“What?! Don’t tell me you’re still focusing any effort on email marketing! It’s 2013, for heaven’s sake! We’ve got much more exciting things, like Twitter and SEO and blogging, to focus our marketing attentions on! Email is a dinosaur, a thing of the past. Your customers have moved on.”…said no internet marketing company ever.That’s right, folks, email is still very much a part of the game. In fact, it should be an important element of any well-thought out internet marketing strategy.Why? Because nothing in the world of online marketing connects with a customer on more intimate terms than email. You’re not posting a general update for all to see on Facebook, or writing a blog for the public to read on your site. Instead, you’re entering an area of cyberspace that belongs to that one customer alone, and initiating a conversation.Email is still the way the masses communicate, despite what various naysayers have proclaimed over the years. In fact, according to a recent study, checking email is the number one most common activity done on smart phones, well ahead of web browsing and social surfing. And the Direct Marketing Association tells us that the ROI on email marketing remains consistently above that of search or any other marketing channel.So with that in mind, here are 13 essential email marketing tips from your buddies here at Marketing Zen, to help your business take full advantage of this oldie but goodie.1. Identify yourself. When you sent out an email, make sure it’s clear that it’s from you. The email address and name that show up in the ‘From’ field should clearly indicate your company’s name, so customers won’t be suspicious of an unfamiliar name.2. Craft the perfect subject line. Your subject line determines whether or not your email will be opened, so it’s vital to make it good. Go for short and punchy, while also making it specific to what’s in the email, unique-sounding…and urgent. You’ve got to convince customers to open that email now, or they never will.3. Use the content of your emails to establish yourself as an expert. You want people to see you as the go-to guy for your industry, and providing valuable content in your emails, again and again, is the way to do it.4. Be likeable. Studies have shown that taking a more casual tone in marketing emails gets better results than anything else. So act like each and every customer is your best bud, and break out the casual – they’ll love ya for it!5. Try using an autoresponder to make sure customers keep opening your emails. You can offer a one-time freebie, like a white paper, to capture an email address – but there’s no guarantee that people won’t use their junk email accounts to get it, or even unsubscribe right away as soon as they’ve gotten their free report. Instead, capture email addresses by offering a long-term freebie, like a 10-part email course. That way, customers will usually use their primary account, and will get into the habit of opening each email from you.6. Use an autoresponder to give all customers the same experience. Let’s say you want every new customer to get a thank you email when they buy something from you, and then a certain series of emails carefully scheduled after that. And your thousandth customer should have the exact same customer journey that your first one did. Setting up an autoresponder will allow each customer to get those same emails, all on time and all triggered by the same events, no matter what crises you’re dealing with that week.7. Speak to your ideal reader. Who is your audience, really? What type of people have given you their email addresses? Once you’ve identified your audience, craft your email content to speak to them specifically. Focus in on their specific wants and needs, and how you can help them.8. Get to the point quickly. People will lose interest in reading – and acting, the longer they have to read to find a call to action. Tell your customers in the first few sentences what you’re asking them to do, and there’s a much higher chance they’ll do it.9. Tell a story that customers can relate to. Nothing grabs our attention like a story. And if that story makes us feel emotions strong enough to move us to act, so much the better. Make sure the story you tell is something your specific audience will be able to relate and respond to.10. Use statistics to back up your claims. Once you’ve gotten your customer’s attention through emotion, use reason to seal the deal. Give proof of your claims – testimonials, stats, etc. – to help the customer along in their decision-making process.11. Make it all about the reader. You think your emails should be about your company? Wrong. All your reader cares about is how you can benefit him or her. So focus on that. Make your emails all about how great your reader’s life will be with your products or services.12. Don’t crowd too many links together in one spot. Sure, you want to link back to your site in your email. But think of those poor customers on their smart phones. How frustrating is it to try and click on a tiny link that’s surrounded by a bunch of others?! Spread the link love around a little, and they will thank you for it.13. Make your emails mobile-friendly in every way possible. Since so many people check their email on their smart phones, it would be silly not to! Make sure they have the option of receiving plain text emails, in case your fancy HTML is too much for their phone.And…surprise! Bonus tip:14. Track everything about your emails. Keep track of your open rates, your response rates, your conversion rates – and adapt your strategy accordingly.So there you have it – 13 + 1 essential email marketing tips that can easily be incorporated into any company’s online marketing strategy. Because email is most definitely not dead. It’s alive, kicking – and converting – every single day.