Archive for December, 2009

Welcome New Email Subscribers With A Campaign

A group of young people enjoying cocktails

Last week I talked about putting more actionable and compelling text than images in the Preview Pane will increase your email response rates. This next little technique will too. Everyone is talking about how to eek out every last percentage point in response rates (including myself) but they are missing one of the easiest ways to do just that. Properly welcome your new guest to your party and they won’t stand in the corner feeling a clueless.

A Welcome Campaign is a series of 3-5 emails that properly introduces your new subscriber into your world. The auto-reply or confirmation email is the first in the series but don’t stop there. Send a few more. The first two or three week period is the most critical time period for creating a loyal subscriber who will more likely open and act on your emails. Why?

Most marketers neglect their subscribers until its time to ask them to buy something. I.e. they let their new guests stand in the corner feeling clueless until it’s time to ask them to come through with cleaning the dishes. They don’t say thank you and they don’t talk to them until the next party… and they will probably ask them to help with the dishes again! What a jerk!

A Welcome Campaign fills the gap between subscription and the first real message that goes out. It also gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with them.

How many emails should you send?

Keep your messages short and focused. Use your best judgment to determine what your subscribers will deem valuable and tell them about it. You can sell to them later. What do THEY want to know? And what can you tell them that will make them thankful for subscribing. Figure this out and divvy it up into a few emails.

Confirmation Email

Change your auto-reply/confirmation email from what probably reads something to the effect of “Thanks. Please add our address… and look for email soon” to a real message. Remind them about what they will be receiving. Tell them to keep an eye out for your other welcome messages and tell them why they should. Give them a freebie. Aside from delivering the incentive (in a separate email – not this one), give them something extra. Maybe it’s another coupon, a free whitepaper, upgraded membership for X time period or something else. Don’t be selfish and make it real but don’t deliver it yet! Tell them to its coming at the end of this series.

Incentive Delivery Email

If you used an incentive to get the subscriber, deliver it immediately and in its own email. Too many messages in one email will distract them from hearing your important message(s).

Second Welcome Email

Introduce your main features to them. Again, don’t sell to them. Help them understand your company. What makes your company unique? Is it helpful tools on your website? A unique process they should understand? Highlight one or more of them here and drive them to your site to learn more. Be sure to remind them about your next welcome message.

Third Welcome Email

This can be your last message or maybe you should highlight your company’s features in separate emails. You decide. If this is your last message, deliver your freebie here. You might also want to link them to specific sections of your site.

Later, I’ll talk about email personalization but it goes without saying. If you have the ability to personalize emails, don’t wait for your main campaign to personalize messages. Customize your Welcome Campaign to speak the individual and it will be even more effective.

How long should you wait between each email?

Without knowing more about your email program, I would start with one email each week. Remember, this campaign is serving multiple purposes – filling the gap, establishing a relationship and delivering helpful information. If you send email every week or every day, you’ll need to take that into consideration. Maybe it doesn’t change when you send the emails but it changes what you say in them because the subscriber has already received a few emails from you.

Automating the Welcome Campaign

If you are with an email provider that cannot send triggered emails, it’s time to move. Daunting, I know. But you’ll be missing out on one of the easiest ways to increase your response rates and you’re up for a challenging task of figuring out what message to send when and to whom.

Slideshare: Welcome New Email Subscribers With A Campaign

Posted: December 22nd, 2009
at 9:50am by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , , ,

Categories: Email Marketing

Comments: No comments

Move Compelling Content Up And Graphics Down To Win At Email

3d illustration of a large chrome at symbol wi...

I see so many emails that lead with menus from their website, unsub and web version text, large header graphics/logos (that don’t show up) and other distractions. Subscribers DON’T CARE! I suspect that many times this is just to fill in whitespace. Branding your company is a good argument, too. Recognizing you as the sender… Even better argument. Whatever the case, get rid of it. Why? 1) Subscribers don’t care. 2) Images are disabled on 50+% of email programs and I’ll bet that number is growing. I achieved a 700% increase in response rates for one email program by following this simple rule: Move content up and images down… What’s the big deal? Read on and I’ll tell and show you.

The top left 4 inch square of your email is the most valuable real estate there is. Move the stuff subscribers don’t care about lower down and give them something that will make them thankful for receiving the email and continue to open your emails in the future. If you are in retail, give them the latest coupon and a link to get it. If you are pushing content, lead with the headlines and links versus an intro or long teaser paragraphs. And whatever you do, don’t put a bunch of images at the top before your content. Here’s an example of why you shouldn’t…

This is a screen shot of three emails in my inbox using the Auto-Preview view of Outlook. Can you spot the winner? (Click to open small window.)

Hope you're saying something important here

The first one wins. The other two aren’t leading with content I’m interested in. If I’m someone who uses Auto-Preview (25% of users do), then the two losers haven’t told me anything. I have to open the email to figure it out and stats say that people won’t. I completely ignore the last email because it’s full of image links. I glance right over it.

This comes down to layout. If you position your images after your lead content, the image links will appear after the most important content.

Now for the clincher. This image speaks for itself: (Click to open small window.)

Images are disabled on 70+% of recipients

50+% of recipients have images disabled by default. 70+% of them will make the decision to read, file for later or delete your message without enabling images and without scrolling down.

Push your content up and your other messages down…

Stay tuned for more. Thanks for reading.


Email Marketing: Move Compelling Content Up And Graphics Down To Win At Email

Posted: December 15th, 2009
at 7:36pm by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , , , ,

Categories: Email Design

Comments: 1 comment


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