Earlier today, we received an email from our U.S. Senator Bob Menendez announcing his re-election campaign. Sadly, the email was rather comical in its approach to effective email marketing and shows a lot of places where campaigns can improve.
The first thing to do in auditing an email is look at the email itself:
The first thing to question is the subject line: Photos for you.
This is a subject line that hasn't been tested because it's extremely spammy and will most likely get the email caught in spam filters. Photos for you sounds like an email to get people to click on naked pictures to help spread a virus on your computer. The bummer of it is for the Menendez campaign is that the open rate of the email is going to plummet because so many emails go to spam and the domain that is sending out the emails will also be added to black lists. Double whammy!
An email subject line is pretty much the most important component of an email marketing campaign. It will dictate whether or not your email campaign will be opened, ignored or placed into junk. In that vein, no matter how small your list, you should always research your subject lines and A/B test different subject lines to find which is the most effective. Even using words like "please" and "Thank you" can boost up email opens by many percentage points.
The second thing is the link back "I hope you'll click here to take a look". Again, another spammy link that will have many spam filters taking this email out of someone's email in box so they don't even see it. The intent isn't totally horrible because it takes people back to the website. The biggest problem is the keywords.
Beyond the subject line and bad anchor test, the email is OK. They are using a first name selector and are sending out stripped down emails so people only click on one thing. This is a matter of preference. We generally advocate having more information within the actual email so there are more opportunities for people to be driven back to the site. Why not throw in some pictures?
After we look at the actual email, we also need to look at the delivery. This email was delivered on a Tuesday at 1:42 in the afternoon. The problem with this approach is that everyone in New Jersey is at work. People don't want to be bothered at work and they most likely do not want to give a donation in front of colleagues. Some of the better times to send email are early in the morning or late at night as this is when people are actually reading their email and on their computer. Some of the better days to send are weekends, because once again people are on their computer and don't have work distractions.