Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

What Price Vanity?

Your branding could be costing you big time.

Are you using email for marketing? How about html? Yes, the joy of html. It allows us to reinforce our branding with the use of our logo’s. We can use special fonts by making them an image. We can show our products, not just describe them.

But have you thought about how your audience uses the Internet?

Watch out! You could be infuriating your readers – or losing them – and you wouldn’t know why.

We produce an extremely targeted online newsletter called Your Success! It goes out to over 2,000 – but they’re all CEO’s, CIO’s, Self employed individuals and Corporate managers. I had a couple of burning questions that I wanted answered in terms of how our audience read the newsletter. It has yielded surprising results of importance to email marketers around the world.

We sent the survey out at a bad time - late on a Thursday afternoon, we still received a 20% response rate, enough to measure average reading habits online.

The Survey Results:

  • 48% of the respondents said they downloaded emails and then shut off their Internet connection.
  • 51% read it when it arrives, 40% come back to it later and 9% print it off.
  • 31% only read articles they're interested in and 69% read or skim every article.
  • The results flew in. 27% of the responses came back immediately; 64% within 24 hours. 14% over the weekend and 10% during the next week. We even had one faxed response.

Our results have significance with eight important lessons to be learned for your email campaigns. The main message is you must know your audience and design your email for them - not for your own vanity and branding.

Eight Lessons to take from this survey:

1. HTML Vs plain text.

In Australia and NZ at least 90% of the audience has the ability to receive html emails (use of colour, formatting and graphics). Our newsletter has only 101 plain text subscribers, the rest receive it in html. So why email to the lowest common denominator?

However if you are sending your communications to large corporations, beware their firewalls. Many strip the html header (which tells the computer to format the email), or perceive it to be an attachment and strip the message. My advice is to call the webmaster and find out their policy before putting a number of their employees on your mailing list.

2. Use of graphics

It's important to limit or eliminate graphics completely if most of your audience will be logging off after download. Why?

Because Office 2003 blocks the linked graphics and logos (from your website). Or if they have older software they will show up as a blank white box or triangle with an x in it a short time after downloading. The reader will also get a prompt to hook back up to the Internet (so the email can grab the image).

Based on your email design and their computer, did you know that your entire message could disappear except for the subject line until they logged on again?

So what is the true price of putting your company logo on the email if it annoys readers and they don't see it anyway? The Poynter Eye Tracking study conducted in the US found that while 92% of people read the text on news sites, only 22% looked at the graphics. Do you really need images?

3. Content

Many marketing emails and newsletters will include an initial paragraph of an article, then have the remainder linked on a website. If close to half of your readers are logging off or printing the email - will they go back to the website for the rest of the content? Think about it.

4. Write and design for skimming

Are you writing your content for ease of skimming? 31% said they read only what's of interest to them. Try to make it easy for them to digest quickly by giving them an index, book marking articles, bullet pointing and having your first paragraph written like an executive summary.

5. Make it valuable

Try to limit your unsubscribes by ensuring the content of your email is valuable to your audience. Write with personality, but from their point of view. To tell you the truth, they're not interested in you, your products, your services. They're interested in themselves. So whatever you write - do it from the perspective of what's in it for them, what's their benefit.

6. Make it easy

Our survey got a nice response rate because we embedded it straight into the email. We eliminated the need for them to click to a website, or even write in answers. It was as easy as click, click, click and send right from the email they were reading. In turn, we got an email notice when someone answered the survey - and the responses went straight into a database, eliminating a massive amount of work for us.

7. Great results from email

You'll get a good response from a well designed online survey because it's easy for the reader, you've taken a lot of the extra work out of their hands and you already have a relationship with them. Every email we send is personalised, so additionally when we sent out the newsletter/survey – each reader felt as if we were speaking directly and personally to them. Do you do that?

8. Immediacy

With 64% of the responses coming in within 24 hours, you can test, tweak and find out valuable information immediately and inexpensively.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! (http://www.successis.co.nz) and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?

This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink www.successis.co.nz


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