Best practices for integrating e-mail into your campaign
With the prevalence of spam, the growing sophistication of spam filters and the explosive interest in sharing announcements via social media, marketers are asking themselves about the role of e-mail as a means to help drive response.
The advantages of e-mail marketing are plentiful: Access to insightful data (opens, clicks, opt-outs, forward metrics, etc.), the ability for your recipients to save the mail for access at a later time and the potential for viral spread when people forward to friends or colleagues.
But when does it make sense to incorporate e-mail marketing into your campaign? The following are some considerations for marketers to explore as they're determining the effectiveness of e-mail as a component of their campaigns.
What's the nature of the campaign, and what actions are you trying to drive with your audience? If you're trying to drive demand for a conference, for example, your campaign might include a mix of components: Your Web site shares conference content, logistics and other information, and your Twitter or Facebook pages drive social engagement. E-mail can be a smart way to combine the two, showcasing event content alongside the variety of engagement opportunities available. Additionally, e-mail offers you room to expound on topics of interest as well as share multiple engagement links.
How does your target audience prefer to be communicated with?
Consider the age of your audience. Our parents likely prefer e-mail, and not even the peppering of Facebook with pictures of the grandkids will move them into the social networking world.
What's your budget?
E-mail campaigns require copywriting, design, HTML development, the services of a credible e-mail blast vendor and, if you don't have a pre-existing list of quality contacts, a rented list of contacts. If you're on a tight budget, these are factors to consider. That said, if your volume of contacts is large enough, the cost-per-contact will be pretty reasonable.
If you've established that e-mail is a good fit for your campaign and audience, then here are just a few additional pieces of information to help you deliver a successful e-mail:
The right subject line goes a long way: Avoid using words like “free” never send an e-mail subject line in all caps, and remember that actionable subject lines result in higher open rates than subject lines that ask questions.
Pick the right time of day: Try to get your e-mail to your audiences' inboxes during a time when they're most likely to be in front of their computers.
…And the right day of the week: To get the most visibility, avoid sending your blast on Mondays and Fridays – the open rate suffers on those particular days.
Considering these factors and best practices will contribute significantly to the success of any campaign that uses e-mail marketing.