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May 18, 2010

Growing Business with Email Marketing

At New England Xpo for Business in Boston today listening to Corissa St. Laurent from Constant Contact talking about email marketing.

I really don't like getting email from companies, why would I attend something like this? Because I've had customers ask for it, and understanding how to do it right will benefit customers and business.

Some Facts

It takes, on average, 5-10 communications with a company before a customer will buy your product.

It is 6 times more expensive to get a new customer than to retain a customer, and return customers spend 67% more. After 10 purchases a customer has referred up to 7 people.

1.4 billion people use email on the world. 87% of consumers online time is spent reading emails.

What is Email Marketing

Email marketing is not SPAM. It is delivering professional communication, to an interested audience who has asked to receive your email, that contains information they find valuable.

Building trust means setting expectations (how many, when, what), matching expectations, abiding by SPAM laws (include physical address and opt-out), and gaining permission.

Making the Connection

Build your list where you connect. During sales call, at events and meetings, in email signatures, and on the web site.

On a sign-up page, include your logo and branding, describe your email content, ask about their interest, ask for additional information.

Keep email very short. You have 11-20 seconds of time once a person opens the email. Make sure you get to the point quickly. Put a strong call to action. "Order now and get 10% off", "Click here for more information", "Forward this to your friend if you found this interesting".

Frequency and Delivery

Create a master schedule. Must send at least 4 times a year or else you are irrelevant. Monthly is good, sometimes daily is important depending.

Day of the week and time is important. Tuesday & Wednesday are generally optimal, between 10am to 3pm, but for something like a night club or weekend getaway Friday might be best.

Getting Email Opened

Must come from the right name. 60% of folks decide on the from name alone if they will open. The from address should be familiar as well.

The subject line is really important. Clever, tricks, and funny subject don't work. The subject should be 5-8 words (30-40 characters) that incorporate the immediate benefits. Magazine covers are good things to look at for examples. Make sure there are no spam words.

One tip is to write the subject line last.

Tracking and Reporting

Tracking is important to learn about the audience. Find out who opened, who unsubscribed, clicked through. Watch trends, see how many are opening, how many are clicking.

Q/A

Use color cop for matching colors and finding good color schemes.

Don't use images for critical pieces of information because they get blocked.

Posted by mike at 8:27 AM

May 5, 2010

2010 Road Bike Route: 26 Miles in North Boston Suburbs

In the never-ending quest to find a perfect road bike route I'm trying something new. I used to be happy to battle with traffic and stoplights to go on a specific route that went up through the Fells as a start to a big loop through Malden, Stoneham, Wakefield and Melrose. My favorite part of that route is going over the top of Lake Quannapowitt. However, once you've done some serious riding on long, open, light traffic roads it gets harder to enjoy riding around a busy city with lots of interruption and traffic risk.

Many have suggested the right way for urban dwellers to road bike is to load up the car and drive out to the country where a good riding routes are every direction you ride. This doesn't work for me. I can't carve out 20 extra minutes each way to drive out of the city to a more rural setting and ride from there. If I've got an hour or two to ride I want to be on the bike for that entire time. This means I'm constantly on the hunting for a nice route from my house in Malden.

The route I mapped yesterday, and rode early this morning, heads directly north from Malden. The ride up Fellsway East and then Main Street through Melrose and Wakefield isn't too bad (way better than going north on Route 28 where you dangerously ride in the gutter while delivery trucks race by). Not a ton of crazy traffic or intersections in the first few miles, but the ride really opens up around mile 8 when I cross into Reading. Miles 8 through 20 are what I'm looking for; rolling hills, not too much traffic, wide enough road to let me ride near the white line and not over on the shoulder, beautiful trees, lawns, fields, rivers, etc. After mile 20 you're back to Main Street where things get less perfect for the rest of the route.

No flats today also adds to the goodness of the experience. I had to stop a few times to check my map, but all-in-all it was a great route and ride. We'll see what kind of variants come up through the summer.

Posted by mike at 10:01 AM