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Email Marketing Techniques That Still Work

Used properly, email is a highly effective way to engage customers.

With the advent of social media messaging, it seems plausible to believe that traditional email marketing will become a dead technology. Moreover, to consider email as an effective marketing tool in this day and age seems laughable—but it isn’t.

Actually, email is still a viable and vital tool in business messaging, be it business-to-business or business-to-consumer. While the world has clearly had its fill of spam, the fact is that email is far from dead and still packs a profitable punch for businesses that know how to put it to proper use.

Here are some of the current email marketing techniques that can help improve and maintain your business outreach using the still alive-and-kicking, oldie-but-goodie business messaging technology.

Create compelling titles

Of course, it begins with the email title as the incentive for a recipient to open and read the message. Studies indicate that messages that are angled toward seasons or current events tend to get recipients to click and read more. And, if your message is incentive based, statistics show that such messages, when titled properly, can increase open rates by 50 percent (such as “Save 20 percent when you spend $25 or more”).

Incentive-based messages can increase open rates by 50% (such as ‘Save 20% when you spend $25 or more’)

A key point to consider when crafting email titles is to avoid—at all costs—the use of special characters or emoticon-like punctuation as in “L@@K!!” Not only do such contrived email marketing techniques reek of mass mailings, but such content is typically caught and contained by spam filters. Avoid getting cute with your titles; just get to the point.

Make your messaging personal

Let’s face it—email is personal. When you receive an email message, you expect it to be relevant to you. To this end, your recipients will be more inclined to open and read your email marketing messages if they recognize your business and understand why they’d be receiving an email (likely as result of an information request, account creation, or sales follow up).

With that said, how can you best establish an initial relationship with a customer in order to make follow-up email contact? Consider these methods:

  • If you have a physical storefront, be sure to invite customers to sign up for email notifications by offering a simple card at the checkout counter (or simply ask if they’d like to relay their email address so you can enter it into your electronic sales system).

  • For online-only businesses, provide a visible “subscribe” button on your most visited pages where customers can elect to receive email messages regarding product information, new releases, sales and so on.

  • And if you’re trying to attract new customers to include on your email marketing distributions, consider partnering with relevant and well-traveled websites. For example, if you’re in the business of crafts and supplies, see if you can be added as a link from a popular craft site, being sure to invite prospective customers to register to receive emails about your business.

When you can connect with customers who recognize the relevance of your email with their interests, your efforts will stand a better chance to generate response.

Keep your messages clean, simple and to the point

Another way to help ensure your email marketing messages are well received, read and responded to, is to keep them concisely on message every time. To best achieve this, utilize your well-crafted email subject line to begin the appeal, followed by a message that is cleanly presented to uphold the premise put forth.

Be especially mindful that, these days, roughly 90 million Americans receive and read their email messages on smartphones. The go-anywhere technology allows users to stay abreast of all their personal business, but they do expect quick information presentation so they can disseminate messages quickly wherever they are.

Keep your messages brief or, if you need to impart a significant amount of details, provide a link to your website where recipients can learn more. And, if you include images, keep them of reasonable size to avoid making your readers wait for downloading (that goes for the smartphone crowd as well as the plugged-in computer audience).

Send your messages early in the day. This will ensure your messages are on the fresh stack for the day when recipients are still fresh, too

Watch your timing

As you would expect, there are best times (and not-so-good times) to release your email marketing messages. With the amount of messaging and advertising that bombards us each week, it’s important to recognize the “windows of opportunity” to utilize in giving your email messages the best opportunity to be seen:

  • Avoid sending your messages on Fridays. By the end of the work week, most of us have had our fill of messages and responses. As the work weary look forward to the brief respite that the weekend brings, they’re proven to be less likely to be looking into any new opportunities via their email inbox.

  • Consider sending messages on Tuesdays for best response. This allows the weekend getaways and also allows the Monday slog through whatever went unaddressed from the previous week.

  • Send your messages early in the day (in the morning) for best visibility. This will ensure your messages are on the fresh stack for the day when recipients are still fresh, too.

The easiest approach in timing your messages is to monitor your own behavior in regards to messages received. Then study your audience and determine when they seem to be most responsive to contact. Make adjustments to the above suggestions until you can truly connect with recipients in a way that best fits their attention cycles.

Tease, entice and encourage

Lastly, remember that you needn’t be encyclopedic in your email marketing content. Provide a premise to your message (via the subject line), then explain quickly the benefit to the recipient (in the body of the message) and issue a call to action (“save now,” “while supplies last,” “click for more info”).

When you message in an enticing way that also shows you understand your recipients and they understand why you’re contacting them, you stand the best chance to connect and complete your next sale.

It’s true: Email’s not dead yet.

For more about email marketing techniques, read “Are You an Email Marketing Rebel?”

About the author

Dennis L. Prince
Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay...and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • dwshelf

    Above all else, the email must offer something special to be effective vs treated as annoying spam. Really special, not some perpetual sale.

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