E-mail Marketing – Top Ten Best Practices…

Even though it has been in vogue for over twenty years, and even with numerous advances in technology, e-mail remains one of the simplest and most effective mediums for transmitting messages and information, and the world of e-mail marketing remains as busy as ever.

That being said, there are right ways and wrong ways to take advantage of e-mail in order to successfully market and generate more leads for your business. Often, e-mail marketing campaigns fall flat due to simple mistakes that render them either unreadable or indecipherable. Your e-mail marketing campaign can be enhanced by following a few simple rules.

1) Get The Most Out Of Your Subject Line – this is after all the first thing recipients are going to see, so make it go to work for you. Utilize a “tease” that will prompt folks to actually read the rest of it. Incentives such as a generous coupon or discount offer work wonders, and can generate a much higher opening rate. 69% of users base their decision to open an e-mail on what they see in the subject line.

2) Keep It Readable – remember that designs and graphics may look different on somebody else’s e-mail program than they do on yours. Try to confine your e-mail marketing to text only. You can always include a link to HTML versions of the message if there are images or graphics that you think folks just have to see.

3) Cut Down On Multiple Typefaces – once you utilize more than 3 different typefaces, your e-mail marketing message just starts looking cluttered. If at all possible, keep it to 2 different typefaces (or less). A uniform appearance will do much to translate into a higher click through rate.

4) Make Sure The Return Address Looks Trustworthy – You don’t open junk mail from dubious sources. Likewise, seeing a return e-mail addy such as 1Z-mailinglist-16-06-07@domain.com looks far less impressive than billy@billydritchie.org. Putting a name on the product makes it more personal, and establishes a level of trust.

5) Your Call To Action: Learn It, Know It, Live It – You’re sending this e-mail to people for a reason, to generate a response and earn their business. Determine your call to action and use it no less than three times during the course of the message. The first use of the call to action should be “above the fold”, early in the body of the e-mail.

6) Know Your Enemy – Spam filters are getting progressively more sophisticated, and the last thing you want is for your valuable message to get caught in one. So don’t use methods designed to catch their attention, such as subject lines in all caps, or by using popular spam keywords such as “free” or “money”. Remember, your message only works if it actually reaches the end user.

7) Make E-mail Marketing An Extension Of Your Home Page – Make sure the tone and content of your e-mail marketing message accurately reflects the tone and content of the landing page you are directing your prospects to. You can also utilize tracking tools to see which pages perform the best and generate the most productive results.

8) Bigger Isn’t Always Better – Keep your e-mail marketing message 500-650 pixels wide. Any larger and your audience will have to scroll horizontally to read the e-mail. This is a guaranteed turn off.

9) Maximize Your Company Logo – Studies have shown that folks almost always check out the upper left corner of an e-mail message. This is where return addresses were found on most traditional snail mail, and it is the perfect place for your company logo in an e-mail message. Never miss a corporate branding opportunity!

10) Conduct The Five Second Test – Send the e-mail to a friend who will be blunt with you. See if they can quickly determine what your call to action is. If they can, you’re in good shape. If they are scratching their head, you should probably back up and take another run at it.

Even in 2011, e-mail marketing is still one of the most effective yet unobtrusive methods for getting your message or product out to the largest number of people. Knowing the rules, being aware of what works and what doesn’t, and observing proper “netiquette” will go a long way towards impressing potential customers, and growing your business.