Ok, so you’ve got your snazzy email newsletter, with a juicy special offer for your potential customers, and you think it looks pretty good. Once that’s sorted, it’s just a case of bombarding your mailing list and getting your brand out there, right? WRONG. As Ecommerce-guide.com writer Helen Bradley observes, the fundamental difference between success and failure in the world of emarketing is TEST, TEST and TEST some more.
Bradley pointed out at that once you have a sizeable contact list, then it’s worth using “sampling” techniques to gauge how successful you’re campaign is likely to be. For example, if you have a large mailing database, you can send to small samples first. Most commercial email marketing services now supply you with a wealth of statistical information about your email campaigns, such as unsubscribe rates and click rates. By monitoring these, you can assess how successful different versions of your email are, and tailor your approach without running the risk of damaging your reputation amongst your entire database of contacts with one duff email. You can read Bradley’s excellent article in full here.
It’s not just the content that’s important. Remember, your customers all have different types of email server, and what looks great in Gmail may not be so hot in Outlook or Yahoo. For this reason, it’s useful to have a variety of personal email accounts just for testing. Furthermore, this is the 21st century, and many people may open your email on their iPhone or Blackberry, which you need to prepare for. Try opening your mailout on your own mobile phone, or even your colleagues and friends. Remember, viewing your email in as many different ways as possible minimises the chances of it looking naff-which is what you desperately need to avoid.
It’s worth noting that if your commercial email marketing service is REALLY cool, it may have a facility that allows you to view test emails as they appear in different email servers, so that you can design something that works on any format, and not just a few.
Remember – once compiled, your email database is a precious resource, to be treated with care. Don’t abuse it, and make sure that you test thoroughly before sending.