Guest Post: 6 Ways to Spice Up Your Email Marketing

My most recent guest blog post, as featured on Wednesday, January 4th post on Hubspot blog:

Do you remember creating your first email marketing campaign? Those emails were going to catapult your business to new levels, blow your content’s ROI through the roof, and make you an instant digital mogul in your industry.Spice Up Your Email Marketing

How long did that excitement last? Are you still in the honeymoon phase, or do you find yourself staring at your email templates bored, uninspired, and unsure of where to go next?

Whichever way you feel about your email marketing, whether you’re on your first campaign or the hundredth, emails can fall flat and lose the appeal they once had for both you and your subscribers. So how do you bring the spark back into a boring email program and inject some va-va-voom into your campaigns? It’s all about approaching your email with a little creativity. Here are 6 ways to spice up your email marketing the next time your creativity (and email marketing ROI) needs a jolt.

1. Try On-the-Fly A/B Testing

For a marketer, there are few things more appealing than knowing whether your campaigns are successful while they are still in motion. In this sense, A/B testing is the sexiest email marketing feature there is! Nowadays, many email service providers (ESPs) have a feature built into their platforms that allows marketers to send and compare the performance of variables like subject line and “From” sender names to sample audiences, with the winning email getting deployed to the remainder of the audience.

2. Crowdsource Your Next Email Campaign

As hard as you try, it’s sometimes impossible to know exactly what your subscribers want, which is why your next email should flat-out ask them. Survey your customers to see what they want more of, less of, or what would make them visit your site more. Not only do prospects and customers appreciate your consideration of their opinion, but you may also be handed a brand new email campaign that your marketing department never would have thought of.

Although many ESPs have basic survey tools included, you can also collect information on your website through a customized landing page or a survey collection tool. Suggestions for what to ask might include their topic preferences for articles you produce, what sorts of deals would entice them to purchase more often, what additional products and services they’d like your company to offer, and what sorts of service updates would be helpful to hear from your company.

[Continue Reading on the HubSpot Blog…]

A/B Testing Takes the Guesswork out of Email

Originally written for and posted on the ListEngage blog.

Who hasn’t heard the phrase “Test, test and test again” when it comes to email marketing? Smart marketers have always understood the power of A/B testing their campaigns but the process has been cumbersome, and time consuming. Checking to see which emails perform best when, or with different subject lines and offers has always been a challenge that emarketers have had to take on manually.

Send one email at 10:03 am and one at 2:07pm with separate subject lines and then spend the next 3 days poring through the data, analyzing the results trying to incorporate the findings into your next campaign.

A/B testing has been inefficient to say the least—and most importantly, marketers have really only been able to view their insights in the rearview mirror in the past… but not anymore. Now, leading ESPs like ExactTarget have made A/B testing easy for marketers providing real-time emails, real-time testing and real-time results. Now email marketers can send 2 versions of a campaign simultaneously, measure open rates in real-time, pause sends and decide which campaign to launch to their “master list”.

What does real-time A/B Testing mean for email marketers then? Less guesswork and more results.

A/B split testing allows you to put your best campaign forward in Real-Time by monitoring various versions of the same email, and determining which is performing best. Users are then capable of evaluating test results and sending the “winning message” to subscribers.

The way that is works is simple:

  1. A user can go into the system and choose a campaign to set up in A/B Testing.
  2. The user can then set up their test variables, like:
    • From Name
    • Subject Line
    • Send Date/Time
  3. Users then decide their “test audience” say, 20% of their master list
  4. Once the test has been sent, users can then evaluate the test results and…
  5. Voila! Send the most successful campaign to the remainder of their subscribers on that particular list/campaign.

A creative subject line, a lunch time pick-me-up email, or sending from a well known person in your company may be the difference between email success and a big “flop” of an email, so make sure you’re always continuing to test, edit, and try new things in an effort to achieve overall email accolades. You, your boss, and your subscribers will all be psyched at the more targeted messages and awesome results!