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Make your email campaign a success
Make your email campaign a success In the early days of email marketing, most companies viewed it as a faster, better, cheaper alternative to direct mail. It was fast, whereas direct mail campaigns took at least six weeks. Since it had higher response rates, it was perceived as better. And it was much cheaper because it involved no costs for printing, paper or postage. Today, however, things are no longer so straightforward. "Email marketing looks easier than it is," says Geoff Linton, vice-president of Inbox Marketer in Guelph. It has become more onerous, he notes, because of rules for deliverability, image blocking and spam filtering that change on a daily basis. Inbox Marketer traces its origins to MetaMail, a Richmond Hill email software company. Realizing customers were more interested in using its services than purchasing the firm's software, MetaMail spun off Inbox Marketer to focus on email solutions designed to strengthen client relationships. Marketers love email because it's measurable. They can easily determine open rates, if emails are forwarded and if recipients click on links. But Linton notes email campaigns have progressed beyond such top of the line metrics as list size and open rates, and are now more focused on bottom line metrics such as transactions. Deliverability is challenging. Linton cites industry statistics that show only 75 per cent of email gets delivered directly to someone's inbox. About 15 per cent goes missing and 10 per cent ends up in a junk mail box. Best of class email marketers get deliverability of over 90 per cent. When Linton started in the industry, tracking deliverability, open rates and click through rates on links was expensive. Today he says firms such as Constant Contact or Got Corporation provide such services for as little as $15 per month for small lists. While Inbox offers this type of tracking, it focuses on its value-added services. For example, it helps clients to increase deliverability or benchmark their email campaign against industry standards. Comparing your program against others may show that while your open rates are good, click through rates are low. Using proven direct marketing tactics, Linton says Inbox can help to optimize future campaigns. For example, it can analyse a customer's email template to determine if it is too long, too cluttered or if it contains too many links - a red flag for filters. The company also offers testing for subject lines, body copy, visual elements and eye tracking (the path a person's eyes follow when reading.) For marketers, the three biggest email challenges remain: 1) get delivered to the inbox, 2) get opened and 3) get a click or other measurable response such as a phone call. Still, Linton believes that done well, "email is relationship marketing on steroids."
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