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Email Campaigns – What NOT to do

January 22, 2009

Successful email campaigns are partly about creativity and partly about good technique. Even the most superbly worded and beautifully designed email campaign in the world will fail to get the high response rate it deserves without a bit of know-how. Here at Extravision we have a list of over 40 dos and don’ts that ensure our campaigns are successful. Below are just five of the more obvious ones: 

Buy in a list with email addresses

It’ll save you time collecting addresses right? It might feel like you’ve taken a clever short cut but you can be sure that these lists will have already been plundered by many other companies, including a few spammers. The response level of such lists is low, many addresses will be out of date and those that are still in use will already have been bombarded with unsolicited emails. In our experience by far the best responses are obtained by using an in-house list.

After all your customers already know you and you can probably find a reason to contact them again very easily - without doubt you will get more successes with this approach and your time and money will have been better spent. If you want to ‘prospect’ using email then purchase a highly targeted list from a reputable vendor and collect the emails using a telemarketing campaign. 

Start with ‘Dear Valued Customer’

Would you bother to read any email that addressed you in this manner? It instantly makes the email appear to be a bulk email sent to masses of people. Not only should you address your customer by name but it’s a good idea to include some history about your relationship within the message. For example “Dear John, I notice that last October you purchased our XYZ model from our XXX store. I just thought I’d send you a note..” will elicit a much higher response rate than ‘Dear Valued Customer, I am writing to tell you about..” Personalisation is not an option – it’s a must if you want to get a great response. 

Send to more than one person at at time

If you send the same email to ten different people within the same company AT THE SAME TIME there’s a good chance that at least one of them will forward it on to someone else who was sent the same message. It smacks of spam and the customer will soon realise it. Send to one person at the company and if they don’t respond send it to the next. Give it a day or two before sending to the second person. Sending the same ‘personal’ message to 10 people at the same company at the same time just makes you a spammer. 

Time the delivery badly

It’s all in the timing. Like you, your customers are probably busy all of the time – but at some times more than others. There are optimum times for sending out B2B and B2C emails that should give you the best chance of them actually being read. B2B emails should be sent ideally at 10.30 or 2.30 Tuesday to Thursday and B2C campaigns on a Sunday afternoon or late in the evening when customers are more likely to be online and have cleared out all that spam. Always try and hit your customer’s email inbox when they are on-line and the inbox is spam free. 

Let responses linger

Aim to reply to any responses within 48 hours. If someone gets in touch with you there is a small window of opportunity to begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead to a sale. The longer you leave it the colder the lead will go. Setting up an automatic response system is the best way to make sure that email responses get forwarded correctly internally and requests for more information are dealt with swiftly. Too often companies spend a great deal of time in the planning and delivery stages of a campaign and fail to consider the ‘aftercare’ required. Incoming email management is an essential component of a successful campaign.

At Extravision we have a checklist of 43 similar ‘don’t do’s’ and we make sure that we ‘don’t do’ them - as a result, our campaigns typically get response rates of over 20 percent. Hopefully the above list gives you some clues as to where to begin if you’re new to email marketing or some pointers as to where you may have been going wrong if your campaigns aren’t giving you the returns you expected.
 

If you would like further information, please email [email protected] or call 0161 817 2929 

Posted by Jenni Malley
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