When it comes to direct response marketing, responses don’t get much more immediate than with email marketing. Within 24 hours of hitting send, campaign coordinators can easily access an enormous amount of data regarding the metrics needed to measure a campaigns success. This means a keen eye for the small stuff, like the overall size of your list, how often you are mailing, what your open rates are, what click-through conversions are par for the course.
Far too often, the emphasis is placed on the amount of traffic earned. Campaigns are initially viewed as successful when there are tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to the landing page. Of course, this is the cosmetic evaluation of success. Sadly enough, many campaigns that seem successful on the service actually turn out to be woefully unprofitable. In the world of sales and marketing, traffic isn’t enough.
For example, if a business needs to make $10,000 tomorrow and knows that their conversion rate is right at 4% for Internet traffic and their sales price for the product is $14.99, looking at things from the “traffic” angle means that they would need about 20,000 visitors to the site.
While list building is an important part of a comprehensive email marketing campaign, there is something else of equal – if not greater – value: conversion rates.
Successful email marketers don’t just want a bigger list. They want their subject lines and messages and the links and calls to action to make more sales. For true success, they need to gain more sales out of the visitors. In our previous example, that might mean tweaking aspects of the campaign until 10% are converting. In essence, for the $10,000 funding run, less than 10,000 visitors would be needed to reach the funding goal.
Know Your Readers
The more intimately a publisher knows the audience in question, the easier it will be to organically convert list members into customers. Create an in-depth subscription form. Even if you don’t make the information mandatory to join, simply asking questions will yield answers. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to craft your calls to action to make taking the next step the most natural thing in the world.
As conversion rates come into focus, one of the critical steps to success is learning to test to increase sales. When it comes to split testing, one variable (often the subject line) is tested on a split section of the list. One half would receive Subject A and the other half Subject B. Then, after the results come in, see which subject line performed better. This works particularly well when your messages are distributed via an autoresponder program. The important thing here is to only test one variable at a time and go with the test that scored higher.
Send it to Yourself
Different computers result in differing viewing experiences for the end user. Sometimes, taking the time to view your email messages on different machines will allow you to identify potential strengths and weaknesses you might otherwise miss out on. Look for issues with fonts, font colors, screen sizes and more.
Always, no matter what, make sure that your list members are opting in, not just being blindly emailed. Even if you add someone to your newsletter because they handed you a business card at a trade show doesn’t count. It would be better to send a follow up personal email with a link inviting them to subscribe to your blog or newsletter and why it matters to them. Businesses that will be collecting email addresses in any method should make it clear when the information is being solicited that they will be receiving an opt in email to continue receiving messages from your organization. Double and triple opt-in options, where there is clear documentation of permission to market, are even better options.
Learn What You Can Do for Free
While Constant Contact may be the industry leader, there are other and cheaper options available. If cost is a major concern heading into an email marketing campaign launch, www.mailchimp.com may be just what the doctor ordered. With most of the bells and whistles of Constant Contact with free and low-cost options, most budgets clearly list the fees at an investment, not a cost.