Do An Email Audit: Achieve Better Results
Is your email marketing program all it can be? Are your emails getting to everyone you want to reach? Is your message hitting the mark? If the answers to these are questions are not a resounding “yes,” then you may want to take a step back and review your program across a few key areas.
To help, we offer up the most important email performance issues that we typically address during an audit. Plus, we provide a few improvement ideas that can help quickly boost your email marketing effectiveness.
Building a Quality List
Do you have a quality email list? When it comes to email lists, bigger is not necessarily better. In other words, a large number of contacts who aren’t really interested in your products or services are not as valuable as a list of people who are true potential customers. One of the most effective ways to get better results from your email marketing program is to build and maintain a quality list.
Do’s and Don’ts for list quality improvement:
- Do build your own list. It’s much better to compile a permission-based email list versus buying one from a third party. And do ask for permission before sending. The alternative is spam and can be illegal.
- Don’t ask for too many fields of personal information at opt-in, especially without having an appropriate incentive.
- Do try building an e-newsletter. It’s a great way to build a targeted audience that’s interested in what your company offers.
- Don’t forget to include a "join our email list" in the signature of your regular email correspondence.
Optimizing Your Opt-In Strategy
Are your opt-in procedures attracting the maximum number of sign-ups? Email audits often find this a common area of weakness in email marketing programs. It’s also a place where a few minor changes can make a big difference in marketing results.
Do’s and Don’ts for optimizing your opt-ins:
- Don’t hide your opt-in box. A highly-visible opt-in section is paramount to people signing up for your list.
- Do use an auto-responder to verify the respondent’s opt-in intentions. Every person who subscribes to your list should automatically get sent an email asking for confirmation that they do indeed want to be added to your list.
Making Content Count
Content plays a major role in the success of email campaigns from the start. The "From" and "Subject" lines determine, first, if a recipient opens your email and, second, if they click-through. Is your email and e-newsletter content relevant to your target audience? Are your subject lines connecting with your audience? One of the best ways to help determine content areas in need of improvement is by tracking previous emails and their success. For example, which content generated the highest open and click-through rates? Which subject lines drive the best open rates?
Do’s and Don’ts for content improvement:
- Do use a recognized person or your company name as the sender. This will help keep your email content relevant and recognized from the start.
- Don’t include multiple calls-to-action that confuse the reader.
- Do keep your subject lines short, catchy, relevant and to the point.
- Do provide information in a quick, concise, easy-to-read format. Use short paragraphs and bullets, sending recipients to your Web site for more information.
- Don’t bore your target audience. Keep the tone of the copy interesting and energetic, and always try to provide information that is useful.
Making Email Design Effective
Is your email design as effective as it could be? While it’s great to have wonderful graphics, are they contributing to the message? How does the email look when graphics have not yet been downloaded? Many subscribers use a preview pane which shows only the top left portion of the email. How does the message look taking that into account?
Do’s and Don’ts for effective email design:
- Do get your message across in the top left hand portion of the email – the first place people typically look.
- Do think about the eye path of readers when they open your email. Where is their eye going? Is it taking the reader through the right sequence of content to get your message across?
Delivering on Deliverability
Are your emails actually making it to the intended inboxes? Or are they, instead, being discarded or redirected to spam folders? Ensuring that you don’t become labeled as a spammer is the best way to increase your email deliverability.
Do’s and Don’ts for maximizing email deliverability:
- Don’t use spam-alerting words such as "free," especially in your subject lines.
- Do investigate the policies of the most commonly used internet service providers to determine how to become classified as a preferred sender.
- Don’t send emails to addresses that have resulted in a previous bounce. Otherwise, you may find yourself labeled as a spammer. And do not send to someone who has unsubscribed: That’s illegal!
- Do register the IP address you use with SenderID and/or SPF.
Creating Landing Pages that Convert
Do your landing pages successfully carry potential customers through to the marketing goal? The first Web page visitors see when they click on a promotional email is critical to the success of that marketing campaign. So even if you achieve great open and click-through rates on your email, the campaign isn’t successful if you don’t get visitors to take action.
Do’s and Don’ts for effective landing pages:
- Do deliver on what you promised in the email, whether it’s an order form or more information.
- Don’t bury the product or special offer you are promoting in information that doesn’t support the marketing goal. If potential customers don’t find what they’re looking for instantly, they may lose interest before completing the sale.
- Do include a single, clear call-to-action.
What Will An Email Audit Reveal? Consider These Email Statistics:
- Is your email getting to its destination? Up to 20% of email campaigns are trashed, bounced or blocked, according to data from MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008. (Source: MarketingSherpa.com)
- How effective are your e-newsletter campaigns? MarketingSherpa research indicates that only 16% of B2B marketers are getting clickthrough rates of 21% or greater for email newsletters sent to their opt-in lists. (Source: MarketingSherpa.com)
- Why is it so important to be sure you avoid SPAM classification? The Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed that 71% of email users say they use SPAM filters – either through their employers or internet service providers. This is up from 65% 2 years ago.
- Why is it especially important for email senders to be sure they’re readily recognized in the "From" field? 80% of 2,252 people surveyed by the Email Service and Provider Coalition said they do not open an email before hitting the "Report SPAM" button.