Email Marketing Isn'T Dead: Best Practices To Get Your Emails Opened

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

If you’re a small business owner, hopefully you’re utilizing one of the most tried and true marketing tactics: email marketing.  One of the biggest things many marketers struggle with is actually getting people to open their emails - imagine how much email spam you may get on a daily basis, and how you deal with either filtering it or ignoring it to get to more important things. To make sure the content you’re sending doesn’t turn up in the spam or trash folder, you’ll want to keep these best practices in mind:

Who is the email from and what is it about?
Think about which emails you receive that are more likely to be opened. Probably those from a name you recognize, with a subject line that piques your interest or promises something new, correct? Craft subject lines that garner attention and trust – iContact has several examples here.

Be aware of your timing
. This tactic requires a bit of research, trial and error because every consumer and prospect is different. But it makes sense to send your email at the time that your audience is most likely at their computer or mobile device and ready to open it. This could be anywhere from early in the morning on weekdays to weekend afternoons.

Personalization is key
. If the first line of your email doesn’t actually contain the name of your contact and instead has a recyclable, generic line (such as “Hello communicator”), you’re doing it wrong.  Get on a first name basis and do your best to get to know each person on your email list before sending them content. Study their social accounts or email signatures (if they sent emails back to you) in order to get a feel for what they do and what they’re interested in. That way, you can tailor your emails and keep them hooked.

One email is not enough
. Don’t just create one email and blast it to every email you have – create separate lists for current customers, prospects, influencers, etc. and carefully craft a different message for each. You’ll get much better reception from targeted messages than a generic blast. Remember: different people have different needs and interests.

Don’t forget the absolute basics.
Spellcheck, grammar, don’t type in all caps and avoiding spammy keywords are often small things that marketers forget before they press send on their email campaigns. Don’t be one of them!

Once you’re doing all of the above, bravo. If you’re using or are considering using an email marketing service, the next step is to consider these three metrics in your analytics:
  • Open Rates: how many people actually open the email you delivered to their inbox (out of the total number of emails you sent).

  • Click Through Rates (CTR): the number of unique clicks on links in the email message divided by the number of delivered emails in a campaign.

  • Unsubscribe rates: people who no longer wish to receive communications from you – which usually means they are disengaged and feel your content isn’t relevant.
Paying attention to these metrics can help you better gauge which messages are resonating with your readers and which are falling flat.

About the Author

Stacey Acevero

Stacey Acevero is the social media manager at Vocus. As an early adopter of social media, you can find her scouring Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn every day for creative marketing ideas. Stacey also writes about PR, SEO, social media and small business marketing.

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