Email marketing allows companies to promote their products synchronically, by contacting hundreds of their existing, and potential, customers with just the click of a button. To be truly successful, marketing strategies need to be vetted at each major stage of a campaign. Email analytics, which comprise a series of tests and evaluations, can gauge just how successful a brand’s e-mail marketing strategies have been at achieving desired scope (i.e., number and type of clients reached), and depth (measureable impact on said clients). A Testament to Good Planning In order to be successful, marketing strategies must account for your target audiences varied medium-specific tastes and capacities. For example, some clients might enjoy flash in their e-mails, but others may not. Similarly, differences in software capabilities might prevent one user’s device from loading images that another recipient is able to view with ease. Testing user experience is thus a critical initial step in ensuring that a product is ‘email marketing ready’. The testing process should also be as comprehensive as possible, going beyond assessments of sender personalisation, or subject lines, to in-depth analyses (such as A/B testing) that are capable of yielding multivariate data. What to Test The following is a list of sample elements that can be tested, to further companies’ understanding of their clients’ user experiences. Visual Style: Which of these two formats do users respond to better—plain text or a visually dense layout? Many brands have found that customers prefer the former to the latter. Structure: This includes layout, and CTA (call to action) placement. Playing with text and image distribution can heighten or blunt the overall impact of a flyer or newsletter. Creating a template that is manipulable allows the designer to test different layouts with greater ease. Tests could reveal that positioning CTAs in the left margin, instead of at the bottom of the page is likely to generate more clicks in newsletters. Timeline: Tests can also reveal when clients are most likely to read your e-mail. Sending the email on that particular day and at that specific time could drastically improve chances of it being read. Content: The tone and length of the content depends on the audience and on the brand. The content that you develop for a frequent customer is going to be different from what you would offer a future customer/member of the general public, because the former are likely to be familiar with your product. Third-party assistance: making use of email service providers (ESPs) ESPs are equipped with tools that can expedite the testing process. MailChimp’s Inbox Inspector, for example, can generate screenshots of email content, as it might appear on regular subscribers’ computer screens. This tool can weed out broken images, spelling errors, and various technical gaffes even before live trials. Test results aren’t permanent; as content evolves to reflect changing customer demographics and preferences, tests will have to be redesigned and re-administered to reflect these changes.
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