Email can be one of the most (cost) effective ways to reach your prospects or customers. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things about email marketing that I’d like to share. Of course there are many other email marketing strategies and tips, but I believe these are some of the most important. Feel free to add to this list in the comment section.
Important Things to Do in your Email:
1.) Identify Yourself – With email-based fraud and scams at an all-time high, it is essential that you identify who you are to give comfort to your target prospects. Use the subject line and the email headers to say exactly who you are. Include a link to your website, and allow your prospect to follow that link and read the email on your website. Once the customer sees that the email is actually from you and your company, they will have more comfort.
2.) Use a Strong Call to Action – I’ve found that if a person doesn’t respond to an email within a couple days after sending it, they won’t respond at all (unless they happen to be on vacation). Within a couple of days or even hours, your email will move to the bottom of your prospect’s inbox, and eventually it will move out of sight. Once that happens, the chance of getting a response is slim.
3.) Make your Offer in the Subject – Since it’s very easy to delete an email or send it to the spam folder, let the customer know the purpose of the email in your subject. If you are trying to buy a domain name, perhaps your subject should be “Offer for XXXXXXX.com.” The owner is more apt to open your email if the subject is of interest. One caution is that spam filters are very strong these days, and a subject that appears to be spam may be automatically filtered. If you are selling cheap erection pills, email may not be the way to go!
4.) Provide a way to Opt Out – While you might not want to lose the ability to send future emails to prospects, it would be even worse to send an email to an annoyed customer. It’s also against the law to not include an opt-out option in commercial emails. Do yourself a favor and make this opt-out option easy to use for your prospects.
5.) Let the Prospect know how you Found his Email Address – People tend to be suspicious of random emails. If you found the email address using a Whois search, let the prospect know this. If you have an existing business relationship, you should remind the prospect of when you did business if possible, or at the very least, give information about your company in the email as a reminder.
6.) Keep your Email Short – Keep your email concise and succinct. Provide links to your website that will allow the prospect to fully examine what you are offering.
7.) Offer a Text Version of Email – Allow your prospects to read your email in HTML or text to make it as easy as possible for them. Some people prefer to read text based emails rather than emails with graphics in them. This is especially important because of the proliferation of Blackberries and Treos. It’s a pain to read a graphic based email on some mobile devices.
8.) Include Prospect’s Name in Email – Most banks and other financial institutions already include the prospect’s name in the email, but you should, too if possible. This will immediately let the prospect know that there is some sort of relationship, whether it’s between your company and the prospect or a related company and the prospect. (Only do this if you are sure the names and email addresses are correctly matched!)
9.) Read the CAN-SPAM Act Before Emailing – This is the most important suggestion. If you want to avoid any potential penalties, you MUST read the US Government’s CAN-SPAM Act. Violators of this Act can be fined up to $11,000 PER SPAM EMAIL!!
Important Things to Avoid in your Email:
1.) Don’t Send too many Emails – Even though email is free for all intents and purposes, don’t send more emails than necessary. While you may find your emails informative, your customers may find too many emails to be a nuisance. Also, every time you email your prospects, you give them the opportunity to opt out, which they will do if you annoy them. Avoid this by only sending important emails.
2.) Don’t Send Emails with Poor Grammar or Spelling Errors – When I receive an email riddled with spelling mistakes and/or poor grammar, I immediately think that it’s a spam message from a foreign country. Always use spell checker software, and if you can afford it, have a professional proofreader examine it. If you can’t afford the proofreader, have a friend or colleague review your email before sending it out.
3.) Don’t Email People who Opt Out – Never send an email to a prospect that previously opted out of receiving your email solicitations. Keep a file of email addresses that have opted out, and always purge those emails from your new prospect list to avoid re-emailing that prospect.
Here are some good resources on Email Marketing:
Dos and Don’ts of E-Mail Marketing
E-Mail Sender Lines: Do’s and Don’ts
Email Marketing Tips, Tricks and Secrets
Avoiding the Spam Filters and Other Email Marketing Tips
Great informative article. I consistently
check out your blog.
Some very good info here! thanks for the tips.. Made a few of these mistakes in the past
Let me add something to the list.
** Test your emails how they look in various clients and web-based-clients. You might skip that test, if you don’t use too fancy a layout (which you probably shouldn’t do anyway).
** Have a dedicated email list for technical test purposes. That way you reduce the risk of shooting test emails to your entire list. This is true in particular for sophisticated features like follow up sequences, or rss to email feeds.
** Split test your messages to improve your content.
I hope this helps.