While social media is the flashy show horse of online marketing, email remains the solid workhorse. According to recent research, 92% of marketers consider email to be one of their “most important marketing tools” and 54% plan increased spending on it in the coming year. Email marketing remains one of the top spending priorities for online, after search and display advertising.
Why? Well, unlike social media, email is virtually universal. While many corporations still ban or limit social media use within their walls, none ban email (they filter it for spam, but don’t block it completely). It’s direct, cost-efficient, and, done properly, still an effective channel for lead generation, nurturing and sales. And as some of the posts below show, when integrated with social media tools, email becomes even more powerful. For example, Helen Leggatt reports that “the inclusion of social media sharing buttons in email generated click-through rates around 30% higher than email sent with no sharing options.”
One key concern among email marketers is open rates; how can you craft subject lines that increase the odds recipients will open your email messages? How can you use email marketing most effectively and avoid overloading your recipients with information? How can you grow the size of your email marketing list? Avoid mistakes that will cost you readers? Integrate your email and social media marketing efforts to improve results through both channels? Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than two dozen of the best email marketing guides of the past year.
Email Marketing Tips and Tactics
3 items that should be in your 2010 email budget by BtoB Magazine
Karen J. Bannan reports that more than half of marketers plan increases in their email marketing budgets, while nearly two-thirds plan to spend more on digital marketing generally, and identifies three key spending areas to consider when allocating those budgets.
Pierre Khwanad laments that “we tend to use (email) all the time. E-mail is easy. It is quick. It costs virtually nothing (if we are only looking at the hard costs). In addition, we can say whatever we want in an e-mail and not get interrupted by someone else’s point of view,” and suggests using other communications methods such as instant messaging, phone calls, live meetings, web conferences, blogs and wikis in situations where those tools are really more appropriate and effective.
7 brands with bad-ass email programs by iMedia Connection
Though acknowledging that “There’s no global best practice that makes your campaign stats jump, no design layout that wins every time. It takes constant trying, tweaking, analyzing, and risk-taking,” Dylan Boyd highlights seven brands that he thinks do email right, such as National Geographic, Banana Republic and The Wall Street Journal.
10 E-Mail Commandments by iMedia Connection
Daniel Flamberg presents his ten commandments to make your brand and message stand out in the in box, like maintaining a clean list, limiting response options, and my favorite: “send less better.”
Add Google Analytics to Emails and Gain B2B Lead Generation Intelligence by Industrial Marketing Today
Achinta Mitra provides step-by-step instructions for integrating Google Analytics with standard ESP email tracking, which produces much richer data to help optimize conversion rates.
7 emails you should never send by iMedia Connection
***** 5 Stars
Carissa Newton brilliantly highlights several all-too-common email mistakes to avoid, including the “one size fits all” newsletter (just as with clothing, this usually, in reality, means “one size that fits none”), image-only emails, excessively long messages, and emails with no social media links.
30 Beautiful Email Newsletters Design For your Inspiration by Tripwire Magazine
Dustin Betonio shares 30 designs that are undeniably beautiful, though most rely too heavily on graphics (see the post above). A better approach may be a simpler newsletter design with a compelling hook to get the reader to click through to a more graphically-rich web page with similar but augmented content.
3 keys to optimizing the email experience by iMedia Connection
Brian Deagan identifies three key components for email marketing success, starting with picking an email service provider that incorporates device detection, can deliver messages in mobile-friendly format, and provides actionable analytics.
How to Grow Your Email Opt-In Subscriber List
Noting that “B2B marketers say that their internal e-mail lists are seven times more effective at generating quality sales leads than third-party lists. However, most also say that their e-mail lists aren’t large enough to drive the volume of leads their sales organization needs,” Mike Hotz details three strategies—such as organic list building through trade shows, social media, QR codes and offline venues—for building a large and relevant house email list.
Internet Marketing for Beginners: Email marketing optimization 101 by MarketingSherpa Blog
David Kirkpatrick walks through a scientific formula for addressing the most challenging aspect of email marketing: building a qualified list. The key is to optimize the relevance and value of the incentive offered while minimizing friction (your target audience’s concerns about subscribing).
One Change, 73% More Subscribers by AWeber Communications
Amanda Gagnon explains how Walden University dramatically increased email subscriptions by simplifying its signup process and reduced the number of clicks required.
How to Increase Email Open Rates
10 Words That Will Make People Open Your Email by Freelance Copywriter’s Blog
***** 5 Stars
“The first thing your recipient will see (in your email message) is the sender’s name and subject line. So how do you make sure you pique his curiosity sufficiently to click on your email and open it?” Sally Ormond answers this question with 10 opening words and phrases to help grab your reader’s attention within a 40-character subject line.
290 Email Spam Trigger Words to Avoid by Mirna Bard
***** 5 Stars
Your emails can’t produce results if they never reach your recipients, and while there any many factors involved in deliverability, avoiding the use of “spam” trigger words is one key way to help your messages reach the inbox rather than the junk folder. This list of 290 spam trigger words to avoid contains both obvious (e.g., $$$, income from home, MLM) terms as well as less obvious words and phrases (cost, discount, compare, and trial).
New rules for sexy subject lines by iMedia Connection
Dylan Boyd (again) lays out the six key elements of a “sexy” email subject line (e.g., it sets the tone and aligns expectations), demonstrates his points with several very good real-world examples (and a few bad ones), and concludes with guidance on common subject-line mistakes to avoid.
How can marketers craft email subject lines that work? by BtoB Magazine
Noting that “as much as 40% of a recipient’s decision to open an email is based on the subject as well as the sender,” Craig Stouffer contends that copywriters need to spend considerable time and effort in tuning the subject line—and provides six questions to ask before starting to write that will help in crafting a compelling email message and subject line.
2009 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study by XDXY eMarketing Tips
An interesting collection of email stats from a report by email marketing service provider Silverpop. The median open rate for marketing emails is 19.4%; the median click-through rate is 2.4%; and the average bounce rate is 5.5%. In all cases, however, email from senders in the top quintile (those using the best practices) significantly outperformed those in the bottom quintile.
Email Marketing Benchmarks for Small Business by MailChimp
Email marketing can be used in any industry of course, but the results can vary considerably. This excellent summary details how common email metrics vary across industries, for example: emails related to food (36.62%), photography (34.17%), video production (33.09%) or church (32.95%) have the highest open rates, while some of the lowest rates are found in subjects like entertainment (15.42%), arts/music (16.22%) and software (18.22%).
In a recent study from Lyris, 34% of respondents “rated social media as the online marketing channel with the greatest positive effect when integrated with email, selected by 34%, compared with 29% who said web analytics and just 3% who said mobile marketing.” 54% said that integrating social media and email efforts made the overall results at least somewhat better. Facebook and Twitter are the social tools most commonly integrated with email campaigns.
Email and Social Media Integration Tips
The real definition of “social” email by iMedia Connection
Email + social media buttons = increased CTRs by BizReport
Helen Leggatt reports on research showing that “the inclusion of social media sharing buttons in email generated click-through rates around 30% higher than email sent with no sharing options.” A Twitter button is the single most effective sharing option, but including multiple buttons generates the highest sharing rates.
What social media can teach us about email marketing by iMedia Connection
Ajay Goel believes email and social media will increasingly be used in an integrated, mutually supportive fashion, and offers five tips on how to use social media attributes to make email marketing more personable and effective.
Easy Ways to Socialize Your Email by Direct Magazine
Sherry Chiger offers seven suggestions for how to “leverage social media with email to increase audience reach, customer engagement and retention, and of course, revenue,” among them offering email subscribers coupons and discounts in exchange for following you on Facebook or other social media.
5 Ways To Combine Social Media And E-Mail Marketing To Double Your Online Impact by Business Insider
Gail Goodman notes that social media is timely and interactive, but also fleeting, while email is more intimate and archivable. She then details five considerations to keep in mind in order to maximize the impact of both channels, along with tactics like repurposing newsletter content in short snippets as social media messages.
7 tricks email can steal from social media by iMedia Connection
Ben Ardito offers seven tips for integrating email with social media (such as including customer reviews, and highlighting your people) “beyond simply adding links to your social media profiles or sending an email asking your subscribers to follow you on Twitter.”
Ten Lessons Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Email Marketers by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck details 10 characteristics shared by skilled email and social media marketers, such as relationship building, content sharing, trust earning and engagement.