Contrary to popular belief, email remains an extremely powerful and effective marketing method—when it’s properly executed. When you use it to stay in touch with customers, clients, and prospects who know and trust you, it’s a great way to let them know about information they care about—and have expressed an interest in.
But before you fire off a bunch of messages to everyone in your database, bear in mind that not every email will be well received. Poorly executed mailings will still end up in the trash. So how can you make sure your emails get read instead of trashed? Here are three things to consider.
Whether you like it or not, this is how most people decide whether or not they are going to read your email. Boring subject lines will get ignored (and trashed). Subject lines that make outrageous claims will be thrown away unread. Sales pitch subjects will generally end up in the trash. Subject lines that are intriguing or offer genuine help or a real benefit have a much better chance of being opened and read. But when you’re writing an intriguing subject line, make sure it’s still clear. It’s fine to tease a bit—but don’t make it so mysterious that someone doesn’t know what it’s about. If people have to stop to think about what it means . . . you’ve probably lost them.
Make sure the body of your email is directly related to your subject line. Don’t ever use a “switch-and-bait” approach—hinting at one thing in the subject line and talking about something else in the actual email. Make sure your content is worth reading. Get to the point quickly and deliver value. Keep it simple and short. Emails aren’t for making a case—they are for informing. If you’re offering a lot of information, link to it. And have a call to action (again, probably a link). You want people to do something as a result of reading your email.
Don’t overdo it. Unless you’re in a business or industry that changes constantly (by that, I mean daily or hourly), you don’t want to send too many messages. You want readers to look forward to getting your emails because they know they’ll get something interesting and of value. And related to that, always include an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe. It demonstrates to your recipients that you respect their right to privacy and it keeps you from being branded as a spammer.
Properly done, your email marketing can be a vital link between your offline marketing efforts (direct mail, print ads, catalogs, TV/radio) and your online efforts. And in today’s market, an integrated marketing approach is absolutely essential.