Marketers' top tips

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We asked marketers to share their best advice for successful e-mail marketing. The common element of the four?  No surprise: A focus on the customer.

Customers should be seen and heard. At The Land of Nod, we believe our customers should be seen and heard. With an average product rating on our site of 4.8 out of five stars, customer feedback is our security blanket. By featuring top-rated products and snippets from actual reviews in our e-mails, we're able to include an authentic customer voice in that communication. Every e-mail that incorporates customer feedback gives us a chance to drive clicks and build our brand. — Michelle Kohanzo, director of marketing, Land of Nod

Ask and ye shall receive. People don't like to be told what to do. We had a program requiring customers to recommend two friends in order to qualify for VIP status. We then switched gears and made it open ended. We said, “You qualify for this privilege based on being an active user” and suggested they share the wealth. Response skyrocketed from 35% to 75%. Beforehand, it was a penalty: “To get the prize you have to do this unpleasant thing.” We flipped that thinking and said, “Here's the prize. Share it with your friends.” We got a lot more in return. — Craig Calder, VP of marketing, Travelzoo

Customize it. Create a custom landing page for each of your e-mails so that readers will find content, imagery and layout that thematically and contextually matches the expectations you set in the e-mail. This is especially true when you do A/B testing on e-mail messages. This will encourage readers to take the action you want them to, whether it is filling out a contact form, downloading a whitepaper, or signing up for a free trial. — David Almoslino, senior director of marketing, Trimble Navigation Ltd.

Social and e-mail are so very complementary. Marketers are enthralled with social media, but it is important to incorporate basics such as e-mail. E-mail remains a preferred communications channel, and it complements other marketing channels by enabling target audiences to volunteer — that is, opt in — for ongoing offers and communications. As marketers gain experience in identifying brand influencers through social media engagement, creating e-mail especially for them can be an important differentiator. — Gary Spangler, e-marketing manager, DuPont.

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