Email marketing can be a very effective way of staying in front of your customers/prospects. They may not buy from your right away but you’ll be top-of-mind when they’re ready to make that decision. How can you stand out from all the clutter? The eight tips below will take you a long way.
1) Only send emails to people who have asked to receive them. Never buy/rent email lists. You want to be as targeted as possible. Think quality over quantity. It’s better to have an email list of 100 people who are genuinely interested in your product/services than 1,000. If you just “batch and blast” emails to random people, you risk being blacklisted by ISPs because of spam complaints and unsubscribes, therefore negatively impacting your future ability to send marketing-related emails.
2) Write relevant content. Don’t hard-sell your products/services. Make sure that you’re adding value to your subscribers’ lives. This could be in the form of tips/tricks, how-to’s, advice, best practices, etc. You have to find a way to stand out from the other clutter.
3) Develop a schedule and stick to it. Tell your subscribers how often they can expect to hear from you. If you say it’s a monthly email newsletter, make sure you send it out monthly. If you don’t, subscribers will forget about you and unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.
4) Use an email service provider (ESP) like ExactTarget, Constant Contact or iContact to deploy your marketing emails. Stay away from Outlook or other desktop email programs to send mass emails. When you send an email via Outlook, you get zero metrics (email opens, clicks, etc.) and there’s no way to manage your subscriber lists. It’s also extremely difficult to create nice-looking HTML emails. If you use an ESP, you get access to great metrics to measure email activity, CAN-SPAM compliance accountability, lists management and lots of other beneficial tools. Using an ESP can be relatively inexpensive, as well.
5) Make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant. If you’re unfamiliar with CAN-SPAM, it’s basically a set of standards created by the FTC to protect consumers from spammers. To be compliant, you’ll need to:
Most ESPs have CAN-SPAM compliance built in and won’t let you deploy emails until you’re compliant.
6) Keep your lists clean. Monitor your lists and remove any bad email addresses as needed. If possible, make it easy for subscribers to update/change their email addresses if they want to. Again, think quality over quantity.
7) Collect email addresses. Ask your customers/prospects if they’d like to be added to your email list. Have an email sign-up form on your website. Collect email addresses through your Facebook page. You’ll be amazed at how many people will subscribe. You can’t build a list if you’re not actively asking.
8) Make the email easy to share. Most of the ESPs have built-in tools to make your emails shareable via social networking sites (i.e., Facebook). In addition, they typically have “send to a friend” functionality that makes the emails easy to share with friends/colleagues.