Most e-mail marketers have failed their way to success, learning from each mistake and reinventing the wheel with each prospecting e-mail they deploy. There are, however, some tactics you can use in your next prospect e-mail campaign to make it more successful and profitable:
Start with the subject line, often referred to as the outer envelope of any e-mail campaign. This is the vehicle that ultimately decides whether your message will be read. For that reason alone, this small area deserves a great deal of attention. But how small of an area is it? Thirty-five characters to be exact. Some e-mail client subject lines allow for a greater number of characters, but when writing your copy you always want to cater to the least common denominator. In the case of subject lines, that’s 35 characters.
While e-mail represents the most effective new media direct marketing tool, some traditional direct marketing tactics do not apply. Words and phrases such as “Free,” “50 Percent Off,” and “You’re a Winner” have caused more postal mail envelopes to be opened than perhaps anything else. Most would then assume that these successful phrases should be included in any subject line for a prospect e-mail campaign. However, including these phrases within a subject line will cause more harm than good. Whether it is by the ISP, e-mail provider or individual, e-mail filtering has become common. Messages including these and similar terms will automatically be deleted or sent into a folder that only exists to house spam.
Also consider the type of message you’re sending. Today many e-mail marketers send two types of e-mail messages. A text-only message will go to those people whose e-mail client does not support HTML, and an HTML message with graphics and clickable images will go to those who can view them. While both groups are critical, the AOL user represents a third segment that is too often overlooked.
What is often assumed is that AOL is a text-based e-mail client since most of the time graphics and hyperlinks are nowhere to be found. While AOL does not comply with HTML 4.0 standards, it does recognize a limited number of HTML tags, allowing the marketer to activate the link within the message sent to AOL users.
So rather than the Web address showing up as plain text, it now can appear as a clickable link within the e-mail. Perhaps it does not seem that important, but if you are doing a consumer e-mailing, up to 40 percent of your prospect addresses could be AOL users. Creating the easiest vehicle for response is every marketer’s goal, and taking time to perform this extra step is the simplest way to achieve this.
When you send your e-mail message can be as important as what you send in it. Different mailing schedules should apply based on who your target audience is.
Business-to-business offers should be e-mailed during the Monday night to Thursday morning period. This will allow your message to avoid the Monday morning inbox clutter, and Friday afternoon apathy.
Consumer mailings fair best when sent on Saturday nights, and from Tuesday to Thursday. Personal e-mail accounts are most often checked on Sundays and thus represent the best time to have a consumer-focused offer appear.
E-mail is a new marketing medium. With every prospect message transmitted, another new technique is used. Testing, creativity and diligence will help to make any e-mail campaign a greater success.