It can be all too easy to get carried away with email marketing. It is so cheap to run that the temptation is to think that even if most of the effort gets no return then the outlay will be covered and a healthy ROI achieved. But the real cost of a poorly run email campaign is what the returns could have been.
To ensure no regrets you must plan.
Even the simplest of email campaigns will have a number of targets: open rate, click-through rate to the microsite, conversion rate to sales and click-through to the main site. Each of these can be precisely measured in the best email marketing software In addition secondary targets might well include opt-in rates to other segmented lists.
With precise reporting and measurement comes the ability to improve and modify performance. If the open rate is lower than previous email campaigns the assumption will probably be that the subject line wasn’t sufficient to excite the recipient’s interest. This is not a total loss as one can split test the subject line of future email campaigns and re-send the original with the newly tested ‘winning’ subject line to those who did not open the first.
Or, perhaps, the email campaign was sent at the wrong time or the wrong day. A manager trying to cope with a budget at the end of the month might well be more receptive on the first of the month. If the rate is higher than would be normally expected, discover what you are doing differently as it would appear to be just right.
If the email is opened then you can assume that they want to know more and this need should be satisfied by the email copy. A disappointing click through rate to the microsite or main site shows the email campaign needs some form of modification.
If your recipient clicked through to the microsite and didn't purchase, then a less than overwhelming conversion rate to sales has got to be viewed with some concern. It is virtually the same as them facing you across a sales counter. But all is not lost. If they’ve shown that much interest then what put them off a purchase might well be something minor. Was the product not quite right? If you have other similar, but not identical, items then a follow-up email showing that you have got just what they want could well be enough for them to put their hand in their pocket. Conversely, if everyone wants one, you’ve probably underpriced the unit.
Opt-ins are the stuff of dreams but don’t just balance them against opt-out / unsubscribe rates. If your campaign has made some disaffected they try and discover why.
The above targets are simple, straightforward, capable of being precisely measured and returns are all but instant. Everything statistics on targets should be. Didn’t we say it was easy to get carried away with direct email marketing?
But there is more.
Your email marketing analytics are unarguable. The recipients either open the email or they do not. They either visit the microsite or they do not. The benefit is that by modifying the email or microsite the effectiveness of changes to your email marketing template can be tested, a poor one can be binned and a template that gives a positive result, worked on and improved.