Reach Out and Touch Someone: Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are an integral part of your marketing plan; almost everyone has email, and the cost is significantly cheaper than a physical mailing.  There are now many options for email marketing service companies which make it easy for you to design and send emails to a large list of recipients, including Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Campaigner.  Just using these companies isn’t the answer, though; you need to know how best to utilize them for the greatest return on your investment.

DO: Determine Your Message
What are you hoping to accomplish with your email?  Is it advertising a special or service?  Is it informational or intended to be acted upon by the recipient?  Decide what you want your message to be and convey it clearly and consistently throughout the email.

DON’T: Use Misleading or Unrelated Subject Lines
Your subject line is the first impression that your recipient has of your email.  It’s what entices them to open it, with the expectation that the contents will match what piqued their interest.  If the body of the email is unrelated to the subject line, you’re not only encouraging the reader to delete your message, but you’re also damaging their trust in you, which means they’ll open fewer of your emails or unsubscribe entirely from your list.

DO: Keep It Concise
You don’t need to keep your message stiff and formal; writing conversationally (but still professionally) humanizes your message and attracts more interest.  This is not to say, however, that you should ramble.  Get your point across in a short, easily-digested message to keep your recipients’ interest.  Readers are skimmers by habit; large blocks of text are less likely to be read, which defeats the purpose of your email.

DON’T: Assume Email Is One-Size-Fits-All
Some emails are great to blast to all of your subscribers, but you’re missing opportunities if you don’t curate your list and send targeted emails to specific recipients.  Perhaps you’d like to advertise a new offer to subscribers who have partaken of a specific promotion in the past.  Perhaps you’d like to follow up with subscribers with inactive or low-yield accounts.  Research your recipients’ needs and target them specifically as much as possible.

DO: Use Urgency
If your subject line conveys a deadline for the contents of the email, a recipient is more likely to open it immediately, instead of leaving it to languish in their inbox and ultimately be deleted.  Including something along the lines of “Limited Time Offer—Act Today” stresses the immediate applicability of your email and encourages timely opening.

DON’T: Use Spam Words
Spam filters are ever-evolving, and email subject lines that contain popular spam keywords are sure to disappear into your recipients’ spam folder, never to be read.  Familiarize yourself with these keywords and avoid them to make sure that your emails actually reach your recipients.  (HubSpot has a great list of keywords to avoid.)

DO: Time Your Blasts Carefully
If your email goes out over the weekend, it’s going to be lost in the flood of emails your average recipient receives Monday morning.  Friday is also not an ideal day for blasts, as the looming weekend means that most recipients will not be focused on your message—if they’re there to read it at all.  Instead, schedule your blasts for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  They’re more likely to reach a larger, more responsive audience.  If you’re not sure when works best for your particular mailing list, test it: vary the days and times to determine which generates the best response.

DON’T: Forget to Include a Call to Action
Something as simple as social share buttons or a request to forward the email to other interested parties can go a long way to build your customer base.  They create opportunities for correspondence and interaction, and help you reach well beyond your subscriber list.

DO: Use Your Suppliers’ Tools
When you receive an email blast from your suppliers, check to see if they offer an end user-safe version of it.  Maple Ridge Farms includes links to these versions for all of their end user-applicable email blasts.  Check with your other suppliers, too, to see what tools they offer for you to use.

Email campaigns are a great way to inexpensively reach a large number of clients, and, managed carefully, can only help your business!

What do you find is the most effective method of engaging your email recipients?  Let us know in the comments!