Email Marketing: Thought Leadership with Simon Grabowski

What email acquisition strategy you would recommend?

Organic list growth is still the king when it comes to email acquisition. It's the essence of permission-based marketing and has proven to generate the best response rate and ROI. The reason for that is simple. You make most sales when you send the offers to leads that actually subscribed for them. In-house lists are far more effective than third-party lists, because the latter lack the relationship between the marketer and the subscriber.

According to Marketing Sherpa's 2010 B2B handbook, more than 7x as many people find in-house lists more effective than third-party lists.The most popular organic tactics are:

- sign up forms on websites & landing pages,
- promoting subscription options on your offline marketing collaterals,
- capturing emails at the point of purchase,
- collecting subscribers during trade shows & events,
- promoting a sign up form on Facebook fan-page.

What strategies are available to increase engagement?

Every tactic used for increasing subscribers' engagement should be focused on maximizing results. Here are some of our favorite ways to increase engagement with email marketing:

- leadnurturing (welcome emails, retention programs, reward campaigns, birthday emails, membership anniversary emails, dynamic newsletters with content based on customer's activity and preferences).

- social(integrating email campaigns with social media, pointing subscribers from emails to your company Facebook fan page, SWYN buttons in newsletters, asking email subscribers to publish your products reviews. Email marketing platforms like GetResponse offer a plug 'n play social media integrations these days.);

What design challenges do digital marketers face today?

An April 2011 study sponsored by Google discovered that 82% of smartphone users check and send email with their device. We think mobile is the new challenge digital marketers face today, but it's also a new opportunity. Mobile requires marketers to add a new rule to their design handbooks: less is more.

Mobile email consumption dictates lighter version of newsletters, no gif images, one to two primary calls to action and economizing on content.

To be honest, the growing popularity of consuming emails via smartphones emphasizes something that we've always preached at GetResponse: your newsletters should be like a good movie trailer. They should draw attention and make people click-thru to a website. That's where the sales are actually made.

What role does social media have within email marketing campaigns?

I always say that there's no "vs" between email and social. Just the opposite, social media can be perfectly blended into most of the email marketing campaigns these days. What some of us seem to forget is that at the end of each marketing channel there is the recipient that expects valuablecontent. Period.

For a perfect synergy between email and social, we've introduced several tools for GetResponse users:

- ability to publish sign up forms on a Facebook fan page to convert fans into subscribers,
- easy implementation of Share With Your Network buttons in emails to expand the reach,
- seamless publishing of links to a newsletter archive in users' Twitter feeds and on Facebook fan pages.

What deliverability basics can you share with
What metrics are of the greatest importance for digital marketers?

For tracking response rates, marketers should always keep their eyes on:

- open rates (great for comparing results, but not 100% accurate because opens are registered only when images in the email are downloaded),
- click-thru rates (very effective and accurate),
- conversion rates (calculated on an individual basis, depending on which URL or action describes the conversion).

For maintaining great deliverability and making sure that newsletters frequency or content do not generate too high a negative response, I always follow:

- bounce rates (especially "user-unknown" bounce rate generated by mailing non-existent email addresses)
- spam complaint rates (always stay below the 0.2% threshold!)