Boost E-mail Response with Cheap Research

Word on the street is that interest in emarketing is soaring as the recession drives marketers to trim costs. Here are a few simple and cheap ways to improve your program’s performance.

E-marketers are meticulous about testing with good reason. Even an incremental increase in response, say 2 to 9 percent, can have a huge impact on the profitability of a program.

A couple easy ways to boost response are to: 1) ensure the message is making it to the prospects In Box by lowering its Spam score; and 2) using a simple testing technique to optimize the number of people who open your message.

Clean it Up: High Spam Scores Hurt

An errant phrase or word or improper coding can drop the deliverability of your email to nearly zilch.  Check for the top words and phrases that will get your email bounced.

Free web applications like SpamCheck or make it possible to assess your message’s degree
of Spaminess.

Open Sesame: Testing Subject Lines

The next step is to make sure your message gets opened. The single most important and easiest to test factor is your subject line.

Direct marketers in print media test headlines and offers in classified ads in national magazines. The headlines that pulled the best were used on the final printed piece. The A-B subject line test works the same way.

Sometimes tiny changes can make a huge difference, e.g. Steak Special for Two vs. Date Night Dinner Special. We can discuss this around the conference table all day, but why not get the real answer by conducting an A-B Test.

It’s easy:

  1. Randomly select 20% of the names from your list.
  2. Divide the smaller list into equal A and B groups.
  3. Send emails that are exactly the same with the exception of the subject lines being tested. Make sure they are sent at the same time of day.
  4. Determine the winner based on the highest open rate.
  5. Mail the winner to the remaining 80% of the list.

You can use the A-B Test to evaluate other aspects of your message, such as wording of offer, click-thrus, layout, and completed transaction.

It’s cheap, it’s fast, and it will help your overall program achieve a higher ROI.

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