Category Archives: Marketo Blog

The best number of words in an email subject line

On the Marketo blog, they’ve been looking at the optimum number of words in an email subject line. The research covered 200 campaigns containing over 2 million emails. I’ve seen this done before, but times change, so new analysis is always worthwhile. They didn’t just look at email open rate, because in the end, it’s all about the recipient taking action. An intriguing but misleading subject line could get a great open rate but a low number of subsequent actions (normally click-throughs to somewhere).

The highest open rates occurred with short subject lines and the lowest with long subject lines. But the ‘click-to-open’ rates didn’t correlate. The author suggests that “more people might click an email with a nine-word subject line because they had a better sense of the email’s content from the start.”

Once overall engagement was factored in, the winner was seven words. It looks to me like six or seven words is our best bet. See what you think.

Focus your email lists for greater engagement

Some fascinating research on marketing automation software provider Marketo’s blog argues very strongly that the smaller the email list you have, the more effective it will be. “But wait a minute”, I hear you say, “my email list is what it is. I can’t just make it smaller.”

Ah, but you can. It’s all about segmentation. Should you really be sending that email to everyone on your list, or is it really only relevant to a small section? Are you just sending it to everyone because you’re just too lazy to segment your email list into groups? As I’ve said before, if you send an email to someone who doesn’t want it, the best possible outcome is that they’ll ignore it! Alternatively, they’ll unsubscribe from your list (which will stop you telling them about the stuff they do want to hear about) …or – worst of all – they’ll just quietly hate you. And that last group will contain valuable prospects or customers who you don’t want to upset.

At the very least, every company’s promotional email list should be divided into customers, prospects (people who’ve enquired but never bought) and others. If nothing else, that’ll stop you annoying customers with information about products they probably know as well as you do. The best companies, however, segment much more deeply than this.

Here’s the data at 23% of Email Engagement Is Explained By Segmentation.

Evergreen renewals: a modern hazard

I read a blog post on Modern B2B Marketing the other day which made me nod my head vigorously. Beware of the Evergreen Renewal describes clauses hidden in the back of contracts to automatically renew as “evil” and I agree. It’s bad enough being forced to sign up to some services for a minimum period, but when it comes to the end of the period and you find you’ve already been signed up to a further term …that’s just unacceptable, in my opinion.

I know one industrial concern which claims to save itself a small fortune by booking any contracted services on a calendar-yearly basis, and well before the end of the year, giving plenty of notice to cancel every single one on December 31. It may well renew for the next year when the contractor calls, but at least each renewal is given annual consideration. The policy came into force when a few years ago, the company did an internal audit and found it was continuing to subscribe to a couple of services which it had stopped using several years before. You may say “more fool them”, but with more and more services being delivered not in person, but over the internet instead, it’s easy to lose track of who the user of a service is. It might well turn out to be someone who’s left.

I hate any contract which forces you into a minimum service period. If this is necessary because the contractor has a lot of upfront costs, they should charge those costs as a setup fee, and then charge a true monthly or quarterly figure, with no commitment. That’s certainly the way we operate with our clients. In the advertising industry, for example, unscrupulous people with their unwanted rolling renewals have made life a misery over the years for trustworthy publishers.

Put your own site first and avoid duplicate content

“Duplicate Content” is a web problem frequently associated with tales of websites being banned from Google. In reality, such occurrences are rare, and the more everyday manifestations aren’t nearly as disastrous, but it’s still something which can hurt your web traffic. The simplest way in which “duplicate content” can affect you adversely is this: Google will attempt to show any given piece of web copy just once in its results. So if one of your product descriptions, for example, appears several times on the web, it might not be the main product page on your site which Google chooses to show. And that’s not what you want to happen.

The alternative manifestations of that piece of copy can be varied: the text might be repeated on your own site, on a less important page like an index; it might be on a distributor’s site; it might be on a news website; or it might even be on an unauthorised site which is just copying stuff from elsewhere. How B2Bs can Improve SEO by Avoiding Duplicate Content on Modern B2B Marketing explores the subject in more depth, but three great tips are: to use sitemaps and canonical tags; to ensure material goes on your site before anywhere else; and to distribute different copy to distributors and news sites.

Marketing is where profits begin

A tremendous article from the US today, from the Modern B2B Marketing blog. You’ll need a long coffee break for this one, but it’s worth it. In 7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide, author Jon Miller discusses how tougher economic times will inevitably lead to reduced marketing budgets, and how we might be more efficient with what we’re left with.

Managing your leads better and converting more enquirers into leads are two obvious areas, but ones in which we all have room for improvement. However, we need to change the mindset that sales delivers revenue and marketing is just a cost centre. Let’s change our terminology from “cost per lead” to looking at return on investment, shall we? Marketing is where profits begin, not get swallowed up.