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5 email marketing best practices to double your response rates and profits

Posted in A/B Split Testing, How To on September 1st, 2011

This is a guest post by Jeremy Reeves, who is an email copywriter and split-testing freak. To find out how Jeremy can help dramatically increase your email marketing profits, head on over to http://www.JeremyReeves.com/email-copywriter.html

Due to the nature of my business, I’m exposed to more email campaigns than you could ever imagine.

And I have to admit…

… not ONE of them is fully maximizing their email marketing potential.

Every single email campaign I’ve ever looked at has holes in it which are leaking profits on a daily basis.

It’s a sad, but very true, fact.

So in this post, I’d like to show YOU how to maximize your email marketing by giving you 5 “holes” you can fill, starting today.

Tip #1: You Should Split-Test

It makes sense to make this the first reason, because as a reader of Visual Website Optimizer, you should be a split-testing freak like I am!

Now, I’ll admit that for whatever reason – most email marketing software makes it hard to split-test campaigns.

But does that mean it’s impossible? Not at all.

Here’s what you do.

Before you send out a new campaign/broadcast, split your list into 2-5 portions (depending on the size of your list). Then, start testing things that give you insights into what your market wants and responds to.

For example…

  • Do they like short “teaser” emails, or longer emails with more information?
  • Do they respond to negative subject lines, or positive subject lines?
  • Does an html email or text email give you better CTR’s?
  • … and so on and so forth.

With each test you do, try to test something that will give you insights as to what you can use in the future. Over time you’ll seem to develop a 6th sense – the ability to “predict” what your market will respond to, which leads to higher profits!

Tip #2: You Should Email Frequently

Many marketers are afraid of making their list “mad” by emailing them too often.

But think about it.

One of the most essential aspects of creating a profitable business is getting your prospects and customers to TRUST you, is it not? To develop an airtight bond and rapport with them, just like you slowly build up rapport with a new person you meet who eventually becomes your trusted friend.

Keeping that in mind, who would you trust more when they recommend something to you…

A) A friend you talk to once a month?
B) A friend you talk to 3…5… 7 times a week?

I’ve seen amazing things happen when a client starts emailing their list more often. In every single case, the more often they emailed their list – the more sales they made (and yes, over the long term).

But there’s one caveat.

Be SMART about it.

Don’t blast your list offers everyday because they’ll drop off your list faster than you can blink an eye. Treat them like you would a friend, by sending relevant information mixed in with soft pitches to buy your product.

And every once in awhile… create a marketing campaign, which we’ll talk about next.

Tip #3: You Should Create Newsworthy Marketing Campaigns

For some reason, newsworthy marketing campaigns are as rare as a hen’s tooth these days. I’m not sure if marketers are getting lazy, or just forgetting tried-and-true ways to promote their business and generate good buzz at the same time.

Here’s what I mean.

Think about the various ways you can tie a promotion for YOUR business into either something that’s on the minds of your prospects… or even something that happened in your life personally. Here are a few ideas to get your mind juices flowing.

  • Back to school in August
  • Labor Day in September
  • You’ve just moved your office/house, etc.
  • You just had a new baby
  • Your business just hit a major goal and now it’s “customer appreciate week”
  • The list goes on and on…

I personally ran a birthday promotion for my own services a few months back – and booked myself solid for about 4 months. (Thanks to the VWO subscribers who took me up on that offer!) It took me about 45 minutes to setup the promotion.

Here’s the cool part.

You can come up with special promotions for almost ANYTHING. One marketer I know created a promotion based around his wife putting him in the “doghouse” for having too much inventory in their garage!

If you spend just 30 minutes brainstorming – I guarantee you can come up with at least 5 ideas, one of which will be good enough to use. Use the one you like best, create an email campaign out of it which sends them to a custom landing page made specifically for that event, and you have yourself one heck of a profitable promotion.

Oh, and one more thing.

DON’T make the mistake and think your prospects are too “sophisticated” for these types of promotions. It’s one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make in your business, which is why I’ve included it as…

Tip #4: Don’t Write Stuffy, Boring Emails Because You Think Your Audience Is “Sophisticated”

If you think your audience is too sophisticated for fun promotions like that, here’s a little secret.

YOU. ARE. LOSING. A. BOATLOAD. OF. MONEY.

Clear enough?

The fact is, I don’t care if you’re selling to drunk, zit-faced teenagers or to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.

They’re both PEOPLE.

And what do PEOPLE want?

They want to have fun. They want to be entertained. They want to be engaged. They want drama (even though most don’t realize it). In fact, most people are psychologically addicted to drama. Why do you think soap opera’s and reality TV shows are so popular?

Whatever way you slice it, you need to add more personality in your marketing. Can you feel my personality oozing out from my fingers and onto your screen?

I bet you can – and that’s why this blog post is easy to read and understand (at least it should be!). If I got all fancy pants and started talking in technical jibble-jabble and hardcore psychology… you’d have no idea what I was talking about.

The point is this.

People like dealing with people, not companies.

Remember that the next time you click “send”.

Tip #5: You Should Segment Your List

One of THE easiest ways to increase your email marketing profits is to segment your list.

So what types of segmentation should you be doing?

I don’t know your business, of course, but here are a few you can start with.

Buyers – Every business in the world should have a separate buyers email list. There is NO excuse for not having a buyers email list. Previous buyers, on average, are roughly 7x more likely to buy in the future as compared to first-time buyers. They also make up your back-end which, when fully developed, can triple or more your profits. If you’re not segmenting your buyers – I’m sorry to say but in my mind – you’re simply insane! :)

Demographic/Psychographic/Geographic – This can be done in many ways. For example you can separate men from women, by age group, by political association, by religion, by type of dog they own (for dog training sites of course), or even by country. The possibilities are endless, depending on your business.

How Active – Here’s a quick promotion you can do to both clean your email list and make oodles of money in the process. It’s called a “reactivation campaign” and it’s something direct marketers have used in the offline world for ages.

Here’s what you do…

1) Do a search to find prospects who haven’t opened an email in 3 months, 6 months, etc.

2) Send them something for free, while also asking them why they haven’t been active lately and seeing if you can help them in any way.

3) After the promotion is over, do a search for those who didn’t open/click the email and flush them from your list. Yes, actually delete them. They’re the non-responders and are clogging up your list. And for the people that did respond and/or download the gift you sent them – they’re now “reactivated” and should start opening more emails!

That last promotion I said is a little more robust than that if you want to do it right (it would take a blog post to explain it in detail), but something is better than nothing right?

Either way… I hope you’re the kind of person who TAKES ACTION and won’t simply read this post and do nothing. I just gave you enough information to add literally tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars into your business, if you take action and implement.

So start fixing the holes in your email campaign… or hire someone like me to do it for you if you don’t know how or don’t want to put in the effort.

As Nike would say… “Just DO it”.

No more excuses.

You can easily add 20% – 100% more profits to your bottom-line by maximizing your email marketing… so what are you waiting for?

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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11 Comments
Rajat
September 2, 2011

One of the best posts on the blog. Really liked the “They’re both PEOPLE” part.

Tim Watson
September 2, 2011

Great list of five and of course written in a very readable way.

I agree with all from experience and especially split testing – I’ve got big gains from this.

The only practice I would question is such aggresive dropping of ‘inactives’. I’ve seen people who did not reactivate from specific reactivation emails, but did later spend again, even after over 8 months of no activity. I’d only drop people from your list if there is a deliverability issue.

Rai
September 2, 2011

Hi,
Very good to see an article about newsletters. I enjoy it and I will apply this on my clients.

Thanks!,
Rai.

Email List Dude
September 8, 2011

Great article. All of these tips are very useful to increasing ROI of email campaigns. The “reactivation campaign” in particular is a great way to get a little boost. A freebie is a strogn incentive.

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Tyler Garns
September 26, 2011

Jeremy,

Great post. You’re right on. At Infusionsoft we sent 50-60 millions emails per week on behalf of our customers. We do a lot of email marketing training. I couldn’t agree more with your recommendations. Great job.

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VAR Marketing
October 26, 2011

Jeremy,

Great post and love the conversational writing style. Perhaps more important, you offer up some fantastic advice supported by examples and real tactics…not something you see much of (too many spammy blog posts out there!). Great job. I’ll be subscribing to your RSS feed!

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Richard
November 20, 2012

Really great article, and all worth keeping in mind, the Co. I work with right now is undertaking a housekeeping session, part of which is updating a rather fusty email campaign. I hope we can use your advice to push better emails.

Thanks!

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