Tuesday, February 26, 2008

10 Keys to Successful Email Campaigns

In todays Internet Marketing world where your email customer database can shrink as quickly as it can grow, marketers require methods to improve their email marketing efforts. ProspectDB an email marketing company has the following 10 recommendations for successful email campaigns.

1) Be CAN-SPAM Compliant: Don't be deceptive with the subject line, include a full signature line with address and phone number, include opt-out instructions, etc. For more details on CAN-SPAM compliance, go to: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.htm

2) Make the Email Content as Personal as Possible: The more the email looks like one that the recipient would receive from a co-worker, colleague, or fellow professional/executive, the more likely they are to open it. Open with the persons name, end with a signature line, have the email actually come from a person instead of a generic email, etc.

3) Use a Dedicated Domain: If your company's main website is www.abc.com, don't use that domain for your marketing campaigns, use a dedicated domain just for your marketing campaigns, such as www.abc-email.com. This prevents your primary domain and company website from ever being effected by complaints.

4) Response Options: Give the recipient of the email the option to reply to the email they have received, go to a website, or pick up the phone and call you. More options for response = more response.

5) Tracking Tradeoffs: realize that the more you do to track thing like open rates, click through rates, etc., the more likely your email is to be seen as unsolicited and the less likely it is to reach it's intended recipient.

6) Check your Email's Spam Score: Here is one service that I recommend: http://www.thecassiopeia.com/Portal/SpamTest.html there are many more out there, and using as many as possible is advised.

7) Avoid Spam Catches: There are a million of these that you can unknowing included in you email content, but the general rule of thumb is: don't sound like a cheese commercial and you are less likely to be perceived as one. More specific examples include: Don't put lots of text in ALL CAPS, don't use words like "free" and "discount" frequently (and never in the subject line), don't use the words "remove", or "unsubscribe" in your unsubscribe instructions. If you are clever you can incorporate your unsubscribe instructions into a confidentiality agreement at the bottom of your email.

8) Follow up Immediately: follow up with results from your email campaign immediately, not a few days later, or a week later. A real person would follow up with a response that they received from an email that they sent out almost immediately, you should be set up to do the same.

9) Diversify and Customize: Use a variety of email content and subject lines when possible. This will make your emails look less like spam as they hit corporate servers and you will avoid the "all eggs in one basket" scenario. By diversifying you can also target the message more specifically to particular industries, title types, geographies, etc. A more specifically targeted email with customized content for a specific sub-group make a message even more relevant to the recipient and will yield better results.

10) Delivery Timing: Be conscientious of the times, dates, days of the weeks, and frequency with which the emails are delivered. There are a large number of theories regarding the best email delivery times, but in general you can be sure that Tuesday through Thursday is your best delivery window for B2B emails and in general you want to get the emails into the recipients' inbox during their working hours. Emails sent in the middle of the night are more likely to be spam and more likely to be viewed as such. If you can tweak your delivery settings to allow for a slight delay between each email, that has also been shown to improve results. Also, if you send out 1,000 emails a day spread out over 10 days, you will generally get better results than 10,00 emails all sent in one day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Preventing Click Fraud

There are several ways to reduce your risk of click fraud and keep conversion quality rates high. The following best practices and recommendations from ClickForensics can partially be helped with the use of web analytics software but may require extensive time. An expert third-party firm with the tools and analysis may be required to cost effectively reduce or eliminate click fraud.

1. Prevent low quality sites from displaying your ads. Some ad providers allow for exclusion lists you can populate with low performing sites.

2. Monitor who is clicking on your ads and the quality of conversion against your daily spend. Some ad providers allow for an IP exclusion list.

3. Only display your ads to the geo-location you are targeting.

4. Monitor the time of day you are receiving poor quality traffic. Use ad scheduling to improve conversions and reduce fraud.

5. Find the keywords that are attracting the fraud or low quality traffic to your site. Some of the highest cost keywords generate the highest levels of click fraud because they make the most money for fraudsters.

6. Identify competitors and block domains and IP addresses and establish special landing pages.

7. Engage with an independent click auditing expert. They have the tools, experience and time to rapidly analyze your search program and will provide data and actionable solutions to address immediately with the search providers.