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Email Marketing Management, an Interview with Simon Byrne

Interviewer: Tim Martin, December 2014.  Episode #27 from the NET:101 podcast.

 

 

Podcast Transcript

Tim Martin: Welcome to the Net 101 Podcast. this is episode 27 and with me today I have Simon Byrne, who is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Sign-Up.to and is also associated with Andzen. He has his finger in a few different pies. Welcome Simon.

 

Simon Byrne: Thanks Tim. Good to be with you.

 

Tim: I know you guys do a bunch of things, email marketing and marketing automation and that sort of thing, but I was really interested today to get you onto the show to talk about good old fashioned email marketing.

 

Simon: That's our bread and butter Tim. So I'm looking forward to it.

 

Tim: So, contrary to popular myth, email marketing is not dead, right?

 

Simon: Absolutely. It's alive and well. There's certainly been a little bit of talk sort of over the last five years as social media has risen to the forefront that email marketing is perhaps on the way out, but I think that those noises certainly have been put to rest in recent years. Probably over the last twelve months we've seen actually a rise in email open rates, email click through rates and all these types of things that seem to suggest that that way is past. We see email marketing as the glue that ties everything else together. Your various different media platforms, your website, everything is connected with email. It's the thing that you need to sign up for any of the social media platforms so as long as these platforms exist, email will also exist. I can't see it going anywhere.

 

Tim: No. Look, I've been a fan for many years. I used to work for The Wine Society and email was our bread and butter back then, but thinking back on it I think we were spamming, but we've come a long way since then. In 2014 moving into 2015 for me, outbound email marketing is still one of my principle value generators.

 

Simon: We see quite a lot actually and it is if you look at the ROI they say if you're doing it right you can sort of be making $40 to every dollar that you spend on email marketing as an average. That's the marketing association over in America has come up with, but we certainly see with our clients is that wherever they put their dollars, email marketing is sort of giving them the best return and most importantly a reliable return, rather than sort of throwing caution to the wind and hoping something works. Email is going to give you that win no matter what.

 

Tim: Okay so email marketing. Commonly as people sign up for their newsletter, the newsletter being the excuse to capture that email address, what happens after that Simon? I know some people go down the spam path and others take a little more considered view to what they're sending to these people's mail boxes. Can you walk us through that?

 

Simon: Absolutely, yeah. So I guess I should say the common approach is to just send a newsletter, particularly to small and medium businesses. That's quite commonly just a monthly newsletter. Some companies you see fall into the trap of just blasting out every time they have something to say and have a little segmentation going on. That is an approach that is certainly going down hill in terms of how effective it is. The modern consumer is quite switched on when it comes to identifying spam first and foremost, but I guess we're talking about mission marketing here so even opting emails, if they're not segmented and personalized people still see them as spam, which is the challenge for marketers. I guess the trend in this day and age is finding out a bit more about your subscribers, not just their email address, but perhaps their interests, what sort of communications they want to hear from you and then actually tailoring your communication to each individual subscriber. That's the journey that we're really trying to take our clients on now.

 

Tim: Does that segmentation process take place when you capture the email address or you do that as part of the relationship building once you have that address?

 

Simon: Yeah, good question. You still see a lot of really big corporations trying to do all they can to capture in the initial instance when the sign up takes place and quite often it can be a bit deceiving. You see a nice simple 'sign up here' on a website with a little email field, you put your email address in, you hit submit and then suddenly you're taken to a second page to complete this sign up process. You have to go through your address, your phone number, all sort of subscription preferences and very often that's a turn off for the subscriber because that just takes too long. The key is to make that initial sign up process as quick and as easy as possible. Just a simple email address, submit and then capturing more information is part of more a follow up process and the relationship building process over time. That could be an automated email that you have set up, which could roll out perhaps a month later after you've already sent a couple of communications to that client. It could just be an email that says 'we'd love to learn a bit more about you so we can tailor our communications to you' and then you would centralize that with perhaps something that the client could win or download as a reward for providing that extra bit of information. With the privacy act and what not, you just have to make sure that you're disclosing why you're capturing any additional information, but as long as you're doing that, any little bit of extra info you've got just help with that segmentation.

 

Tim: So the rule of thumb Simon, just make this as easy as possible for people to go through that initial sign up process. Email address, name, possible a third field?

 

Simon: Usually quite often we'll just have an email address and submit. Sometimes we'll have name in there, even if it's just first name. I wouldn't usually go down the path of any additional fields unless it's required for your particular organization. Quite often it is. Quite often a mobile number is required, but less is more in a sense so you have to try to keep it as simple as you can.

 

Tim: I know there are a couple of popular email management suites for people to manage this process through, Campaign Monitor and MailChimp come to mind. Is that generally what people are using now?

 

Simon: Well, our own product which you sign up too obviously. There's a vast array of different options and there's certainly something for everyone. Platforms like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp are fantastic for your entry level marketing. They'll get you started, they'll give you the no frills sort of email marketing platform that's extremely easy to use. It's user friendly. It will give you good enough deliverability and it will certainly get you on your way. Right at the other end of the spectrum, you've got your enterprise level solutions like your exact targets and your silver pops, which are a lot more integrated with your website. There's all sorts of powerful automation features and targeting features, which make it extremely powerful, but also it comes with the enterprise level price tag as well. Then you've got platforms of course like Sign Up II, which is our baby, which is right in the middle with some of those segmentation and automation features, but with more of the mail chip level pricing. It certainly does depend on where you're at as a business. Mail chip is great in that it has a free option, so it's fantastic to get started with, but there's any number of alternatives as you start to graduate and looking to do more enhanced things with your marketing.

 

Tim: Now I know this is going to make you wince, but I'm still getting emails from fairly sizable companies that whoever is sending them is putting the email address in the blank BCC field.

 

Simon: It does make me wince, you're right, but you'd be surprised at how often we see that still. I should say with quite sizable companies. There's any number of reasons why this is a bad idea. First of all, you're probably going to spam in most cases because I guess email clients like MailChimp are smarter. They know when you're sending bulk email with the BCC option and they realize straight away that you're not sending from a trusted bulk mail service. That's the biggest issue, but also there's no imagery in there. You're going to have all sorts of problems with things like your server reputation and it's really messy and it's going to be almost impossible to make it look good. You are right. It's funny how many people are still doing that and I guess the biggest thing about that is you're not getting any reporting in terms of who is opening it, where people are clicking and how people are interacting and engaging with your email, which is for marketers, that's definitely a game changer when you haven't got those stats available to you.

 

Tim: In Australia you'd be breaking the law also if you don't have an unsubscribe option there.

 

Simon: Exactly right. The spam rules state that you need to have an unsubscribe link in there. You also need to have a physical address in there as well, which presumably if you're gong with a BCC option, you're not doing.

 

Tim: I'm just sticking with the subscribe for a minute. There's this one thing that drives me nuts. I go to unsubscribe to a newsletter and they're asking you to put your email address to actually go with that unsubscribe.

 

Simon: Yes, I mean that's not breaking the law doing that. The law just says you need to have the ability to unsubscribe so it's more of a user ability thing. You're just going to annoy people by having that two step unsubscribe process. As a consumer, if you hit unsubscribe, then the merchant or the business who is sending the email should already have your email address so therefore why am I putting it in again is the logic that the consumer is thinking and that's completely fair enough. If you do have that as your unsubscribe process, there's probably time to rethink that. The last thing you want to do when someone's wanting to unsubscribe is make that more difficult for them. It's just going to make them more angry and that's when your hate mail starts rolling in. If you can make that unsubscribe process just a one click process.

 

Tim: The subscribe process for many of us going through that, you hit submit and then you're presented with a confirmation or a thank you screen. Google analytics, that's something that we can tract as a goal conversion, yeah?

 

Simon: Certainly, it does depend on how your email subscription process is set up. If you're just using off the shelf subscription process through [unintelligible], one of the basic forms, that confirmation step is actually going to be an external page that you land on, which means that you won't be able to track it as a goal, but all of those platforms have the ability to export the HTML of your form and customize that process so that you can have your own internal confirmation step, which will of course give you that ability to track those goals. The only thing is that all these platforms have great APIs that you can work with as well so you can do your own custom form and set up whatever goal tracking you want on those.

 

Tim: What are your views on the call to action to sign up for a newsletter on a website?

 

Simon: Yes, I really like having it front and center. I think a lot of people undervalue email addresses and they feel their home page banners and their key real estate on the website wth product promos and all those things which are of course very important, but if you're going to spend money on driving traffic to the site, why aren't you paying more attention to capturing people who land on that site? As marketers know, it's only going to be a small percent of people that convert once they land on your site. The majority of people that land on your site aren't ready to convert just yet so it's really important to give them a clear option to sign up to hear from you so they can keep getting information and other those sorts of information without actually having to commit just yet to buy something. Rather than just having a little newsletter sign up button in the foot or something of your website, it's really important to have it nice and clear so maybe something at the top right hand corner of your header of your website, right at the top, or even as an item if you've got a sliding banner on your home page. Even as an incentive wise promotion on there so it could be sign up to our mailing list and get a free ebook of some description or it could be instantly get 20% off voucher if you sign up to our mailing list. All those types of things. Just think about what you've got to give away of value. Make that your incentive and it people will take you up on that. After all, they're on your site for a reason.

 

Tim: So when you say sliding banner, you're meaning a pop over?

 

Simon: No, I'm talking about a rotating banner section on your home page where you might advertise special offers. That's a great place to put an incentive wise sign up banner that links off to a sign up page, but pop overs are great. We see a lot of things these days. Things like pop up boxes that come up when you go to navigate away form the page so there's some java script there where if you run your cursor up to the top of the screen to exit or hit the back button or whatever, that can actually trigger a pop up which can then ask for your email address and say 'give us your email and we'll send you a 20% off voucher" or something like that. It's just a good way of converting those people who are about to bounce off your page.

 

Tim: I like pop overs, but conditional on a couple of things. One is that if I don't see it the very first second that I land, I need to take myself and find out where I am. The second thing is that if I say no thanks or sign up, I should never see it again if I  come back to the site in the future.

 

Simon: Exactly right, yes. You should have all that stuff in place in the back end that has that intelligence not to pop back up as you say when you return to the site and there should either be a time limit on it so it doesn't pop up straight away or be behavior based, which is like if you go to navigate away from the page. Sometimes also what works well is the little ones that sort of slide into the bottom right hand corner so they're not actually in your face and you can keep using the site, but you just know that it's there in case you do actually want to sign up.

 

Tim: So I'm getting my qualified email addresses. They're in my data base, maybe after the fact I can run some segmentation. Come time to publish or to send out my EDM, I know there's no easy answer to this, but how much is the right amount to be sending out? What is the frequency?

 

Simon: Absolutely, as you sort of suggested, there is no rule of thumb here. It does depend on the industry and what the expectations are, but if you're just a regular retail business, maybe a not-for-profit or service based industry, what we kind of implement for our clients is one newsletter piece per month and then another one, which is more of a promotional sort of single message, single purpose campaign in between those newsletters, which of course works out to [unintelligible] communications. That's quite good practice and people will get used to that cycle and get used to hearing from you on that sort of frequency. They know there's going to be some good informational pieces coming out once a month and also a special offer they might look for as well so that type of cycle works quite nicely, but having said that, it's very much dependent on how much value you have to give so the real rule of thumb here is if you've got something of value to offer your subscribers, then don't feel you need to hold back and send at any particular frequency because at the end of the day, people subscribe to your list for a reason and if you're still providing value, don't be afraid to communicate it every week. There are daily deal sites who send out communications every day because that's what their business is. It's a daily deal site so people want to hear from you every day. We work with a big travel company who sends every second day. They have an extremely low unsubscribe rate, extremely high engagement rate and that's because every couple of days they have new travel products they've put together and people want to hear from them at that frequency so it's all about what makes sense for your business and what subscribers want from you.

 

Tim: I ought to mention in certain consumer based organizations that it's based around products and services and price and specials. For a lot of others though, it's not that sort of immediate call to action to buy something. We're more trying to build up a relationship so that somewhere down the track we might be able to prod somebody and remind them that we exist to get them to perform some sort of action.

 

Simon: Exactly right so email marketing doesn't need to be a direct sales tool. It's very much a branding tool. It's very much about staying in front of mind with your subscribers and because of that, it's important not to just fall into sales mode when you're creating your emails. Don't get into that classic marketing voice, everything is focused on hot prices and sales and it's very easy to just sort of slip into that advertising mode where your email almost reads as if it's a radio commercial or something like that. You get much better engagement with your emails if you think of it when you're composing your emails, think of it as you're talking to a good friend or someone that you trust and that you know well. Just try to avoid that sales-y, market-y sort of voice. So yeah, it's very much about building relatinships. You need to think of every subscriber and every potential customer as a real relationship and people don't want to be yelled at. They don't want to be sold to. They want to be educated. They want value. Just think of it that way when you're creating your emails.

 

Tim: I can remember reading Seth Godin's Permission Marketing many years ago and I think that was sort of a wake up moment for me in terms of ways to communicate, but still over a decade later an email marketing and certainly with social media marketing is that over zealous propensity to go in for the hard sell.

 

Simon: Yes, yes exactly and it's funny you mention Seth Godin because his philosophies are what I hold to the platform as built around and I really relate to his stuff and in particular his work ten years ago is still so relevant in today's world and email marketing is probably the best example of that I think.

 

Tim: Completely. The content of the newsletter for this newsletter format, a couple of things I wanted to run by you. Do you think it's okay to recycle maybe a blog post? Take something that you're really proud of you created in the last two weeks and then fold that into the newsletter.

 

Simon: Absolutely. That's probably email marketing 101 actually is to make use of that content that you have. You don't necessarily need to go out and create new content for every email campaign. If you've got blogs that you've been doing, that should be a section of your newsletter. Your newsletter should be recapping your last month. If you've published four blogs in the last month, then have a link to each of those in your newsletter. In fact, you really definitely shouldn't post the entire blog article or even a large portion of the blog article into the email. You should just have the first sentence, maybe two sentences with a button to read more. Sometimes we'll look at what other companies are doing that we're not working with and quite often we see some really big mistakes in this area and that's companies that are writing these big long winded emails. They're putting full articles in there and maybe it's because they don't have a blog in some cases so their newsletter is their outlet for all that information. If that sounds like you, do whatever you can to try to host that content somewhere else, whether starting a blog, just creating a new page on your site for that content. Don't go putting it in the email because as soon as people see those large amounts of text, they switch off and you lose your engagement. The longer an email gets, the lower your engagement rates are going to be in terms of quick opens so it's important to just keep each snippet nice and short and snappy with a link to read more. One, that will drive traffic through your website, because you're giving people a reason to click and two, it will give you the analytics on who is interested in what because you'll be able to see who is clicking on what. So there's no harm whatsoever in linking back to old articles, but just keep it nice and short and sweet in the email part of it.

 

Tim: Here are three things maybe that every organization needs that transcends in social media. One is a website. Number two, blog. Number three a robust email data base. Come back to the email. What are your thoughts around the email being self contained in it's own right as opposed to wanting to get people back to the website?

 

Simon: So I think your goal with email marketing should always be to drive traffic back to the site. I do know of a few cases where the site is really only there to get sign ups for the email program because the business is built around that particular email program, but that's obviously a very unusual case. As a rule of thumb, the end goal of the email should be to drive traffic back to that website and back to those blog articles so that's why it's important to have those call to action buttons in there. Wherever possible it's better to use them. Buttons are a lot more clickable. People are naturally attracted to buttons, particularly with the rise of the mobile device. More than half of emails are being opened on mobiles now as opposed to desk tops so it's really important to have those nice big clickable buttons in your email content with the key objective being to drive that traffic back to the site. Your site should be where the magic happens, where your conversions happen, where the bulk of your content is, your blog articles, your [unintelligible] subscriptions, your event information, whatever it may be and the email is just the bait if you will to get people back to that site.

 

Tim: Okay, so when you say buttons, you mean as opposed to hot links, yeah?

 

Simon: Yeah as opposed to just hot linking the text. We've split tested this extensively. If you have just a read more text link in your email versus a read more button in your email, the button is going to win hands down every time and it's just a natural human nature thing to want to click the buttons and also it's usability as well so if you're on the phone the button is going to be easier to click as well. Particularly if your email is not mobile responsive, the last thing you want is people having to scroll across or scroll down and zoom across and everything just to click a link through to your website. It's a really bad user experience so the more user friendly you can make your email, the higher your click through rates are going to be.

 

Tim: Metrics. I often get asked. What is a good open rate for example of a good click through rate? Are there some industry bench marks we can work with?

 

Simon: Yeah, I mean if you look at all the various reports, we do our own global report based on our clients around the world. [unintelligible] does one. [unintelligible] does one and they all sort of sit around 21 or 22% rate mark for every [unintelligible]. So if you're around 21 or 22%, you're about on par with the rest of the world. We sort of have bench marks that we try to hit for our clients when we're actually managing their campaigns, which is 30%. We're generally disappointed if we don't sort of hit that mark, but once again it does come down to the content and the industry. We have a client in the liquor industry and they have quite a passionate following and they'll get 50% rates every time, but then again we have clients who have a couple hundred thousand contacts in their data base and it's sort of retail focused. They're sending at a high frequency and it's the type of communications where people will keep an eye on it and see things roll into their in box and just click on it when they see a particular subject line that takes their fancy and because that's the nature of what they do and they sort of only get a 14-15% open rate so it does come down to the type of business that you're operating, but as a general rule of thumb if you're hitting 25% open rate, that's great. As far as click throughs, you see two sort of types of click through stats. One is just your standard click through rate, which is a standard percentage of the entire send, which in most cases is 4-5% if you're doing well. Sometimes different platforms have different ways of illustrating the click through rates. Some platforms do it in terms of clicks to opens so what clicks to opens means is that click through rate is actually a percentage of people who have opened the email, not people that have received it. That's going to be a bit higher so if that's the step that you're working with, you want to be looking more towards 20% or 15-20% for clicks to opens.

 

Tim: Any bench marks for the unsubscriber?

 

Simon: One percent is pretty standard. If you're getting sort of 2-3% on unsubscribe rate, maybe you're sending a bit too frequently for your particular demographic, but 1% is fairly standard. We of course try to hit zero, but it's generally a fact of life. You don't want to see unsubscribe as a bad thing. It's actually a good thing. If people have moved on, perhaps maybe out of your geographical area or moved on to a stage in their life where they no longer require your business services, it's a healthy thing to keep that list clean and to have people unsubscribing when they no longer wish to hear from you. Don't be afraid of unsubscribers, but 1% is pretty standard.

 

Tim: Sometimes I can't help myself when I go and look at the people who have unsubscribed from my newsletter and sometimes I just want to call them up on the phone and say 'what went wrong'.

 

Simon: Sometimes that's not a bad thing to have that fall out process. It can be quite helpful for your own strategy and sometimes your peace of mind to know you're actually doing a good job and people are enjoying your content. You obviously don't want to go and ring up everyone that has unsubscribed because you're not going to make friends that way, but sometimes a personal email from yourself, which is clearly coming from you rather than the company because if it's coming from the company you're breaking all the spam laws, but there's no harm once in a while just saying particularly if you're operating a small business and you have a very small base of subscribers where everyone counts and you know that everyone has subscribed for a very specific reason, there's no harm in a personal email to just get some feedback as to why they have unsubscribed.

 

Tim: I guess one of the fuzzy metrics here is going to be the people who don't unsubscribe. They just block or put it into a filter.

 

Simon: So most platforms now are intelligent enough to know if someone does market as spam from their in box. Most platforms now are intelligent enough to unsubscribe that person. For instance, [unintelligible] and Campaign II will do that for you, but where you have issues I suppose with automating that process is when people reply and ask to be unsubscribed to a reply, which is entirely legal. They have every right to unsubscribe in that fashion and it's important that as a business you action that. This is one of the fundamental issues with using a no reply email address as your from address for your email marketing. There's two fundamental issues with this. One of them is that unsubscribe issues, they may reply and say 'I don't want to hear from you anymore'. If you've got a no reply address, you're not going to see that email. You're going to keep sending that person email and you're going to be breaking the spam laws. The other issue with using a no reply email address is that you're just giving off a general message that you don't want to hear from your subscribers. It's almost like you don't care so definitely give people the ability to reply. A lot of people will instinctively go for that option. People don't necessarily think to click through to the contact us page and submitting an inquiry that way. Sometimes you'll get leads that come in the form of direct replies to your email. If you're not allowing people to reply, you're potentially missing out on leads for your business.

 

Tim: I get a lot of replies and I enjoy replying to the replies so I sit there afterwards, after my send button has been pushed and usually within 5-10 minutes I'm talking to people.

 

Simon: Fantastic and exactly right. I guess it's just human nature, particularly if you're sending good personal emails where you might have in the from name rather than your company name you might have your first name in there, Simon from Sign Up II or Tim from Net 101, but if that's your from name and you're writing your email in a very nice personal tone, which you should be, that just makes people more inclined to reply to that. Definitely you need to be ready for those replies.

 

Tim: Now I am my own business. Net 101 and Tim are basically synonymous, but what are your views on larger organizations sending emails out with an actual person's name in the from field?

 

Simon: I really like it personally, but only when there's a reason for that. For instance, if you've got a particular person or team of people from the customer service team and they're the ones that are generally speaking with your customers or your clients, and people associate the brand with those particular people, then it's absolutely fantastic to have those emails coming from those people. Not necessarily their address, but just having their name in the from name. We see that working really well with a couple of our clients. One of our clients is [unintelligible], the car rental comparison website. They do that for every single email and have actually noticed a little bit of a jump in their open rates when they started doing that because they have that front line staff who are dealing with customers and they're putting a face to their marketing and that's worked very well for them. If you've got a bit of a faceless organization where there's not really a customer service team, there's not really sort of personal interactions between your team and your customers, then it might not make sense to do that.

 

Tim: It could be both, couldn't it? I mean it could be Jenny from Quantus.

 

Simon: Yes exactly right. That's what I'm talking about really is having both of them in there so you'd very rarely leave the brand name entirely out. It's usually as you said Jenny from Quantus, Simon from Sign Up II. That sort of stuff works because you've got the benefit of both of those brands, your personal brand and your company brand.

 

Tim: Now there would be plenty of people out there that are big on social media. They're [unintelligible] likes and subscriptions and all sorts of things and it's perfectly valid. What do you say to people who say I'd rather have a whole lot of Facebook likes rather than a couple of self qualified email addresses?

 

Simon: I would say to those people 'what is the value to your business over Facebook likes? Do you have metrics around one like or a hundred likes is worth to your business in terms of sales' because very often it's not very much and it's all well and good having a thousand or ten thousand Facebook fans, but if the engagement that you're getting on your posts is still really low, then you've got to ask yourself 'why am I doing this'. So it's important not just to build just a big community, but a healthy community and one that is really engaged and invested in your information and Facebook can be a great way to do that. You see lots and lots of brands who have extremely successful Facebook strategies because they're delivering value via that particular channel and they're followers are people who religiously came on that page to get that value. That value might be purely entertainment value or it might be educational value, but if Facebook is working for you in that respect, then go nuts. The thing is with Facebook you can do a post at a particular time and there's no guarantee that that particular person is going to be on Facebook at the right time to see it, which is why of course generally your engagement likes for Facebook posts are down sort of less than 1%. With email, you know that it's going to land in the person's in box. You know that they're either going to at least see the email has arrived. They may open it, but 9 times out of 10 they will see your brand name, you'll be front in mind and they'll see the subject line and you've got that message of recurring front of mind brand recognition. What I would say to those people is that if you want to build a real community and a lasting relationship, capturing that email address is so much more valuable and there's so much more [unintelligible] potential with that one email address than there is with a Facebook like.

 

Tim: Of course there's many organizations that [unintelligible] people to use social media and [unintelligible], but everyone has their email on throughout the day.

 

Simon: Precisely yeah, that's it. You'd be mad as a company to block email, so you can rest assured that people are going to be checking their email. Most people check their email 20 times a day, if not all day constantly because they're working at a desk job or something like that. You do have the consideration of home email addresses versus work email addresses. We do have clients that quite cleverly split that up and it is a bit of a manual process here to sort of filter them out in Excel or something like that and they've got their [unintelligible] hot mail type email addresses in one particular list that they send to on a Saturday morning and they've got the rest of their emails, which in most of their cases are work emails in a separate list which they send to on a Thursday morning. It's quite an interesting strategy and it actually works really well for them. You've just got to think about, this is a whole other discussion to get into, but when is your information most relevant to your subscribers and who are your subscribers and when are they checking their emails? There is a rule of thumb, well not rules of thumb, but I guess various organizations have released articles and information about when the best time to send your emails is and they used to be sort of 10am on Tuesday and then the next article I read said that 7am on a Thursday, but the thing is you can try all those things and most cases land on the same sort of step. It's more about when can you deliver the most value? If you're promoting a sale that's on the weekend at your retail business, there's no point in sending that out on a Monday or Tuesday because by the time the weekend rolls around, people will have forgotten about it. In those cases, maybe you want to send it out on a Thursday afternoon or a Friday morning so it's nice and fresh in people's minds. Yeah, it's certainly thinking about where your content fits into the lives of your subscribers.

 

Tim: I guess the point here is because you've got a direct relationship with the email recipient you don't have to go through a party like Facebook for example. You don't have to navigate through an algorithm because you've got that direct relationship. You can split [unintelligible], you can run many tests because they're your people.

 

Simon: That's right. You own those email addresses. That is your daughter, as I say, you're not reliant on Facebook's algorithm who may or may not display your content for particular users. You're sort of really leaving it up to almost fate. I guess it's that. It's that convoluted, with Facebook's algorithm that you just don't know if people are going to see your content. With email marketing, as you say it's a direct relationship, there's nothing standing in the way providing you're doing all the right things with spam compliance, there should be nothing standing in the way of you and your subscribers. You are in that relationship. Split testing is fantastic. For those of you who don't know what split testing is, you can test a variable of your email. This sort of feature is built into most major email marketing platforms. You can actually pick a variable. The most common thing to test is subject line. You could have two alternative versions saved. You can set up a split test. Let's say it's a 10% split test. That will send the first version of the campaign to 10% of your list. It will send the second version of the campaign to a different 10% of your list and depending on which platform you're using, they're quite intelligent enough to pick the winning campaign and send that automatically to the remaining 80% of your list. That's really intelligent marketing, quite often it's the one you least expect that actually wins, so it's just a way of getting more bang for your buck as far as open rates and click throughs. With most platforms you can determine the variables. You can determine what actually decides the winning campaign. If you're testing something like subject line or from name, you're deciding factor should be open rate, so you would set highest open rate as the deciding factor in the split testing feature of your email platform, but if you want to test something like choice of an image or position of a button, that's possible as well, but in those cases you would use click through rate as your deciding factor.

 

Tim: That's good stuff. Simon, I'm going to have to get you back to talk about some other things, [unintelligible] automation is something I know has become very big on everybody's radar. I'll have to get you back in the new year to do that. We're out of time now. Let people know where they can find you.

 

Simon: If you want to find me on Twitter, you can find me @TheEDMGuy. I'm more than happy to have a chat online if you've got any quick questions. Otherwise if you want to have a bit more of a chat, you can get me on email at Simon@AndZen.com that I use. I'm more than happy to have a chat and solve your email marketing problems.

 

Tim: Simon thanks enough for your time.

 

Simon: You're welcome Tim. It's been a pleasure.

 

 

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