12 tips for email success
I am a firm believer that email (as well as direct mail) marketing* works. It is not a panacea. It does not replace any other forms of marketing you may undertake with social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. However, judging from my own experience, it works. But how do you make sure that your marketing emails actually get delivered? There are so many pitfalls along the way; but with these 12 tips, you should be able to put those worries behind you!
Avoid the spam filter
The majority of large Internet service providers now use rigorous spam protection programs to trap unsolicited email before it gets to the inbox. To make sure your emails don’t get flagged as spam, avoid using words such as ‘Free’, “$$$’,’Save’, ‘Discount’, etc. in both the subject line and the body of your email.
Both web pages and emails contain a lot of text and graphics, and this sometimes makes it harder to get your subscribers to perform a certain task, such as clicking on a link to see your special offers. Numerous research papers suggest the majority of Internet users respond better to a plain, bold, blue text link as opposed to a banner or button. So, if you’re going to include links in your emails, make sure they are bold, blue and underlined.
The power of personalization
If you were standing in a crowded mall, which of these would get your attention: “Hey, you” or “Hey John” (assuming your name is John)? The power of personalization can and should be used in your emails. In-fact, by simply starting your email with “Hi [subscriber-name]” instead of the boring “Hi there”, you can increase both your open and click-thru rates by up to 650%.
If you want to grow your mailing list, there are 2 things that you absolutely must have–a double opt-in process, and a quick way to unsubscribe. The unsubscribe link should take the recipient directly to a page where they are immediately removed from your mailing list.
Don’t get accused of spamming –always use a double opt-in confirmation process. Double opt-in means that after your visitor initially enters their email address to subscribe to your list, they must confirm it. This also is a good way to protect you in case you are accused of violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
Think Tuesday and Wednesday
Studies conducted by online research analysts have shown that the best days to perform an email broadcast are Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ve actually experimented with this, and received the best results by sending out emails at around 2-3pm (EST) on a Wednesday. Play around with your list to find the best days and times, but start with Tuesday or Wednesday!
Set up an auto-responder
An auto-responder is an email scheduled to be sent at a certain time interval after someone subscribes to your mailing list. If you are not sending out daily newsletters, it might be a while before someone hears from you. Use an auto-responder to fill in the gap and make sure they know you are alive, well, and what to expect from you.
Be consistent. By keeping the look and feel consistent, you help to maintain and strengthen your brand to your subscribers. Create a template for your newsletter and use it for future broadcasts.
Be on time
When sending an email to your subscribers, try to make sure that it’s sent on the same day, at the same time. For example, every Wednesday at 3pm. Your subscribers will come to “expect” your email and act upon it.
Worry about your subject line
When your email arrives in your subscribers’ inbox, you generally have about half a second to catch their attention with the subject line of your email. After this, they will either delete your email or ignore it. Use this space wisely.
The freebie hook
Free is overused these days, especially on the Internet. However, if you’re looking to grow your subscriber list, give them a free white paper–10 Tips For A Successful Trip. Set it up as an auto-responder and have it sent to them an hour after they verify their email address! Everyone loves something for nothing!
Beware of the preview
Most email clients display a preview of the email. Be sure to use the top part of your message wisely or your client will close, ignore, or delete your message. My suggestion is to use text and make it count. Images can be hit or miss.
Personally, I use AWeber and have been more than pleased with the results and support they offer to enable me to grow my lists and effectively market to my target. Many agencies have seen success with Constant Contact. What do you use? Do you have any success stories to share?
*This column assumes that you are utilizing an email marketing program such as AWeber, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, My Emma, etc.