13 Improvements For Your Email Marketing Program

Posted by Rebecca Whitney on Nov 19, 2015 4:44:45 PM
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A few years ago, we recommended 14 basic tips for improving your email marketing. We’ve made some updates to demonstrate what is most important today. So, now it’s your turn! Refresh your email marketing program with this guide. 


1. Monitor replies 

If you get a reply from a customer, do something with it. It’s not hard to do and when customers hit reply, they are the most engaged. They might be angry or eager to buy something – either way, knowing they’ve responded and answering quickly will be helpful to them and therefore to you.  

Be sure you don't use a no-reply email address so your customers know they have this option! Check out this great article for reasons why you should not use a no-reply email address for more.  

2. Watch who views your pages after emailing

Even for B2C, consider calling page viewers if you have a way to know who they are. In some cases, after an email is sent, we’ll see someone click on 5-10 pages of the website. A well-timed call can help them find what they need. 

3. Put yourself in your customer's shoes

What do they wish you knew about them? Implement a way to find out, reward them for telling you, and then use it wisely. For instance, if they tell you their birthday, be sure to send a note or special offer on that day.   

4. Reward loyalty

Whether it's just to say you have a loyalty program or you want to give your best customers something amazing to remember why they picked you, do something special and memorable for those that are clearly committed to you. 

5. Stop one of your emails and replace it with something better

Try something simpler and more straightforward, or maybe respond to what they told you in #3. You may come up with an entirely new and more beneficial way to reach them. 

6. Walk all the way through your email sign-up and welcome program

Does it feel personal, motivating, kind, empowering, and energizing? If it's none of these, you'll get transactions, possibly, but not long-term relationships. You want the latter. 

Bonus – If you are using marketing automation for lead follow-up – recheck these as well. 

Double Bonus – Request an audit. The more information you have, the better.  

7. Test something new 

Have you been testing subject lines forever? Comparing hero shots each time? Measuring the response to personalized vs. unpersonalized content? Whatever you’re addicted to testing, test something new. Try a text only email even though your brand rocks in technicolor. Send from the President, the Branch Manager, or someone else in the Friendly From. Be very specific about the last time someone bought and why you miss them. In the spirit of Nike - Just do it! 

We recommend setting up a testing plan and index of results so you can plan and know where you won and where you learned something new. 

8. Find out if they still love you

Did recipients sign up for a special in a moment of lapsed judgment, or possibly because they thought you would provide value to their lives? Find out if they still feel the same way. Keep giving them reasons to open and interact with you. Death by sale alert isn’t the best way to do this.

9. Consider controlgroups

Using A/B (and C, if you have it) testing within your ESP is good. If you are testing something beyond subject line or image preferences and performance, be sure you hold back and don't send it to everyone. We recommend 20% control groups but it does depend on the size of your audience. (This is where you’ll wish you could remember everything your professor said about statistical significance.) 

Did your test group buy, tour, inquire, open an account, or stay longer than those in your control group? You should see a difference. Don't rest until you do. Then try to beat your new winner. We have a handy lift-over-control calculator to help you evaluate. And if you’d like to have a tool for testing statistical significance, just email us at info@alcottwhitney.com. We’d be happy to share. 

10. Upgrade

Are you using a program that's a bit, um, let's say, under-performing? Upgrade, or at least evaluate for an upgrade. You should be able to have a master database of your leads, prospects and customers. An API alone won't cut it. Can you easily pull your non-clickers, your hyper-clickers, your “no transaction in 90 days, or your “browsing the site but just haven't committed yet” people? If the answer isn't yes, yes, yes, yes and even another yes, you might need a new ESP. 

11. Discover Litmus and SubjectLine.com

These sources can prove to be invaluable when testing your email creative rendering, subject lines, and more.  

12. Automate – internally

By now, you probably have 2-3 workflows or automations running. Consider how to use your platform to communicate and alert internally. At Alcott Whitney, we have an email that is sent to the account team to send a hand-written note after certain meetings. Then a text message to the leader of that group if it’s not been completed within a day. Even better, our entire office gets an email when we win a new client. All courtesy of some great automation that we’ve just used a little differently with hyper-personalization.  

13. Take it offline

Send something in the mail! It could be anything – a coupon, a catalog, a thank you, an invitation – anything to let them know that you want to help them, improve them, engage them, or appreciate them. Anything that says, “we're more than a click, we're a company that wants to serve you. That stands for something. 

Have other tips that helped you make all the difference in your relationships with subscribers? We’d love to hear. 

Facing other marketing problems? We're experts in all things Direct, Digital, CRM, Inbound, Data and Analytics. Feel free to let us know. We would love to help! 


Topics: Email Marketing