By Amanda Berkey
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Each Thursday at 11am EST, marketers from around the world join the ExactTarget user community on Twitter for a conversation about trends and campaign ideas across the interactive marketing industry. We call the virtual coffee chat the ExactTarget Café.
Our guest for a recent #ETcafe chat was DJ Waldow, founder and CEO of Waldow Social, a company that creates opportunities for social engagement and community development through a fresh approach to email marketing. DJ Waldow is an email marketing consultant, writer, blogger, speaker, and co-author of The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing. The book talks about breaking the traditional rules of email marketing and look for your own success based on your business. We had a great discussion with DJ and the community!
Here's a recap of the discussion:
@ExactTarget Q1: Are email marketing best practices really "best?" Why break the rules?
@djwaldow: First, some of the "rules" are outdated; others are flat out wrong.
@briandshelton: Break the rules because the "best practices" for one business isn't always "best" for your business. (Exception: compliance)
@havronsm: There are no best practices for everyone. Every audience/industry is different. Find what works best for you.
@amandaberkey: The rules change so fast because the interactive marketing field evolves so quickly!
@laraconnbaker: Rules are made to be broken! Find out what works for YOU and your business case.
@susanprater: Push the envelope/discover new frontiers. That's the way to stay ahead of everyone else.
@havronsm: Use all of the A/B testing options to create you're own best practices.
@ExactTarget Q2: What are some reasons why marketers should always concentrate on growing their lists?
@djwaldow: Why focus on list growth? Simple. List churn. Your list shrinks by 30% per year! Unsubs, spam complaints, etc.
@djwaldow: List growth - also, it's important to continue to fill the top of the funnel.
@briandshelton: No business can survive on a finite number of prospects - or customers. Consistent [list] growth is essential for survival.
@havronsm: A larger list means more opportunities to connect and a larger brand awareness
@laraconnbaker: RELEVANCE! Your current list won't always be the most relevant. Continue growing so you are reaching those who want your mesage
@ExactTarget Q3: Let's share some "out-of-the-box" list growth strategies.
@djwaldow: All of my list growth strategies are IN the box. Is that okay?
@djwaldow: Test using popups to grow you list. I know. I know. I know. I hate them too, but they work. Ask @cspenn
@djwaldow: #1 list growth strategy is making your email opt-in CLEAR & OBVIOUS on your website. Look at your site now. Can you find opt-in?
@briandshelton: Never underestimate the power of offline marketing for list growth and online traffic/lead generation. #directmail #email
@amargello: I hear from Connections2012 Email sign up from QR code is a growing Top 5 trend via Simms Jenkins, David Daniels
@ExactTarget Q4: What are some tips for streamlining the opt-in process?
@djwaldow: streamlining opt-in process? KISS! (keep it simple, silly). make it obvious. make it easy.
@djwaldow: I also am a fan of one (or two) click subscribe. But sometimes you need more data cc: @SusanPrater
@briandshelton: Make it easy - prominent, clear CTA, clear promise, one-click subscribe, deliver on the promise ongoing.
@laraconnbaker: We have a simple landing page & a program in ET to query clicks to that page. Names are then put into a DE and added to the list
@lizsingleton: Agreed @djwaldow sometimes you need more data, and sometimes more data = ability to target with more relevant content
@briandshelton: Get them on the list, then provide compelling reasons to provide more data in subsequent communications.
@ExactTarget Q5: When should you break the rules with subject line or send-from names?
@djwaldow: Not many "rules" when it comes to subject lines. It's okay to use FREE. It's okay to use ALL CAPS
@briandshelton: There aren't any rules beyond "don't offend your audience" and "don't mislead" them. Am I wrong?
@djwaldow: Lots of outdated advice out there around what NOT to include in subject lines. Not really that many rules!
@briandshelton: Send from names. Typically we used company name for promotions, offers, etc. Personal name used for "personal" communications.
@laraconnbaker: Definitely no mavericks here. Branding is important and we keep the addresses and from names consistent.
@ExactTarget Q6: What if your testing and metrics tell you to break the rules? What if your boss doesn't like it?
@djwaldow: I'd recommend testing some "rule breakers" to a small por
tion of your list. Prove it works, then share with your boss
@briandshelton: If your boss doesn't like adjusting to improve results, especially when the data informs the decision... consider a new job.
@laraconnbaker: All you can do is try...and then gloat later when it works! ;-)
@ExactTarget Q7: What are words to avoid in subject lines?
@djwaldow: @havronsm Not a fan of that list - http://bit.ly/zimOYu - many of those words can and ARE used successfully
@laraconnbaker: Test, TBD, proof, etc..... On one hand it tends to increase open rates, but on the other you look like an idiot.
@ExactTarget Q8: Do you have any examples of the perfect looking email to share with the group?
@briandshelton: I am with @DanWalk on this one. "Perfect?" The prettiest emails don't always convert, while some hideous ones crush it.
@laraconnbaker: Not touching this one, other than to say IS there a "perfect" email? ;-)
@CanadianBelle83: Look depends on message as well as the company and audience. There can't be a one-size fits all approach, it would never work.
And now a final thought from @coskier, #ETcafe regular participant! #etcafe tip - block off an hour in your calendar every Thursday at 11 eastern to attend. Makes it easier to commit to. ;) #emailmarketing