Newsletters and marketing strategy

Posted By on February 4, 2010

How many links do you have in your newsletter?

Actually, maybe the first question should be: What’s the purpose of your newsletter? And is that the right purpose?

I was working with a client on a newsletter for an herbal supplement. The goal was to keep the reader engaged, and have them go to the website and order more of the supplement. Well, the newsletter went out twice a month, and the minimum order was 90 days. So the client was disappointed that more people didn’t order. The point he missed was that the newsletter was not supposed to be a sales letter but a sales tool to keep the product brand on the client’s mind.

When analyzing the ROI on an email, you do have to look at the cost to send the email, and how it fits into the overall budget. You might be taking a loss on the newsletter, but it might be a method for others to refer the product. And you wouldn’t know if the new order was from someone who just happened to find you or if it was a referral. Unless you ask. Which wasn’t done, so the newsletter was scrapped.

Another mistake that I think the client made was to send out a coupon for 10% off every 6 weeks that was good for 4 weeks. People got too used to seeing the same coupon. I would have varied the coupon amount to see which had the better pull.

And since the client only had name and email address, there was no way to do segmenting. One way to resolve this is to send out an email asking people to update their account, and then ask for 2 more pieces of demographic data.

A consultant can provide useful information, however, it is ultimately up to the client which path to take. My advice is to have a strategy, and test it.

Another client of mine sends out an email once a month where the articles are only previewed, and there are links back to the website. This works perfectly because it increases the useful information on the website (which improves page rank and offers more text for SEO), and it has a purpose. Once the person is on your website, they can poke around and see what else is there.

Additionally, they have their contact information in the email. Always give your readers multiple ways to say yes. Yes to calling, yes to emailing, yes to clicking through to your website. And hopefully yes to buying your product or service.

Analyzing your email after it’s sent

Posted By on November 20, 2009

Your email has gone out, you’ve waited 2-3 days for it to filter through, and you want to know: how did it go. You just want a simple answer. Did it do well? How did it convert?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. You have to look beyond just the open and click through rate to better understand your ROI.

First, you need to review the purpose of the email. Did you want people to read it, did you want them to take action, or did you want them to forward it to someone else? Knowing your goal helps you better understand the results.

And hopefully you used Split A/B testing to optimize for this. For example, if you wanted to warn people of something really cool coming up, open rate is the most important thing, and you would optimize the subject line.

If you wanted them to click through to your website, you would have split tested content to verify the best click through rate.

Now, you need to go back to your web site analytics and review what the people did once they hit the landing page. Did they stay for awhile or did they leave immediately. If they left, then you need to update and test your landing page because it wasn’t what they were expecting.

If they stayed and clicked around for awhile but didn’t buy, then it’s time to analyze your sales funnel. Which is another blog entirely.

And what if you sent out a coupon, and really wanted people to forward it to friends to get your name out there. Look at how well the link worked. And test placement and size of the link. If people don’t see it, then they’re not going to use it. Also consider rewarding those who refer their friends.

To stay on top of the new frugality, save time and money by knowing what your objective is, test before you send, and then verify that you’re getting the results you want.

Tip of the Day on Rendering

Posted By on November 18, 2009

Exact Target is doing a really good series on email rendering.  In their latest installment, they talk about rendering in Yahoo.  I knew about problems with images being blocked by default, but I didn’t know that Yahoo doesn’t support the use of HTML paragraph tags (<p>)

I rely heavily on paragraph tags to add in more white space and improve readability.

So instead, they recommend using break tags (<br>).  Using two in a row will give the same amount of white space as a paragraph tag.  However, if I’m using css, I have more flexibility with paragraph tags.

Most of the problems I’ve seen are with Mac Mail program since that’s what I personally use.  Two years ago, there were lots of issues with emails using tables for layout.  I’ve noticed Apple has done some adjustments and things look much better.  Outlook 2007 will continue to be a problem since, from what I’ve read, it uses the Word engine for rendering HTML instead of Internet Explorer.  Which makes no sense.  And that’s why I use a Mac.

So test test test to make sure your message is going to look the best it can be.

Silverpop White Paper on 7 New Email Marketing Tactics

Posted By on November 13, 2009

Silverpop has a new whitepaper available on 7 New Email Marketing Tactics You Have to Use in 2010.  Their whitepapers are always very informative and cutting edge.  Sure you have to give up some information; however their emails are always interesting too.  And you can learn a lot on good email structures.

From their landing page:

Learn how to:

  • Secure customer comments and create brand ambassadors
  • Capture lost revenue with an abandon cart program
  • Send the right message at the right time
  • Take your program “on the road” with SMS

And then let me know what you thought.

Free Deliverability Evaluation

Posted By on November 11, 2009

I wanted to point out a link you should take advantage of. Chris Wheeler is the director of deliverability at Bronto. Sadly, he lost his brother recently, and he wants to turn it into something good (not that it’s good, but he’d like it to be more meaningful)

Check out and see how he can help you improve your deliverability.