We don’t recommend buying an email list and sending mass solicitations. It’s just bad for the brand image and bad for business in the long run. It’s better to drive traffic to a landing page, offer valuable information and request or require an opt-in to receive it. This is a start, and then the job is to nurture and protect the relationship when someone does opt-in.
When visitors sign up to receive your email, they are choosing to enter into a relationship with your company. They’re probably interested in your products and want to learn more about them. If you consider that your email messages are a link to your relationship with that visitor, you realize that filling their inbox with solicitations will probably hurt the relationship. Sending out a boring newsletter every month may just annoy them a little.
In order to build and maintain a good long-term relationship, the emails you send out should contain messages that are carefully planned and have real value to the recipient.
Nurturing relationships with email is relatively simple. First and foremost, think of them as individuals with different objectives, rather than just as subscribers.
To accomplish this, segment the subscribers into categories. You may decide to identify them as architects, builders, contractors, do-it-yourselfers and homeowners that want more say in the products that a contractor uses, or that an architect specifies. You may want to further segment these by commercial and residential, or modern and traditional – Depending on your category and product offering.
We generally recommend a series of automated responses, to be determined by their market segment and their product request. After that it often makes sense to email to your list at least twice a month for your audience to be sure your products are top-of-mind for them. If your subscribers always receive quality information on a regular basis, they’ll eventually know what to expect and when to expect it and that is likely to build a strong relationship and make them more loyal and engaged. Ultimately that should lead to more sales.
If you don’t know what your customer base values most, you may try sending them a survey. A well done survey can help enhance your email campaign, develop a better strategy and enhance your image.
The first step is getting into your recipient’s inbox. It’s not as simple as you may think. It’s important to monitor the delivery rate. A high delivery rate will tell you if you’re getting valid email addresses. Also, as spam filters becoming more effective the difficulty of getting to the inbox increases. There are specific techniques that can help you stay out of the spam folder.
If you divide number of emails opened by the number of emails that were delivered you get the “open rate.” A high open rate indicates engagement. Compelling subject lines are important, but be careful! Subject lines MUST be relevant. This can be a little deceptive because opens are tracked only in HTML emails when the images turned on. If the email is read with the images off, it won’t be counted in the open rate.
The Clickthrough Rate is the number of clicks divided by the number of emails delivered. This is high if you message is engaging. If this is low it usually means that the content of the email wasn’t relevant, or at least not interesting enough for the recipient to take the action you wanted. This is where segmentation is important. By sending information architects would be interested in to architects only, and sending content contractors would like just to contractors, etc. you can make a big improvement in the Clickthrough Rate.
When the visitor arrives at your website, if they don’t engage (that is click on something) then the website bounce rate will go up. This is an indication of how compelling your landing page is. If you sell direct, you can also watch the difference between the website bounce rate and the conversion rate. A low bounce rate and a low conversion rate could indicate the offer, customer service, or the sales department needs work. It could also mean that the conversion path is not clear and compelling.
Beyond these metrics we recommend calculating the average Revenue per Email sent (total revenue divided by the number of emails sent), as well as the profitability per email.