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Find Marketing Flaws By Conducting An Email & Conversion Optimization Audit
Are you basing your email program's effectiveness solely on ROI? Columnist Daniel Faggella argues that you may be missing important insights if so.
For many marketers, the success of any campaign is determined simply by the bottom line: expenses of the campaign vs. revenues generated.
In assessing campaigns, companies are often quick to fix the unique and tactical elements of the campaign, but they often leave out vital conversion “checkpoints” that are the ultimate drivers of a campaign’s ROI.
In this article, I’ll explain the 4 focus areas of an “email optimization audit” and explain how any company can use this exercise to lift a company’s overall online conversion rates.
This process can also be applied generally to an entire online business presence — not just to one campaign. So long as email plays a role in driving results, these 4 focus areas are vital: site, software, autoresponders or campaigns, and broadcast messaging.
Since it offers the most opportunities for tweaking, let look at “site” first.
Focus Area 1: Site
When considering a website, you need to explicitly look for conversions opportunities — ways to turn website visitors into subscribers, buyers, users or appointment-makers.
To do that, look at a website’s “conversion levers.” As the name implies, conversion levers are those elements or opportunities on a website designed to help a visitor opt-in, set up an appointment or make a purchase.
An opt-in offers a visitor an opportunity to subscribe to your emails, newsletters, white papers or webinars. If it’s an e-commerce site, a conversion lever will be found on a sales page, order pages or in the “store.” If you’re simply looking for appointments, your conversion levers are your appointment form or contact page.
The first question to ask is simply, “Does the website have any of the above conversion levers?” If the answer is no, then the first thing you want to do is install a conversion lever based on your goals, whether that’s an opt-in, e-commerce opportunity, or appointment form.
Once you’ve done that, then you can test the copy and perform split tests to see which approach works best (this is important because for most companies, a main website is their #1 acquisition or “collection” portal for new email leads).
If the website already has a conversion lever, then you need to see how you can improve it. Those improvements can take the form of sharpening the copy or split testing pages to find which wording or call-to-action performs best.
It can also be looking at the position of the opt-in form or the buttons used on the appointment or e-commerce page. Just remember that, whatever adjustments you make, higher web traffic will always yield a higher ROI in any email optimization.
So, when assessing a site, ask these questions to determine what strategies are being used and what strategies could be used to improve traffic:
- How much traffic hits your web properties every month?
- How are you optimizing your website to generate more subscribers, sales or appointments?
- What are you split-testing on your website right now?
Focus Area 2: Software
So, with the site covered, let’s look at what software is the best fit for your email marketing campaign. Most email marketers are going to fall into one of two categories.
The first is the lower price point, lower budget marketer who sells generic, or non-customizable, product. This type of marketer isn’t going to segment much, so I recommend Drip software because of its reporting simplicity, split-testing options and ease of use.
Note that many folks think AWeber, MailChimp or Constant Contact are the way to go, but I personally think they’re not the best option for actually making money from email marketing.
Now for someone with a higher price point, higher budget and a desire to really make money from email, Infusionsoft, Ontraport or Hubspot are the better choices.
Why? Because those software options allow an email marketer to better segment their emails to their customers to better target their message. The higher the price point product and/or the budget, the more you will want to tailor your email to your list with a more complex software.
As a rule, remember that more segmentation will generate a higher return.
In summary, if an email delivery software system isn’t being used, find the one that’s right for you or your client’s needs. If there is a software system being used, make sure the software in use the best option for the industry being served so that one can customize solutions, tailor messages and maximize ROI.
Focus Area 3: Autoresponder
Now, let’s look at autoresponders. An autoresponder is useful in email marketing for just about any business, because it provides the opportunity to present prospects with a targeted, specific sequence of email messaging as soon as they opt in.
If you’re offering a service, an autoresponder can help use email to not only educate your user, but to get them to the phone. If you’re an e-commerce site, an autoresponder can help you sell additional supplies to an existing customer.
If you’re selling software, autoresponders can not only get users to act on free trial but it can help turn trial customers into buyers and then retain them as customers on down the line.
If there’s not an automatic email campaign in place, get one going that is based on the desired action of subscriber, be it encouraging phone calls, appointments, sales or simply more opt-ins. Then, split-test it to find out the best approach to get the highest ROI.
If there is an autorepsonder in action, lengthen it, split test it, tweak the copy and subject line and improve the call-to-action. Remember that the opportunity to refine the autoresponder is also an opportunity increase ROI.
When assessing autoresponders, ask these questions:
- What happens to a subscriber directly after a conversion? Make sure that opt-ins are encouraged to purchase, that previous buyers are “up sold” or “down sold” and that appointment makers receive reminders. Then ask…
- What would you want all new subscribers to do for you automatically? Once you answer that question, build an autoresponder to make that goal a reality. And, just like in site and software, more effort applied in autorepsonders will yield more traffic, more opt-ins and greater sales volume.
Focus Area 4: Broadcast (Newsletter) Messaging
Finally, consider the campaign or what kind of broadcast messaging is being used. This is simply that email sent to an existing list with calls-to-action to engage with content and/or make a step toward a sale.
While the more segmented this message is, the more money it will generate, too often broadcast messaging, also known to many as an “email blast,” is too infrequent, too generic or not tailored enough to fulfill the needs of the recipient.
So, assuming there is a database to send to, find the right customer relationship management (CRM) software for the size of the database that can house both prospects and customers.
Make sure that software can also separate the prospects from the customers. With that in hand, segment your email further based on, for example, what the prospects looked at, what the buyers purchased previously, what offer got a prospect to opt-in originally, and what complementary items can you offer previous buyers.
Again, more segmentation should be applied based on higher price points and the size and responsiveness of the list.
Next up, look at the frequency of your campaign. How often are you communicating with the existing email list? If the frequency is too low and the call-to-action too weak, increase the email rate and sharpen the copy. Those simple steps are golden opportunities to create massive ROI.
Finally, make sure to split test. Any email campaign that’s not being split-tested with different copy, subject lines or calls-to-action has plenty of room for improvement.
To sum up, looking at the bottom line isn’t the only way to gauge the effectiveness of a marketing campaign that includes email.
In addition, a full-blown email optimization audit can help refine the elements responsible for conversion and ROI — and yield helpful fixes that would be overlooked in only tactics were considered. Simply adjusting the site, software, autoresponders and the broadcast message for optimum performance will maximize your ROI and, ultimately make more money.
(Note: I’ve created a video to go along with this blog and explain the concepts with some additional pictures, and you can find it on the CLVboost blog.)
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.