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Top 5 Email Marketing Time Savers

When it comes to marketing your company efficiently, email marketing is a no-brainer. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should already know that. But I do get some push back every now and again. And last week, I heard from someone I know that email marketing “takes too long to get right”.

Fair enough, I guess. But doesn’t any marketing program take time to get up and running and prove successful? I guess if you are just handing off PPC or social to an outside agency, you don’t have to spend much time on it yourself. But you’d do better to understand what they’re doing at the very least.

With email, a little bit of effort can go a long way. And you don’t have to master it in order to see results. But if you are one of those people looking to save time on their email marketing program, here are 5 ways to do it:

  1. Better list management – use a company like iContact and a plugin like Formstack in order to feed new signups directly into the appropriate list so that you don’t have to do much sorting and uploading each time you want to send out an email. And this doesn’t just apply to sales emails, iContact’s list management can be an effective software for fundraising purposes, email newsletters, and other outreach programs.

  2. Preset email templates – a little more time spent up front can make the time you have to dedicate to email design later that much less. Either hire an HTML designer or put your skills to work and create some basic templates that are quick and easy to update with each campaign.

  3. Let them decide the subject line – instead of agonizing over what the most enticing subject line will be, run an A/B test to a small percentage of your list, then come back later and send the winner to the rest.

  4. Track live results – track what works and what doesn’t with each email by setting up reports for yourself that come right to your inbox. The more you know about each email on the go, the less time you have to spend remembering that info when you go to create a new email.

  5. Automate sending – pick a day or a few hours of a day that you can devote to email marketing, and build your emails in advance. Most senders will allow you to set an email for deployment at some point in the future. Then you can sit back and forget about it until the next email marketing day.

Want a better solution? Hire me to manage it for you. I will be your email marketing consultant, and I will guarantee fast results.


Simple is Successful: iContact Email Review

In email marketing, simplicity goes a long way. Short emails, containing easy to view and read information are some of the most successful emails you can send. And I was reminded of that when I got iContact’s recent monthly newsletter.

Take a look:

I guess if anyone should know about sending successful emails it’s a company that sells email marketing software. But good for them for practicing what they preach.

If you look at the email above, they do many of the things that I prescribe for marketers who are looking to improve, or start an email newsletter. The subject line is clear and direct, the layout is simple and easy to look at, the content is solid, and there are numerous ways to consume and share the content provided.

We can all take a cue from the simplicity of this newsletter.

Overall Grade = A.

Bonus: Get your Free Trial of iContact today!


Email Marketing: 5 Things Worth Testing

Today’s marketers are testers. We need to constantly test new offers, new processes, new campaigns, new pricing, and new headlines. Consumer behavior changes faster than we can keep up, and we need to outthink and outperform our competition in the battle for attention.

Email is a tool that marketers have long found to be effective in boosting web traffic and sales. It’s also quickly becoming one of the easiest ways to test new things. It’s easily trackable, and gives you immediate results.

If you’re using email as part of your marketing strategy, here are 5 things you should consider testing with your next batch.

  1. Subject Lines – there are plenty of different things that you can test in your subject lines. You can test a new way of wording the same offer, using shorter subject lines vs. longer ones, and using punctuation or dollar signs. The subject line is one of the most important aspects of your email if your primary concern is getting more readers. Test a couple of subject lines and find out which one has the highest open rate.

  2. Images – using images in an HTML email can be a good way to make your email look better, but it can also have negative effects. First, it marks your email as marketing (I don’t include images in emails to coworkers or friends). Second, it can affect the way your email displays with certain email providers. I suggest testing the same email with no images to see which has a higher click-through percentage.

  3. Number of Links – I have personally found that the number of links in an email can have a direct impact in a reader’s likelihood to click through. There is no magic number. Too many and you run the risk of either confusing your message or annoying the reader. Too few and you run the risk of missed opportunities. Try testing an email with 3 links vs one with 6 and compare the click-through rate on each link. The key is getting people to the one place where you want them. A click-through to the homepage may not be as important as a click-through to the checkout page.

  4. Link Display – this is a new one. Are people more likely to click on a word that is hyperlinked or on a fully written our URL? I don’t know, but I would like to find out. Test it!

  5. Signature – this is an often overlooked aspect of a marketing email. Do you add a signature or not? I find that a signature at the bottom of the email makes the email look more formal and more personal, usually lifting the response. If you don’t include a signature, try testing one. If you do, try testing an email without one or using a different signature entirely. The CEO’s name might have a different kind of effect than a generic staff message.

The service that I use for all of my email marketing campaigns at the moment is iContact. They have a new split testing tool that allows you to easily set up multiple versions of an email and send the test to all our part of your list to find a winner.

And, through this offer, you can sign up with iContact and get started for free.

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