BizSkills2000 - Simple Email Marketing

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Effective Email Marketing

"Increase Your Email Campaign Effectiveness"

by Robert Speyer

How can you maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns? How can you avoid being considered spam, being blacklisted or damage your reputation with clients and prospects? Today's email climate has changed dramatically from batch and blast. Below is a list of ten essential tips to keep your email campaigns performing with a high degree of success.

1. Always Ask Permission

Never send unsolicited email or black hat methods to collect email addresses like pre-checked boxes on registration forms. Always use the two-step opt-in method that requires you to get the address confirmed by the end user before it goes into your database.

2. Protect Your Sender Reputation

Be selective when sending out emails. Generating a high number of emails can trigger spam complaints. ISPs will block emails. To manage your reputation, honor unsubscribed requests; stay off blacklists by monitoring and resolving spam complaints quickly; and of course always use the double opt-in procedure and a unique IP address.

3. Use Clean Email Lists

Avoid using a list you have no control over. Delete bad names off the list, unsolicited ones or out-of-date and duplicated ones. Also review a list to see who hasn't opened or clicked in the last six months. You can reach out to these dormant addresses by offering them an enticing promotion to get them to re-engage. If that doesn't work, you can vary the times you email them to see if that changes the open rate. It's always better to delete than annoy.

4. Plan for Email Churn

Statistics show that 30% of email addresses become invalid each year (i.e. churn). Therefore you should plan for churn by constantly refreshing your opt-in offers or strategies to keep lists fresh. Good email marketing will maintain clean lists and engage subscribers with new retention programs.

5. Quality Trumps Quantity

Building your email list is essential, but not at the expense of quality. Would you rather reach 100 people who have little or marginal interest in your product or service or 5 people who are very interested and fit your target market? Focus on your target market and add names accordingly. Focusing in on your high-value prospects and customers will deliver a higher rate of return or response and a greater chance to be successful.

6. Build Trust through Your Opt-ins

If a subscriber is giving you their name and email, realize that it is an act of trust, a communication bond between you that their email will not be sold or disrespected. You will have a higher rate of response if you keep requested information at a minimum, such as name, email - or if you need more info, city and state, size of business, etc. You can always ask for more information once they subscribe in future email campaigns once you put them at ease and give them value for their trust.

7. Respect Subscriber Privacy

Since trust is always a big issue in asking for emails, respect their privacy. Email recipients and subscribers should clearly see your privacy statement on the opt-in and you can tie it to a full policy on your website for further assurance. The privacy statement should contain your contact strategy and how or how not you will share their information. If you change your policy, a subscriber should be notified and be allowed to re-opt-in.

8. Give Your Subscribers Control

Let your subscribers decide the email format - text or HTML), contact frequency and content preferences, or if they want additional information over and above what they expected to receive. They should feel in control at all times. If you divide your list based on their responses, you will be more effective in contacting them by adhering to their schedule or terms.

9. Email Inbox Design Is Critical for Success

When subscribers open your email, it should be appealing and easily to understand the key information. Poorly designed inbox emails will result in frustration for the end user and unread emails, even if opened. Some tips for inbox design include: test sample messages; put you company name in the "from" line for quick identification; add an attention grabbing subject line; use teaser text and HTML colors and layout instead of an image so viewers can get an instant preview of your email even if the images are disabled; and put the important content, offer, or call to actions at the top of the email for immediate viewing.

10. Check All Functionality

Always check to see your email is functioning correctly. Imagine you generate interest and the link fails to an offer; or images or co-registration fails. Test and track a sample email and then fix anything that might go wrong. It is always a good practice to develop an email development and deployment checklist.

Your Comments Are Welcome!

If you employ these 10 email campaign tips your response rates should increase. As always, your feedback and comments are welcome. We learn from each other.

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