Your company’s e-mail marketing campaign might look successful — well
branded, pleasing to the eye and filled with useful content. But is it successful in
converting subscribers to customers?
While there are countless bells and whistles
you can add to your e-mail marketing campaign to make it look polished and high
tech, what matters most at the end of the
day is if the e-mail gets opened, read and
converted, according to Brad Kleinman, an
e-marketing consultant and instructor at
“There are three basic steps an e-mail
campaign needs to follow if it is going to be
successful,” he says.
Smart Business spoke with Kleinman
about the three steps and how to implement them to create a solid foundation for
a successful e-mail marketing campaign.
What are the benchmarks of a successful e-mail marketing campaign?
The true success of an e-mail marketing
campaign is measured by the conversion
rate from a prospect to a paying customer.
This does not happen if the e-mail is not
read or ends up in a spam folder. An e-mail
campaign will not get much ROI if readers
are not compelled to click through to the
company’s Web site for more information
or to make a purchase. While it is important for subscribers to open an e-mail, the
best measure is conversion, that is, if the
campaign is actually turning into cash.
What’s the first step of a good campaign?
The first step, once you have a list of optin subscribers to your campaign — which
could be a newsletter, an e-course, tutorial,
series of white papers, etc. — is to get the
recipients to open the e-mail. If a recipient
doesn’t trust the subject or ‘from’ line, the
e-mail will get deleted. To avoid this problem, make sure you put a name of an actual ‘trusted’ person in the ‘from’ line. To
avoid triggering spam filters, do not use
words like ‘free’ or exclamation points or
all capital letters in the subject line. Make
the subject line enticing or intriguing.
Creating a ‘tip-based’ subject line often gets
higher open rates.
Once a subscriber opens the e-mail, what is
The second step is to design the e-mail so
that there is a combination of both pictures
and text — not just one or the other. The
biggest mistake e-mail marketers can make
is to write the e-mail all in 12-point font,
with no breaks or headlines. This makes an
e-mail very hard to read online. There are
schools of thought that say e-mail marketing campaigns should be short and to the
point, others say that e-mails should be
longer. But I have found that it depends on
the industry and type of e-mail that you are
The content needs to be interesting, useful and not 100 percent self-promotion.
Many researchers say that the percentage
of content to advertising should be 60 percent to 40 percent. But, the e-mail marketing campaign is not all about good tips and
content. It must move the subscriber to
step three, which is action. This call to
action must be located not only at the bottom of the e-mail but, more importantly,
above the fold, or what is on the subscribers’ screen before scrolling down.
What is the action that makes an e-mail campaign successful?
The action hooks the subscriber into getting beyond passively reading content to
doing something. That could vary from
campaign to campaign. It could be a phone
call, visiting a Web site for more information, purchasing an e-book, or booking a
free or nominal-fee consultation.
The foundation of a successful e-mail
marketing strategy is the same as traditional marketing: making sure that there is a
salesperson available so that the customer
buys. Try not to build an e-mail marketing
campaign that is completely ‘e.’ In the
cyber world, we tend to leave that part out,
but the most successful e-mail marketing
campaigns rely on human interaction to
make the conversion from prospect to customer. At some point, businesses need to
take the conversation offline.
Is there anything else that is critical in creating e-mail marketing campaigns?
Yes, the names on a list are gold. You
always want to improve and add to this list.
There are many e-mail marketing programs available that can help marketers
segment and categorize the lists to help
create target marketing and experiment
with conversion rates. Even changing one
adjective in the subject line can make a
huge difference in open rates.
E-mail marketing has been an extremely
helpful tool because data can easily be captured. Through your e-mail marketing program, you will know how many people
opened the e-mail, clicked on a link and,
potentially, how much your sales went up
as a result. Any changes you make can easily be measured, as well. The beauty about
e-mail marketing is how little it costs and
the high ROI that is possible, if you do it
right and follow the basic steps.
BRAD KLEINMAN is an e-marketing consultant and instructor at Corporate College (www.corporatecollege.com) based in Cleveland,
which offers employers custom-designed training programs to enhance future work force development, job growth and job retention in
Northeast Ohio. Reach him at (216) 339-0353 or [email protected].