Are your multi-channel marketing campaigns ready for the challenges of a new school year? Don't worry if it was a long few months off from creating, testing and sending. That is what we are here for. SimplyCast wants to give you a quick refresher course on some of the basics before you dive right in again and hit that send button.
The first few weeks of school can be a hard time to stay focused. New surroundings, new friends and new teachers can take time to adjust to. One thing I personally found difficult about the first few weeks was dusting off the cobwebs and remembering the basics from previous school year. It was almost like the first week should have been all about reminding the class about what was learned before the summer started.
That is why in honour of all those kids heading back to school, I want to point out some of the basics when it comes to making the grade when sending out any type of multi-channel marketing campaigns.
No need to take notes, there will not be a pop quiz.
1. Only use opt-in data – This seems like an easy one but you would be amazed at how many people call our sales team asking if they can use a purchased list. We don't allow it and you should not do it. You will always get a better response rate from a list you build organically. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Don't send too much – You have worked hard to build lists and obtain user information, so bombarding them with emails, surveys or SMS messages could trigger them to unsubscribe or report you as spam. Let people digest what you have already sent before doing it again. Sometimes less is more and this tends to be the case when dealing with online marketing.3.
Write interesting content – When was the last time someone told you they unsubscribed from your newsletter because the content was just too interesting? Probably never right? That is why you need to make sure you have compelling content that fits your audience. It can't just be about the sell because that turns people off pretty fast. It needs to be relevant and interesting copy that provides the reader with something of value. Include blog posts, tips that relate to your product or even include a user survey just to make things different. This will take a bit of time and effort to put together, but that effort will be repaid.
4. Send often enough – Huh? Yes I just said to not send too much but you can go too far the other way. If you do not communicate often enough with your subscriber list you will most likely see a drop in response rates. Readers move on much easier than they used to and there is always another company that will try to steal them from you. You should be sending out some form of communication at least once a month to keep your lists engaged.
5. Call to action – Give your recipients a reason to read and interact with your online marketing campaigns. They key is to be specific about what you are offering and make it clear how long they have to take advantage. Oh and try to do this without sounding like you are selling a 1993 Honda Civic. Remember you need to grab their attention fast and want them reaching for their credit card.
6. Attach a plain text version (email based) – This is another step that can be overlooked pretty easy. Most of your recipients will receive HTML emails, but for those who can't, a plain text email will ensure they read what you have to tell them. This goes for mobile devices as well. Basically by including a plain text copy, you are ensuring that everyone will at least get the message, even if they don't get the beautifully designed HTML version.
7. Always check before you send – Growing up, my father was a cable guy. One of his mantras was "call before you dig", and I have come up with my own version as an online marketer. "Check before you send". That simple little phrase has saved me on numerous occasions when rushing to send out a survey or email newsletter. Testing your campaign takes two seconds and can avoid an embarrassing mistake being seen by thousands of readers. Get a friend or coworker to check it as well, you will be amazed how a fresh set of eyes can save the day.
8. Subject line – The subject line is the first thing someone will read when your email arrives. Make sure it is relevant and tells that reader what to expect from the message. A good subject line will entice your recipients into reading and hopefully acting on it. Remember, being misleading with a subject line goes against the laws of CAN-SPAM and will get you put on a very bad list you don't want to be on.
9. Get social with your campaigns – Encouraging recipients to forward your campaigns to their friends costs you nothing and it is an easy way to double your readership. Post your message on Twitter and Facebook and offer incentives for your readers to do the same. Everyone is using some sort of social media site, so let your customers spread the word for you and save some marketing money for something else.
10. Track those metrics – At the end of the day, it is all about numbers. Knowing how many opens, unsubscribes, bounces and clicks you get from each campaign is the only way you are going to be able to track what is working and not working. Sure, sales could be telling you that the latest email campaign is doing wonders for business but if you are not breaking down the metrics, do you really know? By crunching the numbers, it will show you where you can improve even more and maybe help you discover a style or message that is always a winner with clients. Data is power, remember that.
Okay, so I lied, there is one test question before this blog post comes to an end. What other tip or advice would you pass along to your fellow online marketers? Please leave a comment or let us know via Twitter.
SimplyCast's Interactive Marketing Suite includes: Email Marketing