Coming in with the New Year there are always thoughts of “How can we improve?” or “How can we reach our customers more effectively?” Although, it is great to be innovative, it is also important to remember the basics. Email marketing is a great way to communicate with clients, and build relationships with them; especially if they are not active in the social media world.

#1: Tell ‘Em What to Expect
Before you send your emails, tell your customers how many emails, and what type of emails (sales, information, company updates, etc) will be coming their way. Make this information available on any email subscription forms so they know what exactly they are signing up for.

#2: Make it Personal
The more personal you can make an email the better. So, whenever you can use their name in a greeting or subject line, do it! Using a greeting such as “Hi Kristin” or “Kristin, we thought you’d like to know…” can increase your open rate and lowers the chance of your email getting caught in spam filters. A higher open rate can have a positive effect across the rest of sales funnel: higher click-through’s and even higher conversions.

#3: Keep It Simple
Email text should be short and scan-able. Don’t bog your intended reader with a lot of text. Give them a few bullet points, or a “summary” of what you want to communicate. Remember, just because your reader has opened your email does not mean that you have the readers undivided attention.

#4: Limit Images
The more images you have the better chance that your email message will not load properly or fast enough and readers will delete the email before they get to information you want to communicate to them. Additionally, try to keep calls to action outside of an image so readers know the action you want them to take.

#5: Maximize Your Email Template
How do you do this? Try to keep emails around 600 pixels wide. No, this isn’t a lot of space, but how much space do you need to give a simple info guide and a call to action? Remember, emails are intended to be quick information bits that lead customers to your website for more and/or deeper information.

#6: Make it Easy to Unsubscribe
I know what you are thinking, “Excuse me? Did you just say ‘make is easy?’” Yes, I did. If you, as a sender, make it difficult to unsubscribe to your readers then they can easily get annoyed that they’re receiving unwanted emails and will start marking your messages as spam. This could hurt your sender reputation, making it that much more difficult to get your emails to the readers inbox who do want your emails.

#7: Know Spam Rules
Here is the simplest way to break it down: You’re only allowed to send bulk email to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. Read up on CAN-SPAM Act for more details.

#8: Keep A Clean List
Remove unsubscribed email requests from previous sends and unformatted email addresses. “Pruning” your list each month or even after each send may be more work, but it will keep you out of the spam folder, and leave your sender reputation intact.

#9: Send a Test Email
Make sure you know how your email is going to look when it goes to your recipients. Do all of your links work? Are there any broken images? Catching an error AFTER you send it, doesn’t help. Be sure you test with major email providers (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc) and fix any bugs before you send your email to your main list. Plus you should always piggyback a text version for readers who opt out of HTML emails.

#10: Test. Rinse. Repeat.
You test everything else in your online marketing mix and emails should be included, too. There is always something that can be optimized, whether it’s your copy, call to actions, template designs, etc. The key is to never stop improving!

Email can be a very effective piece of your marketing mix when it is used correctly. Remember to consider your email as an extension of your website, and you want your email to match your brands. These basics are a great guide to keep your email marketing performing at its best.

Bayshore Solutions Internet Marketing team manages effective email marketing for a variety of our customers. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you integrate powerful email campaigns with your online strategy and grow your business.

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