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Five steps to maximising email marketing

by: Mark Lusted of Dock9
  • 07/03/2011
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Five steps to maximising email marketing
With the amount of new business at an all time low, intermediaries need to use the biggest asset they have – their client base – in ever more sophisticated and cost-effective ways.

For mortgage intermediaries looking to build a new campaign or improve an existing one, there are five key tips to follow.

1) Understand your goals and document your strategy

It is important to have clearly defined goals before undertaking any marketing campaign.

However, do you spend time discussing and agreeing objectives and then put them into writing? You’ll be surprised how much this helps clarify your thinking and improves your implementation.

Make your goals measurable.

With marketing budgets being squeezed, it is important that there is enough evidence that the campaign delivers an acceptable return on investment. If your company is spending £25 per lead with a lead broker, but your email marketing is generating leads at half the price, you need to be able to demonstrate this with clear, reliable metrics.

Your email marketing software should give you a break down of open rates, bounces, unsubscribes and exactly which links within the email were clicked. If it doesn’t, look for an alternative.

If used in conjuction with Google Analytics, you can track which of those click-throughs resulted in conversions. For example, if you are seeking completed mortgage enquiry forms, you should tag all links and setup goals in Analytics. This means you know exactly which emails and which links within them have resulted in leads, completed application forms, offers and completions.

Ultimately, of course, the key metric to measure for all campaigns is cost of completion versus revenue earned to get the overall return on investment.

2) Segment your mailing lists

Targeting your emails goes beyond personalising the email introduction to include the person’s name. Are you targeting existing clients or potential clients? High volume mass market or niche high-net-worth?

If your marketing database contains more than one group you should segment your mailing lists based on your business’s relevant subsets. This will enable you to tailor particular messages to these target groups.

Tailored content has been proven to boost response; it’s all about talking to the recipient of the email in their own language.

3) Design for your audience

Keeping with the theme of segmentation, think about how your different customers may respond to different content and visual designs.

If you are making the effort to segment your mailing lists and tailor the content within each email, you need to also tailor the email design for the audience to get the best return.

For example, if you are targeting high-net-worth clients looking for sophisticated financial products, the visual language needs to be different to that used to target first-time buyers.

4) Remember compliance

It is important that your timely email campaign isn’t held up in the compliance department, so make sure you consider compliance from the start.

If you have included health warnings, do they need to be the same font size as your body text? There may be strict rules on how these are formatted and where they are placed.

When including products and rates, make sure that all the necessary information is displayed in a clear and consistent fashion from the start. Adding such information into an email later on in the design process can make the content and design look cluttered and confusing.

Can all the claims contained within the email (for example ‘best’, ‘exclusive’ etc.) be supported by evidence? If so, include links to that evidence for added credibility as well as compliance sign-off.

5) Measure, assess and be honest

Once you’ve got your campaign up and running you’ll very quickly get statistics back that need to be measured and assessed. It is important that you are honest when analysing this data.

If the email design you implemented looks attractive but is not resulting in conversions, don’t be afraid to change it. If you haven’t met your goals, what can be improved?

Your email marketing strategy should be a living document, regularly updated with lessons that have been learned.

Email campaigns should evolve over time, informed by clear planning, implementation and measurement so that you are constantly improving the return on marketing budget invested in this vital part of the marketing ‘jigsaw puzzle’.

Don’t forget, even if you don’t change your email campaigns, your competitors will change theirs and your customers will change in their level of understanding and willingness to open email.

As with most areas of marketing, if you are not consciously making progress with your email campaigns, it is unlikely that you are standing still – you are more likely to be going backwards.

Mark Lusted is managing director of Dock9, a financial services web specialist


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