After 18 years of consulting, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. If you’re looking for better results, give these a try.
1. Set an objective. I know I say this in every single blog, but it’s important. If you don’t decide what you want to accomplish, you won’t get results. Ideally, set a quantitative objective that ties into ROI like number of opps, leads or sales. Focus on this and it’s a lot easier to know what to do next.
2. Consistent testing and tracking. Challenge yourself to test something new at least once a month, ideally something that helps you meet objectives. Start by testing the most effective things like offers, lists, time/date of send and subject lines. And make sure your test cells have enough volume to get a statistical read. More details are in my blog on testing here. Test and you never have to guess or argue about a new idea. You’ll always be using science to get the answer.
3. Make it crystal clear what you want your prospect to do in your emails. Don’t do anything to distract from your objective. Some examples of things to avoid – multiple offers – choose just one. If you’re not sure what will work, test a few on their own and then roll out the winner. If you want the prospect to see multiple pieces of content, send a follow up email if they respond to the first. Another thing to avoid? Unnecessary hyperlinks. I’m always stunned when I see an email that hyperlinks to outside companies – particularly analyst or partner websites. If your prospect clicks, you’ve just lost them. What works best is one offer, promoted once or twice in a link or a button and done!
4. Try text only emails versus HTML email with a banner. It’s surprising how often it works better. Test it with different audiences, messages and offers and see where you can simplify.
5. Try some accelerators. These are second or third touches when someone shows interest. If someone downloads a piece of content, send a related offer shortly after to take advantage of that traction. If you do lead scoring, this is a great way to move someone to the next level quickly. Try accelerators in email, social media or follow up calls. I really like these in nurture or with cold leads.
6. Test a P.S. to your email. Don’t laugh – it works! I have a whole blog on it. If you don’t come from the old age of postal letters and aren’t familiar with the concept, take a peek. It’s been proven that a typical email reader (if they open your email at all) reads the subject line, first line, last line and the P.S. before they read anything else.
7. Test out a different time for sending. Logic says that if you’re reaching companies, you’ll be more successful emailing folks when they’re at their desk, but that’s not always true. I have some clients that do very well with a Sunday night blast. Others have found that the best time is during the early morning. For B2C, it can be trickier to guess when your target audience is available, but play around to get the right answer.
8. There is never too much QA on emails. Test every scenario on your emails before they blast and if it’s an email in nurture, check it again every month or so. Send a sample to a desktop computer and a mobile device. And a Mac and PC. Check your text only versions – most marketing automation turns your graphics into gibberish and adds funky spaces that need to be cleaned up, often every time you make a change to the email. Check every link – does it get to the offer? Does your tracking work? How about your dynamic content? I admit I’m paranoid, but I do all of this each time I modify an email and I frequently find things to fix.
9. Guarantee good email addresses. If you find you’re getting good response for your offers, but bad email addresses, change the asset delivery process. Instead of delivering content off the landing page, put up a thank you page that lets the respondent know the asset is coming via email. They have to give a valid email address to get the offer.
10. The biggest hint? It’s all about making money. Make that your priority no matter what. In marketing, the list of things to accomplish is never ending, but by focusing on ROI, you maximize your time by addressing things that will make the biggest business impact.
Want to discuss these tricks? Share some of your own? Contact me at email@example.com.