Better e-mail marketing in an hour a day

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January brings with it the ubiquitous need to revamp and rethink. In fact, offers of a better body or a better life working just an hour a day abound. While you might not have the resolve to spend an hour a day on your abs, Jeanniey Mullen, founder of the Email Experience Council, has written a book ( with co-author David Daniels) that can help you improve your e-mail marketing efforts in the same period of time—“Email Marketing: An Hour a Day” (Sybex Language, 2008). Mullen provides these four tips to help you get started.

1) Ask for e-mail addresses earlier and more frequently. Over the last few years, many marketers have been overly timid about asking for e-mail addresses. “Marketers have been afraid to scare people away too early in the conversion funnel,” Mullen said. You shouldn’t necessarily make e-mail disclosure mandatory, Mullen said, but having it as an optional field is a way to boost your list quickly. “Ask for e-mail addresses wherever you can,” she said.

2) Watch the news. Long-term planning is a smart strategy, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that dictates the content of your marketing messages. Customers and prospects react to what’s going on in the world, so your subject lines should reflect what’s important today—not just what’s on your marketing calendar. “B-to-b customers are like consumers in that they pay attention to trends when shopping and purchasing,” Mullen said. This means that you should take advantage of new surveys, statistics and data to sell your products and craft offers around the same, she added.

3) Leverage creative resources to design for mobile devices. While most marketers know their subscribers are reading e-mails on mobile devices such as the BlackBerry or iPhone, many haven’t taken the next step and created an alternate link so mobile users can click through and read a shorter version of the newsletter or marketing message. “If I’m standing in an airport and I get your message, I might read it; but unless you make it easy for me to read it all there, I’m probably not going to go back to it later,” Mullen said. You can change this by creating a text-only Web version of your newsletter. Plus, you get the added bonus of knowing exactly how many people are navigating to the page, she said.

4) Focus on click-to-open rates. These are calculated by taking your open rate and dividing it by the number of people who clicked on even a single link. This is the best way to figure out if you are giving recipients something of value. “If your click-to-open rate falls below 25%, you’ve wasted your time,” Mullen said.

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