Wednesday, August 27, 2008

E-mail Marketing & Website Tips

At my Collective Wisdom Blog I have featured tips on websites and email from other experts.

Recently I learned a few lessons first hand.

This summer I became the Vice-President of Communications for the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne.

Among the duties that I have assumed were the website and email blasts that we send to members and guests for upcoming events.


We use a professional service that allows me to create, customize and track the response rate. When I took over as V-P, there were 125 names and email addresses. About 30 were old, I discovered. I asked for some additional contacts from my fellow board members and added a few of my own and ended up with a list of 300 email addresses that we will be adding to in the months ahead.

That's 300 good email addresses that didn't bounce or unsubscribe. It took a number of hours to scrub the old database, and compare one list with another, but it payed off.

First email blast was sent at 6:15pm on a Monday night. I discovered this was not the best time as I was able to track if the recipients even opened the email and so I changed my strategy for the next one a week later.

The second email was similar to the first but had an update of an extra guest speaker, so there was a relevant reason for people to open the second email, even if they opened the first.

The second email was sent at 10am on a Monday. Response was triple compared to the one sent after business hours. One last email was sent the following day at 3pm. Again, the open rate was very good.

Here's the email sending tips that I learned.

  1. Middle of the morning or Middle of the afternoon during a business day works best for business related emails because the recipient has cleared out all the emails that received overnight or during lunch.
  2. Also, you have to give them a compelling reason to open the email, the curiosity factor.
  3. And if you are sending the same basic email more than once, you better have a good reason to do so. Better yet, make some adjustments to the content.

These are some of the same strategies I use in building a radio campaign that's focused on an upcoming event. And it works.

Now for the Website tips.
Make sure your site loads correctly in all the popular web browsers. Internet Explorer still is number one. However many people like myself prefer to use an alternative such as Firefox, or Opera. Apple users are most likely to view your website on Safari.

I spent a few hours trying to figure out why a page on our membership list did not load correctly in Internet Explorer and finally after trying to decipher the HTML code, found the answer and now it loads properly.

The last website tip is make sure everything is current and working. You wouldn't run an ad campaign that featured an old disconnected phone number or address, so clean up your website too.

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