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Absolute Email Marketing Guide

Updated on August 8, 2013

Email is still one of the most powerful channels for marketing despite the appearance of other platforms, however, it's not as simple as just pumping out newsletter after newsletter and expecting great conversion rates. There are effective email marketing tricks that you need to know if you want to get good results.

Bet Everything on Your Subject Line

The body of the message is important, of course. But the battle is already lost if your subject line failed to catch the attention of a subscriber. What's worse, if you have a subject line that people hate - your messages may end up in the spam inbox or block list, which means you've lost that subscriber's business forever. So make sure you don't use canned subject lines or spammy ones. Be creative and interesting, but make sure that you're not outright lying or tricking your subscribers into reading the message.

This is especially important to those who are using their phone to check their email. According to Emercury, 8 out of 10 smartphone users access their email through their phone.

Moreover, there are 3.3 billion active email users, that’s a full billion more than active social network users. Add that to the 144.8 billion emails sent yearly, and you’ll get an idea how flooded the network is. Make sure you rise above the clutter by having a powerful subject line.

There is no “absolute subject line” but there are certain studies that have revealed what are the kinds that have generated the best responses.

  • Personal subject lines work but only when they trust you – the Obama campaign made a killing with the subject line “hey” but only because those who got the email knew it was from the Obama camp. Moral lesson, be personal but only when your customer already knows you.
  • KISS – Keep it short and sweet. MailChimp said that subject lines with 50 characters or less are clicked the most
  • Sneak Peak – tell your customer what they can expect if they open the email.
  • Don’t be shy in using the word FREE, an exclamation point and all capital letters
  • Immediate Benefit – if you are giving something away for free, say a coupon, say it immediately

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Make Sure the Content of Your Email is Relevant to Your Audience

Spam and effective email marketing are basically the same thing in the sense that they are sent out en masse and meant to get people to buy something. However, the one thing that separates one from the other is the fact that an effective email has content that is relevant to the reader. It's the dividing line: if your content is irrelevant to the interests of the reader, it is treated as spam and deleted immediately. If it's relevant, you get their attention and you start building trust, then you make a sale. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Give Them a Chance to Add You to Their Safe List

This is very powerful for a couple of reasons. First is that it allows you to further trim down your list if needed, as it will let you know which users who specifically want to receive your mails, and second, it also gives your subscribers the impression that you value their input and that you're acting on their best interests. This builds trust and nurtures a quid pro quo relationship with your subscribers.

Be Consistent With Your Brand, Look, and Feel

Make sure that your messages, your logos, and your themes are consistent among multiple channel. This will help you build your identity and brand across multiple channels, as well as adds legitimacy to your brand.

Make Sure You Have a Call to Action, and Make Sure it's Clear

A marketing email is useless without a call to action, but it's also useless if the call to action is all over the place and too vague to give readers a clear indication of what you want them to do.

Mind the Campaign Deadlines

If you're running a promo, finding the sweetspot for the duration is vital. You have to make sure that the customer has enough time to take action, but you also have to balance it by ensuring that it's short enough to give them the idea that they have to act quickly. The duration will differ based on your niche and your subscribers, so you may want to do some testing to find out the ideal timeframe.

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Make Sure You Have a Strategy

Most people find it difficult to create their own email marketing strategy, as there is a huge disconnect between simply creating an email newsletter with actually creating one that is effective in marketing to its subscribers. What's worse, people tend to bite off more than they can chew, resulting in most of them wasting months pumping out ineffective newsletters, not getting a single cent out of the whole endeavor. Some of them don't even make it past the first month, giving up after a few newsletters when they find out that their efforts are being wasted.

Don't let their impatience and failures deter you. Success will come if you know what to do, and if you build a good email marketing strategy. This means not only defining the end goals, but also outlining the steps that you need to get there. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when developing your own email marketing strategy:

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Don't Let Abandoned Shopping Carts Be a Lost Sale

If you have an ecommerce site, one of the most common occurrences is the abandoned shopping carts. There are a number of possible reasons why people have abandoned their carts - either because they got distracted, or they changed their mind or a crashed browser made them leave - it doesn't matter. You can't put any contingency in place to prevent people from abandoning their shopping carts, but you can set an autoresponder to automatically send them a mail in the event of abandonment. You'll be surprised to know just how many people go back and buy the products they queued on their carts when sent an automated yet personalized email reminder.

Calculate your Email Marketing ROI

A lot of novice marketers fail to maximize their earning potential because they are afraid of investing in additional tools, choosing instead to do everything using free to use products, which are fine for a while, but don't scale well and will not let you earn as much nor as fast as you could with paid tools and services. The trick here is to calculate your email marketing return on investment first, which is especially useful because email has a high ROI. If you already have an idea on how much you can earn, you'll be able to justify additional investments when needed, and won't be too averse to spending a little money in order to maximize your ROI.

Strive for Customer Relevance

The sad truth is that majority of the marketers these days resort to email marketing strategy that is nothing but "batch and blast," which is certainly easier because they don't have to think much, just hoping to get the odd sale here and there based on sheer volume. However, this approach gives the industry a bad name, and is not sustainable for the long term. After a few months or so, most marketers find their earnings reduced to nil because they've already hit the spam block lists and some even had their own ISPs blocking their mails. This is why you have to ensure that your mails are targeted and customized to your subscribers' needs. There's a lot of data available nowadays, and lots of tools that will help make it easier to collate and analyze said data. Use it to your advantage.


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    • weavesandbraids profile image


      6 years ago from Africa

      This is really detailed and gives a lot of needed information about email marketing. Thanks for the research.

    • HarrietteS profile image

      Harriette Schwartz 

      6 years ago from Fresno

      Excellent and informative..this is material we can all use. Thanks for this post..Harriette


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