Email marketing: The 16 golden rules you must follow
Need help with email marketing? Here are the 16 golden rules to get you started.
Just starting out with email marketing? Do you need a guide to email marketing? Check out the following tips to gain more opens, clicks and conversions. That’s right. Read the following to become email marketing royalty.
Do not buy email addresses
While it is easy to buy email lists, the people on the list didn't choose to receive email from your company. Plus, these lists are often full of invalid email addresses and spam traps, both of which will help trigger spam filters.
Do not send spam
Spam is an abuse of other people's privacy by sending unwanted advertising or promotions via email without any request for permission. It carries legal consequences as well as being a serious violation of your ISP's Terms & Conditions.
Send emails that are relevant to your customers' interests
Keep track of what topics they're interested in by asking them questions about their latest purchases or other interests throughout your communications with them, then developing themed newsletters around those topics to create interest among subscribers who may want more information on this topic.
Make sure you e-mail only to those who want to hear from you
It's bad e-mail etiquette to send email newsletters or announcements to people who haven't asked for them, even if they are your best customers.
If you must include promotional information in an email that is sent to all of your customers ask for permission first . Some companies offer incentives like discounts, free samples or coupons for taking part in surveys and consumer panels.
Be sure the subject line of your email message is relevant and non-spammy
This will ensure that the customer opens the message, rather than marking it as spam.
Don't make unsubscribing difficult
Remember the last time you wanted to unsubscribe from an email and it was a headache? Make sure your unsubscribe link is easy to find and click on.
Include a personal touch
Personalize your email by including your customer's first name or using the company name they made their purchase under. Sending emails that are 'pre-drafted' without any customization can be off putting and repetitive for customers, as opposed to personalized messages which show you care about individual preferences.
If you use images in your email give them descriptive alt tags
If text within the image is important to understanding the message of the mailer, this will make it easier for those who have graphics turned off from being able to understand what they're missing out on by not reading your email .
Make sure your emails are sent from a real person
A statement or even a brief biography on your company's website that introduces the person sending the email can be helpful, but avoid having someone write emails in their own voice. If you are using an autoresponder why not have it say something like 'Hello, I'm Jane Smith, Marketing Director of Company X and I am pleased to announce our latest product….'?
This helps your customers remember who you are and how they know you, which is especially important with online purchases where identifying branding is often less obvious. People tend to buy from brands rather than companies so make sure they know what brand they're buying from at all times. A message that personalizes each email will help them feel more comfortable about future transactions.
Write email subject lines that are short and highly 'clickable'
Make them concise and hard to ignore. Be creative, but do not overdo it. Many email services will display the subject line in all caps or bold font to draw extra attention. Personalization is key here, so use their name if you can.
Remember that most people receive dozens of emails per day and simply don't have time to read everything on offer . Be direct about what your message contains and how it relates to them, i.e., include a relevant link with succinct copy on why they should click through. If your copy is too long they won't read it; if the reason for clicking isn't immediately obvious, they probably won't bother clicking either!
Don't ask people to sign up for email updates if you're not going to deliver anything substantial
You should always be concentrating on giving all subscribers a ton of value. If you are giving away good stuff to people who have subscribed, they will trust you more and are more likely to go on to purchase one of your products or services at some point in the future.
Remember that email marketing is a numbers game
You can't expect every email you send to be read by everyone who receives it, but if you have good content then many of those who do read it will click through and hopefully subscribe to future updates too.
Keep messages brief
If possible stick to just a few lines at most in order to avoid coming across as being long-winded. There's no need to write a novel when something short will suffice just as well.
Include some great images related to the content that you are sending out
Don't overload people with photos though – just pick a couple that will capture attention and illustrate your point perfectly. You might want to use pictures of yourself so they can see who you are, which helps them trust your words more!
Include a clear call to action (CTA)
Make it as easy as possible for people to do what you want them to do – whether it's joining your mailing list, clicking through to a particular page on your site or making a purchase of one of your products – then tell them exactly what you'd like them to do in the e-mail itself. This is easier said than done – especially when dealing with creative types – but keep thinking about this from the user's perspective and you should find that it becomes a lot easier.
Include one call-to-action per email
Don't go overboard by giving subscribers too many options. This is one of the quickest ways to lose their interest in your business, because it makes you seem unprofessional and unsure about what you're doing.
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