We often blog about CAN-SPAM compliance measures—like email list scrubbing, partner monitoring, and secure distribution of suppression lists— all of which can be accomplished through our affiliate email platform. These are important topics. And they should definitely be on your New Year’s resolution calendar, if you haven’t already implemented an opt-out management strategy.
But there are other things you can be doing to send better emails. Not just better in terms of sales, but in terms of soft-dollar returns, as well. Because when you care about sending well-designed, well-targeted messages, you can gain a lot of brand currency from consumers and partners.
- Invest in Responsive Email Design
Last year, one of the major affiliate marketing networks saw a 100% rise in the amount of traffic and transactions coming from mobile devices. And this is representative of what’s happening across the board: more consumers are reading emails on their phones—between 40% and 70% overall. If you’re not already doing so, make a firm commitment in early 2015 to ensure your affiliate emails are optimized for mobile, using HTML5 and CSS3.
Have you heard mixed messages about these advanced functionalities (e.g. that they’re tough to develop, laborious to troubleshoot, and that they won’t render well on some email platforms)? When you’re ready to dig into the specifics, we found a great article on using HTML5 and CSS3 in email. These guys explain why, despite the challenges, advertisers still need to play offense with cutting-edge email design.
And PS: optimizing your emails for mobile is a CAN-SPAM compliance issue, too. If recipients can’t find your unsubscribe link, or if the opt-out process is difficult to complete on a small screen, you could generate complaints… and legal issues. Here’s a mobile-optimized email from Booking.com with a prominent unsubscribe button.
- Share Top-Performing Content
Like most advertisers and mailers, you probably wrapped up a huge number of email campaigns during this recent holiday season. Now is a great time to analyze the numbers and results from those campaigns, taking note of what worked and what didn’t. (Many of today’s portals make it easy for affiliates to view performance reports with their account access, rather than opening separate Excel files.)
With this data in hand, you can collaborate with affiliates on how to recreate successes—whether they involve certain types of subject lines, images, calls to action, etc. You should also encourage affiliates to keep testing and refining throughout the year. We talked about more sophisticated A/B testing in a recent blog…
- Survey Your Email Partners
New Year’s resolutions are often health-related, and there’s no better way to improve the health of a relationship than by listening. We’ve all heard of employee engagement surveys, which are designed to measure how satisfied and connected in-house team members feel toward their work. The same kind of process can help you measure affiliate attitudes and goals. Include a survey link in the next affiliate email blast or newsletter you send. You might even provide some small incentive for affiliates who take time to participate.
- Get Strategic with Suppression Lists
Not just an imperative for CAN-SPAM compliance, suppression list management can help you and your affiliates segment audiences. In the process, you can minimize unsubscribes, annoy fewer people, and reaffirm your brand’s commitment to quality. Here’s a really helpful resource on suppression list strategy:
- Give Feedback
Maybe you’re already helping affiliate mailers by providing creative samples they can use. Don’t forget to provide feedback, too. It’s true what they say about squeaky wheels getting the grease. When you regularly communicate brand standards and/or CAN-SPAM compliance expectations, affiliates will be extra mindful about mailings sent on your behalf.
From all of us at UnsubCentral, we hope you have a happy and successful 2015!