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Targeted Email Marketing Works Great with 48% Open Rate

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Email newsletter marketing tips

Targeted email marketing means hitting not only the right audience but also proving that it’s hitting the right audience by looking at the open rate.

Two clients had open rates of nearly 50 percent and click rates of more than 20 percent. That’s solid proof of effective targeting.

The average open and click rates in their industry are 18 percent and 3 percent respectively, according to email marketing provider MailChimp.

How did they achieve such stellar rates?

It wasn’t necessarily through hard work or years of testing and retesting, although testing and retesting are important in the long run. It was actually quite simply because both newsletters followed these steps. They:

  1. Targeted a narrowly defined audience;
  2. Used opt-in subscribers rather than opt-out;
  3. Provided high-value content that the subscribers need on a regular basis, in this case weekly;
  4. Tracked their return on investment.

Audience Targeting

Develop a newsletter about sports. Is that targeted email marketing? Not very much.

Let’s narrow the subject to football. How are we doing now? A little better, but still not much.

Try again, this time with high school football. OK, doing better, but it can go further.

Target high school football in the Dayton, OH area. The target narrows even more.

Finally, narrow it again by going after high school football in the Dayton suburb of Kettering.

The end result is email content that is specific. It doesn’t have as much competition for readership as high school football in general or high school football in Ohio.

But it does have a smaller potential audience. Given a choice between a weak-performing large audience and a strong-performing small audience, the latter almost always wins. The churn rate is usually quite high with the weak performer and quite low with the strong performer.

In addition, inefficiency on a large scale consumes precious resources, such as time and money.

Opt-In Rather Than Opt-Out

Opt-in email subscribersTargted email marketing means identifying and capturing specific niche audiences. Grabbing emails from anywhere to build a list won’t get high open and click rates. The quality of the list is poor because it will contain many addresses from people who didn’t want the emails in the first place.

Subscribers accept emails for content they want. What they don’t want is:

  1. Being tricked into a list;
  2. Taking time to search for a tiny opt-out box that is already checked;
  3. Providing an email address for one purpose and suddenly start getting unwanted emails about a different subject.

All of the above happens too many times.

The opt-in process provides the means for subscribing, but it also provides the benefits that will make them want to subscribe:

  • Use simple but powerful images.
  • Use enlarged text.
  • Keep the text limited like an outdoor billboard.

Finally, make sure the opt-in form is prominent on the site.

If They Need It, They Will Open It

Need is a more powerful motivator than want. A hungry person who is handed a piece of bread will eat it more ravenously than a full person handed a Twinkie (except for Twinkie lovers).

If the opportunities exists for multiple newsletters, focus on the motivation of the potential subscriber. Can you provide something they need that they can’t easily get anywhere else?

If it’s not a need, prioritize the opportunities by want / value. The greater the value, the more likely the opens and clicks.

This is when testing and retesting become more valuable. Experiment with content quantity, quality and presentation. Track click rates on each item within the email to see what performs consistently well or poorly. Adjust and grow.

Track the Return on Investment

The return on investment begins to shrink as the audience gets smaller. So the goal is maximizing the return to pay for the cost, if any, of producing the newsletter.

The best return on investment belongs to automated emails — although they lack the personal touch — because they require less time to build them. For manually built emails, publishers need to identify and maximize the value they provide, whether clicks, subscribers, advertising or ecommerce.

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