Email Marketing is a wonderful way to reach prospects and an important component of multi-channel marketing. That being said, email marketing is also a wonderful way to completely destroy your reputation if it is not done properly. Below are 10 helpful tips for making your email marketing to prospects more effective (much if this advice will also apply when emailing your customers).
1. Make sure you are using a reputable data source
There are A LOT of companies selling email lists that they “claim” are legit. The simple fact of the matter is many companies selling email marketing lists are less than trustworthy. So, to make sure you are not getting bad data that will best case waste your money and at worst case get you flagged as a spammer, here are some questions to ask your email list provider. These questions are especially important if they list provider is willing to turn the list over to you, versus wanting to deploy your message for you.
- How was the data compiled?
- Is the list opt-in or even double opt-in (meaning the member signed up and expressed interest in specific information)?
- How often is the list updated (hard bounces removed, unsubscribe requests removed, etc?)
- Can you provide referrals?
2. Write an engaging subject line
Unlike with direct mail, you cannot use envelop design or other creative design to grab your prospect in when using email. As a result, an impactful, creative subject line is critical to the success of your campaign. However, you should avoid words like “free,” “discount,” etc. in the subject line as those words can cause your message to be flagged as spam. If you are deploying a large campaign, use it as an opportunity to test more than one subject line.
3. Don’t use forms
Most email deployment companies do not allow forms in an email message. Beyond that, forms look canned, are not as engaging, and can result in getting flagged as spam. If you want the prospect to fill something out, it is better to provide a link to the appropriate page on your website.
4. Single deployment campaigns do not work
It is better to wait until you can afford an email campaign with at least two message deployments than to spend your money on a single deployment campaign. Reaching your prospects multiple times is just as important in email marketing as it is in other forms of direct marketing. Not only will multiple deployments allow for multiple exposures to your prospects, it will also allow you to test different messages, switch up your offer, etc.
5. Spread out your deployments, but not too far
It’s a good idea to wait a week between deployments as doing so will decrease the chance of your prospect feeling crowded by your emails. In fact, if you are using a deployment service, most will require a week. However, you also do not want to wait too long for your next email, lest the prospect forget about you. At most, wait two weeks between deployments.
6. If you fail to plan, plan to fail
If you plan to use email marketing, plan for at least two weeks to get your first deployment out the door. It takes time to (1) find the right prospect list, (2) refine your creative/message, (3) run a test deployment, and (4) schedule your campaign. You can get it done quicker, but the cost will be higher, quality will suffer, or both.
7. Have a call to action
This might sound like one of those “DUH!” pieces of advice, but it is amazing how many emails go out without a clear indication of what the sender wants the prospect to do. So, when you plan your email campaign, think very clearly about what you want the recipient to do and make sure the email tells them how to do it.
8. Include multiple ways for the prospect to reach you
Giving prospect multiple ways to interact with you through the email will increase the probability of your campaign succeeding. If you want the prospect to click on a link to your website or landing page, provide the link in multiple locations on the email. Include links to your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc accounts so prospects can follow you. And it goes without saying, but providing a way for prospects to sign up for your email list is critical. All of these engagement methods immediately turn a cold prospect into a warm prospect.
9. Don’t be copy-heavy
It is true that too many pictures, graphics, etc. can be distracting, but not having any will make your email about as engaging as VCR instruction manual written in Esperanto (props if you get those references). Like a well-written subject line, a visually engaging email will draw your prospect in and get them to take the desired buying intention actions.
10. Timing, Timing, Timing
Just as it is important not to deploy too frequently, it is also important to be mindful of when your message will be deployed. Generally, the ideal times to deploy are Tuesday-Thursday between 10am-3pm. However, Mondays and Fridays are becoming more popular. The important thing to think about when scheduling deployment is when is your prospect most likely to be in front of their email and likely to see your message.