Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Email Marketing Tips – Five Ways to make it Work for You

Patricia's PicThis is assuming, of course, that you’re already running an email marketing campaign……I was talking to a business recently with whom I’m doing some consultancy work and it dawned on me that they weren’t. Weren’t what? Well communicating with their customers, the visitors who happened on their site through a link on another website, the world out there who might be interested in hearing their news, their successes, their awards, their opinions and anything that might make those customers/visitors want to come back again and order from them.

If social media is all about building conversations, email marketing is the cornerstone – the way to keep your prospects/customers/friends close, to keep in contact and to tell them what you’re about. To not do it, in my view, is a complete waste of a huge opportunity.

Here are the basic rules:

Put your sign-up box ‘above the fold’ make it attractive and interesting. Just having the word ‘Newsletter’ is not enough. Make it a proper sign-up box – people love to fill in the blanks and name and email address will do just fine, thanks.

Make it possible for everyone who visits your website to sign up. You want as many as possible whether they are your existing customers or new visitors. They may go on and sign up for your ‘Free Trial’ or they may not. It doesn’t matter. If they’re so interested in you that they’ve landed on your home page you want to know who they are. And then be able to talk to them. And if they’re not already, convert them to customers.

Create an email template that is attractive and easy to use. The less complicated the better. Make sure that your logo is clear, your mission statement is clear and anything that you always want to show is built into your template – such as the message ‘Now sign up for our Free Trial’ at the foot of every email you send out. That way it won’t take you long to create your message and you can concentrate on that, rather than having to worry that the essential elements are included all the time.

I use a system called eshot which is incredibly quick and easy to set up. This is run by my developers at www.e2esolutions.co.uk and we’re still speaking (well most of the time) after working together for eight years, which must say something about them, me, or both of us. I suspect it’s the latter. If you’d like an introduction let me know.

Whatever you do do not go for a system where you are charged by address, but one with a fixed fee within certain parameters. This way you are free to email whenever you want to and even if your list grows like topsy you will not pay as much.

Make your Subject Line as Interesting as Possible. Your subject line is what will determine whether your email is read or not. It needs to arresting and interesting. Ideally you will test different subject lines for the same content but if this isn’t possible don’t try and be too clever, but do go for something attention grabbing.

Email your list regularly, although don’t go for overkill, and make your newsletters friendly and interesting. If you can’t write find someone who can. You want to entice your audience to read what you send, not to yawn, say ‘oh for goodness sake not another one from them’ and delete you. The general idea is that they sit up when you send something as they know it’ll be amusing, informative and relevant.

Include links whenever it makes sense but make sure they always open in a new window. Readers online love to click on text links and picture links – test the best format for you but I think you will find that the more the better, provided again they are all relevant to what you are writing about.

Also

Make sure that people can opt out or unsubscribe. This option has to be available with every email you send out. Period.

Check all your links, both text and picture links. I am as guilty as the next person of sending emails with broken links and anyone who says they haven’t ever done this I suspect is not being totally honest. So check and re-check. Preview your newsletter in a browser, then send it to yourself and check again.

If I am writing dedicated emails for retail clients I send a preview to them as well so that they can check too. Some time, some day, someone is going to find a link that doesn’t work. You would much rather it was you than someone else. Believe me.

If you haven’t already please consider concentrating on your email campaign – it can be very rewarding, create loyalty and increase your sales. Contact me if you want help. But just do it. It’s all part of the conversation.

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