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The Guiding Principles of E-mail Marketing

More and more small and medium sized businesses are turning to e-mail marketing as a means of communicating with existing clients and acquiring new ones.

There are some very good reasons for adopting an e-mail marketing strategy:

  • Cost – it can be incredibly good value
  • Speed – you can get marketing messages to clients and prospects quickly
  • Feedback – e-mail reports provide a wealth of information about what the recipient did that can be used for follow up sales activity

Most businesses design and send their campaigns by using technology provided by a mass mailer system provider.

Some of these organisations are very good at helping users get the most from their systems: others leave users to their own devices.

Here are some guiding principles to e-mail marketing, irrespective of the system you might use. 

Best Practice Checklist

Who is it from?

Recipients need to clearly understand who is sending them the e-mail. You need to ensure:

  • Your ‘sent from’ domain address includes your company name or brand or is clearly associated with them
  • You use a “friendly from” name that will be recognisable to your recipients

What’s the subject line?

Appearing in the subject line of the e-mail you need to deliver your key message in no more than 50 characters. Your subject line should:

  • Reflect the single key message, offer or proposition of your e-mail campaign
  • Be compelling and drive recipients to both open and click through
  • Avoid adjectives and exclamations! These are fodder for SPAM catching software

What’s in it for them?

Recipients don’t sit down to read e-mail marketing in the same way they would a printed brochure. E-mail marketing is far more immediate and there is no room for waffle – you need to get to the point quickly and succinctly.

The recipient will be looking for the key offer or benefit, so it must be prominently displayed. Offers or benefits don’t have to have a monetary value. Sometimes it can simply be additional information that they will find useful.

What should they do next?

The e-mail should have:

  • Clear calls to action and links to relevant landing pages (call to actions should also appear on the landing pages)
  • Offers that have a time limit or a reason to act quickly
  • The ability to share the e-mail through social media if appropriate

It doesn’t matter if you are trying e-mail marketing for the first time or are a regular user, follow these e-mail marketing principles and you will achieve better results.

This article originally appeared in our Sept 2011 Loyalty Generator e-newsletter.