Even in a world awash with social media, email marketing is still talked about as a major (and many times the major) driving force for many businesses. We used email to market the Incantris Kickstarter. Here are the five lessons in email marketing I derived from Day 1 of the Incantris Kickstarter campaign.
1) Use a Robust Email Service. There are many plug-ins for WordPress that allow you to collect email addresses and send emails. While they might be suitable for email address collection, they may not be nearly robust enough to send more than a couple dozen emails. This is probably due to a combination of their own reliability and the power of the server you are using to host your site. The Incantris list was originally spread across different services, but we consolidated them to a single dedicated service before the launch. Sign up with one of the services like MailChimp or Aweber so that you have confidence that your emails will go out reliably and on time.
2) People respond to email, but more slowly than you might expect. Everyone does not open an email and act on it within the first thirty minutes of it arriving in their inbox. This makes having statistics on how many people have opened your emails and clicked on a link inside very useful. If things don’t seem to be moving as quickly as you would like, you can verify that it is because there are still unopened emails out there and not because everyone opened it, and then decided not to get on board with your project. Twelve hours after we had sent the emails announcing Incantris was live, 41% of the emails had been opened. 22.3% of the people on the list had clicked the link. I think that is a pretty good rate, especially the ratio between opens and clicks. It means that if you opened the email. There was better than a 50% chance you would click the link to check out the Kickstarter page.
3) After 24 hours, an email has lost its energy. There are probably people from around the world on your list who will be opening the emails on a different time schedule than people closer to you. But, only a very small number of people will open an email after 24 hours and interact with it. The ratio of opens to clicks will also fall during this time. After 24 hours, 53% of the people who had asked to know when Incantris went live had opened the emails. 25.4% of the people had clicked a link inside the email. We were very happy with the 25.4% click rate. Email lists with a 10% link click rate are common.
4) The number of people on the main RAINN Studios newsletter who had joined the dedicated Incantris list was lower than we expected. An important realization we made after studying our email lists was that only 6% of the people who received the main RAINN Studios newsletter had specifically signed up to know when Incantris went live. On an important level, this was fantastic because it means that we were reaching new people with Incantris. It may have been that the people on the newsletter thought we would let them know when Incantris launched anyway. Of course, we would. I know if I were already receiving the main newsletter, I might just expect to hear about the project through that channel. This is also where good list management software is important. If you had already received the email saying the Kickstarter was live, we did not want you to receive the newsletter as well, as it had very similar information. It is the big news this month, after all. We removed anyone on the Incantris list from that newsletter mailing.
5) Engage people on their platform of choice. After understanding the relationship between the newsletter and the Incantris list, it struck me how important it is to engage people in the medium of their choice. People may prefer to interact with you on a newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, or anything else. You can’t be everywhere, so this is not an argument to spread yourself too thin, but it does mean that you need to broadcast your messages on all channels. Only a fraction of the people will be engaged with you on all the platforms, and if they are, then it means they are among your most diehard fans and so are the least likely to be bothered by receiving multiple messages from you.
I’ll post a rundown on the effectiveness of the Incantris email marketing campaign after the Kickstarter has concluded. But, in the meantime, have you conducted email marketing for the launch of your creative project? What advice would you want to give to people who are getting started with it?