Your Guide to Better Email Marketing

How effective are your email marketing efforts? If your conversion rate is less than impressive, you’re probably making at least a few big mistakes. Effective email marketing is about more than just sending emails to large, nameless lists every now and then. By taking a more thoughtful approach to the situation, you’ll be able to engage in better email marketing. Try the following tips, tricks and techniques to help run a better email marketing campaign and breathe new life into it.

Get Permission First

Nothing will make your email marketing efforts backfire like sending unsolicited messages. Always get permission first. This is a key component of executing a better email marketing campaign. Handling this step properly will make a huge difference. People who actually want to receive emails from you are sure to be more receptive, and they’re more likely to actually read them.

  • What’s in it For Them? – Don’t just hit people up for their email addresses. Offer them something in exchange. Whether it’s a free white paper, e-book or an offer to receive regular updates, you need to make it worth people’s time if you want to engage in better email marketing.
  • How Often? – People are more likely to subscribe when they know what to expect. Tell them how often they’ll receive emails from you, and keep your promises.
  • What about Spam? – Include a reassurance that subscribers never have to worry about receiving spam. Promise not to share their information too.
  • How to Unsubscribe? – Finally, make it clear that unsubscribing is a snap. Include a link on each email that allows people to do so quickly and easily.

Make Sure People Receive Your Emails

Spam filters are more sophisticated than ever. Even if someone wants to receive your emails, they may need to add you to their address book to keep them out of their spam folder. After an email address is submitted, a message should appear that advises people to add you to their address books. This will produce better email marketing results.

Respect Your Subscribers

After getting someone to sign up to receive emails from you, don’t abuse the privilege. If you do not respect them, your subscribers will split with a quickness. A few ways to engage in better email marketing and ensure that you stay in people’s good graces include:

  • Send a Follow-Up Email Right Away – Make a point of sending a follow-up or confirmation email immediately after someone subscribes. This will ensure that the correct email address was submitted, and it will remind the recipient that he has signed up to receive email communications from you.
  • Keep Your Promises – Remember those promises you made to get people to sign up for your emails? Make sure to keep them. If you said you’d only send one message per week, for instance, stick to your promise. Without doing so, you can’t hope to run a better email marketing campaign.
  • Don’t YELL at Your Audience – You may be excited about sending emails, but you shouldn’t convey it by using all caps or too many exclamation points. There are more subtle ways to show your enthusiasm. Well-written content doesn’t rely on excessive exclamation points or the abuse of the caps-lock key, so keep that in mind.

Send Effective Emails

This step is easier said than done. There’s a definite art to crafting effective copywriting for email messages. In this section, we’ll look at a few ways to run a better email marketing campaign through well-designed emails.

Use Templates

Unless you’re well-versed in writing code that is compatible across many platforms, it’s best to stick with templates for your email messages. Always test them out on different browsers before sending them out into the world. You will produce better email marketing results when your emails look professional.

Keep it Simple

Resist the urge to send wall-to-wall text to people. They’ve already expressed interest in receiving communications from you, so there’s no need to write them a novel. Have a point and stick to it. Break your message up into small, easy-to-read sections. Use headers and bullet lists liberally. With these things in mind, you’ll have a much better email marketing campaign.

Mix it Up

Like most people, the main reason you’re engaging in email marketing is probably so you can pitch your products and services. That’s fine, but don’t just pummel people with marketing messages. Send a nice mix of emails instead. In addition to marketing pitches, send newsletters and short, friendly messages about important updates and industry news. This is a great way to engage in better email marketing.

Use an Auto Responder

If people get the sense that you only email them when you want something from them, they’re less likely to stick with you for the long haul. Without using an auto responder, you may only remember to send emails to your list when you have a new product or service to promote. Create a schedule ahead of time and use an auto responder to send a nice mix of messages to your list. You’ll have better email marketing results.

Resend Unopened Messages Later

The best email marketing programs keep track of which messages are opened and which aren’t. Keep track of emails that aren’t opened and send them again to the same recipients later. Change the subject line to increase the odds that they’re opened the second time around. You will experience better email marketing results in the long run.

Use a Friendly “From” Address

The email address that appears in the “from” field should clearly link back to your website. The name that appears there should be friendly and personable. Avoid using generic, technical-sounding terms in this field.

Use Analytics to Make the Most of Your Email Marketing Efforts

Just about every popular email marketing program offers built-in analytics, so make sure to use this feature. It makes it easier to engage in better email marketing. At the very least, you should keep track of the following information:

  • Open Rate – How many people actually open the messages you send? This is a great way to gauge which messages work and which ones fall flat, which will help you run a better email marketing campaign.
  • Click-Through Rate – It’s great when someone opens an email, but what do they do next? If people aren’t clicking through to your landing pages or website, something is being lost in the translation. Go back to the drawing board and try again.
  • Unsubscribe Rate – Even if your messages are compelling, informative and useful, some folks are going to unsubscribe from your list. If the rate suddenly skyrockets, you may be able to trace it back to a particular email so that you can avoid making the same mistake in the future. In the end, this will result in better email marketing.

The bottom line is that you will engage in better email marketing when you treat your subscribers well. As long as you do that, everything else should fall into place.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

1 Comment

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    • Mario Wilson
    • January 10, 2013

    Great points here Steve. I especially like your point about “what’s in it for them?”. You must give your potential customers a reason to WANT to read your emails. Very good article!

You must be pretty smart because you're here. We like your style. You can have all of our latest tools, tactics and growth strategies FREE, in your inbox, every month or so. 

You're one step closer to greatness! Confirm your email so we can start sending you awesome stuff.