Permission-based Email Marketing
Permission-based email marketing is a proven online marketing tactic that continues to grow. To help small, medium-size businesses and corporations take advantage of this powerful, highly targeted communications tool, webRulon offers sophisticated, full-service B2B and B2C email campaigns, either self-serve or DIY email marketing solutions, both designed to put the clients’message directly in front of loyal customers and future prospects.
Full-Service Email Marketing Campaigns
The ideal combination of convenience, expertise and service is offered through our managed full-service email marketing program. This turnkey solution provides the client with a complete hands-off implementation of their email marketing communications program by our expert staff. This program includes strategic services, custom template creation, email message delivery, list management and hygiene, results monitoring and in-house database integration.
Our email marketing experts evaluate the clients’ business goals and develop an email marketing campaign strategy with goals and objectives, messaging, creative direction, visual identity, a list acquisition plan and more. The strategic plan of a full-service email marketing program typically includes:
- Goals and objectives
- Target audience
- Value proposition
- Unique selling proposition
- List acquisition
- Customized subscription forms
- List growth plan
- Send frequency
List Management and List Hygiene
The customer provides webRulon with an initial in-house email address list(s), which is imported into the email broadcast system. At this time all duplicate email addresses are automatically removed. Email addresses that bounce during delivery are automatically marked for deletion and removed from the list. All new subscribers are automatically added to the list when they sign up from the subscribe box on the email message and current subscribers can unsubscribe at anytime.
For clients who are looking to build an in-house email list from scratch or would like to improve their list growth, we develop a list acquisition plan – a road map for how the client is going to find a significant number of new email addresses to add to the in-house list each month. Building an email list is an ongoing task and there are various ways we can build an in-house list.
Organic Email List Acquisition
There are various ways to grow an email list quickly, but none rarely performs as well as organically built in-house email lists, made up of individuals who subscribed or gave permission to be included in the email list.
Building an in-house email list organically is, in the long run, usually much less expensive than email append, compiled lists, list rental, sponsorship/advertising or list acquisition through any other list building method.
The first step in building an in-house list is to define how many email addresses need to be acquired each month to meet the campaign goals and the development of an email acquisition strategy. The latter e.g. may include a way for website visitors to subscribe to the list from each website page and email message, and offer benefit-oriented content, on a regular basis, to people who opt in. Other specific tactics for building an in-house list is to leverage every touch point with clients and prospects to get them to sign up to your email list, e.g.:
- Identify specific Websites, web directories, email newsletters, vertical ad networks, social media networks, search engines, and other online properties where a banner, co-registration, or other mechanism will help reach the target customers and prospects.
- Collect business cards from contacts at trade shows and networking events and get permission to add them to the email list for future product or service updates.
- Another list building option is email append, where an email append vendor will take the address list of the customers’ existing clients and prospects, or both, and match those with the e-mail addresses in their database.
Email Message Creative
For customers with an existing website, we usually design the email communication as a companion with the same visual design. This means using the same banner and logo as used for the website. That way, the recipient recognizes the identity when the message activates in the pre-view pane of his or her email box.
Messaging and Copy Writing
Clients can provide the copy for an email newsletter and other email communications, or we can develop copy for them. Copy for promotional email messages must be easily scan-able, include user benefits and a strong call to action to persuade readers to “click-through”.
Template Design and HTML Coding
Internet users often click on links, and on attractive, well-designed email communications that offer useful and interesting information. Promotional email messages will be designed for scan-ability. Other important factors that are considered are placing the user benefits prominently above the fold on the page and the call-to-action within the path of the eye. Key selling points will be promoted “above the fold” and higher on the page to take advantage of the preview pane.
Most email browsers disable images by default so it is important to design an email message with image blocking in mind to make sure that the message looks and functions properly across many email browsers. The fact that images are blocked does not have to lead to a disaster, as long as the integrity of the message is retained when images are disabled and there is enough copy to engage the reader.
One way we deal with blocked images is to include Alt tags for images. Alt tags are text phrases that are placed in the HTML code as part of the IMG tag. They appear in the email message or email newsletter as text phrases next to the red “x” in blocked images.
If the image is about the Nikon D80, the Alt tag could read “Nikon D80 digital camera”. To retain the integrity of email messages when images are blocked, we recommend placing the most compelling message in the upper left corner in text, if possible. All email messages or newsletters will include a link to an alternate HTML version of the message so that it can be viewed in a regular web browser with all images turned on and a link to “whitelisting” instructions.
Before we schedule a broadcast all email communications are thoroughly tested on many email browsers and on mobile devices and run the code through the W3C HTML validation filter to ensure that that HTML is coded according to standard, and renders correctly across various email browsers.
The most important factors that influence whether someone will open a commercial email message or email newsletter are the subject line and the “from” address. As part of our email creative service we write subject lines that are eye-catching, informative, brief and when appropriate, contain the company or product brand name or issue title. To increase the “open” rates of an email message, our email marketing experts keep the subject line to 70 characters or fewer (35 characters seem to work the best).
Email Message Delivery
Email message delivery means taking the necessary steps to insure that email newsletter and commercial email messages are reaching the recipients’ inboxes. Email blocking at the ISP or email provider level is one of the biggest obstacles confronting an email marketing campaign. The number one reason of email blocking is customer complaints where a few complaints per thousand email addresses can cause a commercial sender’ IP address to get blocked.
To avoid ISP or email provider email blocking, we take the following steps:
- Make sure that the content of the email message is relevant to the recipients’ interests
- Conduct thorough spam filter testing at major ISP’s such as Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Comcast, other ISP’s and email provider systems
- Provide recipients with an easy way to unsubscribe from the list and remove them immediately
- Make sure that the brand name or company name are in the subject line and from address so that the recipient can recognize the email sender
- Keep the email list “clean” by removing all invalid email addresses or “bounce backs” immediately
- Maintain sender reputation through SPF, Sender ID and Domain key authentication protocols
Results Monitoring and Reporting
Upon completion of an email broadcast all recipient responses are collected and summarized through our comprehensive response tracking reports for easy and instant review and feedback. Our response-tracking tool enables the client to review how many email messages were sent, how many subscribers opened the email message or newsletter, and learn which emails resulted in visits to the website or landing page.
Tracking and Testing
Ongoing testing, using web analytics software is an important part of our email marketing service. Through ongoing testing of every aspect of the email campaign, including the Subject and From lines, email message creative, the offer or editorial, the landing page and delivery, we can truly lift the overall performance and ROI until it shows significant returns in the revenue growth of an email campaign.
For corporations and enterprise customers with in-house email databases or CRM systems, webRulon provides database integration services for one-way or two-way data exchange through industry-standard Web services. This way our clients will be able to pass email campaign data directly from the CRM system into the email broadcast system or keep opt-out data synchronized between the broadcast system database and the central in-house databases.