Email Marketing Best Practices


Did you know?  Researchers estimate that United States firms alone spent US $600 million on email marketing in 2010.

So it big Market for Email marketing if you know how to use it.

What is Email Marketing?

By Wikipedia: Email marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fund-raising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:

  • sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business,
  • sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,
  • adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers, and
  • sending email messages over the Internet, as email did and does exist outside the Internet

Advantages of Email Marketing

Email marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies for several reasons:

  • An exact return on investment can be tracked (“track to basket”) and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
  • Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
  • Over half of Internet users check or send email on a typical day.
  • Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292m in the UK.

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered.

Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States’ Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider’s acceptable use policy.

Important tips for anyone managing the email marketing.
1. Send emails to persons who have requested to receive them.

2. Include content relevant to the type of content the person has requested.

3. Be consistent with your sending frequency.  Pick a schedule, whether it is weekly, biweekly,
or monthly and as often as you can stick to that schedule.

4. In most cases it is best to send business to business emails Tuesday through Thursday. We’ve found that the best
times of the day to send are just after the start of the day around 9:30am or just after lunch around 1:30pm. It
is best to avoid sending business to business emails after 4pm or on weekends.

5. In most cases it is best to send business to consumer emails either between 5pm and 8pm Tuesday through Thursday or between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

6. To improve deliverability, add a message at the top of your emails that says something like: “To ensure receipt of
our emails, please add you@mycompany.com to your Address Book.”

7. Make the From Name for your messages either your company name or the name of a person at your company.
Once you choose a From Name, keep it consistent. During the split second decision subscribers make whether
to open your email, the most important factor in their decision is whether the From Name is familiar to them.

8. Be sure to include both a plain text and an HTML version of your newsletter.   If you don’t
include a plain text message, around 5% of your recipients will see a message with nothing in it.

9. Don’t use all caps or multiple exclamation marks within your subject line or body. Doing this will trigger spam
filters.

10. Build your list at every opportunity you have. If you have a retail location, add a point- of-sale sign-up form. At conferences or events, bring a paper sign-up form or have a laptop with a sign- up form set up and available for interested parties. Finally, add your newsletter signup form to every page on your web site.

Email Marketing Terms.

1. ROI (Return on Investment) – Your ROI is the measure of the profit you make and/or costs saved at your business. For your email marketing campaigns you calculate cost of sending email plus time.

ROI = [(Payback – Investment)/Investment)]*100

So if you made $780 on your email campaign, your time was worth $50 to create it and it costs $15 to send it, it would look like this:

(($780 – $65)/$65)*100 = 1100% ROI (which is really good!)

If you want to take it a step further subtract your cost of your products or services as well.

2. Open Rate – Your open rate is simply the number recipients who opened your HTML emails. It is typically measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent, although calculation methods may differ. The open rate is considered a useful metric for judging response to an email campaign but it should be noted that open rates for text emails can’t be calculated AND some email clients don’t display images as a default which would under report your total number of opens.

3. Above the Fold – The bottom of your browser window or the bottom of your email before you have to start scrolling is commonly referred to as the “fold”. These viewable areas should be where your most important information should be located since it’s the first thing your viewer will see.

4. Preview Pane – Email programs like Microsoft Outlook, Entourage, and Mac Mail allow users to view email through a preview pane before your recipient clicks to open. The preview pane is important to bear in mind when composing the opening lines of an email so you can get your recipient’s attention fast.

5. Copy – Your copy is simply the text of the email you write.

6. Hosted Email – A hosted version of an email allows users to view the email message as a web page, ensuring that all formatting remains intact. VerticalResponse does this for you for free you just need to include the “hosted version” link. Hosted versions of your email are also great for you to send your Twitter and Facebook followers to when you launch your campaign.

7. Spoofing – Email spoofing involves forging a sender’s address on email messages. It can be used by malicious individuals to mislead email recipients into reading and responding to deceptive mail. These fake messages can jeopardize the online privacy of consumers and damage the reputation of the companies purported to have sent the messages. Spoofed email often contains phishing scams. VerticalResponse doesn’t allow for this in our systems.

8. Phishing – In a phishing scam, a spammer, posing as a trusted party such as a bank or reputable online vendor, sends email messages directing recipients to web sites that appear to be official but are in reality fraudulent. Visitors to these web sites are asked to disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers, or to purchase counterfeit or pirated products.

9. Targeting – Targeting gives you the ability to deliver emails to those most likely to respond to your emails, based on a variety of things like their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral information.

10. Whitelists – Whitelists are usually created by an ISP (internet service provider) and are made up of commercial emailers (including email service providers — ESPs) who have been approved to send email through their gates. The ISP requires a list of IP (internet protocol) addresses that email will be sent from, and in some cases a test period where the commercial emailer will be approved or rejected. VerticalResponse is on all available whitelists.

11. Web Friendly Fonts – Almost all web browsers are capable of displaying four primary fonts properly: Times, Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana, as well as their variants (Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, etc.) If a web developer decides to stray from one of these fonts he or she risks browser compatibility problems and the prospect that their pages may render inaccurately when viewed through certain web browsers.

Places to Include Information on How to Subscribe to Your Newsletter
6. On customer satisfaction surveys
7. On product shipping forms
8. In confirmation or transaction emails
9. On credit card receipts
10. On warranty and product registration cards
11. On Invoices
12. Within articles
13. Within press releases
14. On trade show lead forms
15. On sweepstakes entry forms
16. On shopping cart order forms
17. Company publications

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2 comments on “Email Marketing Best Practices

  1. Me says:

    Help-desk-support.com

    help-live.com

  2. Robert says:

    Thank you for very informative post.
    This is great resource.

    I also read good articles for email and online marketing from
    http://www.DomainBuyItNow.com http://mailchimp.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-field-guide/

    Thank you

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