Email Marketing – Hints and Tips on What and What Not to do
General e-marketing recommendations
- Use good data. Only rent or buy email addresses that have a verifiable opt-in status. Response rates are generally 10 times greater using good opt-in data.
- Keep the message simple. Email should be seen as a means to an end – the end being a contact with your prospect or a visit to your website.
- Keep the message short. Long messages are often only partially read or not read at all.
- Keep the creative simple. It’s best if the whole message (including the call to action) can be seen on one screen. Don’t use lots of different font sizes and typefaces – it confuses and detracts from the message. Make sure that graphics are hosted so that the file size is kept to a minimum.
- Create a good subject line. Give the recipient a reason to open your message. Have a look at this page from MailChimp for examples of good and bad headlines (you’ll have to scroll down about half way) or search Google for “best email marketing subject lines“.
- Make it easy to respond. Always have a clear, concise call to action. Allow immediate access to your website and contact by email. Give a phone number or address for offline contact.
- Be prepared to broadcast on multiple occasions. It takes on average, 7 touches before a prospect buys.
- Make use of HTML. Whilst keeping the message simple, use html to create the message – it looks far better on screen, and allows links to be attached to images or text. Although very few people use text only email clients, make sure there is a text version, either sent with the email or online that they can click to.
- Track everything. Opens (single and multiple), forwards, click through, unsubscribes, bounces and emails, telephone calls and faxes received in response.
- Get the timing right. Tuesdays through Thursdays have proved to be the most responsive for B2B. B2C seems to be most successful on Friday afternoon.
Email marketing checklist
Before you send out a marketing email, ensure that:
- Spelling and grammar is correct
- You have a catchy subject line
- You have a relevant name in the from box so recipients know it’s from you (do not use a generic term such as “contact” or “info”)
- The email is correctly personalised
- There is a call to action – recipients know what to do next
- You provide a means of contacting you
- Readers have the opportunity to opt out of your list
- All images and links work
- Your company name and registration number (if applicable) are present
- The content adds value and is concise and focused on the readers’ needs
Do’s and Don’ts
- Explain to your list why they got the mail. Tell the recipient why they are receiving this email.
- Provide an unsubscribe link. This could just be a “reply with unsubscribe in the title” but this’ll keep you very busy. Best is an automated system. Make it very clear how they can unsubscribe.
- Email regularly, especially if you are marketing rather than sending out an informational news letter.You must have enough contact for them to remember your valuable content from your last mail. At the same time you must avoid mailing so often that you overload people.
- Stick to your topic. Cover one topic only in a marketing email. If it’s a newsletter, it’s OK to cover several topics, but keep the email short. Perhaps just an introduction to each article with a link through to the full article on your website/blog.
- Keep your message short and to the point. People skim read whole pages, yet will feel that they have read all the content. Avoid long sentences. Keep paragraphs short. Make your point and move on.
- Look interesting and professional. Create a professional looking template for your emails. Simple is good but it must look appealing.
- Be clear about your purpose and stick to it. Is your mail to inform, or to sell, or to capture leads, or to build your brand. When you know what you want make sure your mail delivers it. Avoid the temptation to do too many things at the same time.
- Stick to the rules. Obey the law at all times.
- Send irrelevant messages. Be clear in your opt-ins about what you will send and stick to those topics.
- Over communicate. This could be too many messages, or ones that are too long.
- Use poor grammar or sloppy phrasing. If this is not your strength, use someone else to do it for you, to at least proof-read your work.
- Send broken links or missing images. Always test your mailing before sending.