How to create effective email campaigns

Effective email campaigns require two critical elements: good list hygiene and an understanding of customer preferences. Michael Thompson, director of database marketing firm ClickSquared, gives some quick tips for building and maintaining a good email list and shares his recommendations for how to capture customer preferences. The aim: to deliver relevant and effective email marketing messages to your audience.

Good List Hygiene

Regardless of how well an email is crafted, if it's not making it to the inbox, it has no impact. Current statistics show that more than 25% of email addresses churn per year. No matter how clean your initial list, it is imperative that you have a process in place that manages and removes bounce-backs and inactive addresses.

Here's a checklist to tick off:

  • Are your email addresses accurate?
  • Have they been updated?
  • Are your prospects and customers still receiving communications at their listed email addresses?

If not, ISPs will notice that you consistently send messages to bad addresses.  Left unmanaged, this will have a direct impact on your organisation's ability to deliver email to ANY customer's inbox.

Moreover, if a significant percentage of your emails are not being delivered, your marketing ROI will be negatively impacted; the CPM rate you pay to your ESP doesn't discern between delivered and undelivered email.

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your list is clean and up-to-date:

  1. Send a triggered opt-in confirmation email while collecting addresses. This confirms that the address is active, and gives you the opportunity to explain what communications the recipient should expect to receive from you.
  2. Develop a strategy to remove inactive and/or invalid addresses that bounce from your database. ISPs are increasingly measuring engagement, i.e., how many people read or click on your emails.  Removing inactive addresses keeps engagement measurements high.

Collecting Customer Preferences

Collecting and utilising customer preferences allows you to create more relevant email communications by providing your customers with (only) the information they want - when they want it.

Customer preferences help you understand two key things: your customer's specific interests, and their preferred method(s) and frequency of receiving information.

Your goal is to leverage this information and create relevant messages that speak to your customers as individuals.  In short, you are aligning your messages to the topics they find most important, and delivering those messages at the times and frequency they find most appropriate.

Once you collect customer preference information, you should marry it to the activity and behavior data you're already tracking: who opened what, which links did they click, what are they buying, and how often are they buying.  Understanding these inferred preferences will enable you to further refine your messaging and content to drive even greater results.

To find out more about delivering emails your fans will love to read, check out our guide to A/B testing and our list if words that trigger spam filters.

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