilerplates. Being too formulaic will result in a one way ticket to Boring Town. Break from the norm. Throw away things like “Sincerely,” “Best” or “Thanks.” Use your own personality. You might just see an email from Benchmark end in “With regards from sunny Southern California.” You want to use “you.” It’s among the most persuasive words in the dictionary. It’s not about you. Care and compassion for your subscribers will take your email marketing a long way. Step 3: Write A Great Subject Line Now that you know you can write a great email, let’s make sure that email gets opened. Enter subject lines. According to Convince & Convert, 35% of subscribers will open an email based on the subject line alone. Follow these tips for great subject lines: Be concise. With so many emails being viewed on mobile first, they’ll only see your subject line in its entirety if it’s around 50 characters. Deliver on your promise. Make sure your subject line is an honest representation of what follows within the email. The point of great emails is to build trust! Begin with an action-oriented verb. Your subject line is similar to a CTA and beginning a subject line with an action verb will help your email get opened. Give a sense of urgency. Same logic behind a subject line being like your CTA applies. Make them want to open your email. NOW! Ask a question? One that your subscribers will want the answer to and open the email to find the answer or consider the answer for themselves. In case you still need extra help with subject lines, Sumo has 62 formulas for great subject lines. Other factors that should be considered here are From Name and the email address from which you are sending as well as the Preview Text. Conclusion These are the important steps for creating great emails. Yes, they are in reverse order from how your subscriber will experience them. However, it’s always easiest when you understand what your goal is and then work backwards from there. That way you can make sure that you’ve set yourself up for success at each level of your email. Before you create any great email, you must first know your goal for that email. Then you have you make sure that the CTA in your email is great enough to get them to act on it, ultimately achieving your goal. To get them to your CTA, you have to first craft great email copy. This will make them read through your email to the CTA. For your email to be read in the first place, you need to write a great subject line that inspires your subscribers to open your email. Share Your Ideas What do you do to make your emails great? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments your favorite tips for making great emails. Want to Learn More? This post is only one part of what goes into making a great email. That’s why we wrote a new guide called What Makes a Great Email. There you can gain a better understanding for great emails and learn practical strategies to create them. Click here to download What Makes a Great Email. Get Started Today If this post has you inspired to make a great email, signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Or login and put what you’ve learned to use.


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6 Email Subject Line Templates That Will Get Your Emails Opened

6 Email Subject Line Templates That Will Get Your Emails Opened

Practical Marketer • May 31, 2017

Back in 1963, David Ogilvy reminded his profession that ‘on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.’ Email open rates average 18.2% for ad agencies, rising to 27.3% for car and transport businesses. So it looks like Ogilvy is still reliable. Your subject line, like his headline, is 80 cents of your email dollar. And it counts: 47% of readers open emails based on subject line alone. 70% will dismiss you as spam on the same basis. It’s the biggest variable you can control. Great subject lines can impact your deliverability and your open rate, and open rates count because they’re the first step to conversions. Of the people who don’t open your email, 100% don’t convert. Upping open rates has a dramatic effect on ROI. Want to see what it could do for yours? Check out the email ROI calculator. Our subject lines have to make it through spam filters, and they have to engage readers and ‘sell’ them the rest of the email. Here are six email subject line templates that will do both. 1: The Reason Why Why nobody is actually reading your content - and what you can do about it Inbound.org ‘Reason Why’ subject lines combine two powerful effects: curiosity and self-interest. They convince readers that they should do something, and offer compelling reasons. (Bonus points for numbering the reasons.) The desired behavior speaks to self-interest. The reasons speak to curiosity. Together, they’re an effective combination. Numbered reasons (‘5 reasons why,’ ‘Top 3 reasons’) reassure readers that the email won’t be too long to read in the time they have or guarantee meaty, usable content a couple of clicks away. But single reasons can work too: ‘the REAL reason you should...’ or ‘the number one reason startups fail’ subject lines offer insider knowledge. Try these templates: The REAL reason {undesirable outcome relevant to audience} Example: The REAL reason your emails aren’t getting opened The top X reasons {undesirable outcome} and how to avoid them Example: The top 6 reasons projects fail and how to avoid them 2: The Offer Last chance! Save 25% when you come back to Shutterstock Shutterstock.com If you want something, ask for it. Sales people tell each other all the time to ask for the sale. Don’t be scared to do it in your emails. Making the offer more powerful is partly a matter of segmentation: don’t offer suburban soccer moms 10% off Iron Maiden, and don’t offer college kids lower rates on retirement insurance. Copywriting can’t fix this. But there are things we can do to make an offer more compelling. If your 10% off will be there forever, no rush. That email slips down the inbox, never to be opened. If it’s all over in 12 hours, better check it out now. Try adding a call-out. Emailing runners saying ‘10% off tights for your next marathon’ or ‘Kayakers: save 40% on paddles - this weekend ONLY’ hits all the right buttons, making your recipients feel like you’re talking right to them. It’s like hearing your name over the PA in the store: ‘Hey, that’s me!’ Try these templates: X% off {targeted product} this weekend Example: Get 22% off skiwear this weekend or {Call-out}: save X% when you {desirable action} - ends in {time} Example: Marathoners: save 22% when you sign up - ends in 12 hours 3: The Question What can you afford? Zillow Try these templates: How much {desirable outcome} can you get for {low sum}? Example: How much car does $500 buy you? Or: Can you afford to {not do desired action}? Example: Can you afford to ignore these 17 email marketing stats? 4: The Urgency Time is running out to save $400 on B2B Marketing Forum MarketingProfs   Urgency and scarcity have been triggers to buy since the first time anyone sold anything. When we send out emails advising, ‘hurry - ends in 14 hours,’ or ‘DON’T MISS OUT: last chance to get your free DVD,’ we’re not doing anything new. But we are doing something effective. It’s effective because it pushes them toward making a decision now, not waiting til later and then forgetting about it. But they might decide they don’t really want it. So use urgency with purchase-ready recipients. There are several ways to achieve the urgency we want. We can focus on a deadline. Tell recipients they have just 4 hours, or that the sale ends Friday. Or we can inject some urgent language into the subject line. Like ‘final,’ ‘last,’ ‘go,’ ‘now.’ Even just telling customers to ‘hurry’ can work. These words trigger arousal states that make engagement more likely. Try these templates: Hurry - sale ends at {deadline} Example: Hurry - sale ends at midnight Friday! Or Last chance to get {offer} - {time} to go! Example: Last chance to get your subject line templates - 4 hours to go! 5: Too cool for a subject line Hey   Say what you like about Obama, his marketing was on point. One of the ways he set himself apart from his competition was an email campaign with this simple one-word subject line. It’s effective because it sounds like a call for attention - hey! Over here! - and a greeting. Hey, how’s it going? Every subject line in your audience’s inbox is making an effort. Sometimes it can feel like all that engineered urgency and corporate targeting is just trying too hard. Subject lines that stand out by being human give you an in. They work best when you’re looking for engagement, not direct sales, but even a sales or outreach email often gets opened more with a ‘Just a quick idea’ subject line than when it’s clanking along under a pile of caps, punctuation and dollar signs. It’s not about being super short - though that does visually distinguish your email in an inbox. It’s about being a human voice. Your\"So I was thinking…\" subject line sounds like a real person, and it makes people want to know what’s on your mind in a way that no superheated special offer could. Try these templates: {Name}, quick question...? Example: Jonathan, quick question…? Or: Hey {Name}, talk to me about {subject}? Example: Lou, talk to me about your conversion rate? 6: My Story How he doubled his traffic (and gets ~50% new clients from his blog) Derek Halpern What’s better than telling me how I should do something? Telling me how you already did it. Now I know that you know what you’re talking about. You’re qualified to show me the way, and your experience is just as useful as your advice. (I’ve learned a lot from asides in blog posts that say stuff like ‘one thing I noticed was that people seemed to…’ At least as much as I ever have from advice saying ‘do this because figures.’) Subject lines like this let you make specific, factual offers. You’d like to learn how to double your traffic and get half your business as inbound off your blog, right? But you make those offers in a way that feels natural, gripping and un-salesy. And we love a story. It’s part of being human. What film or TV show isn’t about someone overcoming adversity to get what they want? Not usually more blog traffic, granted, but the point remains the same. We can’t resist narrative. Gear it to our special interests and promise us a payoff at the end? Hooked. Try these templates: How I turned/went from {disadvantageous position} into a successful business Example: How I went from a mental asylum to running a successful business Or: How {Name} {outsize success} in {tiny time period} using {tool or technique} Example: How Michael doubled conversions in just three weeks using persuasive copy Conclusion When you’re trying to make sure your emails get opened, your subject line is the most important tool you can wield. Some of what makes it work is getting to know your audience, and it’s tough for even the best subject line to work ‘uphill’ against the results of poor segmentation. But if you’re all set otherwise, these 6 email subject line templates should get your copy, offers and images where they need to be: in front of your audience. Have you received any awesome or horrifying subject lines? Share them in the comments below - I would love to hear about them.


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Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Practical Marketer • May 20, 2016

You invest time drafting a perfect sales email pitch, inserting the perfect links and crafting the perfect CTA (call-to-action) for your emails. Is your time well spent? All this is a waste if nobody even bothers to open your email. This is where the importance of a subject line becomes the topic of discussion. Email marketing is still among one of the best method of communication with prospects, leads and customers. In the era of the crowded email inbox, before your prospects, leads or customers reads your email ... it has to be opened first. That’s why the subject line of a sales email plays a vital role. The more people that open your emails, the increased probability for sales. Hundreds of billions of sales emails are sent every day to grab the attention of the customer. How many unread emails are there in your inbox? 200? 500? Probably 1,000 if you have subscribed to countless mailing lists. People today get many emails daily and most of them go unopened. People are flooded with more information than ever before and have less time to soak it all in. Most of the emails are simply ignored ... unless they have a rocking subject line. According to a study on email statistics, 35% of recipients open emails based on the subject lines alone and 69% of the recipients report an email as SPAM based on the subject line of the email alone. There isn’t a silver-bullet subject line for a given subject, because what works for one business might not work effectively for another. Just think about this: will you open an email that has a subject line “Open Me” or “Hi” or “URGENT” or “Register to win FREE iPhone 6S+” or something similar? All such emails directly land in your SPAM folder. A bad subject line will get 5x less customers that open and read your emails. The best sales email subject lines should be creative, igniting the interest in the customers. They should have a curiosity seeking subject that is relevant to them, all while also being informative. Looking for some interesting and provoking subject lines for your sales emails that scream out “Open Me Now?” Then here are best sales email subject lines that will boost the open rates of your emails: “Need My Help?” or “Hoping to Help” The best sales people today are the ones who can help their customers solve problems. If your email lands in the inbox with an open-ended subject line like “Tell Me What You Have Been Struggling With” or “Tell Me Everything That You Have Tried and How Can I Help You” or something like “Hoping to Help” there is an increased chance for your emails being opened. Prospects get an idea on your willingness to be of service to the customers. “[Name of the Prospect], do you have 15 minutes for a conversation?” These kind of subject lines distinguish your emails from other marketers, because you’re asking a question directly in the subject line which addresses the person with his or her name. Personalized subject lines with a question in the subject help increase open rates. “We found you through [Name of the Referral]” or “[Name of the Referral] suggested that we connect” If someone referred you to a prospect, make sure to use their name in the subject rather than saving it for the body of the email. Using the name of the referral in subject line grabs a prospect’s attention right away and also gives automatic credibility to the sender for leveraging an existing connection of the prospect. A Subject Line With A Reply “Re” Many marketers use a “Re:” or “FW” in their email subject lines with an eye towards increasing their open and conversion rates. This is a clever tactic, as it exhibits a personal relationship with the prospect that you know them. However, once a prospect open the email and gets to know that they have been tricked and have not had any prior conversations with you this kind of an email subject line will not impress them. If you have actually spoken with them before and this is a factual reply then you can try removing the subject line as a whole and just including “Re” to increase the response rate of your sales emails. Email Subject Lines That Convey An Idea The Prospect Cares About If you are a blogger, an email with a subject “Idea for increasing unique visitors to your [blog name]” may intrigue you enough to click through the email and read it. Nobody wants to miss out on a free idea and the probability that prospects will open an email is greatly increased. Listicle Subject Line With Tips Or Ideas Listicle subject lines in sales emails are an effective and simple way to attract the attention of prospects.  If you are an email marketer, a subject line with “10 Best Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Open Rates by 80%” will attract you more than a subject like “Email Subject Lines To Increase Open Rates.” Using numbers in the subject line makes a prospects aware of what they are going to read. Personalized Email Subject Lines with a Question: “Hi [Name of the Prospect], [Question the prospect is looking to solve]?” If James is a content writer, then an email with a subject line something like “Hi James, Do you know how to write compelling content that boosts traffic?” will surely motivate James to open the email as it addresses his problem. Subject lines with a question are a great way to compel people to open your emails, as prospects are promised that the email content is intended to guide them and help achieve a goal. “Don’t Open This Email” Human Psychology works just the opposite way. If someone refrains you from doing something, you always are keener on doing it. This subject line is the most simple and effective means to create curiosity among the prospects to open your emails. Email Subject Lines That Benefit the Prospect= “A [Benefit] for [Prospects_CompanyName]” If a company, “ABC Inc.,” has recently launched a blog and is looking to increase its subscriber base, then a sales email subject line like “Get your first 2000 subscribers to the ABC Inc. Blog” will invoke the self-interest in opening the email to find out what’s in store to increase the number of subscribers for the blog and help it grow. That level of personalization in the subject line is likely to catch the eyes of the prospect. Email Without A Subject Line / A Blank Subject Line Email Yes, you read it right. If you cannot think of any subject line and have been scratching your head for quite some time, then just type in your email body and hit SEND. According to a study by Sidekick, emails with an empty subject line are opened 8% more often than the emails that contain a subject line. Remember getting your sales email subject lines right or wrong can actually be the difference between your emails being opened and converting to customer or lying dead in the spam folder. The ultimate goal is to make your sales email subject line stand out. These are just some of the convincing sales email subject lines that will increase your email response rates. How you customize these subject lines based on your niche in order  to increase your open rates and click-through rates is up to you. What are your favorite sales email subject lines that have stood out for your email marketing campaigns? Chime in your thoughts in the comments below!


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Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce

Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce

Beyond • December 6, 2011

The holiday season is a time of year most of us welcome with open arms. In our personal lives, we look forward to spending time and sharing special moments with our loved ones. As businesses, we embrace the wonderful marketing opportunities that accompany the season. However, trotting out a campaign just for the sake of it will not guarantee you the milk and cookies. If you want to go into the new year on a roll, you need to prepare and execute a strategy your audience will respond to. Lucky for you, we have put together a list of tips that will help you make the most of your holiday marketing efforts. Add Some Holiday Spice When it comes to looking the part for the season, brands tend to go all out with their designs. Not only is this something that is relatively easy to do, it is also an effective tactic that can add a nice personal touch to your brand message. Don’t hesitate to give your email campaigns and website a holiday makeover, and if the moment calls for it, incorporate a theme that matches the occasion. For example, if you are trying to sell a product or service, something along the lines of the “12 Days of Savings” could be an ideal theme to get people to pay attention. Adding a little holiday spice will give your message visual appeal and make you appear much more approachable to the consumer. Prepare for Shipping Cart Abandonment Not all consumers finish the purchase process they start on a website. It is very common for a visitor to place all the items they want in the merchant’s shopping cart, and then bail out for one reason or another before purchasing them. This act is known as shopping cart abandonment, and it happens even more during the holiday season when consumers are bustling to compare prices in their mission to get the best deal possible. A shopping cart abandonment strategy is needed to address this issue, and here is what a good one looks like: Follow up fast - The timeliness of your abandonment strategy is crucial. Ideally, you want to follow up in anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the cart was abandoned. Anything longer than that and the sale typically becomes unsalvageable. Personalize it - This is your chance to change the visitor’s mind and convince them to complete the purchase process. Don’t blow it. Personalize your follow-up message by including their name, and referencing the item they left behind. Make it tasty - Personalizing your shopping cart abandonment emails may not be enough when approaching some people. Realizing this, you should consider incentivizing your strategy. Who knows? It could be a generous discount, exclusive offer or free shipping that re-engages the lost visitor and persuades them to follow through. Don’t Forget Those Subject Lines Many of us are in such a rush to put our holiday email campaigns out there that we wait until the very last minute before even considering our subject lines. Sadly, some are never able to get it right no matter when they start giving them attention. It pays to treat your subject lines like the important element they are, because your ability to succeed during the holiday rush will largely depend on your ability to stand out in an inbox that is much more crowded than usual. Your campaign could be gold on the inside, but without a compelling subject line that makes it attractive on the outside, it will never have a chance to work its magic. Have you put together your holiday marketing strategy? If not, you better get on it right away. Time is winding fast, and pretty soon there will be no opportunities left for the latecomers.


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Email Personalization? Only if You Know Me, Please

Email Personalization? Only if You Know Me, Please

Beyond • June 13, 2011

You know about merge tags, they’re the little codes that help you make an email feel personal. Blogger Hal has a great article where he describes the annoyance and danger of email over-personalization in your newsletter, yet when judiciously applied in proper amounts, they are a very effective tool. I’d like to make another suggestion to you as you decide exactly how to best employ email personalization: use them as you’d speak them, especially when it comes to subject lines. Who’s Calling Out My Name from My Inbox Let’s take a look at a snapshot of my inbox a few days back. I received two personalized emails from two very different companies. One I noticed immediately, one I ignored completely (at least for a while). Though they started out the same, they took two very different paths to my brain. These emails arrived on the same day, one after the next. And though both companies personalized the subject line, I really only noticed the email from the café. So I have to ask myself why. Was it because I wasn’t in the market to rent a car? Well, I wasn’t exactly looking for a baby bundt cake, either. Personal Subject Lines Work when Trusted The subject line works in tandem with the identity of the sender. They’re right next to each other and are most likely judged together. When it came to the two emails above, I quickly paired the sender with the subject line. And one relationship is stronger than the other. One is friendlier than the other. One is more personal than the other - and it isn’t a rent-a-car company. When I go to this mystery café, everyone is friendly. The atmosphere is homey. The people were very friendly when asking for email addresses. Honestly, they really don’t know my name but I wouldn’t be shocked if I walked in and they said it. Personal Subject Lines Are Awkward when Perceived as Inappropriate And that’s just my point. I haven’t rented a car in quite a while but I would be shocked if I walked up to the rental desk tomorrow and they called out my name. I don’t care if it’s their policy to use my first name at the counter, we just don’t do enough business together to warrant anything but that one fake moment. Before You Personalize, Ask Yourself These Questions: Does my recipient know me? This is important. If you wouldn’t call them by their first name when seeing them in the street, you can’t say yes until you ask yourself the next questions. Does my recipient remember me? Maybe three years ago you had a great customer relationship with this person, but now it’s gone stale. If there’s a good chance that they’ll be scratching their head when looking at your company name in the inbox, leave their first name out of this. Does my company business/culture/mood reflect a friendly atmosphere? This is where some types of companies just have a natural advantage. A restaurant, a pub, a neighborhood market can all get away with first name basis greetings all day long because you’d expect that in their stores. Financial institutions, large companies and online merchants have to work a little harder to establish this… except if you’re Zappo’s – they exude friendly. Are the next words in my subject line more important than the recipient’s name? If so, you might want to rethink starting out with a name personalization in the subject line. Some readers see their first name, mentally tag the email as commercial, then promptly skip and move on. Not Rules, Just Guidelines for Thought Please understand that I’m certainly not discouraging you from using personalization in the subject line. We actually preach that strategy here as it’s a proven attention getter (learn more about it with our conditional formatting option). But spammers and email marketers with questionable (read: old, stale or borrowed) lists know this trick too. First name personalization works best if your relationship is personal. Stop and ask yourself if it’s truly appropriate to use it in each instance. You’ll get better results when you do.


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5 Tips for Sending Email Surveys

Beyond • June 9, 2011

Email customer surveys are a great way to get feedback from customers about your services and products. In addition, well-designed surveys can help generate ideas for new products and services as well as provide opportunities for increased sales. To get actionable results instead of ambiguous statistics, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for customers to provide their desired information. Design surveys with the customer in mind and try these 5 marketing tips for sending email surveys. 1.  Sender Name and Subject Line The sender name and subject line of the survey will be the primary determinants of your open and response rates. Take precautions to ensure that a recognized personal or business name is prominent in the address. Avoid using mass-market email domains like gmail, hotmail, msn or yahoo. Create a subject line that is appealing and encourages recipients to want to open the email. Effectively accompany ‘customer survey’ along with some words of encouragement to create a sense of urgency and excitement. Also, remember to avoid words in the subject line that may trigger spam filters. 2. Keep It Short Ask the most important and interesting questions first. Even the most loyal customers will loathe the expectation to complete a time consuming survey that is also irrelevant or seemingly pointless. Asking low-impact questions right in the beginning will cause customers to immediately lose interest. Start the survey by engaging readers with an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback on issues that directly affect their customer experience. Keep in mind that each additional question has an increased likelihood of the participant abandoning the survey. Be conscience of the fact that participants are taking the survey on their own time and ultimately doing your business a favor. Finally, avoid industry jargon and terminology that will confuse customers and discourage them from completing the survey. Do not assume that your customers are as familiar with the content as industry insiders. Make it as simple as possible for your customers to finish what they started. 3. Single Answer Multiple-Choice Questions The answers to survey questions should be clearly defined revelations of customer opinions. Do not create multiple-choice answers that overlap and confuse readers into contemplating various choices. Multiple-answer questions will not provide as much significant data as single answer questions and are irritating for readers. Keep in mind that every potential response may not be anticipated. Give customers a way to provide their own answer in case the reader does not like the choices you have provided. 4. Open-Ended Questions Open-ended questions are a great way to get unexpected answers and customer input. Use them only in cases where a multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank question would not work. Open-ended questions tend to require more effort on behalf of the customers so use them sparingly. 5. Feedback Provide feedback and follow up with all survey participants. Typically, you want to provide a copy of the survey results along with feedback. Utilize customer responses to a survey by opening up discussions around their open-ended answers. This can be the beginning of a very productive discussion that will improve your relationship with customers. Provide feedback and follow up promptly while survey participants still have the questions and answers fresh in their minds. Email surveys are not as interactive as social media marketing or face-to-face discussions so it’s crucial to design them in a way that anticipates difficulties with interpretation or customer responses. There is only one chance to ask the question and only one chance for the customers to respond so try these 5 tips and make your email surveys count.


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5 Things to Consider when Viewing Your Open Rates

Beyond • June 7, 2011

Open rates reveal how well your emails are received and give an idea as to which periods in time evoke the most interest from your subscribers. When analyzing your open rates, it is important to remember that improving the rating does not necessarily mean getting the stats up. Improving open rates is really more about bettering your email marketing. Here are 5 things to consider when viewing your open rates. 1. One Size Fits All? There is no one size fits all open rate. Similar to how a local market can’t contend with the chain grocery store downtown in sheer sales numbers, open rates will drastically vary from business to business depending on various factors. Rather than comparing your open rates with those of another business, rationalize the figures by considering the ratings in relation to the total number of emails that were sent out. Take it a step further by measuring how well received your emails are at various times of the day to give yourself an idea of the days and times your blasts are most successful. 2. Low Open Rates Send out too many emails and people get overwhelmed or become uninterested. Send too little and, again, people lose interest. But low open rates can sometimes mean better business. If fewer people open more emails and make more purchases, a lower open rate is indicative of a higher click-through rate - a much more reliable metric. While this is ultimately good for your business, it can also be indicative of improper segmentation. When was the last time you cleaned your house list? In the meantime, hone in on the frequency that works best for your specific market and segment in response to behavior. If it’s time to dump unresponsive addresses, do so. It will only increase your ability to target the subscribers who are receptive and engaged. 3. Find a Niche It’s hard to sustain a consistent frequency when you’re distributing marketing emails every week to your subscribers. Rather than spending your energy on increasing the quantity of emails, try the other route and find the niche that most appeals to your market. Your open rate may rise and fall depending on your specific niche. If you send out emails that really drill down on your market’s desired topic, your open rate should increase. 4. Changes Open rates fluctuate due to several variables, but a constant is always seasonal impetus. Your rates will vary from season to season, month to month and even day to day. Monitor these changes and measure your rates in a way that will help you critique and improve your methods throughout the year. 5. Subject Lines Your subject lines can dictate your open rates. This is often the point at which readers decide whether or not to open your email, so give your emails a chance by crafting seductive yet informative subject lines. Relevancy, timeliness and clarity are the cardinal rules to abide by when crafting subject lines. Remember that more and more of your subscribers will receive your emails on their phones, which allow less space for grandiose greetings.


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