Email Marketing Basics

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The first step in creating a great email program is to segment your list and set marketing objectives that are both achievable and measurable for each. By defining and segmenting your list, you help increase the return on investment as you test and discover the types of information that each segment finds useful.

Be relevant

Segments ought to align to stages in the purchase consideration cycle. Since each segment may have slightly different content needs, an editorial calendar needs to be developed for each with the goal of moving members of one segment to the next and ultimately to a purchase. If you don’t know what they want to read, then there’s a simple solution – ASK THEM!

While not all marketers advocate a trigger email that welcomes a new subscriber, we do. This email gives the opportunity to briefly outline what the subscriber can expect to receive and to reconfirm their interest. Periodically surveying your subscribers who aren’t opening their emails to ascertain their content interests will help you refine your editorial calendar and keep your list clean.

There are a wide variety of resources that companies can use for these purposes. Email service providers such as Mailchimp, iContact, ConstantContact, and EmmaMail are viable options to start with. For SalesForce.com users, most of these offer some level of integration.

Be Timely.

In addition to relevant content, the key to building a strong list is email frequency. It is a best practice to deploy emails at consistent intervals. Allowing subscribers to choose their own preferences on how often they receive emails is even better. It is all about quality over quantity.

Be Interesting.

Some emails garner higher open rates than others. The single most important factor is the subject line. In general, emails will most likely be opened as long as they have pithy subject lines that do not contain words that trigger your email to be trapped in the recipient’s spam filter.

There are different schools of thought in the use of graphics. We recommend graphics be used to highlight important content but otherwise used sparingly. Graphical elements also ought to have alt tags for recipients who don’t have the ability to display graphics turned on in their email client.

Succint, persuasive copy is the other key to interesting content. Resist the temptation to draft a white paper. Instead, email copy ought to reflect the personality of your company’s brand with the brevity of a tweet. Make every character count.

Finally, test for the deliverability of your email. Email service providers such as MailChimp have built-in features that automate this process.

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