We know for some of you, email marketing may seem like a task you don’t have time for, but staying in touch with customers is a necessity, especially for small businesses. Taking the time, at least once a month, to send out an email will help keep relationships going.
There are some email service providers out there (Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Vertical Response) where you can do this yourself, but if you prefer to have one-on-one help and a personalized email campaign, try OSO’s EmailArts, which includes the design of an original email template, coding, and email blasting on your behalf. Results are tracked and reported back to you.
For businesses looking to start or improve their email marketing campaigns, we recommend the following 10 best practices.
Know your audience
People have become extremely weary of being sold to. Even though your purpose is to sell, you don’t want to sound like you’re selling. Avoid especially pushy phrases like “Buy now” and “Limited time offer.” Remember you are also a consumer; you buy things. Step outside your job and think about what would convince you to try this product or service.
Experiment with different messages by sending A/B tests. Split your contact list randomly into two categories and send out two versions of your email blast. Try different colors, text and contact information. Then, track which gives you a better return. Next time send everyone the email that performed better.
Be brief, relevant and interesting
No one has time to read a lengthy email. Keep it short. Capture readers’ attention with an interesting fact or a fun picture. Then, use bullet points or brief sections to their attention. Include a straightforward call to action that includes your contact information and a link to your website for people to easily buy your product.
Write a genuine subject line
It’s important to give readers a compelling reason to click open your email, but nowadays readers don’t fall for cheesy clickbait. Let them know there’s important information inside like tips or specials. Be simple and honest.
Make sure you are clear when asking subscribers to sign up for your emails. The best way to grow an email list is to do it slowly and organically. Ask for contact information on your website, at your store and at events. Be clear that you are requesting permission to send them emails. You’ll have fewer spam complaints and increase your open and click rates this way.
Bypass purchasing email lists
They’re technically legal, but most email service providers prohibit the use of purchased lists. Using them will likely land you in people’s spam folders anyway. If a person doesn’t recognize your email address, the easiest thing for them to do is hit the Spam button.
Send a re-introduction email
Having a client’s email address is not necessarily the same as having permission to send marketing emails. If you already have a client email list, but have never sent a marketing blast before, you can send an email from your personal work email address first (instead of an ESO), asking them to opt in. Try offering a discount or entry to a raffle to make it worth their while.
Stay up to date
When someone opts in to your email list, they should hear from you fairly soon, before they forget they signed up. The general rule is they should receive an email within 6 months.
Stay in the Inbox
There’s no exact formula for getting automatically sent to the spam or junk folder by email systems. However, these mistakes will surely label you as spam:
- Overuse of punctuation (!!!!)
- Using all caps
- Phrases about money (“Make money,” “Money back guarantee”)
- Too many images or too little text
Being mobile-friendly is more important than ever. See Get Mobile. Make sure your email is easy to read on a smart phone. OSO’s EmailArts covers this.
Send a test
You really only have one go at each email. There’s no way to get it back once it’s been sent. Send yourself a test first on various platforms to check how your spacing and alignment appear to recipients. Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail – all of them (especially Outlook) – render email differently. Also, click on your links to make sure they work.
OSO is happy to help you develop and manage your email marketing campaign. We’re located in Danbury, CT. Give us a call at (203) 942-2883 or contact us online for more information.