Email marketing can still be a very effective part of any online marketing strategy and providing it is done ethically can yield some great results. There are some fundamental rules when embarking on an email marketing campaign and below are some great tips on how to email market:
When sending your email campaigns you need to ensure your email passes any spam protection filters your recipients may have. Without sufficient testing against spam filters your email will never even be seen never mind opened due to it being automatically placed in the junk folder. To give your email the best chance of passing spam protection refrain from using words that filters associate with ‘Spammy’ type emails. Below is a short list of the sorts of words that should be avoided in the subject line as well as the content:
- Abbreviations such as “4 U”
- Overuse of “££££” signs
- Millions / Billions
- Overuse of capitals or explanation marks
If you search Google a far more comprehensive list of ‘spammy’ style keyword / phrases are available as there are far too many to list here.
Make it Personal
Rather than opening your email with a generic line ensure when possible to personalise your email with the recipient’s name. This is far more likely to lead to your email being read due to the recipient feeling they already have a relationship with you. Think of email marketing like real life; if you were walking around a busy supermarket and heard somebody shout ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello Chris’ if you where Chris you would be far more likely to take note. If you can, ALWAYS open up your email with the recipient’s name, by doing so you are increasing the chance of your email being read by a HUGE amount.
Make your Links obvious and Consistent
99% of the time the goal of any email marketing campaign is to drive the recipients to your website so they can view your product or service offerings. It is for this reason that you want to make the links within your email obvious to give them the best possible chance of being clicked on. Linking banners or graphics is not always the best option and sometimes deploying links within your text in bold, blue underlined text is the best option. Most users will automatically relate bold, blue underlined text as a link as we are so used to seeing this everyday whilst browsing the Internet.
Stick to your Schedule
If you intend on sending regular correspondence to your recipient list then ensure you draw up a schedule that you can stick to. If you have decided to send your email newsletter once per week at a specific time then ensure you do this. That way your recipients will be expecting your newsletter and depending on the content look forward to receiving it. Of course it takes time to build up these sorts of relationships with your recipients but providing you can provide quality content which at times is a help to them and stick to your schedule it certainly can be done.
Keep it Consistent
As well as being consistent with your timings you also need consistency in the way your newsletter looks. Once you have conducted your research into link / logo placement etc and are happy with the design and layout of your email newsletter stick to it and ensure that you do not chop and change where graphics, content and branding appears. By keeping your newsletter look and feel consistent it helps build your brand and image up and can help with building trust with your recipients.
The Subject Line
The importance of the subject line cannot be stressed enough. It is your make or break and in most cases will influence whether or not your email will end up being opened or not. There are many theories on the time you have when trying to catch the attention of the recipients with your subject line; some say you have the opening two words to draw them in other theories say that you have around half a second. What we do know is that you have a very short period of time to catch the attention of the recipient otherwise your email will be ignored and probably deleted without being read.
The From Address
As well as the subject line the other bit of information that a recipient will see before deciding to either delete or open your email is the from field. From addresses such as noreply@ or sales@ are not only in personal and give the perception that you are not interested in hearing back from them they are generic and can be annoying. Using your name such Chris@ or Dave@ are a lot more personal and you never know the person receiving your email may actually want to click on the reply button to find out more information!
Play by the Rules
Anybody can send ‘spammy’ unsolicited mail and unfortunately they do. Last year of all the emails sent a massive 73.8% of them where spam. These numbers give the art of email marketing a tainted name and unfortunately email marketing over the years has built up a stigma of being annoying, unethical and at times pointless. We at PJ Web disagree with this and providing email marketing is done correctly with thought for the recipients then there is no reason why it can’t be an important part of any online marketing campaign.
We do not believe that emailing ‘opt in lists’ that are available to purchase is an ethical way of conducting any email newsletter campaign and the only people who you should email are people who have specially given you their consent to contact them.
In addition to ensuring you have opt in confirmation before sending any correspondence it is also essential to have an easy way of allowing recipients to unsubscribe from your emails. This is normally achieved by including something along the lines of the following at the footer of your email newsletters:
- No longer interested – unsubscribe here
- To stop receiving emails from us unsubscribe here
Testing the success of your initial emails is integral and should always be done before settling on your design layout (of course once you are happy you have the optimum layout then stick to it). A great way of experimenting is to send your newsletter out with your links, logo’s graphics etc in a certain position and monitor the click through rates. Once you have this information have a play with the newsletter structure and on your next correspondence monitor whether this increases your click through rates back to your website. You can also experiment not only with the look and feel but increase / decrease images or content until you feel you have the right balance to move forward with.
Email marketing can still be and should be used as part of any online marketing campaign. It can be a very effective way of communicating new products or services to both existing and potential clients on a regular basis.
Like anything if you conduct your email marketing campaigns with the user in mind and treat them how you would like to treated then you will be on the right tracks. Avoid the temptations of buying in large lists of email addresses even if they are advertised as opt in as the chances are they haven’t knowingly opted in not to mention you will be wasting your time. Slowly and steadily build up your recipients in the right way and be safe in the knowledge that you are not wasting your time as well as giving yourself a chance of converting your time into sales.
Good luck and feel free to post your thoughts or any tips you may have about email marketing.