Three must-read email marketing tips

By: Dale Cook

Date: 31 January 2011

Creating a successful email campaign isn’t easy. It takes skill to make sure your email isn’t marked as spam. You’ve also got to convince the reader to open the email and take action – which usually means buy something. Here are three things you can do to maximise your chances of making a sale.

1 Identify target markets in your mailing list

If you have a large email list, chances are that not all your customers will be interested in the same products or services. It’s a good idea to do some research and find out what they are most likely to be interested in.

Have they bought something from you in the past and would they benefit from your latest offering? Maybe you want to sell exclusively to either men or women? By sending targeted emails, you should get an above-average conversion rate.

2 Personalise your emails

How many times have you read “Dear Valued Customer”? How valued are you if the person/business writing the email doesn’t even know your name?

It’s easy to include individual customer’s names, even in a bulk mailing, so do it. Your target audience will dictate whether you use a formal “Mr Smith” or a more casual “John”.

There are plenty more ways to personalise emails (eg mentioning prior purchases, regional references, etc) but your email should also be personable. Businesses, especially medium to large ones, should try to be as human as possible. A great way to do this in an email is by having a real person signing off. Instead of ending with “Yours sincerely, ACME” use an employee’s name. Adding a photo helps, too. Customers like to buy from people more than faceless businesses.      

3 Constantly test your emails 

You should be tracking the results of your email campaigns, even if it’s as rudimentary as working out how much money you made (or didn’t make) from each one. Ideally, though, you’ll want your email service to provide feedback on bounce, open, click-through, conversion and unsubscribe rates.

Once you’ve got a benchmark, start testing. The easiest way to do this is an A/B split test, where you send one version of your email to half of your target audience, and a slightly modified version to the other half. It’s advisable to only change one element per test (like the subject line, heading, images etc), so you can identify best combination of features. 

Testing can help you improve the effectiveness of your emails as well as confirm that what you are doing is working. For example, if you normally send your customers long emails, test it against a short version. You’ll then know what works best for you and your customers.

Writing the perfect email isn’t easy, but, using some tried and tested methods, you can maximise the potential of each email campaign and (hopefully) increase your profits.   

Dale Cook, Serif

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