Email marketing, despite what some people say is as strong as ever. Personal email may have declined due to the massive amount of spam but technology has improved giving us better, more intelligent filters. The only way to do it is to do it right. Opt in is key to this. Cold emails, otherwise known as spam are a hugely bad reflection on you and your business so stay well away from the tempatation to send email to people who haven’t requested it. Not only does it look bad but it can also get you blacklisted as a spammer can in turn have your hosting company ban your website.
The average ROI according to the Direct Marketing Association is in USA is $57 per $1 spent so how do you do it right?
1. Use opt-ins and double opt-ins
In other words, get permission. It’s not difficult to get. You just need to offer value in return for the email address. Whether it’s on your site, offering an ebook, coupons or just the promise to send good and relevant information or offline, in your store asking for email addresses on checkout to keep the customer updated on offers. The double opt-in sends the subscriber an email asking if they really want to be subscribed. That way you know they are really interested.
2. Build a targeted database
“The very best way to get permission is to have your best customers and your biggest fans ask their friends to sign up,” Seth Godin says. It results in a self-screened database of prospects who are probably interested in your offering.
3. Avoid spam filters
Don’t use the words “free” “discount” “save etc. in the subject line or in the body of your emails. We recommend screening your emails before sending and getting a spam score.
4. Personalise, personalise, personalise
Try to make your subscribers feel like they have a relationship with you. This means using their name as many times as is sensibly possible. Instead of writing “Dear Subscriber” use their real name. This can increase both your reading and click-thru rates by up to 650%.
5. Easy unsubscribe option
I don’t mean put them through the wringer asking them to fill in a questionnaire about why they are leaving. Give them a one click unsubscibe option on every email. It makes them feel safe.
Send your emails on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 3pm to get the most out of them. Mondays are a no-no.
7. Be consistent
Schedule your emails to arrive at the same time on the same day of the week. That way the subscriber is ready for it and expects it.
8. Tell a story
No one wants hit with your company news all the time or your product listings. Mix it up. Make it personal sometimes and by that I don’t mean telling them what you had for lunch.
“Email marketers don’t have a prayer to tell a story,” Seth Godin says, “unless they tell it in advance, in another medium, before they get permission. Otherwise, it quickly becomes spam. The best email marketing starts with a foundation, like Amazon, and uses the email to drip the story, to have it gradually unfold.”
9. Write a great subject line
You’ve got about half a second to capture the reader’s attention. This is the subject line. Make it snappy and interesting.
10. Be persistent and analyse
Ok that’s two but I wanted to keep a top 10. Busted.
Don’t give up after a couple of months. It takes multiple contacts to gain trust. Bear that in mind and keep checking your email analytics to see what emails have been more popular than others. Embed SEO links and track the click-throughs, opening rates ad unsubscribes. Build on that and gradually tweak what works.
I hope that helps.
Here’s a quick clip of All top founder Guy Kawasaki talking about email marketing at SXSW in the last few days.