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Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell is the CEO of ISIPP SuretyMail Email Accreditation

How to Increase Your Email Marketing ROI and Throw Your Customers a Big Party

How to Increase Your Email Marketing ROI and Throw Your Customers a Big Party

I love "what if" games, don't you?  Recently, in a group to which I belong, this question was posed:  What if the boss gave you $10,000 to improve your brand's email marketing ROI?

How would you spend it?  What would you do?

Well, for me that was a no-brainer.  But before I tell you how I would spend that $10k, and why, let's cover some basics.

First,  just to be sure that we are all on the same page, when we say "ROI", we are talking about a Return on Investment (stay with me here, I don't mean to insult your intelligence).

Second, let's assume that your brand is in business to make money.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Even the most altruistic of organizations need to make money, otherwise they would have to close their doors.

Now that we have that out of the way, it's not hard to see that your brand's email marketing efforts are a natural extension of that need to generate income.  This is the 'R' of the ROI.

Where some people get tripped up when it comes to email marketing campaigns is the 'I'.  In fact, to many people - perhaps even people in your own organization - the 'I' is nearly invisible.  So invisible, that people sometimes think that email, and hence email marketing campaigns, are essentially free.

"Investment?  What investment?  You just type up some words, slap in a couple of graphics, and hit 'send'.  It's practically free!"

Not so.  Not by a long shot.  

Even the smallest of organizations pay a real price - invest real money - in their email marketing campaigns.  There are the salaries for the marketing or marcom people who have to create the content.  There are the costs associated with the email servers.  There are the fees paid to the ISPs through which the email is sent.  If your organization sends out its email through an email service provider (ESP) such as MailChimp or Aweber or Constant Contact, that's another layer of expense.

And then there are the non-monetary investments:  your brand's reputation generally, and your brand's email reputation specifically.

Think about that.  Every time your organization sends out an email marketing campaign, a little bit of the heart and soul of your brand is poured into that email.   That email in that campaign is your brand's emissary, going out into the world, representing you like a little brand ambassador.

That's an investment too.

But what if your email doesn't actually get to its destination?  What if your little brand ambassador gets to the door of the inbox and.... access denied!

All of that investment - the mail servers, the ESP, the time and money spent on the creative and content, the effort to strike just the right balance, and to represent your brand just so... all for naught, because the people to whom you are sending that email may never see it.

That is not only a zero return on investment;  that's a negative return on investment!

Now, you can spend more money, more time, more effort, on changing the content, changing the creative, even changing your ESP or your mail server software, or hardware, or host.  But if your email is not getting through - if you haven't addressed your email deliverability, you are not going to boost your ROI.  In fact you are likely to decrease your ROI, as you pour more money into email that is not being optimally delivered.

So, back to our original question:  What if the boss gave you $10,000 to improve your brand's email marketing ROI?   How would you spend it?

Well, here's what I would do:  I would spend no more than half of it either bringing in an email deliverability consultant, or getting our email accredited with one of the companies that does email reputation and accreditation, Return Path or SuretyMail (full disclosure:  I run SuretyMail).  Because that investment will not only net you an immediate return, but a lasting return, across all future email marketing campaigns.

And then, with the rest of the money?  I'd throw our customers the best customer appreciation party you've ever seen.  Because without customers, you've got nothing.

And the next time you send out an email marketing campaign?  Those happy, appreciated customers will be so receptive to your email - which they will receive because you have optimized your deliverability - that they will be much more likely to take whatever action your email asks of them.

Now that's how to get a real return on your investment!

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

We know that email is a money-printing machine. (Flash to the hundreds of articles that quote the outrageous and unbeatable Return on Marketing Investment.) As I often say with clients and at conferences, “Why wouldn’t you stand in front of the email marketing machine and just put in all your money?”

List size is a metric that is ridiculous on its own. As every Email Marketer knows, it’s not about the size of the list, but the quality.

The battle over when to suppress users is age old, commonly fought between those who are focused on the size of the list, and those on the email side who understand that inactives hurt deliverability.

Your customer data is a goldmine of information just waiting to be discovered. You know that emails which reflect a customer's data are more relevant and likely to be acted on, but too many marketers stop at basics like name, gender or location.  

“The most important work in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.”

David Ogilvy
Founder, Ogilvy and Mather
Considered the Father of Advertising

Sending an email marketing message is easy. But boosting bottom line performance from send-to-send -- that’s a little more difficult. The key to success here is testing.

If you’re not doing any performance testing, now’s the time to start. If you are already doing regular testing, commit to upping your game. Either way, here’s a quick walk through the process my team and I follow to help guide you.

Shown to be 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined, email remains a top priority for marketers across industries. Engaging users with relevant, personalized messaging is more important than ever when it comes to this essential channel.

However, recent research shows that even the top online retailers still struggle to implement the most basic of email campaigns. We studied the top 100 e-commerce companies in the U.S., tracked three email marketing strategies over the course of two weeks and analyzed the results.

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