The Only Influencers Blog

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.

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Suddenly September is here, Fall is closing in, and Holiday 2014 is right around the corner. As of today, there are 85 days left until Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday season. If you’re not planning out your holiday strategy now, you could quickly get behind. Yes I know I’m preaching to the choir but this season comes around once a year, and there are some new email tricks you can use to drive success in 2014.

But before we dive in, let’s discuss some trends. Over the last few years, there has been a shift from Black Friday & Cyber Monday “events” to a weeklong Thanksgiving extravaganza! A few clients we work with said they’ve seen sales tick upward before their “sales” even start, as much as a week or two before Thanksgiving. Let’s start thinking about how to best serve our customers and help achieve our own targets at the same time.

In 2013, the e-tailing group found that 78% of consumers want to be contacted less than 4 times via email after vising your site, and 74% say they want to receive email from you during the month after a visit. Couple that with Redshift Research’s work from April 2014 that discovered that 39% of consumers will opt-out if they are sent email too frequently. This means we need to strike a balance between the itch to click send and what we send during the holiday season. Consumers are on the hunt for a good deal, and they want to know what’s happening and when. But they don’t want their inbox to be so full that they can’t get the information they were looking for before buying.

With that said, here are a few quick ways that you can effectively strike that balance and drive success during the 2014 holiday season.

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Tagged in: Holiday Campaigns

Relevance marketers versus data. Let the battle begin!

I read an article the other day from a relevance marketer – you know, the person who insists that your emails MUST be segmented and relevant in order to (a) be any good and (b) keep you out of deliverability hell.

There were two things that really confused me about the article. The first was that an email with a 60% open rate that generated 3,000 opens is better than one with a lower open rate that generated 4,500 opens. The difference in the cost of the send? Approximately $25. I don’t know about you but, as a marketer, I’d happily pay $25 to have 1500 people (who have already signed up for my list) to learn more about what I’m talking about. It works out to 1.6 cents per open. At a 10% click to open rate, it’s 16 cents per click – significantly cheaper than almost any other paid media. So while this author may “feel” that relevance is “better’, the data tells me it’s a no-brainer to send to the larger list. Even if it is less “relevant.”

The second thing that this article claimed was that larger lists will inevitably run into deliverability problems, as ISPs are actively looking at engagement as a metric for deciding who does and does not get into your inbox. Here’s my question…how can sending to people who’ve actively (or even passively) signed up for your email cause delivery problems? Can this assumption really be true?

One of the joys in being a digital/email marketer is that you don’t have to rely on opinion. You can simply run some numbers and decide for yourself. I pulled from our eDataSource inbox tracker (which is a completely awesome tool, btw) which uses a panel of several hundred thousand emails – across 335 different senders – and decided to see what the numbers have to say.

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One of the best ways to engage email subscribers is to connect with them emotionally, although this is often easier said than done. I have spoken and written many times about the importance of creating emotional resonance – either positive or negative – between your message and your audience. It is essential because without some sort of feeling connection to you, at least occasionally, subscribers will become bored by the purely practical (i.e. 20% savings this week!), often repetitive litany of subject lines showing up in their inboxes and easily tune out. It’s fine to engage them intellectually, but if you want your email to create a lasting impact, it needs to pack an emotional punch too.

The subject line is an obvious, immediate and powerful way for email to connect emotionally with subscribers – but how many of us routinely think about writing subject lines from an emotional vs. informative frame of mind? While not all need to be emotional stunners, I thought it would be fun to comb through my email swipe file to showcase examples of subject lines that evoke, provoke, and otherwise succeed in causing a visceral emotional reaction.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at ten email subject lines that pack an emotional punch and explore why.

1. Carnival Cruise Lines

Subject Line: Deleting this email is like deleting $200

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Tagged in: Subject Lines

Subject lines… the easiest thing to write, the hardest thing to get right. There is just no single rule, tactic or word that works every time. Best practices sometimes fail and A/B testing can produce unexpected results.

Why is this? In simplest terms, being original keeps your subscribers on their toes and can spark in-actives into life. But if every subject line you write is surprising and original, your subscribers catch on and that lack of clarity has a negative effect.

So the key is originality in moderation. But how much originality and how much moderation?

Email marketers are not very original
abigail1Alchemy Worx analysed half a billion sent messages from 15 of their
largest clients across multiple industries to see what they could find.

They categorized each subject line as unoriginal and original
– original being a subject line that contained at least one word
the sender had never used before.

You might think that with such a conservative definition for
originality most marketing emails would be classified as original.
But as the pie chart shows, less than a third were classified as original.

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Tagged in: Subject Lines

There’s no shortage of blogs, whitepapers and advice about how to create an awesome subject line. You’ll find lists, top tips, bullet points and maybe even the odd chart or graph.

And yet, the majority of emails that I get in my inbox still have boring old subject lines. Here’s a few I’ve gotten recently:

“Our best theatre deals”

Oh great, thanks! Erm, so most other times you send out your worst deals?

“5 things we learnt about content marketing”

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