Though it might not have the buzz and excitement of newer online marketing methods, email marketing is still an incredibly effective way to get your message out in front of your customers and prospects – if it’s done correctly. Here are some tips that can help you develop an effective email marketing plan.
Pique Interest With a Compelling Subject Line
Studies show that, on average, only about 20% of email messages are even opened. Your goal is to make sure as many of your customers as possible open and read your email – and a great subject line is what will make all the difference. A strong, compelling subject line will succinctly set up a promise that lets your readers know what valuable information and answers await them. Make sure to steer clear of words that come across as spammy or clichéd, and keep an eye on your length – a long subject line will not only take too long to get your point across, but also risks getting cut off in preview windows.
Find the Timing and Frequency That Work
To get the most out of your email marketing, you need to get your message in front of your readers at just the right time. The ideal timing will vary depending on your industry and target demographic, so experiment and monitor your results to find the delivery times that work best for you. Whether you find that your target audience responds best to email delivered in the middle of a weekday, after hours, or even on weekends, stick with the results that will have the most positive effect.
Along with timing, the frequency of your emails can have a significant impact. If you send email too infrequently, you risk losing your audience’s attention. On the other hand, sending too many emails is a surefire way to annoy your customers into unsubscribing. Again, the ideal balance will vary with your industry and customers, so pay attention to feedback and results to find out what works best for you. Also, keep in mind that it’s better to send out less frequent email that’s filled with fantastic and valuable content than more frequent ones made up of boring content.
Make it Personal
Leading off with “Dear Customer” or “Subscriber” isn’t likely to win you many points in showing your readers that you value them. Email is supposed to be a more intimate and personal means of communication, so create your email copy with that in mind. Many email marketing programs and services will allow you to automatically include certain personal information in an email, giving you the ability to address your readers by their first names or mention a product or service they recently purchased from you. Too much personalization – such as using the reader’s first name in practically every sentence – can occasionally come across as cheesy (or even a bit creepy), but the right amount can show the customer that you care about them and their needs.
Segment Your Lists
You’ve created an email. You need a list to send it to. So just throw every customer email address you have onto the list and you’re good to go, right? Well, not necessarily. This might work for small businesses with a single focus, but larger companies with multiple divisions or significantly different product lines or services will want to make sure their customers only get information that is relevant and valuable to them. In other words, an electronics dealer wouldn’t want to send email with information about their latest consumer-grade product line to a list of their large enterprise clients. Create segmented lists early on and you’ll be able to easily send the right information to the right audience.
Comply With All Regulations
The last thing you want to do is waste your customers’ time and lose their trust by sending them what they see as spam. Not only is sending unwanted email a fast way to aggravate customers, it can also violate the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. It’s essential that you make sure that you follow all of the act’s guidelines, as not doing so is likely to get your company blacklisted – and simply make your customers not like you.