In the Digital Age it’s Still Boring EMail that Delivers ROI for Brands

"Star Wars Vintage Book coverIn today’s let’s hook up on Tender smartphone driven world email still builds meaningful relationships.

In fact, lowly email has become the “fill in the breach” defacto standard way to reach new sales prospects who have at least given you “permission” to market to them.

Ten Metrics that will Help your Email Cut through the Clutter

Brevity, less is more, cut to the chase is the number one email marketing rule you have to adhere to.

Prosumers (educated consumers) want information they need to know, not what’s nice to know. Think: triage in an Emergency Room.

Short, concise emails will resonate with the recipient.

Jettison the fancy HTML rich emails. Test plain vanilla text with no images, it may surprise you.

The subject line is still and always will be the most important variable.

If you can refine this down to three words it will have much higher open rates; each word you add lowers your chances of catching the attention of the recipient.

Boring (via Esquire): The Most Important Joke of the Golden Globes

Great: Golden Globes Infatuation

Generic/Boring: “Five Great Free Content Marketing Tools You Should be Using”

Better: Great Content Rules

Hit them on the head in that first sentence. You are front end loading your messaging.

The weather, their family, health; i.e. generic salutations are just old school and no one pays them any mind.

Grabber Sentence: “Facebook is generating significant ROI and we can show you how to mirror this strategy.”

Not: “Hope you are enjoying this great spring weather…”

Use one Call to Action in your Message

Assume your recipient is a) distracted (see: smartphone), b) busy (attention span of gnats) or c) distracted (talking on a smartphone while texting and reading an email)

Don’t fall in love with your own marketing strategy. Use one call to action to cut through the clutter: “click here to save 25%” or “get our 35 page ebook by clicking this link”

Don’t be too ambitious and understand you only have a few seconds (if that) of the recipient’s time.

Tenacity of Purpose Rules Email Marketing Best Practices

Many businesses and execs expect miraculous results with email marketing. It never happens that way.

You’re building a relationship the reader and rarely, if ever will you get significant ROI in one email.

Sequential emails that follow on an earlier message will generate long term brand value and conversions.

Endlessly Repeating the Recipient’s Name in the Body of the email is a Non Starter

Don’t do this. It does not personalize your email in any shape fashion or form.

Eight Brand Killer Phrases to Avoid Like the Black Plague

“Free” - cynicism rear its ugly head; nothing is “free” in the minds of today’s consumers or businesses. Even if it is “free” most won’t believe your messaging.

“Use our XXXYY to save costs” - be specific not generic. Be factual when/where you can.

“Sincerely” in any shape fashion or form. This term went out of favor back in the day of “wireless radios” in Great Britain. No one is “sincere” in this day and age.

“Call or write to reach us using” - if they can’t or don’t understand your email address or phone number you are probably wasting your time.

“Our prices are guaranteed……” - don’t sell on price, sell on value. Most don’t believe this in any case.

The only guarantees in life are death, taxe and a husband’s inability to locate the butter in a fridge.

“We are going to be in Chicago next week and would like to stop by…. - this is not credible, we all know your building a sales trip around lead gen.

“Just wanted to reach out to say hello…..” - see Ma Bell Commercials and if this doesn’t make sense, Google the phrase.

Why Distraction Rules Email Marketing

EMail Platforms & Vendors

Sendy is a self hosted email newsletter application that lets you send trackable emails via Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). This makes it possible for you to send authenticated bulk emails at an insanely low price without sacrificing deliverability.

Caveats: setup requires a developer to set up on your server, has a one time cost of $59.99, your business has to create its own templates (these are not built in). But, it’s a great service, will save your business money and reporting functionality is more than adequate.

MailChimp: good overall services, but challenging importing any list from another platform into their system; customer service is “FAQ driven” and not very responsive. Don’t give them high marks for c/service.

Vertical Response: great platform, templates are not as easy to work with (1-3 hours of setup time on average), integrated social media features are not a good replacement for more established platforms like Buffer or even Hoot Suite.

Emma: solid platform for small businesses, customer service is stellar, templates are much easier to work worth vs. some of the other top tier vendors; they are challenging top tier vendors like Constant Contact and MailChimp.

Constant Contact: probably most established email marketing platform vendor, full suite of services, templates are beautiful but can take 3-5 hours to create in some cases and hard to update once created. Back end is unstable and convoluted: too complex.

Marketo, Infusionsoft, SalesForce and other top tier vendors are all integrating email list management with their services and platforms.

The bottom line challenge for many businesses is moving your list from one vendor to another, it’s typically hard to do and fraught with peril. Many will make you go through “list authentication” again.

So, test the platform (vendor) thoroughly prior to establishing a relationship. You may be permanently locked in.