Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing, also known as e-blasts and e-newsletters, is one of the least expensive ways to get your message out and can catapult your sales to a new level. Use email marketing to help build your relationship with your customer. The first step to email marketing is selecting a software program. There are several to choose from but two of our favorites are Constant Contact and Mail Chimp.

Constant Contact offers over 400 email templates and a tracking and reporting feature that allows you to see what percentage of your audience opened your email and which link generated the most click through rates. They have excellent customer support and offer a free 60-day trial for up to 100 contacts. After 60 days you will pay a monthly fee that starts at $15 and increases incrementally depending on the number of email addresses you send to.

MailChimp does not offer as many templates to choose from, but they offer free emails for lists with 2,000 names or less. They also have an easy to use system for adding and managing contacts and have a strong reporting feature. MailChimp offers point-and-click WYSIWYG editing. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor enables you to easily edit your email campaign while seeing what it will look like to your readers.

Once you have done your research and picked out your email marketing partner, set goals on what you want to achieve and track them. Below are some general tips to consider:

  1. Pick or design a template that complements your brand and your website.
  2. Determine what you want to include in your weekly, monthly or quarterly email marketing. Do you have a featured spotlight, a product or safety tip? Interview an employee or an expert. Tell readers something they don’t already know and sprinkle in some fun or a quote. Treat the readers like they are a part of your group to help build brand affinity.
  3. Ask your customers what their email reading habits are. Do they prefer to open emails on their computer, receive a text or open them on a mobile device or smartphone?
  4. So that your email can be viewed on a smartphone or computer, remember that a practical, clean design is best. Always set the alignment to the left – this ensures that the copy doesn’t get pushed to the center or right if someone is reviewing the email newsletter on a smartphone. A good design includes whitespace, short paragraphs, few pictures and clearly labeled sections.
  5. A/B test your emails so you can determine what days of the week and times have a higher open rate for your business.
  6. When programming the content, include a teaser paragraph with a link to your website so your readers have to click on the link to get the full story. This helps drive traffic to your website and with rankings.
  7. Incorporate Google Analytics so you can view statistics on visits, conversions and sales. Combine email and social marketing by sharing your campaign with Facebook, Digg or Twitter.
  8. Always test your email campaign before it is sent to the masses. Test it internally, externally and for viewing it in different browsers and on smartphones.
  9. After you launch your email, pay attention to what topics have higher click through rates for future campaigns. Remember to measure your success and compare results from email campaigns. Use your reports to learn about your reader’s interests and sign up for your competitor’s e-newsletters to see what they are doing. Make sure you are building and regularly updating your email list and database.
  10. If you are having trouble coming up with rich content, consider reducing the length and frequency of your email newsletters. People typically value the space in their inbox so make sure you are providing relevant and engaging information.