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Email Marketing Tips You Cannot Do Without

Rachel Kittridge

By Rachel Kittridge
L-Soft UK Director

Opt-in email marketing campaigns have proven to be one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing strategies on the Internet but only if the execution is right. L-Soft UK Director, Rachel Kittridge, offers ten tips for better email marketing. Plan carefully, set long-term goals and build your campaigns around these tips. Your efforts will be rewarded with up to two-digit response rates.

1. Only send email to contacts who have given your company permission
Always follow the golden rule of opt-in, even in B2B email marketing. When email messages are wanted and expected, the response and results will be better. The permission equals trust and respect, and therefore helps you to retain your customers and build long-term relationships with them.

2. Build email lists in-house – ask for permission
Build your list internally, even if it takes time, so that the quality of your recipient list remains high. You will own and control the permission and list usage. You can apply online and offline activities to attract subscriptions. For example, you can build lists by allowing your prospects and customers to give you their permission by subscribing themselves to email marketing campaigns from your Web site. It is helpful to have a dedicated page for this. This is a good location for your privacy statement as well.

3. Use double opt-in for permission
The double opt-in subscription type is best because it provides explicit permission from subscribers. As a security measure, an automated confirmation message requiring a recipient action (for example, a click on a link in the message) is sent to the recipient. Only after clicking on this link will the person be subscribed to the list. This procedure verifies the email address of the recipients and their desire to receive future messages. It functions as an opt-in confirmation and protects against false subscriptions by third parties. Once a subscriber is added to an email list, an automated welcome message can also be sent. This message can provide further information about your email marketing campaigns.

4. Promote the benefits of your email marketing activities
Inform your target audience of your email marketing campaigns, the benefits and the frequency of your mailings. The more exclusive and convincing deals you offer to your subscribers, the more valuable the list subscription will be for them. It can be seasonal promotions, electronic coupons or an electronic customer newsletter with special offers for subscribers only.

5. Include a short and compelling "subject line"
Make sure that your company's name or product name is clearly stated in the domain name that appears in the "Sender" line of the email. When the recipients know the sender, they are more likely to open the email message. A compelling subject line will reinforce this desire. The recipients make the decision whether to open your message or not in a few seconds. Thus, the subject line is the key component for high open-up rates.

6. Provide relevancy and value in every message
The email message content itself is the most important factor for the continued success of email marketing. The key is to prove value to recipients in every distribution. When messages are wanted, relevant and interesting, the attention amongst recipients will remain high. Therefore you should plan and test your email marketing campaigns carefully before they are executed. The more you target, customise and personalise the messages based on subscriber data such as preferences, interests or demographics, the better results you can expect.

7. Integrate with your Web site
Email marketing allows you to guide the recipients directly to your marketing campaign Website, also called the landing page, by the links you include in your messages. Thus, email is a perfect tool to increase Website traffic. However, make sure that your email message and the landing page are well integrated. What you promote in your message needs to be available on the Web site with minimal effort. Only then can you really enjoy the results of email and Web synergy.

8. Track results and evaluate campaigns afterwards
The beauty of email marketing is high measurability and fast response. With the help of tracking information, you will see what works for your recipients and what doesn't. You will be able to identify areas that you can improve further such as the subject line, content, design and the timing of delivery. Test and learn from the results. If you have, for example, high open-up rates but low click-through rates, your subject line is probably good but the actual campaign content needs more attention.

9. Provide subscribers with clear instructions on how to be removed from future mailings
In order to avoid "please remove me from your list" messages that will have to be manually processed, it is imperative to provide very clear instructions on how the subscribers can automatically unsubscribe when the mailings are no longer relevant to them. It is also good to send an automated unsubscribe confirmation message to subscribers. The advantage is that the recipient knows that the signoff was successful. An automated farewell message can also be sent. This message provides an opportunity to thank, ask for feedback, offer alternative lists or leave a positive final impression of your company.

10. Choose professional solutions for opt-in email marketing
In order to implement email marketing effectively and successfully, you will need a professional email marketing solution. Email marketing technology available today will take care of many otherwise time-consuming manual tasks, minimise the human errors, and guide you in every step of your marketing campaign creation. When you evaluate and test a solution, keep your long-term email marketing goals in mind and ask advice from the vendors.

Copyright 2004 L-Soft