Email marketing may be the holy grail of today’s small business marketing, but the first commandment of email marketing is “Thou shalt not spam.” Never send unsolicited emails to anyone. Even if your message manages to make it through their email program’s spam filter, you’re likely to anger the recipient, and then you’ve just lost an established or potential customer or client.
That said, here are a few strategies to help your email marketing effort succeed.
Get a Sense of Timing
Monday morning at 8:00 is probably not the best time to send out your email. The recipient has probably just arrived at the office and likely has dozens of messages waiting to be read and responded to. Friday afternoon at 4:00 is generally not the right time either, right when they’re getting ready to head out for the weekend. So when is the best time. That will probably require some testing. Maybe you can find out what your competitors are doing. Once you’ve settled on a day and time, be consistent, so people know when to expect it.
Look for opportunities to include more than just the person’s name. This could be the neighborhood they live in or a reference to a previous purchase. Just let them know that they’re important to you by making your content relevant to them. The success of email marketing is founded on a trust between you and the recipient. As some have noted, people will give their Twitter handle out to anyone, but they only share their email address with people they know won’t take advantage of it. So because this is a trusted relationship, extend to them special favors not available to those outside this inner circle.
Get Down with Design
Remember that often people read emails on smartphones or other mobile devices with screens that are much smaller than the standard computer screen. Make sure your email and whatever landing pages you’re linking to are friendly to mobile devices and that recipients and visitors won’t have to resize the message to view your content. Also, make your emails viewable without images enabled. Due to privacy concerns, many email programs disable image downloads unless the user enables them. Make sure that any images you include in your email have a text description.
Get to the Point
A poorly crafted subject line can land your carefully crafted email in the trash before it’s even opened. Try to come up with subject lines that are engaging and simple; avoid using clichés. In the body of your message, too, be succinct. People are busy nowadays. They don’t have time to ready long and wordy newsletters. Figure out what you want to say and do it in a few paragraphs at the most.
Pay attention to what gets the most clicks in your email campaigns and use that in crafting future ones. In addition, you can get direct feedback from your audience by asking questions or requesting comments.