Email messages are productive, efficient and low-cost ways to keep in touch with your customers—informing them of new deals, promotions and company news. First and foremost, there is a big difference between email blasting SPAM and sending effective marketing emails. SPAM uses the shotgun marketing strategy where you blast thousands of emails into cyberspace, hoping to get a few responses.
In contrast, an effective email blast targets an audience with whom you already have a relationship, the email is expected, and with a good campaign, readily welcomed. Here are just a few tips to help you create an excellent email—with a marketing message.
Target Your Audience
Your best audience is your current, satisfied customers, people with whom you have already developed a relationship of trust. If you haven't developed an email list of your customers, now is a good time start. Add a link to your website where patrons can sign up for "special bargain notices" or even a newsletter.
Make Your Audience Feel Safe
Internet savvy people can spot SPAM from a mile away and know the dangers of it. All of your emails should have a familiar look with your company's logo and be identifiable by the subject line. It's a good idea to send your emails the same time each month, week or day, and be consistent so your customers know when to expect the message.
Offer more than one way for the recipients to enter your website to investigate the product or service. Many people stay away from direct links to sites and would prefer to enter your address in the browser. Never ask for personal information via an email. This is a familiar sign of a phishing fraud rather than legitimate marketing email. Additionally, use an identifiable sender name, customers may not want to open mail from "customer care" or "special offer" use your company name, for example "Classic Designs Inc. Customer Relations".
Get Readers Attention
Like a good newspaper story, every marketing email should have an enticing headline or lead. Give the audience a reason to open your email and further investigate the product. Headlines like "Look at This!" or "You Won't Believe This Deal" don't work. Remember you're dealing with people who are very educated when it comes to being solicited—our minds process hundreds of ads each day and very few grab our attention.
Focus on Creating a Lead Instead of a Sell
At this point you want to create leads not generate sales. Would you rather have 7-9 sales or 300-400 prospective customers? Focus on building a good relationship. Provide the customer with accurate and valuable information, and then suggest your product later.
Make Your Marketing Email Easy to Read
There are a few basic things you can do to make your marketing email easy on the eyes: Use white space - don't pack the email with graphics and text; you'll overwhelm and distract your customers. Use a font that is large and easy to read. Put the most important information (headline or hook) in the upper left-hand part of the page, our eyes naturally go there first. Use attractive graphics but don't overdo it.
Finally, many email programs block pictures to help prevent the sender from identifying the recipient's computer. The email should still be comprehendible if some of the pictures are blocked.
Discuss the Benefits
The copy should be brief but discuss the benefits of your product. Be positive and ask the question, why does this person need my product or service?
Don't Betray Your Audience
If you promise great deals and products in your email, make sure you can fulfill the order. Don't lead your customers to your website just to disappoint them. They'll respond by unsubscribing or blocking your emails.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Set a time or quantity limit on your promotion. Make the customers act now because tomorrow may be too late. Your email will quickly be forgotten and lost in the piles of SPAM if the customer doesn't act soon after they receive the message.
Obey the Law
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 states that marketing emails must include the sender's physical address, opt-out instructions and it must be clearly labeled. Deceptive subject lines and false headers are prohibited. For more information, read SPAM Law Basics.
Use Email Marketing Software
Email marketing software can help you create, organize and mail effective marketing emails.
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McDar, (2005). 6 tips to create effective solo ad that pulls results. Retrieved Feb. 22, 2006, from Internet Marketing Information Center Web site: http://internet-marketing.mcdar.net/20168.php.
Edward Lowe Foundation, (2005). How to create an effective advertisement. Retrieved Feb. 22, 2006, from eSmallOffice Web site: http://www.esmalloffice.com/SBR_template.cfm?DocNumber=PL12_0100.htm.