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VOL. 129 | NO. 49 | Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lori Turner

Lori Turner-Wilson

Reports of Email’s Death Greatly Exaggerated

By Lori Turner-Wilson

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The first in a two-part series. While email marketing may have lost a bit of luster given the instant gratification of social media, it’s alive and well and is one of several digital marketing channels businesses are spending significantly more on in 2014. Why? Because compared to social media marketing, email marketing is less time intensive and easier to measure, test and optimize.

While tweeting and “liking” may be flashier, a recent McKinsey & Co survey states email is nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined, though there is certainly a place for social media.

Sixty percent of marketers report that email marketing produced a measurable return on investment according to MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey of over 1000 marketing pros across the country. This same study reveals 64 percent of marketers spent more on email marketing last year than the prior year – a trend continuing in 2014.

Every successful email campaign begins with a strong, engaged email database. Build your list with qualified contacts that have indicated a real interest in your content. Think beyond basic website enrollment when it comes to growing your email database. Capture opt-ins at offline events such as networking activities or speaking engagements; offer premium content – such as white papers or research – on your website, in exchange for basic contact information; and encourage email subscription at the time of purchase or when an online contact form is completed.

Consider sending dormant subscribers – those who haven’t clicked a link in your emails for several months – a re-permission email to either re-engage them or clean up your list.

The average person receives about 70 emails per day. Whether your email gets opened or trashed has everything to do with the subject line. Keep yours under six words – the maximum length that’s easily readable on a mobile device. There’s more to a strong subject line than brevity, however. It must also be engaging. A subject line that reads “March Newsletter” is likely missing the mark.

Research suggests that email subject lines referencing movie or song titles outperform their more straightforward counterparts. Ensure that any pop culture references are demographically targeted to your particular audience.

Think about the device on which your email is most likely to be read. Roughly half of emails are opened on mobile devices, which is why your content and design must be mobile friendly.

Properly grow your email database, write an engaging yet succinct subject line, and design with mobile in mind, and you’re well on your way to generating a strong return on your email marketing investment. Check back next week for creative content strategies that produce results.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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