The Science of Email Marketing

Have you ever wondered how often you should be sending out your email campaigns to customers? have you heard the rumors of that Wednesday was the best day to send, and after 1pm? Oh, No! Someone else tells you it’s Thursday, in the morning. Does it really matter?

email marketingToday Dan Zarrella of Hubspot dispelled many of the myths around email marketing. Based on over 1 BILLION emails sent by MailChimp, and on surveys and focus groups, Dan revealed scientific data that tells us what’s really effective with email (and what’s NOT).

The greatest email open rates

For years I’ve heard rumors that Tues, or Wednesday or Thursday were the best times to send email. But, today Dan revealed that the greatest number of open rates actually happens on Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday has the greatest unsubscribe rate and Thursday has the lowest. Most email is actually read in the morning. So 6-7 AM EST is the best time to send with the greatest click through rates. Unsubscribe rates are lowest in the afternoon. So the best time to send is very early in the morning and go ahead and send away on the weekends.

And oh, by the way, it doesn’t matter if you are marketing to a consumer or a business as most people use the same account for both.

Smart phones have changed email as 80% read their email on mobile devices. So optimize you email for ease of reading on mobile phones.

How many links can you put in an email without driving your reader to unsubscribe? Well, it turns out that the more links you have, the better. The highest unsubscribe rates happen when you only put one link in the email. The unsubscribe rate drops as you increase the number of links.

Email Reader Behavior and Open Rates

It turns out that people now use their email as an archive. They tend to save things that they consider to be reference information. So when your email contains content such as “how to” articles, data, statistics, cheat sheets, etc. they will be more likely to open and keep it.

Email readers use the subject lines and the senders name to filter their email. Who is sending the email impacts the open rate. So send your email from a name your audience will recognize and it will build trust. Or, send from a “celebrity”, someone well-known, liked and trusted by your audience.

The Most Clicked Email Subject Lines

Emails with these words in the subject lines have the highest open rates: survey, weekly, e-newsleter, series, posts, job. These are emails that are perceived to be part of a series. So serialized and label your emails whenever it makes sense.

The subject lines that are most reported as spam or abuse include words like: confirm, features, upgrade, magic, rewards, Christ, follow up, 10%, coupon, 15%, discount, savings, and offer.

Your readers are concerned about “What’s in it for me?” Give them exclusivity and make them feel special.

Email Frequency

the science of email marketingHow often should you send email? Is too often going to drive them away? You will be thrilled and relieved to know that it makes NO DIFFERENCE how often you send email! While once a month has the highest click through rate, anything over that it makes no difference on how frequently you send, the same percentage will open it. the frequency rate outweighs the significance of the open rate so SEND, SEND AWAY!

The unsubscribe rates is highest when you only send once or twice a month and goes down the more you send. Unsubscribes rates are highest in the first couple of days after subscribing. These new customers also click more than the older ones. So send your new subscribers the most email and email them frequently.

Do you fear that no one is reading? The data shows that 70% of people read most of their email. While they may not be responding, most are reading. You are leaving an impression with them.

Beware the Junk Email Box

People want real email from a real person. If they fear that there is a risk of getting junk from you, they will use their junk email box. 58% of people have a “junk” email box that they use to subscribe to lists. 42% send to their regular address. So to get them to give you their regular address help them to believe they will receive something valuable, something that makes them feel special, something they won’t want to miss.

28% of people don’t believe the unsubscribe links in the emails work, but these tend to be techies and marketers (like me). So if you are marketing to them, you will particularly need to overcome these fears and build trust.

And finally, on a social media note, most people will not forward or tweet your emails. You are far better off asking people to follow you or friend you than you are to ask them to share your emails.

If you’d like to watch the whole webinar you can do so here: http://www.hubspot.com/the-science-of-email-marketing/

What marketing specialist do I need?

What marketing expert should you be working with for each marketing tactic that you want to implement? This is a short list to help you figure out who you need to call. In a larger business, it is typically the brand or product manager that writes the marketing strategy and plan and then oversees all the specialized experts who make it happen.  Here is a brief list of who to work with…

  • Marketing Communications: could be an AD agency or just a graphic artist, copywriter and web designer. The Ad agency would also have a creative director that oversees the other 3 specialists. They create your identity, logo, brochures, website, packaging, ads (both online and off) and most materials. Can also create email newsletters. A direct marketing specialist would also fall into this category.
  • Web site: web designer works on the visual representation, web developer handles ecommerce, community forums and other functionality, SEO expert gets your chosen keywords emphasized,
  • Social Media: blog/community manager oversees blog content and responds to community members (blogger could also be in a different dept. like PR). Twitter and forum communicator.
  • PR: gets feature articles written, product placements, press tours, press kits, press releases, speaker placement, quotes,and more.
  • Event Marketing: identifies, schedules and prioritizes marketing events, creates booths, demos, etc.
  • Channel Marketing: work with resellers, OEM, Affiliate managers and Evangelists: who get 3rd parties to sell your products or services or use them in their own products
  • Business Development & Sales – works directly with key customer accounts to close a sale.

This is most of the major categories of specialists. The ones you need to work with can vary depending on your type of business.

What other marketing specialists have you used?

CAN-SPAM Act – Use Email to Market your Business, Legally.

When you use an email marketing company to send out your ezine or newsletter, the company’s email marketing software does some verification to makes sure your ezine complies with the CAN-SPAM laws. But what if you don’t use a paid service? How do you keep your email newsletter compliant?

You can always check the FTC’s Spam site at http://www.ftc.gov/spam/ for the latest updates on legal regulations. If you are sending out email for commercial purposes, these are the main points to follow (excerpt taken from The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business):

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

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