Archive for May 2012
They say the economy is getting better and we think it is as well. However, it’s not as good as it was a few years back. So, we are doing everything we can to drive more business to our small world. One of the things we are doing quite a bit is email marketing. This is a tough thing to do and I’d thought I’d share some things I’ve gleaned over the past few months.
We’re Sage ACT Consultants as I am sure my readers know. But what you may not know is we are Swiftpage Gold Consultants as well. Swiftpage is an Email Marketing firm that has a tight integration within ACT. We help customers set up email marketing campaigns and one day it occurred to me that we were not doing it ourselves. It was one of those “smack yourself on the forehead moments.” So, we recently sent out a couple of email marketing campaigns about our services and products.
I was at first disappointed that our open rates were ONLY 30%. Only is in caps because what I originally thought was bad turned out to be actually pretty good. According to services who do this for a business, 30% is an awesome open rate. They say the norm is 4 to 8% for new lists and 8 to 10% for lists of people who have received mail from you before. Personally I want 100% but that’s just the type A overachiever in me. In retrospect, I’d be happy with 50%.
With this as momentum I went on a scavenger hunt for tips to increase the open rate and to also find out why mine was higher than the norm.
Based on what I’ve uncovered, here’s what I found.
1. Brand recognition helps – I sent my campaign out to people who know us – customers and resellers. That’s a huge factor and is the area where I am going to work the most to increase the open rate. It is a well known fact (at least to me) that it is cheaper to go after business from an existing client than to go after a new one. If I was sending this out to brand new prospects, I’d have to work harder to make people want to a)open my email and b)ensure I get past SPAM engines.
2. The subject line is KEY – if you get past the SPAM engines this is what will draw them into your email. It becomes your “here kitty kitty” plea to go see the great stuff you have painstakingly compiled in your awesome email.
3. Don’t overdo it. Sending out an email campaign every day is only going to ensure faster opt-outs.
4. Know your audience – do your homework and look for the buzzwords that will compel people to find out what you are offering/recommending/suggesting/ranting about.
5. Email marketing is getting harder – most people, including myself, hate SPAM and we get a lot of it. Spammers are getting very good at luring you into opening their emails. Heck, they may even be reading this blog post as we speak. Therefore be judicious in what you send out. Think over the topic and subject carefully and make sure you are sending out emails people actually will value and want to read.
Here’s some tips I gleaned during my investigation and research.
Check out and bookmark websites that show SPAM word lists. Copy them and keep them nearby when you are composing your email campaigns. I’ve listed one of my favorites below.
Another thing to do is frequent sites whose business it is to do email marketing. This idea has a high “duh” factor associated with it. One of my favorite sites to research is Swiftpage.com. As noted before, since we are Swiftpage consultants and resellers it would figure I like their articles – but they really are very good. At the end of the article I have a great example from their site.
Craft an amazing subject line. This is the place where you lure them in. If they don’t like the subject line, they won’t know if they like the content because they will have already deleted the email. Put a big part of your effort into building the right words, with the right length, that doesn’t scare away the recipient and doesn’t flag it as SPAM. That is why it is very important to know the SPAM words because the subject line is searched first. Plus, many people put in rules that take out emails with $$, buy now, etc in the header. Also, I’ve seen differing opinions on how many characters should be in your subject line. Some say no more than 40, some say cram as many words as possible into the subject. I’m going to give you my own personal preference – if it’s over 40 characters I’m passing. I have someone who sends me the world’s longest subject line and the email has absolutely nothing in the body. I guess it ensures I read what he wants me to read, but I still find it annoying. That’s just me.
If you want people to visit your website or click on a link for more details, put it early in the body of your email. That way your key “call to action” has a higher chance of being implemented as well as be clear to your audience.
An important rule is follow the KISS philosophy – keep it simple. Make your emails concise, clear, to the point and brief. If you want people to click on a link to read more about your product or service – say that. Click here for more details is pretty clear. And you can put a lot more information out on a linked page and not fill up the email with information better served on a broader space.
While you are putting in your links don’t overwhelm your audience with too many. One or two should be sufficient. If you do more than that, people may never return back to your email. They will spend all their time on the first two links. Now, that may not be a problem – but if that wasn’t your ultimate goal – then you’ve lost them at the pass.
That about sums it up. I am doing another email blast next week. I’m anxious to see if my research has paid off.
Currently, customers on any prior version of Sage ACT! are eligible to purchase Sage ACT! at upgrade pricing. Sage’s new Upgrade Pricing Obsolescence Policy is to honor upgrade pricing for customers with the current release and two prior releases of a product.
Beginning 6/1, this policy will be in place. That means anyone on versions of ACT 2009 or earlier will pay full pricing for new versions of Sage ACT!
If you are on an earlier version of ACT! you have until May 31 2012 to buy it at upgrade (and greatly reduced) pricing. You can call us for details and price quotes. We can also give you a demo of the current release and explain the enhanced features.
Depending on what version you are running, there are lots of changes that have been put into the product. One big one for several of our customers is support for Office 2007 and 2010 and Windows Vista and 7. Older versions of ACT prior to 2005 will not work on the new environments.
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