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Email marketing - basic do's and dont's

Using email newsletters is an inexpensive and low cost method to market your products or services. Newsletters can produce massive results for little or now cost. All it takes is a little TIME and PATIENCE.

In general your newsletter should be mailed to a targeted list of recipients, who have subscribed to your services via and opt-in process. Remember that growing a mail list is a long term process that never ends. There are many legitimate ways to assemble a good list of emails. These include:

  • Add a link to subscribe to your newsletter on your home page
  • Make some kind of free offer based on sign up to your newsletter
  • Run an online contest
  • Ask your customers to subscribe
  • Add your sign up link to your Contact Us page on your website
  • Add a sign up link to your electronic invoices (and any other financial docs)

NB: Work hard at making you opt in form as un-intrusive as possible. This means that you should not ask a million questions. Keep it short – Name, Surname and email address and maybe one more question should be enough to start with. You can get more info later when they start to trust you and the content you provide them.

Do Not Buy Lists
Avoid the temptation to buy or somehow acquire lists of email addresses. This will be counter productive to your business and will cause you more trouble than you expect. You can quickly get the domain you are mailing from flagged as a spam source by corporate mail firewalls or worse get flagged by some black list.

If you have to buy access to a list then make sure that you make use of a reputable mail list broker service and be aware that this is not the best way to get your prospective customers attention.

Never Give Up
Always keep at it. Concentrate on growing your list by constantly trying new approaches.

Content Strategy
Make sure that you deliver good relevant content. Relevant content takes the preferences and focus of your target market into account. Timing is important - like Valentines day content in Feb and Mother’s day etc.

There are two possible strategies for delivering your content.

  1. Deliver all the information as an article or a series of articles in a single email
  2. Deliver summary with a link to the complete article on your web site

The fact is that both strategies have value and some of your readers will have a preference for on or the other. So you can opt for either route with a good chance of success.

If you do go for summary of key information with links make sure that you present enough information for your readers to be able to decide if it is worth their while to click thru for the whole story.

Another option is to have a complete article as a leader with the rest of your stories as summaries.

Make sure that your best article or item comes first. The first paragraph needs to get their attention or else they may just go for the delete icon.

Your Newsletter Subject Line
Make sure that you spend some time thinking about the best subject line to use for each new mailing you do.

Whatever you DO NOT use the same subject line each time - like: ABC Shoes Monthly Newsletter. That is really wasting your best opportunity to get your newsletter opened and read. Adding the month is not a solution like: ABC Shoes Monthly Newsletter JUNE

Some basics:

  • Pick your wording carefully
  • Use key words from the newsletter’s content
  • Keep it short (most email software like Outlook has a limited viewing space for The Subject)

Timing & Frequency
Traditionally we don’t send newsletters on a Monday morning (because your readers are busy wading thru a mountain of mail). Some marketers like Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s. You can try a few different times and see what works best for you. Fridays are generally to be avoided because your readers are likely to be distracted.

Do not over send. If monthly will do it for your, don’t try weekly without good reason because they will vote with their unsubscribe buttons! (Make sure you have one of these in all your newsletters)

Stats
Most bulk email services offer stats for each mail send operation they do for you. Basic stats will provide a summary of how many mails were sent, how many were accepted and how many bounced back.

If you do make use of click thru links embedded in the mail, then click thru stats are very important. These can be picked up in various ways. Google Analytics is one really good way to get a feel for the impact that your newsletter has on your website’s traffic. You should see:

  • An easily discernable rise in traffic volumes after the mail has gone out
  • Specific pages getting hits from your various summaries in the newsletter
  • Study these numbers after each newsletter. Don't dissipate your efforts and miss out on this analysis step. Modify and adjust your ongoing content delivery based on which types of articles are most popular with your readers.
  • An additional line of information relates to how many mails were opened after receipt. This is important because quite a lot of received mail gets deleted without being read (opened).

Good Luck!

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