Best Practices for E-Mail Marketing - dummies

Best Practices for E-Mail Marketing

By Marsha Collier

The subject matter of your social media business e-mails should be about fulfilling the interests of your customers. You know your customers better than anyone. If they want recipes, for example, include a recipe in your e-mail. Have content that relates to your business and the customer’s needs. Build on the loyalty proposition and make your customer feel like part of an exclusive club.

Define your objectives before you compose your e-mail. Wanting to build customer loyalty or generating sales isn’t enough. Follow the tips below for a more cohesive, successful campaign:

  • Keep your layout clean. Professional looking, easy-to-read pages have no more than three typefaces. Refrain from overdoing text effects.

  • Use an appropriate size font. Use a font that is large enough to read while sitting back in your seat and looking at the monitor. Most folks don’t have great vision and causing them to squint won’t make them want to read anything you include in your e-mail (or post on your website).

  • Emphasize your call to action. Define your key message and stick to it. Don’t bury your call to action; put it in the top third of your e-mail. Repeat it twice more in the body of the e-mail.

  • Keep the look and feel consistent. The landing page should carry forward the look and feel of your e-mail. Don’t make customers think they’ve landed on a different planet when they click your links.

  • Include teasers. Rather than running entire stories in your e-mails, consider putting teasers for interesting stories that cause the reader to click to finish the story. The action of clicking the link brings them to the landing page on your website.

  • Test your list. Split your mailing list and test two different e-mails to find out which message resonates best with your readers.

  • Study Tweets of major brands. See how the big boys squeeze a sales message into a Tweet of fewer than 140 characters. Visit the site Retailer Twitter Aggregation to view the current aggregation of Tweets from major e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar retailers.

  • Give customers a reason to read. Increase your open rates by giving your reader a subject line with an incentive to open the e-mail. Create a sense of urgency.

  • Charm your customers. This e-mail is from you, not from some faceless business. Stay away from jargon and don’t try to sound too professional. Use the social media standard of just being real; your personality will come through in your e-mail.

  • Include your logo. Place your logo in the top third of the e-mail, preferably to the left of your headline copy.

  • Conduct a blink test. Before sending the e-mail, send it to a couple of trusted colleagues. Ask them if they can define your key message at first glance. (If they can’t, go back to the drawing board.)

Always give your e-mails a five-point test. Does the subject line give the recipient a reason to want to open the e-mail? Is the e-mail itself visually appealing? Is there a call to action? Is the content worth reading? Last, would you like to receive this e-mail?

Whether you send your e-mails with e-mail software or use an online service, keep respect for the customer at the top of your mind. After a customer unsubscribes, you’ve lost e-mail as a contact point.