January 27, 2019 | Sean Foo
Great, so you have decided that email marketing is going to be an integral part of your online marketing strategy, getting the right email marketing service is important and careful consideration needs to be given to it.
Here are 6 key questions in your business you should ask yourself before deciding on your email marketing service.
1. What Type of Business Am I Running?
If you are running an e-commerce store, you will likely need advanced features such as:
– Autoresponder emails to showcase your best-selling items every week.
– Action trigger emails to show and retarget your customers with relevant products everytime they make a decision such as clicking a link.
– Receipt and delivery transactional emails to pre-empt customer service issues as well as up-selling more products to them. After all the easiest prospect to convert is one that has just bought from you!
Now if your running say a consulting business, most of your deals are done in person, you will likely only require a basic autoresponder series to showcase your prospects successful case studies of your clients.
2. Am I Going To Design My Own Emails?
Many of the popular and bigger email services including MailChimp & MadMimi offer a wide selection of free and professionally designed templates. You can even customize them with your company logos and colors without learning a single code of HTML.
Now if your industry demands a more design-focused email, Emma allows a custom design experience that blends graphics and design from your current marketing materials into their products when you use them.
3. How Am I Going To Get My Audience To Sign-up Into My Mailing List?
The best and most effective way to get emails is to get your audience to willingly opt-in into your mailing list. This can be done by directing traffic to a landing page with a lead-bait offer.
Email marketing services worth their salt will allow you to upload your email addresses list directly to their databases.
Most big email service providers such as AWeber and Madmimi also provide customizable email signup forms you can integrate into your business website.
As a big caveat, only add people who have agreed to be in your mailing list, if not then whatever you are mailing them in the future will be a waste of time for both you and the reader.
4. What Type Of Analytics Must I Have To Measure The Performance Of My Campaign?
Most of the email service providers out there, from MailChimp to AWeber all provide their own in-house free reporting tools and report which updates in real-time. These statistics are important, after all without numbers, how do you improve your current campaigns?
Below are some of the common but critical metrics your email marketing service must measure:
View Rate: When a recipient views your emails. Check for both total views and unique views. 10 total views could be done by 1 person viewing your mail ten times, but 10 unique views would be ten different people viewing your mail once.
Click-through/Engagement Rate: This is when a recipient clicks and interacts with one of your links on your email and/or shares the email by forwarding or through social media if you included a share button.
Bounce Rate: An important statistic to gauge whether your lead generation tactic is working well or broken. A bounce happens when an email can’t be delivered either due to a typo in the email address or the email not existing. This is important especially if you use interruption methods such as a pop-up page that demands an email signup before revealing the content. A high bounce rate in this instance shows your audience isn’t truly keen on signing up and just left a random email to get your pop-up out of the way.
Marked as Spam: Another statistic you would want to keep as low as possible. This happens when your mail naturally (due to the type of content, especially get-rich-quick schemes) gets sent to the spam folder. Your reader can also mark the mail as spam and this occurs normally when your email is not giving enough value.
Unsubscribe Rate: Uh-oh, this is perhaps one of the most important metrics you must keep an eye on. It doesn’t matter if you are an e-commerce business or a motivational coach, having some churn is natural but if your unsubscribe rate is constantly rising, you are probably doing something wrong with your content or its relevance.
Churn Rate: This is a good overall indicator of how well your list is growing. This takes into account the bounces and unsubscribes together with your list growth rate. If your monthly churn rate is 30%, that means you are losing 30% of your subscribers a month. That would mean you will need to add 30% new signups to your list just to have it stay the same size.
Time Spent Viewing Email: This is important especially if you are sending multiple types of campaigns. If you are an e-commerce business, a 5 second viewing time spent on your transaction receipt is probably fine, but the same 10 second viewing time on a promotional email to showcase your new products most likely isn’t good. This would probably mean the information in your email wasn’t fully consumed by the reader…spelling an underlying problem perhaps with the content or angle of the promotion.
5. Does The Email Marketing Service Provider Provide Responsive Email Design To Suit Mobile Devices?
This boils down to one criteria you need to nail down with the service you are choosing:
Do they provide both a mobile preview and a desktop preview layout?
A good email marketing service will provide both the ability for their drag and drop email templates to be mobile responsive (dynamic mobile-specific CSS) as well as manual coding option if you so choose to do the design yourself.
Take a look at the two comparisons of the same email on the mobiles below. Notice the first (left-hand side) email is mobile optimized. It is skinnier, lacks visual clutter and most importantly it is easy to read.
6. Do I Require A/B Testing?
A/B testing is simply the testing of different variables (from headlines to pictures to call-to-actions).
Let’s say you have a promotional email you would like to send, you can test 2 types of headlines to see which will perform better.
‘Save 50% off our best products this Christmas with our Crazy Sale!
‘Enjoy the lowest prices in New York City all December long!’
Both headlines are essentially saying the same thing: a holiday sale. But depending on your demographic and email list, one headline might perform significantly better vs the other.
Using A/B testing, you can the first email to 500 prospects and the second to another batch of 500 prospects and see which headline outperforms the other.
You can then use that newly improved headline and test other variables such as the call-to-action button, the pictures of the products on offer and even different colors.
So do you need A/B testing?
Well, it depends, if you are early in your business and building up your email list or you’re a small business and plan to stay that way, A/B testing might be more of a hassle. This is especially if you have various aspects of your business you need to handle.
But if you plan to take email marketing to the next level, A/B testing is crucial to optimize and get as much conversion as possible from each reader. After all, a 10% increase in conversion of an email campaign pulling in $100,000 a month would mean an additional $10,000 for just testing a few variables!
Are there are other features that you should be aware of when choosing your email marketing service?
Sure there are such as social media integration and e-commerce plugins if you are running an e-commerce business. But these 6 areas we touched on will be sufficient to get your business running on the right footing with email marketing.