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提高电子邮件营销效率的最佳实践

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核心提示:Email marketing's effectiveness and ROI have been proven time and time again, but concerns about spam have left many marketers and business owners wary. Will my email messages get through to the inbox? How do I avoid being lumped in with spammers? E

    Email marketing's effectiveness and ROI have been proven time and time again, but concerns about spam have left many marketers and business owners wary. Will my email messages get through to the inbox? How do I avoid being lumped in with spammers?

    Email service providers (ESPs) have done much to allay these concerns by automating many CAN-SPAM and deliverability requirements and building strong relationships with internet service providers (ISPs) to support better email marketing deliverability and take care of the nitty-gritty technical details that marketers shouldn′t have to worry about.

    But some ESPs have gone too far, asserting that they can provide email deliverability rates as high at 99.99 percent. This is misleading and frankly not possible. You′ll want to choose an ESP that offers a number of important email deliverability features and services -- something we′ll get into briefly later in this article -- but much of email marketing deliverability is in the hands of marketers themselves, and it all starts with following email marketing best practices.

    Before we get into the practical aspects and tips for implementing best practices to improve email deliverability, let′s first take a look at some important research findings from Aberdeen Group that provide a roadmap for better deliverability.

    The attributes of best-in-class marketers

    Aberdeen Group conducted a study earlier this year called "Demystifying Email Deliverability," which surveyed 517 companies using email marketing and identified the top performing organizations (called "best-in-class"), as well the factors that affect email marketing deliverability.

    Several findings do indeed point to the importance of ESPs. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the best-in-class marketers said they rely on ESPs for services that affect deliverability such as email certification and deliverability monitoring. More than 70 percent of the businesses surveyed said that one of the main reasons they use ESPs is to ensure deliverability.

    But the study doesn′t stop there. Aberdeen also identified the specific practices and attributes that help best-in-class marketers achieve some of the highest deliverability rates in the industry. Best-in-class email marketers who take their cues from customer behavior by segmenting email messages achieve an average email deliverability rate of 90.2 percent.

    These email marketing leaders, who represent the top 20 percent of businesses using email to market goods and services, have seen a 9 percent year-over-year improvement in deliverability, compared to average industry performers, who saw no growth in deliverability scores.

    Among the success metrics identified are segmentation, personalization, list hygiene, and opt-in strategies, all best-in-class practices businesses must master to meet marketing goals.

    How you can become a "best-in-class" email marketer

    Thanks to the Aberdeen study, businesses of all sizes can follow the example of best-in-class marketers and aim for deliverability in the 90 percent range. The key is to take a close look at your current email marketing campaigns and begin following some of the best practices outlined in the report. The following tips provide practical steps marketers can implement over time to boost their deliverability rates.

    Make sure you have permission. Many consumers today are fed up with receiving spam or unwanted email. The following guidelines will protect you from gaining the stigma of a spammer and help your emails get delivered to your recipients:

    · Be sure to ask permission to send mail, and then confirm email addresses during this process. Asking for permission is a great time to set expectations, ensuring your customers know how often, and under what conditions, they will receive email communications from you.

    · Make it easy to opt out by implementing requests to unsubscribe from your list within 10 days. You can leverage technology to include a preference center driven unsubscribe link.

    · Don′t change your mailing frequency unexpectedly; you could alienate your customers. If you wish to make a change, simply let the customer know why. Transparency is always the best policy.

    · Monitor hard bounces and ensure you obtain complaint feedback from your ISP.

    · Make sure you understand CAN-SPAM regulations and follow its guidelines. Check the FCC′s website if you′re unsure of the fine points.

    Make sure your content doesn′t trigger deliverability red flags. Emails that have a poor text-to-graphics ratio or use a "from" name that isn′t recognized are less likely to be delivered. To ensure deliverability, follow these guidelines:

    · Use an email provider that has tested templates that support a good balance of text boxes and graphics.

    · Make sure your messages contain less than 60 percent HTML or graphics.

    · Test your emails before issuing an entire campaign to ensure your graphics/text balance won′t create deliverability problems.

    · Use a recognizable and consistent email address and "from" name for all of your emails. Encourage your recipients to white-list this address. This will usually trump all other anti-spam checks in delivering mail to large ISPs.

    · Know your audience. For instance, in B2B, it is important to include keywords in your content and test these keywords periodically to ensure they remain relevant. Your audience will judge your mail based on the content. It plays the biggest role in influencing whether someone will click or complain.

    Know your stats. Leverage as much data as possible in order to figure out your version of "normal" performance. Knowing where you stand makes it much easier to avoid serious issues, as you can react to potential problems quickly. It also makes it easier to pat yourself on the back when you improve your results. Having an intimate knowledge of your stats is critical in helping you differentiate between suspected delivery issues and poor client response.

    Guard your reputation as a good email marketer. With email marketing, reputation is everything, and it′s key to keeping your deliverability rates high. To a large degree your reputation will be affected by how many spam reports are filed against you. To avoid spam notices:

    · Send relevant emails. The more relevant the mail, the more likely it is to be delivered and opened. Leverage the use of technologies such as dynamic content, email automation ("workflows"), and segmentation, in order to provide the most timely and relevant content to the recipient.

    · Make sure your emails are easy to recognize. Use subject lines that carry a consistent theme that recipients will associate with your brand.

    · Ensure content is clean and professional.

    · Treat each email deployment as a million-dollar commercial. Use a mission control style checklist process to minimize deployment mistakes.

    · Monitor your open rates, click rates, and other key indicators. If they′re declining, revisit the relevancy of your campaigns and tweak content and subject lines to be more appealing.

    Know your customers′ interests. No matter how good your message is, if it′s not relevant to the interests of your customers, it′s a failed campaign. Knowing your audience is the best way to ensure your email campaigns connect with your customers. Base your campaigns on what they want and like, aligning their interests with what you have to offer. Here are few tips that will help you get to know your customer better:

    · In exchange for contact information, offer your customers something of value: a newsletter, a free seminar, or more information about your products and services.

    · When gathering contact information, gather only the demographic information you really need. Asking for unnecessary information annoys people and may discourage them from signing up.

    · Manage your contact lists so you can respond quickly and efficiently to requests for more information or requests to unsubscribe.

    · Since email addresses can change frequently, maintain the integrity of your email list by carefully tracking the number of bounce-backs or undeliverable emails after every campaign. Monitoring lack of response to your campaigns is an important aspect of knowing your audience.

    Use transactional emails to your advantage. Transactional emails are highly relevant and personalized communications and therefore are more likely to be opened than regular email campaigns. Transactional emails can be as simple as:

    · "Welcome" and "Thank you" notices

    · Password reminders

    · Invoices

    · Shipping notifications

    Since the customer is expecting these emails, you′ve already reached a level of personalization that opens the door for you to learn even more about them. Include additional promotions based on their preferences while also asking for feedback or suggestions. The more information you gather, the more personalized you can make your email communications.

    What to look for when choosing an ESP

    You should consider an ESP that goes above and beyond basic compliance management.

    The ESP should have:

    · Dedicated deliverability staff whose sole responsibility is to constantly improve technology and services to help ensure that your emails get to the inbox.

    · Strong familiarity with the top-tier internet service providers and third-party spam scoring services.

    · Demonstrated industry leadership, through participation in the shaping and promotion of email marketing best practices with industry organizations such as the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group.

    Whether you′re a big box retailer or small business owner, much of your email marketing campaign success and deliverability performance is under your control. Find the right ESP that is a fit for your business, follow email marketing best practices, and enjoy the rewards and ROI of one of most effective tools for marketing your business online.

    大多数电子邮件营销的成功与邮件的可送达性都在你的掌握之中。找到适合的ESP,遵循以下电子邮件营销的最佳实践,就能享受这种营销带来的收益和投资回报。

    电子邮件营销的有效性和投资回报(ROI)已经一次次地得到验证,但是对垃圾邮件的忧虑,令许多营销人士和企业老板保持谨慎。我的电子邮件信息是否能到达用户的收件箱?我如何避免被列入垃圾邮件制造者的行列?

    电子邮件服务供应商(ESP)已经付出了大量努力减轻这些忧虑,通过自动设置许多CAN-SPAM以及邮件输送的要求,与互联网服务供应商建立强大关系,以更好地支持电子邮件营销的可送达性,并处理那些营销人士本来无需担心的具体技术细节问题。

    但某些ESP做得过犹不及,声称他们能够保证电子邮件的送达率高达99.99%.这是误导的,坦白而言也不可能。你希望选择一家提供大量重要的电子邮件送达功能与服务的ESP,但其实,电子邮件营销的送达掌握在营销者自己手中,可以从以下最佳电子邮件营销实践做起。

    我们在分析实施提高电子邮件送达率的最佳实践之前,先来看看亚伯丁集团(Aberdeen Group)的一些重要研究结果。

    一流营销者的特征

    今年早些时候,Aberdeen Group开展了一项名为"揭秘电子邮件送达"的研究,访问了517家开展电子邮件营销的公司,确定了表现最佳的企业(一流企业)以及影响电子邮件营销的送达率的因素。

    一些研究结果的确证实了ESP的重要性。超过四分之三(76%)的一流营销者表示,他们依赖于ESP提供营销邮件送达的服务,例如电子邮件认证以及送达性监控。超过70%的受访企业表示,他们使用ESP的一个主要原因,是确保电子邮件可送达至收件人。

    但研究结果并不止于以上。Aberdeen还发现了一流的营销者实现行业中最高的邮件可送达率的具体实践和特征。一流电子邮件营销者通过将邮件讯息进行细分,从客户行为中获得启示,从而实现了平均为90.2%的电子邮件送达率。

    这些电子邮件营销的佼佼者,在利用电子邮件推销产品服务的企业中排名前20%,而且与普通的企业相比,前者的电子邮件送达率以每年9%的幅度增长,而后者的送达率则毫无增长。

    研究确立的一些成功标准有细分、个性化、列表清洁(list hygiene)以及许可营销(opt-in)策略,企业必须掌握以上所有最佳实践以实现营销的目标。

    如何成为"一流的"电子邮件营销者?

    Aberdeen的研究,各种规模的企业可以遵从一流营销者的范例,设定达到90%的邮件可送达率为目标。关键是仔细分析你现在进行的电子邮件营销活动,开始遵循这份报告里列出的一些最佳实践。以下的建议是实用的步骤,营销者可采取这些步骤逐步提高电子邮件的可送达率。

    确保获得用户的同意。如今,许多用户已经受够了收取广告邮件和垃圾邮件。以下步骤将让你免于获得垃圾邮件制造者的恶名,使电子邮件送达收件人。

    ● 确保获得用户同意才发邮件,然后在此过程中确认电子邮件地址。获得应允是设定预期的好时机,可以保证你的用户知道他们收到你的电子邮件的频率以及条件。

    ● 简化自愿退订的流程,让用户可以在10日内退订。你可以启用技术,在邮件中加入一个退订链接。

    ● 不要突然改变发邮件的频率,这样会令客户疏远。如果你希望做出改变,应该让客户知道原因。保持透明度总是最好的办法。

    ● 监管硬性弹出广告,确保从ISP处收到投诉反馈。

    ● 确保自己懂得CAN-SPAM规则及其方针。如果有不确定的地方,可查询FCC的网站。

    确保邮件内容不会触碰邮件送达的危险地带。文本与图表的比例不当或使用一个无法辨认的"来自"姓名的电子邮件,被送达的可能性更低。要确保邮件的送达,需遵循以下步骤:

    ● 选择一个提供测试过的模板、这种模板支持文本框与图形之间的平衡分配的电子邮件供应商。

    ● 确保自己的讯息里包含少于60%的HTML或图形。

    ● 在开展整个营销活动前,测试你的电子邮件,以确保邮件中的图形/文本平衡不会带来邮件送达方面的问题。

    ● 所有的邮件均使用可以辨认的、一致的电子邮件地址以及"来自"姓名。鼓励收件人将你的地址列入可信任名单,这样就能通过所有反垃圾邮件的排查。

    ● 了解你的受众。例如,在B2B案例中,重要的是在内容中包含关键字,并定期测试它们,以保证关键词的相关性。受众会根据内容判断你的邮件,这在影响某人是会点击查看还是投诉时发挥最大的作用。

    清楚数据。利用尽可能多的数据,以了解自己的"正常"表现程度。了解自己的情况,令你更容易避免犯错,可以迅速应对潜在的问题。而且当你知道自己的成绩提高时,也更容易感到宽慰。在区分是怀疑邮件没有送达还是客户不予回应的情况时,掌握深入的情报非常关键。

    扞卫自己作为优秀电子邮件营销者的声誉。在电子邮件营销当中,声誉就是一切,保持自己的高邮件送达率很关键。在很大程度上,你的声誉会受到自己获得多少次垃圾邮件报告的影响。要避免收到垃圾邮件的通知,应该:

    ● 发送相关的邮件。邮件相关度越高,其被送达和打开的可能性越高。可利用动态内容、电子邮件自动化(工作流)和细分等技术,向收件人提供最及时、最相关的内容。

    ● 确保邮件容易辨认。主题栏应该使用让收件人联想到你的品牌、一致的主题。

    ● 确保内容整洁、专业。

    ● 对待每一次电子邮件发送,就如一次斥资千万美元的广告一样。使用一个任务控制模式的一览表,将邮件使用的错误减至最低。

    ● 管理自己邮件的打开率、点击率及其它重点指标。如果邮件被绝收,应重新分析营销活动的相关性,调整内容和主题栏,让其更加吸引。

    了解客户的兴趣。无论你的邮件讯息多好,如果不符合客户的兴趣,那么这次营销就是失败的。了解受众,是确保电子邮件营销活动触及客户的最佳途径。以客户的所需和兴趣为基础开展活动,将其兴趣与你的产品联系起来。以下的建议将有助于你更好了解客户:

    ● 作为获得对方联系信息的交换,为客户提供一些有价值的东西:新闻通讯、免费研讨会或更多关于你的产品服务的信息。

    ● 在收集联系信息时,只需收集你真正需要的人口特征信息。询问不必要的信息会惹人反感,阻碍他们注册收取邮件。

    ● 管理你的联系人列表,以便迅速、有效地回复索取更多信息或退订的请求。

    ● 由于电子邮件地址可能经常变化,应该在每一次营销活动后仔细追踪退回或不能寄送的电子邮件数量,维持邮件列表的完整性。对活动未获得回应进行监管,是了解受众的一个重要方面。

    利用交易类邮件为自己服务。交易类邮件是高度相关、个性化的通讯邮件,因此比一般的电子邮件更可能被打开。交易类电子邮件可以很简单:

    ● "欢迎"和"谢谢"通知。

    ● 密码提醒。

    ● 发票。

    ● 运货通知。

    由于这类邮件是客户期待的,因此你已经实现了一定程度的邮件个性化,为你了解客户的更多情况打开大门。可以根据客户喜好加入更多促销内容,同时请他们给予反馈或建议。你收集的信息越多,你的电子邮件通讯的个性化程度就越高。

    选择ESP时的标准

    你应该考虑选择超越基本的合规管理之上的ESP.ESP应该:

    ● 拥有专业的邮件送达人员,他们的惟一职责是不断地改良技术和服务,以确保你的邮件发送到用户收件箱中。

    ● 非常熟悉最高层次的互联网服务供应商和第三方垃圾邮件评定服务。

    ● 与行业组织,如Email Sender and Provider Coalition 以及Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group等,一起参与了电子邮件营销最佳实践的确立与宣传,从而确立了行业领导地位。

    无论你是大零售商还是小企业老板,大多数电子邮件营销活动的成功与邮件的可送达性都在你的掌握之中。找到适合你的企业的ESP,遵循电子邮件营销的最佳实践,就能享受这种在线业务营销的最有效工具所带来的收益和投资回报。

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关键词: 电子邮件 营销效率
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