Email Marketing Database: Quality over Quantity
I thought we’d switch gears today, take a break from the SEO blogs, and talk about something vital to everyone’s business: reaching consumers with targeted communications. Yes, that’s right, I’m discussing email marketing today (as you may have guessed from the title).
This is key component to any business, reaching out to consumers and building solid brand recognition. And, hopefully, brand loyalty. The first thing that needs to be done, is build a QUALITY database with WILLING participants. For a small and medium businesses this is the real challenge, so I’ve comprised 5 easy tips to building a solid email database:
List Brokers = IF’Y RESULTS
Buying giant data lists from list brokers is something you DON’T want to start with. Sure, you can instantly supplement your database with hundreds, possibly thousands, of email addresses and fire your communique out. But there’s two reasons to hold off on this route:
- Quality of email address is not guaranteed. Who knows how many hard bounces and spam filters you’ll be trapped in.
- The people you are sending to did not opt to receive your email. While I’m convinced the folks selling this list have a found a loophole in the FCC’s SPAM regulations, the last thing you want to do is start building resentment toward your brand by pushing unwanted communications on them.
2. Clean Your List Up
If you have already purchased a list, that’s ok. Once your emails go out, look at the data and clean up your list.
3. Bigger Doesn’t = Better
5,000 email addresses are great, 10,000 is better. Wrong, especially if they came from a list broker. The object of your database should be QUALITY. I’d rather have 500 quality people to send out to that are going to open my email, click-through to my site, and get in the purchase funnel.
4. Low Open Rates=Higher Spam Marks=Blacklisted
This is almost self-explanatory. Our data shows, and common sense prevails, purchased lists have very low open rates, receive higher spam marks from email providers, and continually pushes you closer to getting blacklisted.
5. A/B Testing, Co-Branded Communications, and Contests
take the money you were going to use to buy a list, and do some usability testing on your emails and your website. Send out variants of your email with long/short copy and layout rearrangements. Check out your site and make sure that people can FIND AND SIGN easily. Ask a couple of friends, pay some strangers, to test it out for you and give you feedback.
hook-up with another company in your area and petition them to send a co-branded email with your company. This could earn you plenty of “trust” points with consumers and they’ll be willing to sign up for emails in the future.
Contests and Campaigns:
start a contest or a campaign. It’s a great way to get people to give you their email address in the off-chance they’ll win something.
So the idea is to get quality people on quality lists by staying away from database brokers. You should clean up your lists periodically, probably once a month, to make sure you’ve got the highest quality opens when your email goes out. And, to build bigger lists of your own, co-brand your email or start a contest.
Google PageRank: What is it Good For?
There’s been talk recently that Google has updated the PageRank for sites across the web: some are losing PageRank while some have seen significant increases. When it’s all said an done, it doesn’t mean a thing.
Sure, I look at it too. And, yes, sometimes as an SEO I obsess a little about it. It’s nice to know that a fairly arbitrary measure, the little green gas tank of trust, is getting full. More importantly, for savvier clients who have some measuring tools, and have enabled the PageRank function of the Google toolbar, is comforting for them to see their website get higher and higher in PageRank. Heck, I like to see it too; it gives me the feeling that Google is actually paying attention to my site(s) and rewarding/commending the work I’ve done for the website(s).
The PageRank toolbar gives SEOs important tips as to what Google thinks is important:
Cached Screenshot of your site.
Choose the “Text” only version of the cache to see what Google sees when they index your site. This is how you’ll know if you are being indexed and relevantly ranked for the keywords you’re targeting.
Backlinks to the page in question.
We all know that high quality, relevant backlinks with keyword targeted anchor text pointing back to you is essential.
But, in the end, your site’s PageRank doesn’t mean anything at all when thinking about organic search rankings. It’s pretty, it’s comforting, and above all, a high PageRank cultivates trust among visitors. That is, PageRank says to users that the information you have on your site is trustworthy, relevant, and could be valuable for the user. And, that, folks is what PageRank really does.
That’s what is so special about PageRank; users feel like the information they’re getting from your site is trustworthy and solid. I agree with Barry, focus on your site’s content and links. Because, after all, it’s about getting found through queries, making conversions, and getting your clients a nice ROI. If you focus on PageRank, it’s more than likely, everything else suffers. PageRank will come with better content and more high quality, relevant links to you.