By: Chris Lewis
As it turns out, we could keep going with all kinds of tips for making successful email campaigns, so the final ones I am writing about now and the last of the "prevalent" ones that we see regularly.
Consider Preview Panes - Many of your email recipients may be viewing your email in a preview pane with graphics turned off. You need to consider this happening and frame your emails appropriately. You may want to start your email with some text first and then add the graphics later down the email. If you email is one big graphic, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
Emails should be as short as possible - An email needs to have targeted information that hopefully can be scanned quickly by the recipient with the most important issues up top. Don't build up your email like a written a book. You need to write the email so that the first thing they see will be the biggest and the best part of the email with the later info just being details.
Consider mobile devices - Many mobile devices only have a view space of 320 wide. So many people are using mobile devices that you may want to consider forming your email so it will look good in both normal computers and mobile devices. This can be a lot to consider, but depending on the audience you are targeting it is something to consider.
Now obviously every time you send out an email campaign it is hard to consider all the tips and strategies you have and still make the email look good in all circumstances. There is definitely a balance, and there are some things that are more important than others. I find that small tweaks to email marketing strategy can change effectiveness many percentage points. Email Marketing is not a "static" event. Just like any marketing effort, create and then evaluate.
By: Chris Lewis
The choice of the SMTP server you use is as if not more important that the email marketing tool you us. You can create the best looking, most effective email ever but if your SMTP server setup is not set up well then it is like you never sent it.
SMTP servers are the email work-horses of the internet. In the world of amazing technology, it is sometimes hard to be impressed, but I am constantly amazed by the thought and foreknowledge of the whole SMTP server framework. As time has moved on, the SMTP framework has changed, and the biggest change is that of SPAM control. There are to main problem areas we see daily with SMTP servers: How to connect to your SMTP server, and how "good" your SMTP actually functions.
SMTP Connection - The problems that are encountered when connecting to SMTP servers are varied and usually include these:
SMTP Providers - There are specialized companies out there that will act as your SMTP server. They will ensure your emails going out are appropriately make to conform to SPAM rules, they monitor their servers to make sure they are not blocked, and they will help you resolve issues that do come up is there are any problems with email recipients. Now it is true this will cost you some money, but if you add up all the time you or someone you will hire to work on these issues I think the value is there. If you are sending 100,000 emails a month, then the prices are really reasonable. If you send over a million, then that is maybe when you can start thinking of having your own SMTP server, but it really depends on the connectivity, your budget, and your expertise. One of our partners is SMTP.com (http://arialsoftware.smtp.com) and they have been a great partner with us for years. There are others, but I think they are the best, so check them out if this seems like a solution for you.
If you have said to yourself "I want to save money over an email ASP, I am tired of paying per email costs." Good for you.
One of the many advantages of using email marketing software is that you never pay a per-campaign fee or per-email fee. Managing your own email campaigns is far more cost-effective in the long run, and many of our customers find that they pay for the software after just two or three mailings.
That doesn't mean an email ASP isn't a viable choice in many circumstances. There are many high quality email ASPs in the industry who offer an honest service and excellent support. (Our choice is Email Labs, a Silicon Valley-based company that offers quality email marketing services.)
Most companies switch to email marketing software (bringing it in-house) only after they realize how easy it is to conduct email marketing on their own. Our clients send out hundreds of millions of emails each year using our Campaign Enterprise software, and it's usually the marketing person managing the campaigns, not a technical person.
(In other words, you don't have to be a database genius, a mail server geek, or an Internet guru to make this work really well. All you need is the same kind of understanding necessary to operate a direct mail campaign: selecting recipients, reading click-thru reports, writing effective messages, and so on.)
Just how much money can Campaign Enterprise save you over using an email service? That all depends on the volume you're sending. If you have 50,000 subscribers that you email once a week, you're sending 2.5 million emails a year. Given that email ASPs charge somewhere around a penny per email (on average), you'll spend $25,000 for that year. Campaign Enterprise, in contrast, is a fraction of that dollar amount, and you only buy it once. Once you make the initial purchase, you can send an unlimited number of future emails at no additional cost.
The Hidden Costs Of Using Email ASPs
There's more to this than just the up-front cost. Using an email ASP can cost you significant sums in database import and export overhead. Consider this: when you're using an email ASP, you have to send them your email list. That means a database person in your organization has to spend time selecting and packaging the data for exporting. Once the data is exported, it has to be delivered to the email ASP for importing into their database. And that's only the beginning...
Once the email campaign has been delivered, the click-thru counts, unsubscribe flags and bounce counts have to be exported from the ASP's database, delivered back to you, and then imported back into your database so that the source records are up to date. All this takes time and money, of course: with every database import, export or delivery that takes place, you're footing the bill.
Campaign Enterprise, on the other hand, requires no database importing, exporting or delivery. Our software talks directly to your master database. Once you tell it who to email (by selecting your database, tables and filters), it reads the records directly. Better yet, it writes back to your master database in real time, keeping your database fresh with information indicating clicks, unsubscribes, bounces and delivery confirmations. Once again, no importing or exporting required. Your database engineers will love it!
Not only does this save you tremendous time and effort, it also means your database is up-to-the-minute fresh with the latest status of every email recipient. Within seconds after someone clicks a link in your email message, your database will be updated with that event. You'll know exactly who clicked which link, on a record-by-record basis.
The Hidden Cost of Communication
There's another hidden cost of using email ASPs that disappears when you're using Campaign Enterprise software: the communications overhead of telling your ASP what you want done.
Have you ever noticed that the more people you get involved in a marketing project, the more the cost and complexity escalates? Have you noticed how much longer it takes to get things done? ... and how mistakes are far more common? That's what happens when you're trying to tell another company how to run your email campaigns. Even when they mean well, it's simply harder to make it work smoothly.
Now, instead, imagine conducting email marketing campaigns in house, with you and your small team in control. You don't have to tell someone else how to do what you want: you just do it yourself in Campaign Enterprise. Voila! Suddenly, your campaigns are happening more quickly, with fewer errors, and with much less overhead. You're in control, and you don't have to spend time telling someone else how you want things done.
Saving Money Is Just The Beginning
In reality, saving money is just a small example of the many reasons for choosing email marketing software over a service provider. It's a big reason, yes, you will save a lot of money by using Campaign Enterprise. But the bigger reason is how much more revenue you'll earn by using the software. Once you explore and recognize how Campaign Enterprise can enhance your relationships with customers, generate increased trust, and rapidly escalate your follow-up sales figures, you'll really start to see the tremendous benefits of managing your own email marketing with Campaign Enterprise software.