How To Create A Creative Email Campaign

By CertifiedHosting 10/11/2013

email checking

One of the biggest challenges of a site is of course enhancing traffic to your site and engaging users once they have arrived. Though social media is an endless source of fascination for marketers, email newsletters are still incredibly strong ways to interact with your current customer base. (Both of these forms of marketing, of course, pale in comparison to skywriting; but sadly, the skywriting schools aren’t training them well these days.)

Let’s look at five general tactics that can work to add a spark to your newsletters so that they don’t get instantly deleted. Then let’s take a look at four perspectives from executives at major corporations to get their specific viewpoints on how to make an e-newsletter stand out.

Five Tactics from the Email Experience Council

The below advice is from the Email Experience Council (EEC), which holds a contest each year for the top newsletter campaigns throughout the country. Basically, these suggestions represent shooting for the stars to create award-worthy marketing efforts. (If you try these tips and do not win an award, hey, time to write a complaint letter to the EEC.)

  1. Consider repetition. In the past, typically companies have been centered on individual emails, related to a general marketing campaign. The last few years, though, companies that stand out are getting recipients to repeatedly respond to a call-to-action. Repetition can be a strong tool. (Repetition can be a strong tool.)
  2. Responsive design. Make sure your campaign is mobile-ready, and test it on as many types of machines as you can to make sure there are no glitches. Providing a link to a mobile version gives you a sense of how many customers use cell phones. Nonetheless, you may want responsive design so that the customer experience is more automated.
  3. Refer carefully. If you link to third parties in an email, the email software can associate you as spam if the third party has been reported for that. Generally speaking, linking may seem harmless, but you are connecting yourself in a small way to that other site (and is it really important to drive your Canadian lawnmower customers to a list of the best nightclubs in Moscow)?
  4. Social/email integration. Social media can push traffic not just to your business page or to your site, but also to your newsletter; the same is true in the reverse. Combining the way you approach social platforms and the newsletter into one interwoven effort can strengthen all parts of the whole.
  5. Consider video. These days, emails don’t just have to be pictures and text. Consider different ways you might be able to incorporate video into your newsletter (such as raw security footage of employees caught misbehaving).

Four Perspectives from Major Corporations

Each of the below perspectives is from the marketing wing of a major corporation. These ideas provide additional specificity to the task of developing an email campaign that really draws in the attention of your target audience.

  1. Xerox – Xerox has taken advantage of personal specifics about individuals to customize the email experience, both at the level of the subject line and in videos targeted more directly at the person receiving it. Personalization on each of those two fronts brought the company twice as many click-through’s (video) and brought their open levels (subject) up to approximately 300% higher than typical.
  2. eBay – eBay has similarly optimized its newsletter campaigns by subgrouping the recipients. eBay of course has valuable information at its fingertips about the recipient. For example, if a user looked at a certain page but failed to buy that particular item, an email can be sent out suggesting a closely related product at discounted pricing. (“If you didn’t want the Justin Bieber poster for $10, may we recommend this one of Malcolm X for $7?”)
  3. Qwest – Qwest has found that analyzing the information related to how emails are perceived is essential. For example, the company was unhappy with how many people were responding to its initial introductory message. The open rates almost doubled (from 1 out of 4 to almost 1 out of 2) by looking at what links were generating click-through’s and reestablishing the tone based on that data.
  4. General Motors – The basic perspective of GM is to focus on strengthening and maintaining relationships with its car buyers. Using data from its OnStar system, the company is able to provide each customer with a message each month containing information about internal systems, as well as recommended maintenance related to current and recent mileage. (“Tip: You realize all good dealership customers get an oil change every 300 miles?”)

Conclusion

That should give you both general ideas and more specific perspectives on how to create a more compelling email campaign. Testing is of course everything, so make sure you are keeping a close eye on customer response. Plus, with personalization, marketing by email can become incredibly complex; so there’s much to learn.

Marketing emails is of course just one aspect of your business. Hosting is also key to ensure the security and reliability of your site. For that, we have you covered at Certified Hosting. (Also, at least one of us is wearing a hat right now; so if you’re a hat person, you’re at the right place.)

By Kent Roberts