Email Marketing Tips to Help You Improve Your Campaign

Permission based email marketing has a higher return on investment than unsolicited email, direct mail or traditional advertising and therefore, has revolutionized the way we do business. Backed by measurable results, studies show that email marketing is the marketing tool of choice for businesses looking to attract, retain and grow loyal customer bases. Businesses all around the world use email marketing to:

  • Boost sales
  • Generate leads
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Increase website traffic
  • Build a brand

As the popularity of permissio based email marketing grows, so does the volume of email in every consumer inbox. Are you doing everything you can to make sure that your emails are the ones that get opened, read and responded to?

You know your business best, but here are some tips to maximize permission-based email marketing success.

Email marketing is on the rise. As a fast, easy and affordable way to communicate, nothing else compares.

  • Email has established itself as a normal part of daily life.
  • According to the American Management Association, email has overtaken the telephone as the preferred method of communication among North Americans.
  • Forrester Research predicts that marketers in the US will have tripled their email marketing budgets.
  • Email gets results - fast. You should expect to get 90 percent of your email marketing results with 48 hours.

You could have the best message in the world, but without the right audience it means nothing.

  • Start with a permission-based list - build your own.
  • In exchange for contact information, offer your customers something of value - a newsletter, a free seminar, or more information about your products & services.
  • When gathering contact information, only gather the demographic information you really need - asking for unnecessary information annoys people and may discourage them from signing up.
  • Be sure to always include a way for people to unsubscribe in all your email campaigns. Unsolicited email or spam can be damaging to the reputation of your business.
  • Manage your contact lists so you can respond quickly and efficiently to requests for more information or requests to unsubscribe.
  • Since email addresses can change frequently, maintain the integrity of your email list by carefully tracking the number of bounce-backs or undeliverable emails after every campaign.
  • Be sure you have a clear and concise privacy policy that details how you will treat your customers' personal contact information and include a link to your privacy policy in every email you send out.
  • Respect the terms of your privacy policy and never breach your customers' trust.

An interesting message that offers value to the reader is critical to the success of any email campaign.

  • See what others are doing. Take a few minutes and sign up for email newsletters from competitors - choose a few on your favorite hobby or interest too.
  • Once you are receiving online newsletters from other companies, pay attention to what makes you open some and what makes you delete others without reading.
  • Before you craft the right message, develop a marketing strategy that addresses goals and objectives.
  • Use email marketing to accomplish what email does best - increase revenue, generate leads, strengthen customer relationships, increase Website traffic and build brand awareness.
  • Get the length right. A good rule of thumb is the more frequently you send campaigns, the shorter they should be. People will happily open a short "Tip of the Day", but almost no one wants to get something longer than that every single day.
  • Keep the message personal and casual. Think like a customer and write in a conversational tone - people crave a little humanity behind the corporate mask.
  • People respond best to messages that are written by one particular individual at a company who they can get to know over time - it's part of building relationships.
  • Personalize the 'From' part of your email and be clear who the email is from.
  • Avoid using 'FREE' in your subject line since it has been abused by spam marketers and arouses suspicion.
  • Be honest in your subject line and reflect what's inside. State a clear benefit that motivates the recipient to open the message. The messages that get opened will be those that seem relevant and offer value.
  • Choose a subject line that captures immediate interest and makes people want to read more. For example, avoid vague subject lines like "Our September Newsletter." Instead, say something that engages your readers' attention with an interesting topic or headline from the newsletter, such as "Best Practices for Email Marketing" or "Inside: Exclusive Interview with Tiger Woods!"
  • Use your subject line to encourage forwarding. The Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) always adds "Pls. Forward" to the ends of their newsletter subject lines and they report it's more than doubled their circulation!
  • Personalize each message and watch response rates climb. At the very minimum, always include the recipient's name.
  • Customize your messages to appeal to customer interests and hobbies. Ask your customers what they want to hear about from you - news about product improvements, special offers, new services, etc.

Choose the Right Format

Once you've got a compelling message, you need to present it to your customers in the most effective way possible.

  • HTML and Rich media messages that include audio, video and animation generate high response rates, however it's still important to always have a plain text version for those recipients that prefer text or can only receive text.
  • Unless your newsletter is unusually long, recipients will probably try to read it on their screens. Your job is to make this as easy as possible for them.
  • Always include a table of contents up-front so people can scroll quickly and easily to the section of their choice.
  • Usability studies show that most people won't look beyond the first screen of information if there's not something immediately interesting to them. Give them a reason to scroll down!
  • Use bullet points and lots of white space for plain text messages.
  • Minimize the use of ALL CAPS and italics as they are much harder to read on screen.
  • To make it easy for readers to scan your message, keep columns of copy narrow.
  • Test your messages through a number of email accounts to ensure they look good through all mainstream email clients.
  • Consider writing your message in the same format that it will appear in on your customers' screens so that you can preview exactly what they will see. For text-based emails this means setting your word processor to a 10 point Courier type going 60 characters (five inches) across.

Look for measure results

  • Gathering results through trackable links and having access to real-time reports will help you understand what works and what doesn't.
  • Test using different subject lines, copy, offers, creative designs and more. Use real-time results to see which get the best response rates.
  • When running a series of email campaigns, refine your message as quickly as possible once you understand the results of your first campaign.
  • To fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of an email campaign, look for an email marketing solution that offers real-time reporting features that address more than just who opened your message.
  • To save valuable time, choose email marketing software that automatically manages and tracks results so that you don't have to manually sort and calculate through hundreds or thousands of responses.
  • If you need fast results, choose email marketing software that gets your message out quickly - some can launch in as quickly as one hour!
  • Above all, take the time to understand email as a marketing medium. Always analyze your results and think about innovative strategies to get new customers and keep existing customers.


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