Wednesday, July 14, 2010

4 Fundamental Rules To Successful Email Marketing

(Cross-posted from the Akubo Blog)

by Amanda Lee

1. Strategically choose your subject line. Constructing an attractive subject line may require you to do some research on current buzzwords in your industry. However, here are a few small adjustments that can make a huge difference.
Use numbers. Readers can easily grasp something that’s quantitative because it gives them a better idea of what to expect. For example, “3 Days Left To Purchase Tickets” or “8 Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Food Drive”.

Include a call to action. Readers are more likely to open an email without delay if the verbiage conveys urgency. “Offer Expires Tomorrow” is an example of this. However, if your message is in the form of a newsletter, the call to action may be more subtle, such as, “Learn How To…”

Keep it at 50 characters max. Some email accounts only display the first 15 characters so make sure the first few words in your headline provide value to the message you are trying to communicate. Furthermore, do not capitalize all your characters because it can be an indication of yelling – only caps the first letter of each word.

2. Timing is everything. Choosing the best time of day and best day of the week to blast your emails is important. Although each industry is unique, it’s safe to say that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays generally have above average open and click through rates. For the best time of day, avoid mornings. Bombarded with emails, the first thing we do is delete all the unnecessary ones to get them out of the way. The best time tends to be around lunch when people have some downtime. Try experimenting by breaking your contacts into 4 separate groups and send one at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm and observe the response (and open) rate. Determine the best time/day combination that suits your target market.

3. How many is too many? Once or twice a month is generally the rule of thumb. It pays off to keep a dialogue going so your contacts don’t forget who you are, but harassing them once a week or more will lead to a surge of unsubscribers. Most people who unsubscribe feel the information is not relevant to them so it may work to your advantage to tailor messages targeting specific groups within your contact list.

4. Sometimes, less is more. The content of your emails should be short, sweet, and to the point. A common mistake people make is trying to fit all their great ideas into one long message, which is confusing to the reader and ineffective marketing. Try brainstorming with a group to come up with several ideas and write them down on a whiteboard. Then, funnel down to the most suitable content for this particular email. Save other ideas for future emails.

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