Email Marketing Tips
When it comes to digital marketing, email is a very important tool. It allows you to directly reach your customers in a way that’s cost-effective, timely and relevant – if you’re doing it right.
These tips and links will help you get – and stay – in your customers’ inboxes. Before you start, make sure you understand the basic email marketing terms.
1) Get a Robust Email Service Provider
Depending on the scale of your email marketing needs, you may need to think about upgrading to a specialized email service provider (ESP). Make sure you choose the right one for your business – services range from no-frills basic to targeted campaign planning.
2) Be CAN-SPAM Compliant
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law for the regulation of commercial email. If you break it you can be subject to class action lawsuits and fined up to $16 000 per email in violation.
For example, For the People lawyers are investigating social network giant LinkedIn for an email security breach; not even the largest companies are immune to email law. So make sure you’re operating legally.
3) Don’t Use SPAM words
The use of certain words and phrases in your emails will cause detection by your customers’ ESP SPAM filters. Most of these words are common sense – things like “4U,” “see for yourself,” and “act now” are all sure fire ways of landing in the junk mail folder.
4) Always Get Permission
Don’t buy email address lists. Most people hate unsolicited email and anything you send to someone who doesn’t want it increases your chances of being flagged as SPAM. Once you have a client’s email address, confirm they want to be on your mailing list, with a double opt-in. It may seem counter-productive, but again prevents SPAM flagging.
5) Apply for White List Acceptance
Ask clients to add you to their contact list or address book in the welcome email that you send them when they sign up. This prevents you ending up in their junk mail and means they’re sure to see your carefully planned marketing efforts.
6) Make it Easy to Unsubscribe
This tip may come as a surprise– but most people will flag an email as SPAM rather than go through a complicated process to unsubscribe. You want to avoid getting tarred by the SPAM brush. If you set up customer expectations from your very first email (letting them know what they’ll be receiving and how often), you can reduce the chances of people unsubscribing.
7) Maintain Your Email List
Most email service providers penalize you if a lot of emails get returned undelivered. Remove bad email addresses to stop this from happening.
8) Use an Irresistible Subject Line
An accurate, relevant subject line is likely to pique your customers’ interest and encourage them to open your emails. This component is also included in the CAN-SPAM Act.
9) Use Plain Text or Simple HTML
Plain Text email can be opened and read easily. This is what you want from an email – save fancy HTML for your website – email should be all about getting people information quickly. Read five reasons you should create plain-text emails for more information.
10) Forget About Images
A lot of ESPs disable email images for privacy reasons, so including them is often a waste of time.
11) Keep It Brief
People scan online text, including emails. Split up your text with headings and bullets, it hooks the eye and makes your emails easier to read and more engaging.
12) Keep It Relevant
There are thousands of articles out there on writing useful web content; make sure to read them for useful tips. Ideally, you want your customers to find your emails indispensable. If you use the advice available to you, this will be far more likely.
13) Mobile Optimize
A study by digital marketing company Knotice found that in the second half of 2012, the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices soared to 27 percent. Mobile devices have considerably smaller screens, so creating narrow emails makes them easier to read.
14) Send a Test Email
If you’re not using an email marketing platform then it’s important to send a test email to make sure what you’re sending looks good in your customers’ inboxes. Set up test accounts on the major ESPs (Hotmail, Gmail, AOL and Yahoo) to catch any formatting errors or broken links before your email goes public.
Personalizing emails increases customer engagement, as they’re more likely to read something that is relevant to them. Being able to do this depends on how you obtained their address in the first place. Some email marketing platforms make doing this simple, so again, consider using one.
16) Remember, an Email is an Email
An email is an email, which means it’s a brief overview of information, not the source of information itself. You don’t need to include a précis of your latest blog post in the body of your email, just let your customer know it’s there.
17) Make Click Through Easily
Email marketing allows customers to immediately click through to your website. Whatever you want your customer to do, keeping your links in the immediately viewable part of your email increases the chances of an impulsive response. Check out more tips on how to keep your customers clicking through your website.
18) One Call to Action
Ask people for one action per email, whether it’s clicking a link, purchasing a product, or providing details. Make the action time-limited when appropriate, it creates an ‘act-now’ sense of urgency.
19) Make Sure Your Link Looks Like a Link!
This tip is especially important to the above tip. If your customer can’t see where you want them to click, they won’t bother. Links should be underlined at the very least.
20) Spell It Out
Email is not the place for subtle marketing. You have a small space to tell your customer what you want them to do “click here” is perfectly acceptable in a marketing email.
21) Be Sparing
Don’t hammer your customers’ inboxes with useless emails. Quality rather than quantity is the key to maintaining your valuable position in their inbox. Annoy them and you can quickly be downgraded to junk.
22) Use a Working Address
Sending your emails from an address your customers can reply to makes communication simple. Using an unmanned inbox says that you do not want a two-way relationship with your customer, and that’s the last thing you want them to think.
If a customer gets in touch with you, it’s good practice to reply in a timely fashion. It makes them feel valued and increases your brand’s reputation. Also, make sure that your email includes things that make it easy for your customer to reach you – a prominent phone number for example.
24) Ask For Feedback
Ask for and use feedback. Let your customers tell you what you’re doing right and wrong and act accordingly.
25) Use Analytics
Compare the results that you’re achieving with the goals you set out to achieve. You can always improve!
Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not sifting through over 150 emails per day and going manic over the “M” mute button in Gmail, you can find her writing about style on her fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.