How to Make E-Mail Marketing Viable for Your Business – E-mail Thursday

By Nik


Today’s topic is “How To Make E-Mail Marketing Viable for your Business”. I know what you’re thinking – Nik, you’re here to sell me, right? Sure – maybe a little. But let’s take a look at the facts anyways – the key to your business’ growth might lie in this everyday concept. Today, we’ll go over the 3 main areas that you should focus on to really start impacting your business growth from e-mail marketing: building the base, where to focus and finally, the technology.

Our goals are two-fold: we want to increase the number of e-mails in your database while also increasing the value of each e-mail you have in your database. So we’ll start with goal number 1.

Your site traffic can be broken down into 3 main tiers – bouncers, non-converters and converters. From a technical standpoint, the tiers are differentiated by two variables: page view habits and willingness to buy:

  • Bouncers only look at one page when visiting your site and then leave. It is very likely that the visitors did not find your content relevant.
  • Non-Converters look at multiple pages of your site showing that they find your site, indicating that they find the content relevant, but they still don’t buy in the end.
  • Converters are everybody’s favorite: they find your site so relevant that they buy your products.

Each tier can be targeted from a e-mail harvesting standpoint: converters should be given an opt-in option for newsletters upon cart completion. That one’s the easiest and the list you get there is the most targeted and ideal for future business. For non-converters, it’s important that you take a good look at your website and see whether your newsletter sign-up is within scanning view – if your newsletter sign-up isn’t hierarchically one of the first 4-5 things a visitor will prominently see when scanning a page on your site, it will not perform at its potential in terms of getting sign-ups. Next comes the bouncers: A lot of websites take a stab at procuring newsletter sign-ups before a bounce happens – and the best way to do that is showcase a newsletter sign-up box before a visitor can even judge whether the page they will see next is 100% relevant to their needs. But that approach is obtrusive – and obtrusive entities clog shopping funnels – so think about that one carefully before implementing and if you do wish to implement it, try testing first.

So now let’s move to Goal number 2: getting more value from a larger list. You want people buying from your e-mail marketing efforts – that’s the goal – more revenue.

The funnel to get those buyers is simple: people get your e-mails in their inbox -> some of those open -> of those who open, some are interested in clicking to your site -> many of those who visit your site will buy. It’s a long funnel with diminishing successes from one step to the next, so you need to do whatever you can to widen the funnel at every step – and they’re all impacted by the technology you choose.

Start with the inbox: There are many forms of deliverability, but they’re not all equal. Deliverability to an inbox is achieved through rigorous screening and sandboxing policies by an ESP. Find out an ESP’s screening process before signing up with them – if they’ll let you join without sandboxing and testing your approach, they’ll let anybody through – and that will effect your inbox deliverability. When other members of the IP block you’ve been designated by your ESP violate CAN-SPAM, you get penalized as well. Pay to go through a metal detector if you want to be amongst good company.

For open rates and click-thru rates:

  • Make sure the technology you subscribe to allows you to split stream test – that means running two or more variations of a campaign against a small % of your list, like 20% – then send the next 80% the winner from the seed test group. That way, 90% of your recipients get the most effective version of your campaign.
  • Also, make sure you can segment and personalize your message – it should be an easy task, not a tedious one: if you are forced to split your list into many segments and then send them each a different message one at a time, you’re wasting your time and are limiting your approach.
  • Finally, if you cannot send triggered, automated messages, then you’ll never be able to treat new sign-ups with more attention than your older recipients. When customers buy a product from you for example, they will read many follow-up e-mails from you as long as they pertain to the purchase – your open and click-thru rates for these type of messages will never be higher.

Finally, to track the overall effectiveness of your work, you need proper tracking and reporting – if you can’t get revenue numbers, then you’re steering your ship through the fog – to grow your revenue through e-mail, make sure you know how it’s doing and work from there to make it better each month.