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5 email marketing tips

Small businesses may have been using email marketing for decades to find new sales and customers, but many still make the same mistakes that marred campaigns in the 90s. Email is an effective medium but is easy to accidentally sabotage if you’re unfamiliar with how it works.

The following are five often-overlooked tips for getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

1. Don’t do too much

When creating a template for your email – the basic framework in which you’ll display articles or product offers – don’t try to include too much.

Today’s email users are constantly bombarded with marketing material. If your email is crowded with information, they’re unlikely to spend much time reading it. Make sure that each email focuses on one or two main points. Trying to focus too much will deter most people.

2. Demographic

The more you know about the people in your database, the easier it will be to create offers and information that interests them. If you have a large database, it’s likely that a single message isn’t going to suit each and every one of them. If over time, you see certain parts of your database responding to certain messages, it might be worth sending them campaigns that play to their interests.

“If a customer of ours has 10,000 people on their database, and they’ve got a really specific campaign, instead of going for the 10,000 and aiming for the ones and two percenters, I’d prefer them to target it to the 500 and get 50-70% of effectiveness from the campaign,” says Brent Chandler, founder of online restaurant marketing agency Zwift. “Really target who it’s going to. By doing that, then you’ve got 9500 people who can be effectively marketed to for another campaign, who haven’t been exposed to this irrelevant campaign, and haven’t opted out of future campaigns.”

3. Call to action

Each message in every single email you send out needs a ‘call to action’. Simply put, a call to action is a line of text that both sums up the appeal of the offeror article and tells the recipient to act on their interest in it. A basic call to action might be just ‘Read more, with a link pointing through to the relevant page on a website. 

“This comes back to enticing people to do something with the email,” says Linda Delphin, managing director at Marketing Space. “Often, the main strategy you should be thinking about with a call to action is something that’s time-specific. ‘Available until the end of the month’, ‘respond within five days’ – make it something that encourages people to have a sense of urgency and easy way of responding.”

4. Design

Although most email marketing services have pre-made templates that are relatively easy to modify to include your branding, it’s best to get a web designer to put the finishing touches on a professional-looking template for you. Your content might be relevant and enticing to your database members, but if the email looks shoddy, it won’t get the clicks it deserves, and could even cause people to unsubscribe.

“You can always have good content that’s not been portrayed effectively,” says Chandler. “If you see an email coming through and it looks unprofessional, then the likelihood of using it and absorbing it is quite low.”

5. Track the results

Finally, you need to know exactly how effective your emails are. Most email marketing services will come with analytics tools that show you a number of important things – how many people have opened the email, how many people have clicked through to your site having opened, where they clicked, and if they unsubscribed.

Changing your content over time to cater to positive trends and avoid negative ones is a good way to ensure that your email campaigns become more successful over time.

“Look at your results, see what’s happening. Are people reading your emails, is it having the impact that you want?” asks Marketing Space’s Delphin. “Then, revisit and adjust your strategy, so you can constantly evolve and change your email marketing activity so that it’s working.”

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