March 31, 2014

6 Killer Email Tactics E-mail is the strike force medium for online and offline retailers because 95% of online users get it and receive an average of 416 commercial messages per month. 91% check their e-mail at least once a day and 70% say they always open e-mails from their favorite companies and 84% say its their preferred channel for engaging with retailers. Don’t let the social/mobile crowd fool you. Social media gets the buzz, but email delivers the traffic. Nearly one in every three e-mails gets opened. More than half open on mobile devices and as much as a third of openers act on the offers. In general, for every dollar spent on e-mail marketing, retailers get $44.25 in return. The big tactical decisions are about frequency or cadence and offers. Some form of free shipping and a minimum of a 10 percent discount are table stakes. And at least weekly for most of the year, except for holidays seems to be the norm. Six e-mail marketing best practices separate the winners from the losers: Write Telegraphic Subject Lines. For one-third of recipients, the subject line is the only criteria for opening. Put the offer and the CTA in the SUBJ line but understand that less is better. Subject lines with fewer than 10 characters have a 58 percent open rate and better than a 2.5% CTR. Shorter is always better. If you can work in the customer’s name and/or location, you can spike open rates. Everybody immediately responds to his or her own name. Short & Sweet Content. Focus on the offer. Aim for 4 paragraphs maximum. Limit the possible CTAs. Click rate degrades with the number of links, so focus your customers on seeing a single powerful offer and direct them to click on a big colorful link or button or two. Avoid the urge to load up on logos and taglines. Present the product or service clearly. Find a stand-alone illustration or image to make your point and ask for the order. Like a letter, adding a personal signature, evidence of human interaction, can increase opens by 5 times and clicks by 3.5 times. Since everyone already knows the potent proven retail words your offer has to pay it off in a differentiating and motivating way to deliver a decent CTA or CTOA. Time Your Send. Most e-mail is opened during business hours (10a-4p) and the majority of response happens in the first hour after delivery. More than half of mobile e-mail is opened from 5p till 8a. Consider these cycles and what peole normally do during these time periods as you craft content and offers. Open rates peak mid week, on Tuesdays and Wednesday, though the highest click through rates are on Sunday. The most e-mail is sent on Wednesday so the burden to stand out midweek is greatest. Saturdays draw the lowest volume, maybe an opportunity to flank the competition. There is a lot of click through action early in the AM. That’s why so many retailers transmit overnight to catch consumers when they check their e-mail first thing in the morning. Open rates generally peak at 10am and then gently slope downward throughout the business day. Be Transparent on the FROM line. Twenty-four percent of recipients only open e-mail from names they recognize. Transparency works best. Use your brand name. The higher your brand awareness; the better your open rate. Optimize for Mobile. More than half of all e-mail is opened on mobile devices. Too many render badly and drive customers away. Design for smartphones with clear calls-to-action and big buttons for fat fingers. Aim for more elegant rendering on tablets, but expect buying actions to take place from home in the evenings. Keep Sending. Consumers want options and choices. They are not bothered by hundreds of e-mails in their inboxes because, for the most part, they’ve asked for them. The more e-mail they get, the more control they have. High e-mail volume generalkly doesn’t annoy opted-in customers and prospects. They won’t open or read everything you send. But they don’t want to miss out on a great deal. Consumers are expecting lots of offers and will eagerly sort them out and cull the ones that are most attractive. This is one instance where more is more.
Women Dominate Smartphone Use The Chinese say women hold up half the sky. According to new research on smartphone use from Nielsen, ExactTarget, Pew and Simmons Connect, compiled into infographics by, women have a dominant hold on smartphone usage. Everyone knows that men and women think act and feel differently, but women have embraced smartphones as an all-encompassing Swiss Army Knife for life. Men use their phones selectively, like a tool, to accomplish specific tasks. Women are more likely than men to use their smartphones for messaging, talk, web surfing, social networking, games, app downloads and picture taking or sharing. Men and women use email about the same. Men dominate in watching videos, listening to music, reading newspapers and using the GPS app or device. Looking at mobile social media use, men focus on business and dating while women go for relationship building, sharing, entertainment and self-help. Not surprising gender differences affect consumer behavior. Men are 1.5 times more likely to scan coupons or QR codes. Men are less likely to ignore social media ads and prefer commercial messages with cars, sports, action and sexual themes. In contrast women ignore more social and mobile ads, even though they follow 4 times more brands than men. Women prefer ads with sentimental, family, real-life and pet themes. The clear implications for marketers are … Gender Matters. Consider whom you are addressing, both what they doing as they move through their day and how they generally think about mobility and social media. The old clichés and assumptions are no longer valid. Abandon them. Design offers and calls-to-action accordingly. One Size Doesn’t Fit All. If they think, act and use language differently, it only makes sense to create different content aimed at men and women. Target Behavior. Now that you know what they use phones for and the themes that resonate with men and women, time and target messages to intersect natural mobile or social behavior. Efficiently give me the information they’re after and make female-oriented content entertaining and shareable. Honor Half the Sky. Women have been early adopters and are aggressive users of mobile and social technologies. Don’t under-estimate them. Don’t forget their role as household CFO and principal buyer of almost every category of goods and services. Women frequently influence men. And interactions between the genders are often relevant in building brand awareness, consideration and preference.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

The Typepad Team

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