emailmarketingGuest post by Lee Frederiksen

As marketers, we know that details matter when generating and nurturing leads. But as the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”

This is especially true for email marketing, where there are many tricky details, such as email lists, subject lines, messages, visual design, and calls-to-action. Each of these has a significant impact on open, click and conversion rates.

Here are tips for three email details from the Email Marketing Guide for Professional Services Firms that you can immediately implement to improve your firm’s email marketing results.

1)    Stop buying email lists.

Your firm might purchase email lists because it’s routine or out of uncertainty about how to build an email contact database.

While a (small) handful of purchased contacts might end up interested in your services, here are some simple, yet compelling reasons why they aren’t worth the time or investment:

  • Purchased email lists aren’t targeted contacts.They might be of a particular demographic or located in your desired geographic region. But in all likelihood, these contacts don’t know who you are, what you do, or what you stand for. They haven’t expressed interest in your products or services. They may not need them — now or ever. No one appreciates unwarranted emails.
  • You could get flagged as spam. If these individuals don’t know you and didn’t raise their hands to receive your emails, they may flag them as spam. If this happens often enough, you can get blacklisted and your emails will be banished to digital oblivion.
  • Software quality standards. Most email marketing software platforms (the good ones, anyway) require that imported contacts have opted in to receive your emails.

2) Keep your registration form simple.

To get readers to fill out your forms and provide you with their email addresses, your registration form should be simple enough so that signing up is quick and doesn’t become a chore. Conversely, you want enough information to be able to nurture these prospects well. So the tough question is: how much information should you require?

Pick the top three criteria that are most important for your firm and those that are critical to nurturing leads well. Here’s potential information you can request:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Company name
  • Website
  • Job function
  • Industry
  • Location

3) Perform A/B testing to optimize results.

One of the simplest forms of testing is known as A/B or split testing, and its simplicity drives its power. In an A/B test, you create two variations of one email – differing in only one particular element – and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients. Half of the test group is sent Version A. The other half receives Version B. The result, measured by the most opens or clicks, determines the winning email, and that version is sent to your wider body of remaining subscribers.

Which elements should you test? There is a range of possibilities – the crucial thing to remember is that you must test only one variance at a time. Useful elements to test include:

  • Sender name
  • Sender email address
  • Subject line
  • Pre-header (a message placed at the top of an email, complementing your subject line and often visible from the inbox)
  • Timing – both day of week and time of day
  • Design – both desktop and mobile
  • Copy
  • Calls-to-action
  • Offers
  • Social media links
  • Footer
  • Landing pages

An A/B test is successful when you find a statistically significantvariance in the performance of your emails. Use this insight to powerthe remainder of that email campaign with the element that resonated most with your audience. And remember the lessons learned about the elements you split-tested for your future emails.

By implementing these tips and optimizing all of the details in your firm’s email marketing, it can be a vibrant and rewarding line of communication for your firm and your audiences.

About the Author:  Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., is Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge is a leader in rebranding firms to help them grow faster and maximize value.