Use Search Engine Marketing to improve your Email Open Rates

Recently I was at EMSA 2008 and had the great fortune to hear a presentation by Tony Keusgen from Google Australia.

His presentation was about how landing pages, search engine marketing and email marketing can be tightly bound together to create powerful lead generation and sales funnels.

The main point of emphasis in his presentation was that online advertising strategies need to be 'evidence-based' (use testing and measuring of your results to determine what is working for your customers), to ensure that our own biases as marketers don't limit the success we can achieve.

He reminded us all that everything you and your customers do is one click away... Whether it's one click on your competitor's search engine ad and not yours, a click of the delete button when your email message arrives in their Inbox or a click on the back button away from your website.

What do you do...? Test and Measure.

For websites and landing pages there are server logs and analytics software to help you measure what's going on. AWStats, WebTrends and Google Analytics are among the most recognised applications for this purpose. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses, all will give you the data you need to stay relevant for your customers.

The most popular search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Ask.com, all have search engine marketing offerings. Advertising with any of them gives you access to extensive reports for monitoring the progress of your campaigns and working out what grabs your prospect's attention.

For email messages it's a little different; you get tracking reports that show you the success of your campaign messages - when they get opened, what link is clicked on etc. which is great. The real challenge however is measuring the success of your subject lines. After all you want your messages opened, rather than deleted by that one click.

Testing Email Marketing Subject Lines

Here's a nifty "outside-the-box" idea for testing your subject lines before you send out your next email marketing campaign.

Use Google, Yahoo! or Ask.com ads to test your subject lines.

How-to Test Subject Lines

Write a number of different ads that link to a page on your website with information about what you want to promote or sell in your email marketing campaign. Put the ads into your search engine marketing account and then rotate the ads over a period of a few days or weeks. Check your numbers and take the ad that had the highest click thru and use that wording as your email subject line.

The beauty of this strategy is that you get lots of great outcomes.

First you get a great search engine marketing ad that you can continue using to drive leads and customers to your website.

You also get a subject line that you can confidently use for your email marketing campaigns that will increase your open rates, reach more of your customers and with the right message drive more customers to your website.

On top of a great email subject line you also have a successful landing page title, one that many of your customers will find of interest.

A great side benefit is that you have also developed a cross-platform/mixed channel strategy that you can use for a direct mail sales letter and magazine advertising campaign too.

In summary. By using search engine marketing to get you a great email subject line, you are testing to see what works best for your customers. Which gives you the inside edge when it comes to getting more of your email messages opened.

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