Thursday, February 03, 2011

Email marketing - it really works!

I've been talking about my experiences with email marketing, after my wife who works for Constant Contact persuaded me to give it a go. The main effort I have been putting into it is providing subscribers of my newsletter (mostly Consected customers) with valuable information that they want to receive in their inbox, not just another spammy sales effort. Well, it has finally come together. I sent out my first newsletter to a test group of 99 email addresses on Tuesday. Why 99? Well the free-trial from Constant Contact limits you to a small list of contacts initially. But this set was plenty for me to start to see the response. And I can say that based on this I have already signed up for the real service! That represents a high recommendation for the service, trust me.

Following some advice from the expert on communications, my wife, to go with a single topic for the newsletter, I managed to pull together some pretty good content. It followed my current area of interest, barcodes, and how they can help business organize information better. For those of you interested in seeing the newsletter, and the demo it contains, take a look at the archived copy: Can you improve your business with hundreds of little dots?

What kind of feedback did I get? Well, the Constant Contact reports are nice. They report email opens, link click-through, and other useful stuff. I signed up because I was amazed to see that the email was opened by more than 30% of recipients on the list. That means that 30 people at least opened the email to see what it was talking about, rather than just hitting delete. A couple registered 'do no mail', which is good to know. But frankly I messed up on the click tracking, as I disabled it in a few important links, so the Constant Contact reports don't give me that information and I have to hunt around elsewhere for it. And quite honestly, my cheapie website host kept putting my shared server offline the day the email went out, so many people wouldn't have got to the website anyway. I see a move to the Consected production Rackspace servers in my crystal ball.

But I went one better than the great open rate. After seeing the newsletter, a business partner I hadn't spoken to in months contacted me -- with a great new business opportunity! That will be worth the effort and monthly subscription fee without doubt!

I'm going to follow the same format for my next newsletter, in early March. If I get the same rate of response I'll be stunned (and happy)!

A post from the Improving It blog
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