Author Archives: Alec Wilcox

What’s the Best Day and Time to Send Your Emails?

Email marketing can be a fickle undertaking: many different factors can affect the success rate and expectations. One of the primary factors in keeping your marketing strategy successful is to optimize the timing of your emails. Of course, you have already optimized the content, the wording, and the links, so it follows that you should make sure that your emails are reaching your potential clients at the moment they are ready to click and purchase your product.

So how do you know when the time is right? First of all, you want to optimize your emails to go out around the time you are starting a promotion or around the time of the event for which you are raising awareness. The common misconception is that possible leads won’t see your emails the day they are sent, most people open these types of emails right away. The best email marketers expect about 85-90% of total opens to happen within 24 hours. This means: time your emails near or on the day of promotions, but also test the send times with multiples emails spread throughout the campaign.

Second, make sure that your emails aren’t sent between 8 and 9 AM (EST). Studies have shown that this window of time has the lowest open rate of received email all day long. Nobody is ready for marketing at this point in his or her day. Common wisdom recommends shooting for the Eastern Time zone, typically late in the day or right around lunch.

Additionally, what day of the week is best for email marketing? Once again, the common “best practices” has an opinion: the worst day of the week is Monday; with people recovering from their weekends, many don’t have the energy or interest in marketing this early in the week. Most people delete things that seem like junk (even if they aren’t) on Monday to clear their inboxes for the rest of the week. On the weekend, emails are largely ignored (just like work). Marketing best practices say: midweek emails are optimal. People are far more receptive when they are in the middle of things, especially to pertinent marketing (things that they might be dealing with at that very moment).
 

The most cardinal rule of timing your email marketing, however, is that all rules can be bent or broken depending. Experiment with your marketing timing and other procedures. Find what works best for your industry. This is the best way to ensure that you are seeing the best results for you.  

By Alec Wilcox

 
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Using Google Analytics to Track Your Email List Performance

A lot of people don’t know that of the many useful capabilities of Google Analytics, one can also use these tools to track email marketing performance. Many marketers are not aware that Google Analytics can be used to track marketing emails “beyond the click,” this is to say, track the behavior of users once they have reached your website.


Email marketing can use specially formatted links to engage Google Analytics. When these links are clicked from within a marketing email, the Analytics account will acknowledge this fact and report it. Several bloggers recommend using “advanced segments,” a Google Analytics rule, to isolate people who are clicking through your emails. This way,  you can separate those that were referred by direct marketing efforts and those that came upon your site or products organically (by referrals, Google results, or some other means).

Google Analytics works by “link tagging,” or using parameters within a dynamic URL to convey a message to the Analytics software. Google has a URL creator tool that you can use to custom-tailor URLs (the link is here: http://goo.gl/3bJVl ). Once these parameters have been put into place, you should be able to go to your Google Analytics account and begin to form a trend or behavior pattern for those that have clicked through.

Once you have this data, it should become easier to start making adjustments to the campaign. You can change the frequency, tone, or timing of your emails. Does it have a negative or positive effect? How about if you change the wording? More data on the subject is always going to help you form a plan of attack for your specific marketing situation. Experiment with different strategies and see what works through Google Analytics.

By Alec Wilcox

 
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How to Increase Sales with Your House Email Lists

The conventional wisdom in online marketing these days (including marketing via email lists) is to streamline, streamline, streamline. Research says that the fewer products you have, assuming they are quality products, the greater the likelihood of conversion. Obviously the law of diminishing returns is at work here, so it is important to have robust as well as streamlined offerings, but specifically with email marketing, it is imperative that the customer arrive at your site and know where and what to buy quickly. Simple, direct marketing emails are a great way to draw the customer’s attention to a particular product or promotion.


When you have streamlined your offerings to your best products and services, you can begin trying to simplify the process from start to finish. If a marketing email is the first way that a customer is going to hear about your business, make sure that that email says what needs to be said quickly and in a concise fashion. Most users will barely glance at an unsolicited email, so it is important to stand out in the right way. Simple subject lines and promotions are the way to go. Studies have shown that businesses with a clear line between offer, link and purchase have the best chance at turning leads or possible customers into sales.

The purpose of mailing lists, like any marketing strategy is not just to create awareness of your

product or business, but to create results. In most cases, “results” means sales, plain and simple. There really is no magical way to take a mailing list and leverage it for guaranteed sales, but through a few “best practices,” you can begin to see a greater click-through rate (CTR) which is the first step toward increased sales. Simply put, the best way to leverage email lists for sales is to put sales to the back of your mind as a goal. Make your goal visibility first, and sales will follow. Maybe your customers won’t be interested in the offer you are sending this month, but it is a possibility that they will be interested in the one you send six months from now. Make sure to keep your marketing relevant, current and always test your messages. If a customer follows your links, he is exponentially more likely to follow through toward a purchase at some point. The best way to turn faceless email addresses into sales, is to first turn them into pageviews.


By Alec Wilcox

 
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You Have an Email List, Now What? 10 Tips to Start Email Marketing

When you are starting out with email marketing it can be difficult to quickly build your internal email database. Although growing your list organically is the best option, buying email lists is a practical way to jumpstart your marketing efforts. Just find a list that fits your target – looking for new dental patients? By a dental email list. Stick with reputable companies and you will be good to go!

So now that you’ve purchased your email address database (from a reputable company, right?), now what?

There are many ways to utilize a curated address database, but the most common is direct email marketing. Here are ten tips to keep in mind while you plan out your email marketing campaign.

1)      The structure of your emails is important. Subject lines should be concise and links should be evident and direct.

2)      Make sure your emails are coming from a reputable account. Oftentimes it’s a bad idea to use marketing@yourcompany.com or something of the like. Try using a person’s name, whether he or she is a real person or you create a persona is up to you. It is less likely that your emails will be confused with spam if you are using a pseudonym instead of a “black-hole” address.

3)      Keep images to a minimum. Many times email providers will see a large file size email (or one with several images/attachments) and assume the worst. This is a good way to accidently get branded as spam.
4)      Along the same lines, it’s important to have your message front and center. You don’t want your potential client reading through a mess of images and text trying to figure out what you are trying to say. Less is more.
5)      It is important to have multiple “calls to action” in your email, but it is also important not to use things like, “CLICK HERE,” “BUY NOW,” etc. Sometimes overselling is a good way to dilute your message and make it hard to read.
6)      Timing is everything. Make sure that your marketing emails are coordinated and timed properly. Reminding your customers that you exist is OK, but it is best to time your marketing emails with promotions and campaigns to maximize conversion.
7)      Quality is always better than quantity. Fewer emails with real content and promotions are always a better choice than many, many emails with the same content.
8)      Spelling matters. This seems simple, but many email marketers throw together their emails quickly and sometimes let mistakes fall through the cracks. This is a good way to devalue your brand and is easy to fix: always proofread.
9)      Choose a consistent format. If possible, try and match the layout and coloring of your marketing emails with your website. Brand consistency goes a long way toward legitimacy in the eyes of a potential lead.
10)   Optimize your emails for mobile! Oftentimes, this is the one factor that will make a difference. Many of your potential leads will see these emails in passing on their phones or tablets. Make sure that they can follow up easily and efficiently.

By keeping these steps in mind, you will be able to begin start your first email marketing campaign on the right foot. Good luck!

By Alec Wilcox

 
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How to Use Email Lists to Increase Conversion Rate

In Internet marketing, conversion rate is defined as the amount of clicks or sales divided by the amount of visitors to your site. Getting your company name or product out there is only one part of the email marketing process. You also need to turn leads into clicks or sales. There are many ways to improve this statistic, but targeted email marketing using an email database is a great way to bolster the rate of conversion.

 
The first step in online lead generation is to make sure your company or product website has a landing page setup and ready to capture all of your new leads that will be coming in. A landing page is a specialize page on your website that is targeted to a specific campaign. If you are sending a special promotion  out to your email lists, then when someone clicks on the email you want them to go to a landing page that tells them all about the sale. If you just send the people from your email list to your homepage, they may be confused or frustrated that they can’t see any information about the sale and quickly leave.  Once you have a landing page setup, then you are ready to start sending traffic to your website using targeted email marketing.

Email marketing, especially if you’re using a specialized email database for your target market or industry, is a great way to drive traffic and convert leads and sales. A well-structured marketing email to promote a sale or event can do wonders to increase conversion.

If the email best practices below are are followed when using email marketing you should see a nice increase in conversion rates:

  • Use a reputable looking email address so as not to be accidentally labeled as a spammer (ajohnson@yourcompany.com is better than sales@yourcompany.com).
  • Make your offer front and center in the marketing email and easy to follow. This will increase the amount of leads visiting your site specifically to take advantage of the offer.
  • Experiment with different subject lines for each email list and keep track of conversions through Google Analytics to see what techniques work specifically for your customers.
  • Less is more. Welcome emails and repetitive offers are bound to decrease the amount of interest.
  • Emphasize offers or benefits rather than just features. Your customer knows why he’s coming to your site, it’s important to tell him what is special and why now is the time to buy.
  • Most importantly, use a “call to action” every time. A strong call to action is often the piece of the puzzle that can turn a marketing email from a good idea into a “must buy”.
 

Experiment with some of these tricks while monitoring conversion rate through Google Analytics.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for email marketing, but it is possible to take this data and cater
your technique to your audience. As in all marketing, continue testing and you should have no
problem increasing conversion rate.

By Alec Wilcox


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5 Tips to Increase Email List Response Rate

If you’ve done a lot of online marketing, your tests probably show that email marketing is consistently one of the best ways to connect with your audience. If you haven’t tested your email list stop reading and focus on that instead. If you are looking for a bounce in response rates or just starting your email marketing campaign, I’ve put together a few tips that can help you easily make an impact. 

1. Subject Lines
Make sure that your subject lines are concise and do not look spammy. There are many factors that influence how people perceive your email queries, but without a doubt, making subject lines that look computer generated or automated is a surefire way to get your email sent to the spam folder. Using “free” in any way is a huge flag. Don’t use CAPS either they scream “PLEASE DELETE ME”. Typos are a definite deal breaker in many cases, but sometimes it entices readers to open your email – just don’t make it a habit. Make sure to proofread. Try to describe your product in a few words or even incorporate a call to action up front in the subject line. The idea is to get the reader’s attention and make him or her want to read more about the product. When it comes to subject lines, less is almost always more. Shorter subjects are proven to yield better results. 

2. Personalization
Personalizing emails whenever possible is another way to ensure that your marketing emails are at least viewed. Sending an email “to whom it may concern” is a good way to get your email disregarded when you could tailor each email to the names and titles in your database. Also, personalizing the subject line could give you additional opens. You can normally use a command like “FNAME” to insert someone’s first name in a subject like this: “FNAME, it’s time to register for your next event!” which will personalize your email subject to say “James, it’s time to register for your next event!” 

3. Multiple Calls to Actions
The point of sending a message to your email list is to get results – whether that’s a click, a lead, a forward, or a purchase, you need to give your recipients a change to click on your call to action. Make sure that you include not just one, but multiple links to you specific call to action in your marketing emails. Linking several different sections of text or including linked images are great ways to increase response rate. In many cases, marketing emails are likely to just be skimmed, so making it as easy as possible for the reader to follow links is a proven method to increase response percentages.

4. Segment Your Email List 
Conventional wisdom in marketing is to “know your market.” Studies show that smaller, more focused campaigns (to a region, profession, or any other subset of your complete list) are far more effective than generic mass-mailings. In email marketing, this is called “segmentation”. If you are sending an email list to doctors you should test sending a specific email to known doctors on the list and a specific email to staff. Or if you sell ecommerce, you can send a discount code to people who have never purchased and a sale email to your current customers. Make sure that your messages are tailored to your target audience to maximize response.

5. Be Creative..again and again
Finally, one more important factor in ensuring maximum response is to be creative with your mailings. The vast majority of your potential leads are going to be too busy to open all of their emails or they will get so many that they just delete them. Keeping all these tips in mind and frequently rephrasing, reimagining, and revamping your campaigns is a great way to stay relevant in their inboxes and a great way to begin converting these potential leads into sales. It is especially important to stand out from your competitors and to make sure that when your leads think of your product, they associate it with your business. Being creative in your marketing is the best way to do so. 

Good luck and remember to test the tips above to increase the results from your email lists!

By Alec Wilcox


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