Email marketing

Fundamental Email Marketing Tips

If you think email marketing has lost its luster, you are wrong. It’s an essential part of any marketing plan and it produces a solid return on investment (ROI). Plus, it is also one of the only definitively measurable one-to-one communication mediums. Email marketing is a great way to build relationships with customers who are interested in you and it is a terrific way to morph mere interest into buying behavior and to keep you current customers.

Follow the tips below to create successful email campaigns for your business:

  • First find a good email marketing service that includes email templates for you to use. Examples include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Experian CheetahMail.
  • Only send emails to people who have actively signed up (opted in) to your company’s email communications.
  • Be sure to use a consistent from name to identify yourself to your email subscribers and always use a consistent, valid reply address.
  • Include an unsubscribe link in every email you send and include a link to a Privacy Policy.
  • Make sure your company’s address is listed in the footer also.
  • When asking people to sign up for your email communications, be sure to provide a clear benefit to them.
  • Only ask for the minimum amount of information when asking people to sign up for your email communications. Don’t make it hard for them to sign up.
  • Once a person signs up for your emails, send him or her a welcome email message as soon as possible.
  • Ask people to sign up for your newsletter wherever you can: in print, in your store, on your website, on your social media channels, and in your email signature. You can even create a newsletter form on Facebook.
  • Tell your subscribers how often they should expect to get email from you. (You should contact your subscribers at least monthly.)
  • A simple message recipe: Write clear, concise, and engaging copy that supports the goal of the email communication. Be sure to get to your point quickly in your text (people don’t read emails, they scan). Your content should be relevant, anticipated and personalized (use first names, etc.). Give the subscriber ample opportunities to click to your website or make any type of conversion behavior you want them to perform (donate, pledge, buy an item, etc.).
  • Make sure the email design template you use is responsive and thus mobile-friendly.
  • Use larger font sizes so your text is easy to read on mobile devices.
  • Make sure your buttons and links are large and easy to tap with a finger for mobile users.
  • Don’t use a lot of images in your HTML email blasts. The majority of email clients don’t display images by default AND spam filters can’t ‘read’ images and can assume your message is spam. The main message of an email blast should make perfect sense to the reader whether the images load or not.
  • Test your emails out before broadcasting to your subscribers using a tool such as email campaign monitoring solution Return Path. Return Path will show you how your email will look in different versions of the major combinations of email clients in common use, on mobile phones, on tablets, etc. and will tell you if any of your content is a spam trigger, if your HTML is valid, if your sender reputation is good, etc.
  • Also, be sure to proofread your copy and check all the links.
  • One of the most important parts of an email marketing campaign is the subject line. Make sure yours is engaging, concise, and descriptive and prompts your subscribers to open the email.
  • Send a text-only version of your email blast to subscribers who don’t have HTML supported in their email client.
  • Make sure you send your email blast to the right group of subscribers (i.e., the ones who will be interested in the content of the campaign). You should segment your email list into interest groups.
  • Test out the times you send your emails. Vary them to see when you get the highest open and click-through rates and keep on that time schedule. In general you should send your campaigns between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Test our your email designs, content of the messages, subject lines, etc. one at a time by sending one version of it to half of your list and another version of it to the other half of your list. Then compare them to see which ones pull the highest open and click-through rates. This is called split testing.
  • Include Facebook, Twitter, etc. “share” buttons in your email campaigns to spread your message to an entirely different audience.
  • Pay attention to your email metrics so you know the open rates, click-through rates, social shares, bounces, and unsubscribe rates for each campaign you send. Average performance figures for small businesses are: Unique opens: 22.87%, Unique clicks: 3.26%, and Unsubscribes: 0.53% ( 2014 email marketing benchmark report). Shoot for these averages or above (or below for unsubscribes). If you are not meeting these averages, then you need to revisit your content because you are most likely not providing your subscribers with the content they want. It could also be your subject line is not engaging or you don’t have enough links to prompt the readers to click-through (or maybe your link is buried at the bottom of your message).
  • Track your email campaigns in Google Analytics so you can see where your subscribers go and what they do once they reach your website or landing page.

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