Email Marketing Advice

Email Marketing Advice

In Email Marketing, Marketing by Freddie FramptonLeave a Comment

Email Marketing Advice

In today’s age of social media you may think email marketing is outdated, well I beg to differ. Firstly, it is logical that you should always prioritize investment in your own playing field and secondly, as a tool for communication it excels, opening the opportunity for a One On One conversation away from the noise and distractions of Social Media. I rate the power of email so highly, I’ve compiled a list of the key pointers which have helped me deliver many effective email campaigns, hopefully this will be of some benefit to you.

Avoid using £££ or $$$ signs in your emails

Spam is hated by many people. Incidentally most spam has “£££:”in the title and content. Consequently, avoid spam when carrying out marketing campaigns on email. Emails users often install filters via anti-spam tools, in the email set-up, ISP or discerning minds with the intention of getting rid of content having £££ and trashing it instantaneously.

Try not to send too many emails during Holidays

Holidays entail many activities and this means most people have no time for computers and email on a regular basis. Your message is likely to reach such people when they come back and there will be many other such emails waiting to be read. Normally, the receiver will delete such mails in one go and only retain those deemed very important. Consequently, July, August, January and December are the months when you should decelerate your marketing campaign on internet. However, there are exceptional cases where you will, of necessity, have to send marketing campaign messages on email.

Beware of wrong email addresses

It is unfortunate that due to typing errors on the part of interested people when signing up, many may be left out of your emailing list. Be careful when filling in email addresses manually on a form so that you get the addresses correctly. For example, you may type the addresses twice and ensure you have the right address. You have no option than to type error-free email addresses.  Think of the addresses as you would passwords and create rules for subscribers filling in the forms. While this will minimize errors in the addresses, the subscriber is likely to find the process somehow cumbersome thus resulting in low subscription.

Be clear on the Action you want to be taken

I have been the recipient of marketing messages and email newsletters which are well-crafted but lack a clear call for the receiver to take action. The messages are captivating; I enjoy reading them and they motivate me to take action. Unfortunately, I am not sure how I am expected to behave.  There is no indication on links which I should follow, a section I should click or even the area for placing orders. Lucid calls to action are important elements of marketing campaigns on email. Determine clearly what the recipient is expected to do with the message and craft the latter in a manner that creates a clear way for that to happen.

Example of a Call to Action: Avoid distracting subscribers with numerous offers or links and be clear on the call to action as well as the expected results. A simple example would be, “Click on this link to get a 20% cut on your upcoming weekend excursion.”

Define Email Opt-in

Email marketing will always have catchwords like “permission-based” and “opt-in”. What does opt-in marketing mean? It is easier for me to consider mailing lists in relation to marketing through email. There is no much difference between email marketing and mailing lists. When conducting opt-in marketing promotions your mailing list is empty at the beginning. Any email address in the list is there by the explicit request of the owner. Requests are always specific to lists. For example if the customer specifies that he or she wants to receive a copy of the current catalogue, do exactly that and discard the list. For you to send your newest catalogue to the same person again, seek for a clear consent from the customer. For example you can have them tick an option that permits you to enlist them to the catalogue recipients’ lists. The meaning of “permission-based” is fundamentally similar. You can only email marketing materials with the express permission of the intended recipient in addition to personalizing the email.

Avoid fixing typing mistakes

If you got the email addresses through a form in a website and not through email, there is a high chance that many of the enthusiastic people who wanted your newsletter will fail to get it since they may have mistyped theirs addresses during opting in. When emails bounce back do not be surprised to see apparent typos like @gmail.cmo or @ymail..com. Do not make any attempts at correcting such errors since email addresses remain private issues which are also very subtle ones. For this reason, leave subscribers’ addresses as they are. In case an email address bounces back repeatedly simply delete it. Another important component of email marketing content is the Subject. If it fails to captivate, is not recognizable or resembles spam, most recipients will not think twice before deleting it. I am sure you understand that. However, in case the recipients have turned on their preview pane for emails, which happens often, the item appearing on the display is not less important. The section of your email message, which is in most cases displayed on the recipients’ email preview pane, is the topmost section of your marketing message. Ensure you design this section well and creates greater interest in the Subject. This way, the recipient is likely to think twice before deleting the message.

Utilize Pane Preview

Now you understand why some items which are usually placed at the topic of an email (like wordy unnecessary introductions, instructions on how to unsubscribe and disclaimers) should actually be placed at the bottom of a page. They do not need to be placed at the very bottom but they should not be in the vicinity of the classic preview pane. This pane should contain the inimitable highlights of your promotion that will captivate readers or even the finest offer you have.

Always accentuate your company design

The email promotion strategy you use should contribute to and inform the larger marketing approach. In a similar way, the outlook and content that you adopt for all emails and newsletter should accentuate your corporate image. Customers will therefore discern the link between your communication and the other ventures which your company has even when the link is a website only. It is important to have a mutually beneficial interplay between the corporate image and the one created through email marketing. Unless this is done, the corporate image will suffer as will the email marketing promotion.

Tell but don’t SHOUT!!

Normally, we use exclamation marks when we intend to emphasize an issue or indicate that an issue is urgent. However, the use of exclamation marks does not necessarily engender the preceding word with importance. Exclamation marks simply express the significance that already exists or which is heard like in the order: “Go!”

Use hyperlinks

A link may play different roles depending on where it is placed. Where a link is located in email marketing promotions or newsletters can determine the click-through. If we consider click-through trends, the placement of each link becomes crucial to success. For this reason, try out different ways of placing links within the newsletter. You should also demarcate you lists. Alternatively, use successive issues as a strategy of varying the way you place standard links. Scrutinize click-through trends closely to establish the links that are best suited for certain sections and the positions in which certain links work maximally.

Utilize affiliate marketing for subscriber rate increment

Your website is the fundamental origin of opt-in clients. It is important to identify other areas for augmenting your list by working in tandem with your competitors. Identify websites which attract the same people you are targeting with your newsletter. Your prospective clients may prefer such sites before yours or instead of yours. Work with the owners of such websites to identify mutually- beneficial areas where you can cooperate. You may begin by swapping sign-up forms and attaching them to forms which are specific to other sites.  Ensure that the groups your sites are targeting, the content and the newsletters correspond although they do not match.

Disclose subscribers’ identities for personalization

Without personalization, email marketing may not realize success. Begin by the simple act of greeting recipients of your emails by name. The information derived from subscribers includes email addresses as well as names. In cases where the subscriber is reluctant or too indolent to type their names or where a name is not required for one to subscribe successfully, you will eventually have an anonymous customer whom you should address as “Dear Subscriber”.  In addition, you can utilise an uncomplicated but effectual strategy to transform nameless clients into persons whom you can address by name – request them for such information. Craft an email for such subscribers and inform them that you desire to stop using the ineffective “Dear Subscriber” in addressing them and that you prefer to use real names. It is unlikely for any of them to reject such an overture. In spite of this you should be careful not to send more than a single email to one person requesting to be given personal information. It is important to emphasize here again the need to exclude exclamation marks from all your email marketing documents. In case you still feel than an exclamation mark is necessary, go through the document and rephrase the sentences, create different words, revise paragraphs or do anything possible to ensure that importance and urgency are evident in the construction and tone of the message.

If some subscribers fail to reveal their names when signing up for your newsletter, send them special emails requesting for such information. Many times, this strategy works although you are likely to fear that some clients may think such documents are spam and an infringement on their confidentiality. A regular bulletin is an effective way of discovering a lot more about those who read it. In case you have not received their names so far, you can craft a message that comes immediately after you greet them as “Dear Subscriber” and inform them that you would be happy to refer to them by their names. Ensure it is convenient for these clients to include their profiles and names.

Use public prizes and sweepstakes to get new customers

You can develop your list effectively using sweepstakes. However, prizes and freebies can be used with more attention being dedicated to both quality and quantity of the list developed. Make the prizes you give compatible with the group you are targeting (those who will subscribe to your emails) and not the type that is interested in the sweepstakes thus unsubscribing as soon as the offers are finished. It is unnecessary to concentrate on the latter.

Verify open rates

In relation to newsletters and emails, the “open rate” is the statistical favourite. This refers to a number aimed at specifying the number of people who open a specific mailing list. It has a value although your concern should be its development methodology and how this affects the interpretation of the open rate. The process of generating open rate figures depends on the images found in HTML emails which are downloaded in the process of opening the message.  The rate excludes people who open the message offline and those whose email customers are not supportive of HTML. Normally, an email program possesses a preview plane on which messages are accessed and enumerated irrespective of whether the receiver takes time to read them or does not.  On a wider scale, an open rate works as an indicator in a way. Watching the trend is fascinating. For example, sudden declines are indicative of distribution difficulties.

HTML or Plain Text?

Email marketers prefer HTML messages although this may not be the case with recipients / customers. The latter may even not open the messages. To counter this, prioritize recipients and provide text versions of all the messages you send in addition to HTML editions. Alternatively, you can send all emails as multipart.

Matching pure text to HTML

To enjoy both worlds, ensure your marketing campaigns and email newsletters are sent multi-part or alternative. While you can transmit abundantly-formatted messages, recipients have the option of getting plain text. Consequently, ensure both versions have relatively similar content. Another reason is spam filters. To avoid trash mail filters, spammers insert poems, arbitrary words and other items within plain text where most recipients cannot detect them. Spam filters have devised strategies for overcoming this trickery. This entails examining whether text/html sections match the content in plain/text.  The best way to ensure your email messages are not deciphered as spam is to match the different aspects. Thankfully, there is a way of linking full-graphic editions to the website that hosts your content within the plain text version.

Provide a link to acquire new email subscribers

Un-subscription is not welcome news to email marketers and newsletter publishers. However, there are two crucial reasons why people who desire to unsubscribe should be facilitated to unsubscribe without much ado (Publishers looking for increased subscriptions will also understand this). Firstly, it is a waste of resources to keep on sending messages to subscribers who will never open the emails you send. Secondly, when subscribers who want to leave, whatever their motivation, find it problematic because of unclear instructions or complicated processes, it will require your effort and a lot of superfluous administrative costs to take them out of the list physically. Now you understand why you need to make the process of unsubscribing hassle-free for all your clients. You should come up with a convenient and foolproof methodology that has a custom-made un-subscription link which redirects the user to a tab/window for purposes of removing one’s address via a form that is partly filled. Additionally, you should offer readers the chance to unsubscribe through email.

Make email subscribers email modification easy

Although there is a proliferation of email services and domains on the internet email addresses are prone to recurrent changes. A person, who for some reason has changed their email address, may require that you send your newsletter to the new address.  A system which demands that subscribers who have changed address should first unsubscribe using the old address and then go through the often nasty experience of subscribing with the new email address, may scare aware even the most ardent reader, who will wonder whether the bulletin requires all the effort. Now you understand why you should make it easy for subscribers to modify their address. A simple strategy may also be the most effective: use the same page for un-subscription to assist those who want to change their addresses. Make it possible for them to insert the new address and also carry over their previous data. The link to this page within the bulletin should be changed to “change address/ unsubscribe” To be successful, you need a reliable internet connection and a link to the person who provides you with this service.

Quick and timely un-subscribes

You may have come across a newsletter whose sign-off form notifies you that the process of unsubscribing is likely to take one or two days to be effective. You will feel annoyed and more exasperated if the maximum period is utilized. During the waiting period, you will continue to receive the newsletter thus making you confused as you wonder whether the process really worked. You start thinking that it was a trick to make you believe you could unsubscribe. Why should you get the newsletter if you had unsubscribed? You feel angry and abused. You surmise that this is spam judging by the difficulty involved in unsubscribing. Flee from such a company and consider all its email messages as spam, including the newsletter which you have not succeeded in unsubscribing from. As a marketer, it is crucial that you avoid such a scenario so that you reader does not think you are peddling spam. Ensure all sign-offs are processed immediately and that the service provider who offers you email marketing can activate un-subscriptions as soon as the reader makes the request.

About your ISP (Internet Service Provider)

Although you are not a spammer, you will occasionally be accused of being one. It is your internet service provider who will bear the brunt from those who believe you are an extreme spammer.  In case you have not notified your ISP of your activities and their legitimacy and the complaints keep on increasing in tandem with your subscribers, the ISP may terminate your services. It is therefore crucial that you notify your ISP that you are conducting email marketing. This way, the ISP will protect you from wrongful accusations and not disconnect you. However, if the ISP serving you currently is not willing to support your emails marketing campaign, search for one that agrees with you and only end the search when you have found the finest ISP for your efforts.

The importance of your landing page

By clicking on a link found within a marketing message sent on email, I express confidence in the ease of the purchasing process where I will find forms that are pre-filled and which have pertinent information, for instance. I also expect some close correlation between the email design and the landing page. In case my expectations are not met, I will feel angry and this will deter me from buying.

Aligning landing page and email

Ensure the way you design your landing page is in tandem with the way the pertinent email promotion is designed. Consider especially, font size, color and images as well as the tone and wording of the landing window.

Lessons in spam

There is rarely anyone who does not get some lesson from examples.  Apart from good examples, there is also spam. Spammers can teach you a lot: undesirable designs of marketing email and their failures. What you have to do is sign up to a free email service like Windows Live Hotmail, indicate your address in some place and also on the site and relax as your learning material is delivered.

Have a good service provider

Remember your list is just opt-in.  Many subscribers may actually not get the emails you sent and you are likely to get back sporadic spam messages. The reason is that you are not exempt from spam blocking and filtering in spite of your lists being opt-in. This is also possible if some of the email marketers under your service provider may be sending spam. Normally out sized blackhole lists detect spam emanating from specific providers and then act accordingly by blocking out the provider involved totally thus affecting guiltless marketers. To counter this, ensure the ASP that handles your email promotions has not been blacklisted by any blackhole inventories and that it operates under stringent anti-spam regulations and responds immediately when it detects spamming clients.

Rethink sound

Always remember that there are quite a number of people who detest email or web advertising that make loud sounds. However, sound is a very crucial tool which you should not abuse by using poor quality audio. Music and sound usually affect people’s moods profoundly. The impact of a blend of powerful sound and stunning email marketing is unmatched. However, it is better to have no audio than to have irritating audio. In case you utilize audio, ensure it can be switched off easily or that it is off by default and can be switched on at will. If you do intend to utilize sound then make sure that you are only sending it to the right group category, an audience that will appreciate it and wont blame you for getting in to trouble while at work.

Make rewards valuable

It is not easy today to convince people to give your their email addresses for them to access email bulletins because people rightfully fear spam. Consider offering a bonus on top of the newsletter. You could for instance offer subscribers an incisive case study or white papers. In addition, you can offer a hilarious Winamp skin to new subscribers or give them a special version of your bulletin with trick and tips. They are many more possibilities but it is crucial that a bonus goes to the appropriate person. Let all your offers be for the promotion of your newsletters. It is important that the motivation for the bonus and that for the newsletter should be equal.  As such, the bonus is simply a catalyst and not an independent motivation.

Initiate email interaction with questions

You can utilize the queries of customers to come up with relevant content for your bulletin. Such questions are relevant, specific and seemingly interesting thus leading to useful articles. There are situation, however, in which you run out of questions from subscribers. This is the time you need to occupy the user’s seat and develop pertinent ideas for your newsletter. Ask yourself such questions as “What method can I use to accomplish this task?”, “Is this idea or task necessary? and “Which product do I favour?”.

Provide relevant content in emails with links

When people subscribe to email newsletters, they expect to get value.  In case they do not find it in your bulletin, they will be cruel to you, unsubscribe straight away and even claim you are sending them spam. The good news is that it is not difficult to give subscribers worthy content when you lack an exceptional story momentarily. You can utilize this strategy with your clients if they trust in you and inform you precisely the areas to find the crucial information they need in their preferred hobby, industry, interest and profession. Why should they not trust you – anyway? By the way, your knowledge and expertise in the field is visible from your press summary.

Newsletter priorities

Newsletter subscribers have varying habits and interests. It is therefore not easy to create unique or additional content for each subscriber or a specific interest group as this will also cost you dearly. However, you can utilize a novel trick to customize your bulletin for your subscribers with less effort. The word is “Prioritization”. It assists you to transform a particular bulletin into a maximal experience targeted at one user. To ensure you get more clicks because of prioritizing a bulletin’s content, summarize click-through statistics for each reader. Once you realize definite patterns, push content categories which acquire greater interest to the peak. By prioritizing content you ease and speed up the process of finding preferred content for readers. In case a certain reader appears to ignore a specified category, do not include it again in the newsletter you send to them.

Using forms

It is important to make the process of wooing clients through email marketing promotions simple in order to realize the desired results. For this reason, you need to have landing pages which match content and design and also connect the email message and the landing page directly. In addition, utilize any other pertinent information regarding the customer to ease their purchase and overall experience. Prepare forms in advance to include shipping address, name and any other information in you possession.

Websites’ newsletter links

Your website provides an inexpensive and simple avenue for augmenting your list. The efficiency of this strategy can be enhanced by making the signing-up process for visitors easy. Your homepage is not the sole avenue for everybody and people may get information on how to sign up for your bulletin from elsewhere. It is because of this that every page of your website should have a box for signing-up for the newsletter. Moreover, you should create landing pages for each product (while matching message with design) and create linkages expressly within the message you send through email. In addition, utilize any other pertinent information regarding the customer to ease their purchase and overall experience. Prepare forms in advance to include shipping address, name and any other information in you possession.

Reply to email replies promptly

Email marketing must of necessity respond to personal queries from customers. An email from any source indicates they have investigated your services and products and developed an interest. Failure to reply immediately will result in lost opportunities and probably a customer you would have kept forever.  To aggravate the situation, such disappointed potential clients will spread the word to others. One way to avert this situation is to ensure no opportunities are missed. Prioritize prompt response to all received mail within a day.

Newsletter frequency

How is ‘often’ defined? When is ‘often’ not adequate? If you want the best information on when your clients need your content, listen to them. They talk through unsubscribing.  To counter such a  situation, ask them to suggest the best frequency for communicating, assess your clients well and if possible ask the ‘un-subscribers’ why they are doing so. If you communicate with your subscribers less than once a month, then you are not communicating enough. Normally, readers will forget about you if you communicate less often. If your bulleting reaches them after one year they will be all too willing to unsubscribe. On the other hand, if you communicate more than one time every week, then you are doing it too often, unless there was a precise agreement with your clients on the frequency of email newsletters. Although some people are fond of your message, you can tire and irk them to the point of unsubscribing.

The every month rule

Emails are transient as channels of communication. You can publish a scientific journal bi-annually but a newsletter would be a disaster if this happened. If your newsletter fails to reach subscribers frequently (less than once a month), these readers will forget you exist, probably embrace your competitors and even treat your communication as spam. In this case, expect people to unsubscribe, confusion among readers andconstant complaints targeting your ISP and referring to you as a spammer. Unfortunately, these are people who actually like and demand for your content.

Weekly email schedule

In case you are assigned the responsibility of sending a newsletter every week as part of your role in email marketing, adhere to that schedule. Try as much as possible to mail the bulletin same day and same time every week. As long as you promised to send the newsletter every week, fulfil your promise because they will be checking their inbox. Your credibility as a merchant and bulleting publisher will be at stake if you fail to meet your obligations to clients.

Best time to send emails

There are many bulletin publishers who keep on worrying on the most appropriate day to mail their bulletin. This may be an overrated issue but there is a principal way of handling it. Newsletters which are vocational in nature should be mailed either on Wednesday or on Thursday. Sunday is the best day to send newsletters which are fundamentally focused on leisure and meant to be read at home.  Moreover, subscribers might be interested in a colourful magazine which has an interview with a renowned photographer, an incisive guide to photography, several tricks and tips and other details which interest you also.

More than just sales

Bulletins which are developed with the intent of communicating with readers should be purely bulletins. Subscribers expect content that is worth their time because this is the essence of a newsletter. If a reader signed-up for a bulletin, then any products which appear in the text must be contextualized. An unexpected magazine ad is not appreciated. The shortest distance to the trash is when a ‘bulletin’ contains a digital camera ad only.

Personalize your email communication

Email marketing is perceived by many as dispatching simple bulk email. This implies that the same message is sent to a group of recipients. While this is a cheap and simple method, it has the demerits of ineffectiveness and failure to exploit the positive aspects of email chief among which is personalization. Avoid a situation where the same overcooked content is dispatched to your emailing list simultaneously. The real success of email marketing is realized when individual customers receive customized messages. Such messages incorporate the interests of the reader, their purchasing history, the frequency of purchase, buying power and so on. One-on-one marketing is the term used to refer to this practice.

Layout testing

You may have arrived at the most attractive and simple format for your bulletin thus inducing subscribers to explore your website, but this should not make you to relax and celebrate with contentment. To begin with, you need to give the layout a test drive by sending it to many email customers and launching it in numerous platforms. Free web-based email avenues like Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail are also good testing grounds. Start celebrating now. You may also want to request your relatives, probably over dinner, to test your newsletter, in case you lack UNIX and Max machines or a key web-based platform. The rendering and layout test should become a routine. Test any change you execute on your bulletin. Remember even the slightest alteration can have amazing effects.

Put links to the test

The simplicity of this test will embarrass you. However, I still receive (and probably dispatch) marketing messages via email, which excite me but the excitement fizzles out. At times I receive error 404 or get forwarded to the product’s homepage. Obviously, you want to avoid this scenario. Ensure all the links in your bulletin and email messages are functional. Subject them to strict routine tests and give them to another person to test also. Links that don’t work mean that your call to action does not give your recipients the desired end thus damaging your newsletter and promotion rapidly.

Always use an email template

Although it seems obvious, a template can be very effective in email marketing campaigns. A template makes it possible for clients to predict your content. Moreover, you will make fewer errors when editing the newsletter. You need a template because you will occasionally need to make amends to your newsletter. A new design can be tried more easily and testing alternatives can be explored more efficiently when one has a standard template to refer to.

Using bold type and fonts

When using HTML formatting in your marketing promotion through email, you will capture the attention of readers if you utilize formatting in your text.  For emphasis of key issues, adhere to bold face. Italics do not augur well on and off the computer screen while underlining makes text unattractive and difficult to navigate in soft as well as in hard copy.  Moreover, clickable links are customarily underlined while text which is underlined and not meant to be clicked often confounds readers. This explains why bold is the best for emphasis.

Fonts used in your email

To be on the safe side always use google fonts, this means that whenever your email is opened the fonts will look just like you intended. If you don’t use these fonts there is a good chance that the recipients browser may not be able to show these fonts and replace with something completely different and off-brand. If you are worried that Google Fonts don’t match the fonts you normally use then search for the most similar one and adopt that for all stationary, it will make your life a lot easier and ensure that your brand stays ‘on brand.

Subject header branding

The subject line (beginning with From:…) in your email can be used in email marketing content to ensure recipients not only recognize it but are also at ease during the time of accessing the mail. The Subject also helps you to utilize your brand. Ensure the brand is visible in the subject as this will ignite trust, interest and comfort in addition to optimizing your bulletin’s open rate.

Utilize customer queries when composing email content

This is akin to selling delicious food through excellent service while being the guru on food issues. It is for a similar reason that you created your bulleting – you had the constructive content which you needed to market. In case you still don’t know what content your readers may be interested in, access the archive of your email and scrutinize recent queries which recipients needed answers to. It is highly possible that you have the required answers and that your responses will benefit not only the individual inquirers but also other subscribers to your email newsletter. Think about installing a regular Q & A section and maintain the original and amenable dialogic format of receiving questions and providing pertinent answers. Knowing as much as possible about your customer is crucial for customizing your messages to individual client’s needs. Obviously, you will require the consent of the client to gather all this information. This means that the subscriber only receives marketing messages in which they have an interest. You in turn receive the customer’s attention and in the long run, the income derived from purchases. I call this permission marketing.

If you feel confused about any of the areas below, feel free to message me in the comments box at the end of this post and Don’t Forget To Subscribe! 😉

About the Author

Freddie Frampton

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A progressive and operational, British National, strategist and trusted consultant with a rich mix of Business Development & Marketing experience spanning over 20 years of international work experience (Middle East and Europe) as a leading business professional in the hospitality industry.

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