email marketing tactics from the pros!
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DESCRIPTIONEmail Marketing tactics from the Pros!
- 1. 1 | OpenView Venture PartnersE-mail Marketing Tactics:Do Your Messages Measure Up?Exploring the evolution of e-mail marketing tactics,and three best practices that marketers can implementto stand out in increasingly discerning inboxes.When Ray Tomlinson sent the first official e-mail messageThe Leading B2B Technologybetween two computers in 1971, it is unlikely that the Companies Featured in This Reportcomputer engineer could have truly grasped the impactthat his action would eventually have on the digital world.Today, there are nearly 3.4 billion active e-mail accountsworldwide, a number that is projected to grow to 4.3 billionby 2016 according to The Radicati Group.1Simply put, e-mail has quickened the way that people communicate. Similarly, e-mail marketing hashad an enormous influence on the way that businesses engage their customers and prospects.Although tactics like social media marketing and search engine optimization generate more buzzamong B2B marketers, statistically speaking, e-mail marketing remains one of the most effective onlinemarketing techniques. It also tends to be more personal than tactics like pay-per-click and banneradvertisements, and remains relatively inexpensive compared to other outbound approaches.Of course, to execute a successful e-mail marketing campaign, there are several core areas to optimize.As this OpenView Labs report will show, the best e-mail marketers create messages that stand out fortheir content, design, and platform optimization.The report is the first of a four-part series that will focus in depth on specific online B2B marketingtactics. Similar to this report, the others in the series will present and analyze examples of B2Bcompanies that are successfully implementing online marketing tactics in the space of interactivecontent, crowd-sourcing, and location-based events.The series comes on the heels of another OpenView report, Above and B2B-eyond: A Look at theCreative Marketing Tactics Leading B2B Technology Companies Are Using Online, which provideda high-level overview of 10 of the most effective marketing tactics used by leading B2B technologycompanies. This new series of reports applies a similar research methodology to the one outlined inthat publication.1The Radicati Group, E-mail Statistics Report, April 2012.
2. 2 | OpenView Venture PartnersCapturing Attention with Compelling ContentAs technology has leveled the e-mail marketing playing field making it virtually effortless for marketersto create, send, and measure e-mail marketing campaigns companies have had to work a lot harder toensure that their messages stand out among the barrage of e-mails their prospects receive every day.One of the seemingly most obvious, and yet underappreciated, tactics to improve the odds that yoursubscribers will read your messages is to develop deliberate, pertinent content. In fact, making aconcerted effort to craft brief, targeted subject lines can increase e-mail conversions by 85 percent.2Grovo, an online video education andtraining platform, is a good example of acompany that grasps the impact of e-mailcontent. For example, one of Grovos recente-mails begins with a broad questionabout security, which it quickly ties intoLinkedIns June 2012 password securitybreach. The subject focus is particularlythoughtful because of its timeliness andrelevance to Grovos broad audience.Since a large percentage of Grovos e-mailtargets are likely to be LinkedIn users,the immediacy of the security breach iscompelling. Grovos e-mail content alsoguides readers to an embedded video,encouraging further engagement.Throughout the e-mail, Grovo remainsdisciplined and maintains its content focus,only talking about LinkedIns securitybreach. Even the companys plug for itsown blog and its contact us link twopoints at which the message could easilydeviate from the overarching security themeof the e-mail incorporate the theme. Thesupplementary video recommendations playinto that theme as well.OF NOTE: While body copy is critical when it comes to content, dont forget to spend time craftinga subject line that is concise, timely, informative, and compelling. According to e-mail marketingcompany MailChimp,3 it is best to limit subject lines to fewer than 50 characters and avoidbuzzwords like free, which tend to send red flags to readers and spam filters.2MECLABS, The MarketingExperiments Quarterly Research Journal, 2011.3MailChimp, Best Practices in Writing E-mail Subject Lines, 2012. 3. E-mail Marketing Tactics | 3 The goal of any good e-mail marketing campaign is to be timely, relevant, and helpful.Obviously, the content you include in your e-mails is primarily what determines whetheror not you meet those goals. The more compelling your content, the greater yourchances are that your audience will open your e-mails and follow the calls to actionthat they set out.Jeff Fernandez, Cofounder & CEO, Grovo Learning, Inc.Delivering Your Message Through DesignAs is true in most of the digital world, the success or failure of e-mail marketing campaigns dependsheavily on design. Generally speaking, great e-mail designs employ a clean, easy-to-navigate templatewith an eye-catching color scheme and a distinctive font. Design must also take visual flow and otherfactors into consideration to ensure that the various content items in the e-mail work together toaccomplish an overarching goal.Simply put, disjointed e-mail campaigns that lack a consistent visual language are generally lessengaging and therefore less effective. The key is to design a template that uniquely addresses youraudiences interests and allows them to quickly absorb your message.Delivery.com, a company that helpscustomers place online delivery ordersfrom their favorite restaurants and stores,achieves all of the above with its visuallyengaging Welcome Back e-mail.Targeted to customers who have notrecently used Delivery.com, the e-mailuses a creative corkboard layout andhandwriting font that likely resonates withcustomers who like the convenience ofusing the companys services for theirerrands. The e-mail formatting isconsistent from the Post-It note to-dolist to the Delivery.com logo on a Polaroidframe and the companys call to actionis obvious and compelling. The end result is an e-mail that clearly conveys Delivery.coms ability toeffortlessly manage specific chores for its customers using its software.Compelling visualization in e-mail is the most effective way for marketers to communicate messaging and calls to action to their customer bases.Equally critical is the relevance of the content of the e-mail, which should be tailored based on customer segment. Neeraj Sharma, Vice President, Marketing, Delivery.com 4. 4 | OpenView Venture PartnersStatusboard, a project management tool, presentsanother example of solid design with its Were moving!e-mail. When the company transferred its operationsto Amazons servers, it sent an e-mail to inform itscustomer base and proactively ward off any potentialfrustration that the resulting down time could create.Laid out to look like a piece of snail mail, the e-mailfeatures a descriptive graphic and headline to capturereaders attention while concisely communicating thee-mails intent. By combining the companys logo withAmazons and an image of a server in the header, Status-board spurs its tech-savvy customers interest. Readersare then drawn to the bright red text in the next sectionof the letter, which succinctly informs them of the mostimportant details of the upcoming change in servers.Taken altogether, the e-mail embodies severalrepeatable best practices by complementing thecompanys website (using similar color schemes andfonts) and utilizing a unique layout to organize contentin a simple method that pulls readers through theimportant details of the message. OF NOTE: While experimenting with different colors or layouts is an acceptable e-mail marketing design strategy, it is critical to design an e-mail format that readers will associate with your brand. While it may be tempting to create a template with numerous elements and graphics in an effort to stand out, avoid overcrowding it with unnecessary content and design elements.Optimizing Your Messages for Mobile PlatformsAccording to recent data from e-mail testing and analytics company Litmus, e-mail open rates onmobile devices increased by 80 percent from October 2011 to April 2012, and have doubled sinceJune 2011.4 Litmus also revealed that open rates are now higher on mobile devices (36 percent) thanon desktop (33 percent) or webmail (31 percent) clients statistics that speak to mobile e-mailsemergence and staying power.As a result, marketers need to think about how to optimize their messages for mobile platforms.Achieving that means considering multiple factors, including e-mail layout and content placement.Marketing automation company Eloqua exemplifies that with its welcome e-mail.4Litmus, E-mail Client Market Share, 2012. 5. E-mail Marketing Tactics | 5Eloqua smartly divides its template into two columns. Both can be viewed when the e-mail is openedon a desktop computer, while just the left column which contains the most important content is initially visible on mobile devices. Additionally, the e-mail header is divided to ensure that themessage makes sense in both desktop and mobile formats.Eloquas buttons are spaced out enough so that they are easy to click on smaller smartphone screens,an often overlooked detail that can have a huge impact on continuing interaction. Lastly, the call-to-action is stylized and perfectly placed. It looks centered and natural on desktop computers, while beingimmediately viewable on mobile devices.The most important takeaway for mobile platform optimization is ensuring that the headers, footers, andcalls to action are mobile ready as well. This involves optimally placing calls to action and accuratelysizing headers and footers so that they make sense on both single- and multi-column d