5 Tips for Effective Email Marketing

Learn the inbox-tested marketing strategies that successful senders use to get clicks.

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While digital advertising is a staple, and influencer marketing is the new kid on the block, email marketing has proven time and again to be the most reliable way to reach people quickly. According to a February study by the Content Marketing Institute, 76 percent of content marketers in North America rely on email marketing technology. Considering how inexpensive and easy it is to track email marketing data, it’s a no-brainer for brands and retailers alike. But it takes more than sending an email for marketing to translate into sales; customers have to click through. With ten years of experience as the director of education for marketing giant Constant Contact, speaker, author and marketing coach Julie Niehoff shares five tips for effective email strategies.

  1. Keep it short. No one likes a long email, so concise messaging is key when it comes to increasing click-through rates. Niehoff suggests retailers limit the message to one or two points per email. Writing conversationally in first-person also helps hold readers’ attention. “Using brochure copy or words from your website immediately puts your email in a sales category, and you will not easily dig out from that,” she says.
  2. Make it personal. In your emails, use the recipient’s first name when possible. Also, avoid treating email marketing like a fire sale—always sell-sell-selling. “Show me that you have more invested in our relationship than just me buying stuff from you,” Niehoff says. That could mean sharing an idea, tips, inspiration, a good story or even tidbits from your own life. Don’t oversell, she warns.
  3. Analyze timing and quantity . Analytics software makes it possible to pinpoint the time of day that works best for a particular demographic. Evaluating what time is most effective is the secret to good marketing, according to Niehoff. “Look at what is working and do more of that,” she says, adding that over-sending is often irritating to even the most devoted customers while under-sending makes them feel unimportant. It’s all about finding that balance.
  4. Double and triple check content. Before emails are automated to send, they should be checked thoroughly for spelling and grammar mistakes. That means not just relying on your computer’s spell check, Niehoff warns. She once had a client that trusted spell check a little too much, not realizing that the spelling of “click” was changed throughout the entire message to “lick.” “His email was set up to sell whiteboards, and in several places it said ‘Lick This Link,’” she says. As you may have guessed, he didn’t sell any whiteboards.
  5. Confirm mobile compatibility. Studies show that most emails are opened on a cell phone today, therefore designing them to look like a print newsletter won’t be well-received. A responsive mobile design is critical because most mail services allow people to share emails right to social media. The reach of one email can increase exponentially based on how many people share your  emails with their friends and followers, according to Niehoff. When sending out a campaign, retailers have to think beyond the people on the subscriber list. “Think about who is on your subscribers’ friends lists,” she says. “That’s your larger audience and opportunity.”

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