By Mike Thompson, chief deliverability officer, ClickSquared.
An effective email marketing campaign needs to have two critical elements in order for it to be a success; an up to date list of individual customer preferences and most importantly an up to date marketing contact database.
These are the foundations for developing a successful email campaign. A current email list will allow businesses, both large or small, to create the most relevant and effective email marketing messages for your customers.
No matter how well an email is written, if it is not getting into the recipient’s inbox, it has no impact or value whatsoever. Current statistics show that more that 25% of email addresses become inactive or are changed every year.
Therefore, no matter how clean an initial contact database is, it is imperative that you must have a process in place that manages and removes bounce-backs and inactive email addresses.
As a business you need to make sure that all email addresses that are on your campaign lists are accurate. If your prospects and customers are not receiving communications at their listed email addresses, your internet service providers (ISPs) will notice that you are consistently sending email dialogue to bad addresses.
This will have a direct impact on your own ability to deliver any kind of email into a customer’s inbox with a correct address.
With that in mind, if a percentage of your emails, no matter how small, are not being delivered, your return of investment will be negatively affected, especially if you are paying at a specific cost per thousand.
There are a number of steps a business can take to ensure that they avoid negative implications and to insure that any email list that they produce is clean and healthy:
• Send a responsive opt-in confirmation email whilst collecting addresses. This will confirm that the address is active and will explain what the recipient should expect to receive from you;
• As a business you may wish to develop a strategy to remove inactive addresses from your databases on a regular basis. ISPs are increasingly measuring engagement, or how many people read or click open your emails. Removing inactive addresses ensures that the right people are reading each and every email you send.
• Collecting and utilising customer preferences allows you to create more relevant email marketing communications by providing your customers with the personable information that they want, when they want it;
• In addition it may help you to understand two major things; who you are speaking to and what they are actually interested in. The main aim is to use this vital information and generate messages that speak to your customers as individuals by appealing to what they find the most important;
• Once you have this information, you can tie it directly to the activity and behaviour data you generate from the emails that you send. For instance, who opened what, which links did they click, what are they buying and how often are they buying it? Doing this will enable you to further modify your customer messaging and content.
Customer preferences and information become even more valuable to a business when it is matched with ongoing activity data. This is due to the fact that it will give you a full view of your customer’s buying behaviour and the key reasons for taking action.
Collecting customer preferences will ensure businesses are communicating in the right way and with the right people, but most importantly will ultimately help them drive significantly higher sales and conversion rates.
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