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Best Practices for Email Marketing

TheBookWheel By TheBookWheel Published on May 3, 2016

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Marilyn and RebeccaScaglione found this witty
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Email marketing is a great way for blogs and companies to stay connected with their readers and customers because it's cheap, easy, and an effective way to highlight promotions and convert traffic into sales. Unfortunately, it's also a very easy to spam potential customers, which is why 84% of email is marked as spam (admit it - you've done this). What's even harder to figure out is how to get readers to do something with your email content, which is why a cluttered design can severely impact user experiences.

On the bright side, once people do open an email, the results are pretty great. According to this compiled list of statistics from SalesForce.com, the ROI for dollars spent on email marketing is $44.25 and almost 1/2 of recipients who opened purchased. These figures are nothing to sneeze at and it's obvious that email marketing is a great strategy for driving more revenues - so long as it's done right.

So what can you do to beat the odds and run a successful campaign? Before getting started, it's important to understand basic email marketing etiquette. It may seem trivial, but a bold signup form, a welcome email, and quality content are key requirements. Once you have these set up, the following tips should help you successfully deliver that great content and turn clicks into purchases.

BEST PRACTICES FOR EMAIL MARKETING

KEEP IT SIMPLE

First impressions matter, so a cluttered email design without a clear path for navigation will turn readers off, especially those who are reading on their mobile device. Be sure to have a clean and simple template that showcases the most important information. Use striking graphics to grab the reader's attention and keep the text to a minimum. The goal of email marketing is to drive traffic to your website, so don't give away the milk for free - use excerpts rather than full-length articles and descriptions to entice readers and leave them wanting more.

Follow a Schedule

Rather than sending out emails whimsically, lay out a strategic plan for when to send them. This may be once a month or once a week, but consistency is king. Not only does it prevent you from getting overzealous and sending out too many emails, it also means you won't forget to send them. Plus, your readers will know when to expect an email and won't be "surprised" (meaning they won't just trash it or spam it).

Use a Catchy Subject Line

Keep your subject line short, simple, and catchy. According to the same compilation of statistics mentioned earlier, readers are more likely to open subject lines that are less than 10 characters long and will absolutely delete an email based on this feature, alone. Use something that's both familiar and unique to your product or service, but don't shy away from the tried and true.

Make it Shareable

If you're sending out great content, then your readers will want to share it. Unfortunately, they won't want to share it enough to go out of their way to do it for you. Be sure to include social sharing icons (including email) within the email itself so that you can expand your reach and target new customers. Another great feature with most email marketing programs is the option to post email campaigns to social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. If you have this option, then definitely take advantage of it because it will put your information into the hands of consumers who may be interested enough to shop your product or services but not enough to sign up for the emails.

Monitor Your Own Behavior

If you're like most Internet users, you get a lot of spam. Take a week to pay attention to the emails you decide to open. What made you want to open it? What made you click on a link within the email? What made you delete or mark an email as spam? Chances are, your habits are not unlike a majority of potential customers, so knowing what works and doesn't work for you can help guide your campaign.

Offer Something Exclusive

There needs to be an incentive for customers to sign up and remain signed up for an email list. This can include coupons, exclusive content, or early access to upcoming products. If the only thing customers are receiving is available on the website, then there's no reason for them to remain signed up.

Optimize For Mobile

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's amazing how many email campaigns are not optimized for email. Before sending anything out, be sure to send a test email to yourself so that you can see what it looks like on a mobile device. Just because it looks great on the computer doesn't mean it will work on other devices (such as font size or colors), so be sure to take the 10 seconds to test it out.

What are your best practices for email marketing

Allison Hiltz runs the award-winning book review website, The Book Wheel, and founded the international blog roundup event, #30Authors. The Book Wheel has been featured in advertisements in the ... Show More

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