Email marketing is an essential part of any online marketing program. It’s perfect for new product offerings, loyalty discounts and promotions. And when it’s done correctly, it can help grow sales and build loyalty with your customers. However, you do have a couple of obstacles in your way. Customers and prospects are constantly overloaded with e-mail messages, and they are waiting to hit the delete key, if your messages do not catch their attention and provide value. And, let’s not forget those annoying spam filters. If your emails aren’t designed correctly, they won’t event make it to your subscribers.
Here are some best practices to make your email marketing efforts more effective:
1) Use Trusted Email Marketing Software
Don’t try to manage your lists and send messages through an email program, such as: Outlook or Entourage. If you want to get results, need to send your email campaigns through a trusted provider such as: Constant Contact. There are many benefits, such as a higher deliverability, ready-made templates and tools that will check your e-mail messages against spam filters. They also provide valuable reporting, with figures such as: how many people opened your email, what they clicked on and how many were bounced back.
2) Write an Effective Subject Line
If you can’t get a user past a subject line, then nothing else matters. All of the hard work designing and writing the email will have gone to waste, if your prospect hits delete. Avoid long subject lines that will get cut-off – stay under 60 characters. Use a clear call-to-action: such as: Great Tips, Special Event or New Blog Article from "your company name". And, try to use your company name in the subject line. Next, stay away from words like: free, offer and act now. Those words will make your message look like spam. Finally, try to stick to the same format every time you send a message – so your emails will be come recognizable.
3) Keep the Message Short and Simple
The message needs to be clear and consistent with the subject line, and should be a quick read. If you stuff your email with too much information or try to offer the reader multiple sales or promotions, you could overwhelm them and get no response. A good formula for an offer email would be a headline, an eye-catching graphic, followed by a 3-4 of lines of text and a call-to-action button – it’s as simple as that! If your sending a newsletter, go with a headline and 1 line of text for each article, followed by a "read more button".
4) Include Clear Calls-to-Action
After your subscribers open your email, what do you want them to do? Make sure the call-to-action stands out, such as an orange or red text link or button. Directing that link to a custom landing page with more information can be very effective, allowing you to capture valuable information from your prospect – such as the size of a company, or where they are in the buying process.
5) Provide Value in Your E-mails
It’s easy to use your emails as a medium for selling your products or services. It’s harder to offer a value to your subscribers whether they make a purchase or not. So be sure to offer links to helpful information. If you’re a restaurant, throw in a recipe or wine-pairing tip. It takes a little more effort, but it will go a long way!
6) Build A Quality List
It’s not always about the amount of subscribers, but the quality of your list that matters. Be sure to keep it Opt-in. Don’t rent or buy lists. Those people don’t want your emails! In fact, they could end up getting you blacklisted as a spammer. Do encourage customers to sign up from your website, blog, Facebook and Twitter page. And don’t forget face-to-face networking! If you attend industry events and collect business cards, ask people if they want to receive your newsletter. If they do, put a check mark on the back of the card, so you’ll remember who opted-in.
7) Do What Works for You
What works for one company may not work for another. We’ve all heard the "send Tuesday at 10am" strategy. And for the last 5 years, that’s what everyone has been doing. So guess what? Tuesday at 10 is probably not the optimum time to send anymore. A stay-at-home Mom, has a far different schedule than a small business owner, and they likely check their email at different times. Also, your clients’ and customers’ responses could change over time. So, test the time of day and days of the week you send email. Eventually, you’ll find what works best for your subscribers.
Email marketing is part creativity and part science, but when done right, it can yield great returns. Start with these tips, you’ll be on your way to more effective email campaigns.
If you’d like to discuss your email strategy with an email marketing specialist at Brainstorm Studio, Contact Us for a Free Evaluation – We’d love to help design a strategy for your organization!