The imperative of relevance: why and how to become more relevant

According to the countless studies that research companies have conducted along the years, consumers are mostly troubled by the senders’ failure to comply with the relevance criterion of the newsletters they send out. It is also research pointing out that consumers treasure those brands that integrate information about their preferences in their communication. We should only look at some data taken from “Social Inbox”, a November 2010 research study that covered a sampling of 1001 consumers.

- 72% of the consumers declared they deleted messages they had received from advertisers if messages were of no relevance to them.

-  59% of the consumers said they deleted messages that an advertiser had sent them because they had received too many emails from them.

-  49% of the respondents unsubscribed because whatever seemed to be interesting to them in the first place turned out to be irrelevant to them.

Although respondents were not too numerous, the results show pretty clearly that consumers react negatively whenever advertisers fail to send relevant messages or whether they send too many messages, too often.

In order to avoid that, companies have to start measuring the value of programmes depending on the experience of customers. One evaluation measure is to see whether brands that send relevantly targeted messages are considered valuable by the final user or whether they are as appreciated as the brands that send messages to all subscribers are. Which leads us to another result package, which derives – this time – from research performed among marketing directors… Well,

-   During the first research, conducted in 2010, when asked whether the company they represent had segmented the audience for their marketing campaigns again over the past six months, only 48% of the responding marketing managers said they had been actually using the results of the click-through behaviour study.

-   One year later, in 2011, the same research covered the same pool of respondents and the same methodology, but 42% of the responding marketing directors said they had been using the analysis of click behaviour as a segmentation criteria. And yes, the percentage went down indeed…

Nevertheless, we should only presume that all of the research activities have a +3% error margin, so that we can believe that this is not necessary a drop, but more of a stagnation. Nevertheless, what these figures are indeed pointing out is that marketing sophistication has not increased at all. Regardless of how we are looking at this data, they point out that 50% of companies using email marketing send the same message to their audience time and again without targeting receivers who interact with the newsletter different from the passive readers. Sending messages to an inbox turns into a reflex to load some latent email addresses. We cannot even define exactly who is passive and who isn’t – the subscriber or the advertiser – if companies using email marketing do not consider the outcome of whatever they send and if they fail to use such outcome in how they target their future communication.

So what is relevance, anyway? A possible useful definition is that relevance is the “intersection between content and context, whose pace is the frequency”. In action, this is about sending out correct messages, rightly timed, via proper channels. Or, what the dictionary defines as “pertinence”: “something proper, that satisfies the objective information requirements of a certain beneficiary”.

The segmentation of the audience is important, not just to make emails more relevant, but also to establish the value that email marketing programmes bring to the organisation and consumers.

And that can be measured in costs, incomes and profits. A study titled “The Value of Email Marketing” validated that statement and illustrated the fact that all of the costs that are spent to generate one dollar, even through the less costly channel of email marketing, is higher to advertisers who fail to run the proper segmentation in order to properly target their customers. That means that those 50% of the advertisers who use email marketing but never consider the relevance by means of segmentation and targeting, spend more on email marketing programmes than anyone may suspect. And the graph below illustrates that.

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Although clients could be highly interested in what you have to offer, you should always bear in mod that we – as individuals – are very different from each other.  So you will need different seduction methods before you allow a brand to stay in our lives. And we cannot do that without relevant, which can only be achieved further to efficient segmentation and targeting.

How to create efficient birthday emails

According to a study conducted by MailerMailer and published by ClickZ, anniversary emails may turn out a conversion rate 60% higher than other emailed messages that carry the same offer. Research suggests that emailed anniversary messages can fall under three categories:

· 40% provide discounts, which means that subscribers should buy something before they can actually enjoy a discount,
· 40% provide something free of charge, and subscribers do not have to buy something,
· 20% never provide anything, apart from their birthday message.

For the first category, we provide the example of an anniversary email campaign that a Romanian brand working in the entertainment industry ran some time back. The client chose to send subscribers two anniversary emails, using a discount voucher as an incentive. Clients could use that voucher to get a discount for something they buy during their birth month. In the second phase, clients who have not yet used the voucher get a reminder email urging them to use that discount voucher and presenting the benefits of the voucher once again.

Provideo Example

Another example of anniversary email marketing is the gift-free one: it provides a discount or a free incentive. But the sender uses the opportunity to build a relationship between the brand and the consumer. Although it looks simple, even a “Happy birthday!/Happy anniversary” could yield you back some good results, because there’s no other channel whereby companies can communicate warmly and in a personalised manner.

HT personalized

There’s another option, which is less used by companies running email marketing campaigns. Nevertheless, this option is both efficient and luring: it’s about offering presents without incurring any costs from the part of the company. That’s the case of the congratulating message coming from DC 101, an international radio station, whose subject line was “Happy Birthday from DC 101”.

dc101

The objectives of this newsletter are the following: a) to attract traffic to the website; b) to increase the time people spend listening to the radio shows. And newsletters motivate people to do both. Mentioning the existence of a free application will help increasing the opening and response rates. The playful reference to the “automatic anniversary message” in the starting paragraph is a good “captatio benevolentia” icebreaker, which matches the overall DC 101 brand:

“You just hate automatic messages, don’t you? Well, we do too, but our boss thought it was a good idea. Fortunately, his birthday is just around the corner.

Anyways, A Happy New Year from the part of all people on the DC 101 crew! Although we’ve remembered when your birthday is, we’ve forgot to buy you a present. Or not? We’ve recently posted thousands of tunes online which you can download free.”

The text is a good example of a message whose voice reflects the image of the company. Although it is not customary for a brand to adopt such a daring copy, there are ways of making it so that the voice can stand out against all emails in the inbox.

The “photo” section of the newsletter is also an exciting one – it features album covers. Instead of providing information just on this service, DC 101 invoked some videos that can be viewed online free, for your viewing pleasure, during a break.

newsletter ex

The subject of this kind, in which customisation brings in some forced intimacy, in circumstances where the message contains nothing personalised that will not increase the opening rate, as people may sometimes wrongly believe. A recent MailerMailer study validates that statement. Data prove that opening rates are influenced by customisation, but not in the way you may think of:

  • Customise the message alone: 12.6%
  • No customisation: 11.8%
  • Customise both the subject and the message 6.9%
  • Customise the subject alone: 6.7%

Another example of anniversary email is the one Coca-Cola sent out. CC found an ingenious way of giving out inexpensive, but highly relevant, gifts – a recipe for an anniversary Coca-Cola cake.

coca cola

The subject of this email was “Happy Birthday, from Coca-Cola!”. Anticipating the content of the email – the receipt – would have helped. The recipe was free for Coca-Cola anyway and was an ingenious way of using the product. And even if you had no intention to spend your birthday cooking, you can still use that opportunity for your nephew’s birthday.

And not lastly, an anniversary email with an attracting subject, such as “Jeanne, here is the gift for your birthday!”

cvs

“The free gift” is actually a $3 discount for each purchase from CVS. Even if it does not have the same sex appeal as free entry or discounted shopping, the offer attracts through its simplicity and through the fact that it sets no condition and does not associate incentives to a minimum order. This is just an example of a standard online brand that does not provide traditional gifts, but gives subscribers something useful in exchange, thereby increasing its loyalty and involvement.

Apart from the birthday anniversary, name days are yet another good opportunity to celebrate your subscribers and warm up your relationship with them. For clients such as the one in the example below, of the auto category, saint name days are recorded and invoked by reducing a shopping discount voucher.

Audi

These are just a few examples of elements that can add spice to an anniversary email: a free but ingenious incentive (a brochure that can be downloaded free, a recipe, a video), an amusing copy or a beneficial discount. Whatever your option is, do not hesitate to use the birthdays of your clients, if you have them in the database. Just like you do to catch their attention every time in order to propose offers, you can wish them “A Happy New Year! / Happy Anniversary!”. If you do it less conventionally, you will of course find more reasons to enjoy it…

Persuasion in email marketing

Persuasion architecture, a theory developed by the two experts in optimizing conversion, Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, is a marketing approach from the perspective of the customer’s personality. According to this theoretical model, If you know a customer’s “buying modality” (Competitive, Spontaneous, Methodical or Humanistic), you can tailor your design, copy and direct marketing to best persuade that type of personality.  To suggestively resume the four mental purchasing profiles, the two specialists associated them with a celebrity very well-known in the United States. We will see below the features of each profile and who this theoretical model can be applied into the email marketing strategy.

The 4 mental purchasing profiles are:
·     Competitive
·     Spontaneous
·     Methodical
·     Humanistic

blog

A few characteristics for each type of buyer profile:

Competitive
·     Likes to be the first to own a product – respond to new items, featured or best-sellers
·    Is Interested in facts and summaries about the product – without necessarily clicking on them
·     Does not like to “dig for” information
·     Uses search fields rather than the browser
·     Interested in cross-sell and up-sell offers, does not like to  click many times to find out more

Spontaneous
·     Respond to promotions, sales, discounts, limited stock and time-limited offers
·     Respond to free overnight shipping (you can have it tomorrow)
·    Scans the page and clicks without thinking too much, as compared to other consumer profiles
·     Prefers to see the product in action (who the cloth looks on a person)
·     Interested in “how many” reviews there are
·     Interested in why other persons buy, may respond well to this type of cross-sale

Methodical
·     Like product details, very thorough in researching a purchase
·     Like side-by-side product comparison to make a rational decision
·     Trust expert reviews – videos are especially helpful
·   May be sceptical of contests, free shipping and returns – what’s the catch? Will read the receipts  every time

Humanistic
·     Cares what others have to say
·     Appreciates live chat support (or telephone service)
·     Forwards offers to friends, share their experience with the product in question
·     Will contribute to the content created by customers – will write reviews for example
·     Looks for the perfect gift, uses wish lists

This taxonomy can be used to segment the list according to the buyer’s personality. You can apply segmentation rules according to the behaviour on site, such as according to how the customer chooses to sort the search results. For example, if a consumer chooses to see first what is new or what the most expensive products are, he or she can be a “competitive” buyer.  If that subscriber has an account on the site, you can put him/her in that segment and you can send him/her promotional emails in the future.
However, sometimes we have no information concerning the customer’s intention or personality. In practice, it is difficult to address to all the 4 buying profiles. It is not impossible though, as shown in Crutchfield’s newsletter.

This answers to the 4 buying profiles: for the “competitive” sections New Arrival, Top Seller and Customer Favorite better answer to need to save time. For the spontaneous type, purchasing due to an impulse, NL facilitates the purchase decision, by the star evaluation. The links to the buyer’s guides and other materials on the site are very good for the methodical ones, who want to educate themselves before buying anything. Links to reviews are very useful because the methodical buyers like to read most such materials. “Humanistic” buyers would appreciate star ratifications, the section “Customer Favourite” and the “call-to-action”.

And don’t forget: persuasion applies to each component of the marketing programme, so we can optimize both the consumer reviews and the subjects according to the  4 buying manners.

Convergence – more than just a fashionable catchword in email marketing

Convergence is overrated and overused in the business community. But it is still of great relevance, when it comes to email marketing. The concept of “convergence” is instrumental to successful email marketing programmes, which bring returns on investment to both advertisers and subscribers.

Email communication and the send frequency are too often influenced by the schedule of promotions. Convergence is about passing through this rigid planning structure and about integrating email communication into the wider experience of the consumer.

Email marketing specialists should highlight how important brand uniqueness is to consumers, but they have to answer one question before anything else. What should consumers understand about that brand or about the related products and services, in order to create the best possible experience to consumers?

The next step is to identify opportunities to improve the brand experience of the consumers, by making the most of the email marketing. The objective of this step is to create a contact strategy that should integrate email communication into the client’s interaction with the brand.

Apple: lessons learned

Think of the unparalleled integration of emails in the Apple stores. In the past, clients were waiting to be signed up in a record, then they would pay and get a receipt. What Apple basically did was to redefine the way purchases are finalised.

Now, the Apple salespeople accept card payments via electronic devices and whenever the transaction is finalised, they ask the clients whether they want to get a receipt via email. We should not underestimate the significance of this strategy. Apple managed to use emails in order to replace a more traditional process, that printed receipt.

Secondly, the email receipt is much more valuable to the client, compared to the printed version. Clients no longer have to wait for the printed receipt, whereas the electronic version is automatically stored in the inbox of the client and is much more difficult to lose than the original printout. On top of that, this sale validation formula provides a cross-sale opportunity for the brand. The real value of this approach is convergent. Eliminate the printed receipts, deliver them electronically and turn your communication in a manner of getting your consumers involved and of strengthening the relationship between them and the brand..

Conclusion

While “convergence” is quite a wide and often hard-to-define concept, its import to email marketing is obvious: no channel can work if separated from the others. For the time being, the access of consumers is too wide and yet insufficient in order to respond to forms of communication that do not even anticipate or expect…

While still strongly rooted in the consumer’s experience, email marketing is sure to generate high profits and to remain a powerful marketing tool.

Best frequency for email marketing

What is the optimal frequency for email marketing to be able to optimize response rate? Is it one email a quarter, week, month or day? Does the well-known formula “less is more” apply or more is better?

To find the answer to these questions, we should look at some data coming from regions with tradition in email marketing: Great Britain and the United States of America.

Average UK Email Frequency

The 2010 edition “UK DMA National Client Email Marketing Report” survey provides useful insight on this question.

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If we try to get the right balance between email overexposure and underexposure, we should start by considering the risks associated with to each case. With overexposure, the recipients receive e-mails from the same company so frequently that they don’t have the time to keep up and read it or they feel they are being spammed.On the other hand with underexposure, opportunities and sales are lost.

Average US Email Frequency

In the United States, there is a survey available on the retail email frequency.

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The chart above shows that the frequency varies – from a “peak” of 5 emails per week in the period before Christmas, to an average frequency of  3 newsletters per week in other periods of the year.

In order to be able to assess which is the optimum frequency we must take into account three factors:

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The frequency curve:

This is a tool that shows how profit grows in relation to the frequency.

If you are in point A, you initially obtain more profit as the frequency is increased. At time B you reach an optimum frequency level. Sending more emails may mean additional sales offset by the exhaustion impact and by the increase in the unsubscribing rate…therefore profit decreases.

What do consumers tell us about the optimum frequency?

There are several customer behaviour surveys warning about the hazard of sending too many newsletters.

  • In Merkle’s “View from the inbox” survey, 73% of the respondents stated that “sending too frequently” is the main reason for opting out of an email mailing list.
  • In Epsilon’s “Beyond the click” email branding study, 71% of respondents said it wasn’t OK for companies they know and trust to send email more frequently than they already do
  • According to a MarketingSherpa survey with the same object, since 2009, 25% of the respondents who reported an email as spam gave “too much email from the sender” as a reason for doing so”

Looking at this data we can conclude that higher emailing frequencies looks a bit like a game of Russian roulette. But if we turn these figures around, we can discover a new angle of seeing the phenomenon:

  • 25% of the respondents did not cite “sending too frequently” as the main reason for opting out of an email program
  • 29% said it was OK for companies they know and trust to send email more frequently than they already do
  • 75% didn’t report a sender as spam because they sent too much

The lesson we can learn from this is that we are very different.

We tend to think of frequency in terms of how the whole list behaves. But we do not take into account the fact that each address on that list has its own unique frequency/profit curve.
In other words, the optimal amount of email for one recipient is not optimal for the next.

Frequency is tied to value

The debates about frequency often ignores the fact that what you send impacts how much you can send. The problem is often not that you send too much email per se, but that you send too much of the same email.. Or too uninteresting emails.

However, if you increase the value given to the recipient in the email, the more the frequency/profit curve shifts in your favour:

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If you increase value, then…

  • you can earn more profits at the same frequency
  • recipients will respond positively to more email for longer than if you’re sending rubbish
  • you can earn more profits at lower frequencies

The answer is through value, which is why so many experts talk about relevancy, targeting, and segmentation. All concepts designed to make your emails more valuable  so you can improve results without playing Russian roulette with frequency.

3 tactics of using dinamic content in your email marketing programme

An increasing number of companies rolling email marketing programmes want to use dynamic content. This is an admirable goal, because with dynamic content you keep your promise of tailoring your messages to your subscribers, which should consider their preferences and be relevant in relation to their needs without creating an infinite series of creative versions for the same message that is communicated.

However, marketers often say they don’t know where to start. That happens because they usually fail to make a plan including three key tactics:

  • Determine the key segments that are eligible for dynamic content
  • Collect all the necessary data available to create different versions of the creative concept
  • Have the capacity to create specific content for each segment, in order to deliver on the promise of supplying dynamic content.

If you follow this plan, you should be able to integrate dynamic content successfully into your email program, and avoid the dangers of using dynamic content without proper planning.

Step 1: Identify Key Segments

The first step to success in planning for dynamic content is to identify the segments for which you plan to version your content. Traditionally, direct marketers have relied upon past behaviour to segment their lists. Segmentation can be performed using simple criteria, – prospect vs. customer or as complex as following the RFM model (recency-frequency-monetary) by product line.

B2B marketers go beyond the traditional segmentation methods and make use of behavioural segmentation as well. The sections read by subscribers in the newsletter offer excellent opportunities to segment your list and deliver dynamic content according to their reading preferences.

Once you have identified the key segments that you plan to address in your message, your next step is to identify how the content should differ for each segment. For example, you can send a service upgrade offer to a subscriber who has been in the basis for a long time, and a trial offer to your prospect subscribers.

If you have information regarding their last purchase, you can make similar suggestions for their next purchases. If they purchased a product from you., you can use dynamic content to recommend complementary products in the same line.

Step 2: Integrate the Data

Many email marketers master these segmentation techniques, but they hit a roadblock when integrating the data with their email tools.

The main purpose of an efficient use of dynamic content is to identify the key data differentiating the segments. It is recommendable to consolidate data to a standard value that can be recognised in your database to identify the correct piece of dynamic content that should be used for a specific subscriber.

You can use the following data consolidation ideas:

  • Click activity
  • Last open and last click
  • RFM (Purchase behaviour)
  • Subscriber score based on a past purchase
  • Transactional messaging with relevant product data
  • Last product purchased
  • Triggers after “X” days of inactivity
  • Stage at which an online form was abandoned

Step 3: Plan the Content

Once you have established the triggers, you can develop appropriate content that addresses the specific needs of each segment. This can be a difficult task for a creative team. The identification of 10 segments can lead to la 10 template versions, even if you only change an NL component. Good planning is therefore necessary to incorporate dynamic content into your email program.

Consider the following steps in the creation area:

  • Identify content that never changes
  • Create content that will not undergo major changes

Conclusion

Adding dynamic content in your email program is the perfect way to quickly make your email content more relevant. You should not forget that it is recommendable to plan in advance, because you can only integrate dynamic content in your email marketing programs in this way, without overwhelming your technical or creative resources.

Why it is often better to give than to receive gifts?

A few days ago, we were talking about how to send anniversary emails. Yet, why do it? First, let’s face it, we love to receive gifts, but let’s admit that we also like to give presents. Well, this last statement was a little bit easier and fills us with pride.

So, if we want to turn our customers into friends, let us make the first step and start by giving them presents. Even if there is no occasion, just because they exist, enjoy us and because we know that tiny thing  that would fit them perfectly and would make their day better.

And now,  from a more mercantile viewpoint, what do we gain?

1. It is a good way to increase loyalty.

I would not think about unsubscribing if I know that it is very likely to receive a gift. I would also read all the emails, lest I loose a super offer.

2. It helps increasing the database

Certainly, when I receive a gift, I tell the people around me.  Moreover, I would even encourage my friends and my colleagues and my family, in fact everybody, to subscribe in order to receive gifts. And 80% of the people follow their friends’ recommendations.

3.  It helps sales

We already know that these emails have an opening rate up to 60% higher. So it is also an opportunity to cross sell. We give earrings as a gift and we present a necklace to go with them. So, you sell more and you increase the traffic on site.

4. You keep your customers

Samples increase sales. Give me a product I can use for a while and I might realize that I cannot live without it.

So,  what gifts do you want to give me?

How to avoid boring in newsletters. 4 anti-boredom techniques

The latest article posted on the site referred to recent relevance, a fundamental criterion for the evaluation of any form of communication. In addition thereto, as a natural continuation, we will speak about the attractiveness of the texts, because both the offer and its presentation are important for the assessment of content of the newsletter. How an offer is covered in text can get the reader’s attention, motivating him/her to continue to listen, or can leave him/her immune, passive, uninterested.

The first rule to avoid boring readers by your e-mail marketing campaigns  is to be interesting. In order to be interesting, being understood is a prerequisite to be then followed in terms of behaviour. Only when an idea is relevant and presented in an interesting manner it goes beyond the dead letter and readers can connect to it. The more so as consumers are tired of so many commercial emails, in which they are always offered something for sale. A reality enounced simply and realistically by Bill Bernbach when he said that “nobody wants to hear from us anymore (those who sell commercial promises through advertising)”.

The second rule would be that the email gains persuasion power if you are disarmingly honest. The British writer Quentin Crisp noted at one point that “any man who says the truth is interesting” because we are always surrounded by complacency speeches and a dual language.

Another way of testing if you too hasty and you were too quick in using cotton words, without reaching vibrant words  is to ask yourself if you will be proud of this text in a few years. In other words, when you think about your  copywriter career, will you be able to say that you are proud of the text you created? That you made it as well as possible, that the product resulted has a sort of internal honesty that gives it integrity? Use stories to illustrate the services and offers proposed, because they are a good way of dramatising the benefits of the products/services.

Last, but not least, don’t forget about the positioning and don’t underestimate the fact that in making the text you should touch all the references you use when you try to establish the positioning. When we write the text for a newsletter we should take into account all the fundamentals of the positioning.

1.     Target customer – the target group

2.     Need description – the needs of this group

3.     Frame of reference – the market context, competing brands

4.     Reason to believe – the reason why the customer should believe the brand’s promise

This is all about how to keep your reader interested. There are two thinking schools, when it comes to writing a text for commercials. One says that the text must be very alive and very short, because nobody has the time to read it. The second school, the “classic” one says that a commercial text should be like an editorial, and that it should have good arguments, regardless of the length of the copy. The same school says that those who buy are those motivated to do so, and that they need as much information as possible before making a decision.

Whether the text us long or short, don’t forget that the only separating criterion is the relevance of the message and its capacity to catch the reader’s eye, in a  complicity born of sympathy.

How to Delegate the Acquisition of New Subscribers to the Subscribers Themselves

Social networks to which we have became so accustomed, gave the consumers more control over the brands’ perceptions on this platforms. Similarly, the e-mail marketing programmes should give more control to the subscriptions, even when it comes about new members aquisition.

E-mail marketing has become a mature channel, whose formulae for the valorisation of an e-mail address and performance indicators are well known. So, which are the areas still allowing for innovations? The answer may come from the very requirement faced by e-mail marketers: to increase the subscribers’ database.

Social networks that Internauts are so familiar with have handed in to consumers the control over the brand perception within these media. Access to information and information itself is currently under the consumers’ control.

Similarly, e-mail marketing programmes should begin from the existing subscribers’ community, in order to identify and attract potential customers.

Build on the power of groups

People depend on groups, because they cannot live outside communities. Even teenagers contouring their eyes with black, in Gothic style, who want to be different from the others, end up spending their time with other teenagers making up their eyes in dark colours.

People get married, make up families and join sport teams. When we think about e-mail subscribers, we must remember these things.

The first thing a person visiting your site thinks about before giving you his/her e-mail address is whether he/she is the only one doing this. Do they subscribe for a site with outdated offers or not adjusted to the latest trends? The phenomenon is called the need for social evidence. The visitors of your site need to know that other subscribers having similar interests have decided to subscribe for the newsletter. If you don’t have a large number of subscribers to present, you should try one of the following strategies:

Use testimonials in the sign up area.

Why not show them what other people say about the opportunity to subscribe? If the testimonial comes from a respected person from the industry, it is even more valuable. Do not post testimonials on the page dedicated to testimonials, post them wherever they are necessary.

If you have an attractive number, post it.

If you have an impressive number of visits, you should emphasize this. If you have a large number of followers on Twitter, show that. Large numbers help new subscribers feel that they belong to a community.

Use exclusivity.

In your call-to-action, you may argue why, by subscribing, subscribers may become the members of an exclusivist community. If being part of a group is a good thing, being part of a group that other people don’t know about is even better.

Potential subscribers identification.

Most brands facilitate for the subscribers the possibility to recruit or register friends for a certain programme. For many years, marketers are striving to increase the FTAF (forward to a friend)rate, with low impact upon the subscriptions number. Similar results are recorded in the case of SWYN (share with your network) which, despite the fact that it is recognized as the best practice, does not generate significant increases.

However, certain brands have made one step forward. For example, sites like HauteLook, Rue La La, and Gilt Groupe. They have increase their customer base using two methods: a) creating an excellent subscription experience for the user; b) rewarding recommendations to friends.

The HauteLook subscription page, under “Invite a friend”,  contains a motivation incentive. Besides its good position at the top, in a visible place, the programme for attracting friends is rewarded by stimulating the subscribers to become advocates of the brand. Award suggestions: free e-books, free download reports, pop-up forms.

Eventually, the brand has managed to make the subscribers responsible for the acquisition, paying them for that (instead of paying the same money to publishers).

Subscribers create content.

Another example of attracting new subscribers is to allow them to contribute to content creation and to become publishers with the brand. Communities are created, within which participants may answer questions and address other people’s needs, instead of talking with a brand expert. In many cases, article writing was entrusted to the consumers’ database. This should also be considered in the case of the e-mail. The content created by a subscriber for another subscriber has the potential to increase the value of communication by the level of advocacy (a consumer’s availability to become the advocate of a brand) within the subscribers’ community.

Innovation means a lot of things and it is not always related to technological progress. Analysing several e-mail marketing strategies, we notice that novelty emerges especially from the assimilation of the idea that the paradigm of communication has changed, the control being handed over from the marketer to the subscriber.

What Is Good Copy for Email Marketing?

Naturally, there are many possible answers to this question. And there is room for plenty of subjectivity. But the main challenge to writing a good copy for email marketing comes from the author’s mindset. And this is because most of the people who create the texts write using text processing software, being implicitly closer to hardcopy-oriented, rather than digital media thinking. That is why we are listing below several basic principles you need to take into consideration when creating a newsletter.

Make the template look like a site

Think about the actions you want the email reader to take: to order a product, to request a brochure, to recommend the article to friends, to subscribe for the newsletter. Place all these at the top of the menu bar.

Make the most of the first eye contact with the copy used

Use two thirds of the page for your main message and one third as a sidebar. This way, you will have two text areas to draw the reader’s limited attention to. The sidebar should emphasize:

-  Consumers’ testimonials

-  The offer

-  Products’ characteristics

An interactive quiz or questionnaire

After the structure is complete, add headlines, or a Johnson box or a customized opening line, to have as many contact points with the reader as possible. Another usual strategy is to create a short table of contents in the beginning of the email, containing links to the paragraphs following down the page.

To write a persuasive email, you should try to structure your thinking: write the main benefits on Post-its. Move the Post-its to various positions on the screen-size page, to see how many texts can fit into the upper part, dedicated to the main message.

Let’s suppose that you need to promote, in your email, three types of training courses. Instead of writing the training modules vertically, you should place them side by side, on three columns. This way, the reader can see all three training courses on a single screen, instead of scrolling down the page.

Begin with the offer and call-to-action

Often, the email copy contains the offer and the call to action at the bottom of the page. This may be a reminiscence of the fact that, in the old times, letters used to present the subject matter, explain its solution and then present the offer. This logic is no longer valid in the case of the e-mail. Very few people read a long message to the end. Place the offer and the call-to-action within easy sight and associate a dead-line in order to urge to prompt action.

Associate the copy with the links

Instead of including certain text bodies, create links to these texts. Do not overload the text with paragraphs about the company reputation: include a link with the text “why should you trust us”. If you need to include several product descriptions, show the products and add links to the detailed description. Apply the same method for the biographies of the main speakers in a conference; place the speakers’ photo with a very brief description, just to intrigue the reader.

If you have a designer, use graphic buttons in some places. A relevant example is that of a conference promotional campaign, whose newsletter usually listed, with bullets, the first five subjects of interest within the industry. To generate more enthusiasm, we changed that list to five graphic buttons, under the title “The 5 Industry Hot Buttons”.

Before ending, remember the saying “if you talked to people the way advertising did, they’d punch you in the face”. The text of your e-mails has to be relevant for the receiver, not only for the issuer. It should be interesting, amusing, in order to render the offer transmitted memorable. The offer has to be as easy to understand as possible. Remember that Einstein believed in the rule according to which, if you cannot explain your idea to a six-year old child, then you haven’t understood it.