Email marketing that works

Sep 8, 2010   //   by Denise Gabbard   //   Contests, internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

This is a guest post from Denise Gabbard. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Most people think that spam, Facebook, blogs, and other social media like Twitter killed email marketing as a means to communicate online.  However, most people are wrong. Businesses today engage in email marketing because it gives them a return on investment hovering over $40 per $1 spent, and outperforms all direct marketing channels. In a Forbes Media survey in the February/March 2009 issues, it was reported that business owners and executives say email marketing is second overall to SEO when it comes to converting lookers into buyers. Impressive, and tells you why businesses use it—it just works!

An email campaign is an ongoing marketing venture whereby you send out regular communications to customers and potential customers. The traditional email marketing approach was to build a huge list and push lots of messages out to the masses. This doesn’t work anymore, as it brands your company spammers, and can get you booted from your domain, and facing government sanctions.

The new way of doing things is targeting those who want to hear from you. Put together your list by asking your customers if they’d like to receive ‘newsletters’ from you on a periodic basis. You can ask them in person, over the phone, or on your website by embedding a “Sign Up” button for convenience. When you invoice a customer for a project or product sale, always include a CTA (call to action) for them to sign up for your newsletter, and even put a sign up link in your email signature. You can convert that happy customer into a lifetime customer if you keep in touch regularly. The point is making the effort to create a targeted, personalized list for your company will pay big dividends.

There are a number of online business tools that are useful for your email campaigns. Sites like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, and Campaigner can help you set up your campaigns quickly and easily, and most offer a free trial so you can compare functionality.

When designing your email templates, readability should be your priority. Keep your paragraphs concise, with just a few sentences for each, and write compelling contact to encourage them to finish reading.  Another great idea is to keep your design less than 620 pixels, so that it can be viewed in email preview windows. (Also, large images take too long to load and can be abandoned easily.)   An important step is validating your code before mass mailing it. Email types interpret code differently, and you want to be certain there will be no glitches on their end and they can open and read your message.

Clearly, increased sales, brand loyalty, and reputation are the goals of email marketing campaigns. Your aim is to have a high percentage of recipients open your email and click-through any links that you placed in the email. Average rates of opening marketing emails have been shown to float around the 20-30% range, so do not expect everyone to open your mail. However, do continue tweaking your messages to appeal to more people and get a higher open rate.  For instance, a great graphic and web design company can create and execute a stunning email campaign that will make people take notice.

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Denise Gabbard

Denise is an SEO and Social Media Consultant, Professional Writer and Blogger at Write and Get Paid!, Examiner, and Experts123. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter

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  • James Lucas says:

    The days of simply mass emailing blindly are definitely over. Having segmented lists for people who have previously purchased from you or have signed up for newsletters makes a huge difference in your email success.

  • Nick says:

    I read the article with a great interest, as I want to introduce the benefits of e-mail list to a non profit organization. You laid down many useful points. I understand you you didn’t want to promote any particular list provider, but I really missed links to additional resources, reviews, etc

  • Johnny says:

    Denise,
    This brilliant information for every marketing company to remember.

    It’s funny how we forget the basics sometimes. I just wanted to add–building trust is the key to everything….we forget sometimes when we’re locked behind the screen– that we’re dealing with humans…myself included.

  • [...] Email marketing works best only when it suits the needs of subscribers. But it’s sad to see emails that are nothing more than ‘pure promotion’. You might also have deleted a lot of emails delivered to your inbox simply because they sound like a self-interested bore. [...]