Yesterday, I wrote about making your emails personal. Today, I'll write about increasing your open rate and click-throughs by making your emails targeted and relevant. And don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss the final post in the series about email design. To make your emails targeted and relevant, you need to know a little about your audience. Commonly though, marketers only ask for an email address to activate a new subscriber to a list (this is a good strategy, but I'll save that for another blog post). But there are other ways to get more information from your list.
After a subscriber has signed-up, send them a thank you message with a link to their profile and prompt them to give you their first name and zip code (arguably the most important info you need). Or send a separate email within 24 hours (the window of time where you'll get the best response). Build the information in your database patiently, piece by piece. Even free or nearly-free tools like Constant Contact usually have some functionality like this.
Once you know something about your audience, you can begin to send targeted and relevant content. (There are tons of studies that show targeted and relevant content getting better open and click-through rate, not surprisingly.)
For instance, I have seen little sections of emails sent by national organizations that vary by geography. Sure, maybe your copywriter needs to write content for both coasts, the Mid-West, Mountains, and the South, but isn't a greatly improved customer experience worth a little extra effort?
Don't be afraid to go further with this concept. Ask your customers what information they care about (a bunch of simple checkboxes will do) and then send them content based on this.
If you have a more robust system, you can do some amazing things. I've heard that the ASPCA splits its list based on whether you prefer cats or dogs or both. Allegedly, they can tell which photos you click on when you're visiting their website and that is logged when you sign up for the enewsletter. Then you get the images in the email that they think you will most strongly react to. That is some smart marketing!
Join me tomorrow for the final post in this series about easy improvements to your email campaign. I will focus on design (and it's probably not the kind of entry you'd expect..).