7 Email Marketing Tips to Guarantee Results

By Maria Peagler

May 05
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Does anyone still use email marketing?  Absolutely, and if you’re an entrepreneur, you should be too.  Why?  Because EVERYONE has an email address.  While some of your customers read blogs, a majority are on Facebook, and a few might use Twitter, they all use email.  You need to show up in their Inbox offering quality content on a regular basis.

What does that mean for business owners?  Email marketing needs to be one of the essential tools in your online marketing toolkit.  The keys to making it work in this age of sophisticated social media?

  1. Select an email marketing provider that’s affordable, easy-to-use, and provides excellent customer support.  I use iContact, because they have tremendous customer support that no one else can match.  Mail Chimp is known for being super-affordable, and Constant Contact is the 800-lb. gorilla.  I begrudgingly use Constant Contact, because many of my PR clients choose it as their solution, and here’s my experience:  their tool is difficult to use and their customer support is adequate at best.
    Evaluate carefully, ask around, and make your choice.  Full disclosure:  I am an iContact affiliate, and decided to finally become one because I was already referring so many of my own clients to them. I’ve had a great experience with them and I recommend quality providers to my clients.  If I don’t use a service, I don’t recommend it.
  2. Get delivered to the Inbox, not the Junk mail folder. Gmail’s SPAM algorithm is ruthless, and often many valid messages I receive end up in the Junk mail folder.  How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?  The easiest way is to ask subscribers to add you to their address book or contact list, and place the request at the top of your confirmation message to them.  Make it easy for them by attaching a Vcard (.vcf) contact file they can open: it automatically adds your contact information to their address book.  All major email providers offer a way to create these, usually by exporting.
  3. Keep your message short. Think magazine article, not term paper.  Write short paragraphs that lead with a single scannable line (recognize that here?) that will allow readers to easily locate what interests them.  Use bulleted and numbered lists, keep content short, and link to the deep articles on your website/blog.
  4. Deliver Quality Content. The best way to get your messages opened is to deliver content people want to read.  If subscribers look forward to your communication and it provides how-to’s, entertainment, or solves a problem, you’ve improved the quality of peoples’ lives and your emails will be opened consistently.  Avoid constant sales pitches, high-pressure sales tactics, and other used car salesman tactics.
  5. Don’t use shortlinks. If you normally use bit.ly, tinyurl, or some other URL shortener, refrain from using those shortened links in your online mail-based marketing.  Gmail identifies those as SPAM, and your email will never see the light of your readers’ Inboxes.
  6. Schedule delivery in the evening and on weekends. That seems counterintuitive, but here’s what studies find:  people have Inboxes flooded with messages, and we treat reading email like doing homework.  It requires discipline and time to get through them all.  Your best chance at maximum awareness is when people have the most leisure time, and that’s in the evenings and from Thursday to Sunday.  I’ve tested this in my own campaigns and definitely see higher open rates when I deliver in the evenings.
  7. Include one highly visible and simple call to action (CTA). What’s the goal of your email marketing?  Realize it by asking for what you want in a prominent place and with an easy-peazy way for people to do it.  Don’t put too many CTAs in one email or you’ll dilute the effectiveness of your message.

I’ll be developing courses in email marketing over at my new website, SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com, so let me know what you’d like to see.  What are your big challenges in developing an effective email campaign, and what tools do you use?  Classes are online, you take them on your own schedule, they’re affordable, and I’m available when you have questions.  Register at SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com.

What’s your biggest email marketing challenge and your biggest success?


About the Author

Founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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