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Rules of thumb for successful email marketing

17 May Posted by in Blog, Content Marketing | Comments
Rules of thumb for successful email marketing

Direct email marketing has one huge advantage over other forms of digital marketing: it takes the marketing campaign directly to the customer. Other forms of digital marketing focus on drawing out customers from the huge ocean of internet users. Email marketing, however, can push your message to the laptops, desktops and smartphones of your target market. Valuable or entertaining emails are also very easily forwarded on to friends and family members, thereby expanding your market audience substantially and increasing the possibility of attracting new customers.

Don’t spam

Best practice email marketing campaigns do NOT spam members of their target market. Sending your customers unwanted emails about your products and services is likely to be damaging to your business’ reputation or a waste of time at the very least.

To get through to its destination, your email will have to jump through a range of hurdles. Firstly, most email servers have anti-spam filters designed to block suspicious emails and prevent them from reaching their destinations. Secondly, if your business is unknown to the email recipient then they are probably going to delete your email without reading it. Finally, in some countries, such as the US, it is illegal to send spam and, if your emails are deemed to be spam then your business can be charged significant penalty fees for each breach instance.


What motivated you to give a company, association or organisation your email address?

Image courtesy of Exact Target

How do I increase the chances of getting emails through to my customers?

There are a number of factors that play a role in ensuring your customers receive information about your business.

  1. Build your own database of valid customer email addresses. Stay clear of “client information” databases that can be rented or purchased as these may not be valid and, as you will be unknown to the addressee, the number of unopened emails is likely to be significantly higher.
  2. Ensure you include a double opt-in mechanism. One good way of ensuring that your emails are wanted by the recipient is to get confirmation directly from them. Usually, a customer agrees to receiving emails on a form, subscription service or as part of a payment process. Where possible, the benefits of subscribing must outweigh the perceived value of the customer’s email address. To confirm that this agreement was not given inadvertently, a follow up email is sent out to them to confirm their email address. In this email is a confirmation link that they need to click on to verify their inclusion in your database. Once they have opted in twice, you can be pretty certain that your emails will be well-received.
  3. Send the email from your work email address. Recipients and email filters are likely to doubt the validity of an email if it comes from an address like Emails originating from a recognisable person are more likely to pass filters and be opened by the recipient.
  4. Craft a specific and personalised subject line for the email. The subject of your email matters! In fact, if the subject line isn’t sufficiently informative and enticing, then your emails are more likely to end up in the recycling bin.
  5. Address the recipient by name wherever possible. Personalised messages make people feel less like a number and will help strengthen the relationship between your business and your customers.

Now that they have opened my email, how can I get them to click through to my website?

The content of your email must drive customers back to your website. Usually this is done by promoting a special offer that can only be accepted on your actual website. A direct link to the webpage that features this promotion is included in the email message.

Depending on your business, promotional offers could range from percentage discounts, buy one-get one free campaigns, information or industry newsletter subscriptions, e-books, articles or papers, or even free extras or benefits after purchase. If you sell accommodation, a promotion might include a free continental breakfast or a ticket to a nearby attraction. Another example might be tour operators offering reduced flights for customers purchasing land-based tours. It doesn’t have to be a massive saving or a special sale, just something that your customers will see as being an additional incentive to purchase AND to encourage others to purchase. Remember, emails get forwarded so you may not want to restrict your offer just to those on your database! See this as an opportunity to grow your market and expand your database of customer contacts.


One last tip! Think carefully about where you want your email customers to ‘land’ on your website when they click through from the email. Make sure your promotion is clearly visible, and if necessary, create a simplified promotional page for that particular offer.

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