Measuring Web site effectiveness, charging for webinars and improving e-mail marketing tactics

What are the best ways to improve the success of my e-mail marketing efforts?

“Just as in the direct mail world, every e-mail cam­paign you send should be a test in progress,” replies Chris Marriott, VP and general manager of Acxiom Digital. “Start with simple A/B testing of subject lines, including names and even your ‘from’ address. Test recipients who click through to a custom landing page rather than those that click on specific product or content pages on your Web site.”

Marriott adds that an e-mail click map — which shows where in the e-mail people are clicking and what percentage of the clicks each link receives — is a powerful tool. “You should then look at conversions from each link clicked and test the calls to action within the e-mails,” he says. “When people unsub­scribe, ask why they want off your list, in their own words. Most importantly, segment your list and test different messages and offers for each segment.”

How can we measure whether our brand Web site is really driving in-store sales?

Jeff Weitzman, CMO of Coupons Inc., says, “Measuring ROI on brand Web sites can be tough for brands and products sold almost exclusively offline.”

Brand Web sites can drive sales, promote loyalty, build databases and engage consumers, but they work best when there’s a value exchange with the con­sumer. Weitzman says, “[Say to customers,] ‘You help me learn more about who you are and why you do or don’t buy my product, and I’ll give you something in return.’” He recommends offering coupons online. “Many customers visit brand Web sites to find special offers, and coupons provide the value exchange with the consumer,” he points out. “They also offer an accurate measure of purchase intent and offline sales. Since they can be tracked from print to redemption, the brand knows whether a Web visit (or an e-mail) resulted in a purchase.”

Should I charge to attend my webinar?

“Webinars can be extremely effective as lead generation tactics. The question of to charge or not to charge is one see virtual event planners struggle with,” responds Christopher Dean, account manager for KRM Information Services Inc.

“To get registrants for a free webinar, you must first overcome their ‘Are you trying to sell me something?’ skepticism,” Dean continues. “Once registered, with no financial commitment, there’s a good chance they won’t show up.” No-show rates can exceed 50% for free events, he points out. “Price your event accord­ing to the value of the information you’re providing,” Dean suggests. “The price you set sends a message — however unintended — to your target audience. It tells prospective attendees everything they need to know about the value of the event. After all,” he sums up, “if there’s real value in the information you have to share, are you sure you want give it away?”

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