Top 10 tips for email marketing

Email marketing is quick, effective and measurable. It allows you to talk to a large, targeted section of your customers with a message that is relevant. You know instantly who’s opened the email, and who’s responded – which means you can test a variety of strategies. As you know, the more you understand about your customers’ behaviour the better. Email marketing done right, can bring you closer and closer to your customers.

Forrester research predicts by 2014 the average buyer will receive 9,000 opt-in email messages a year. With even less time to capture someone’s attention, how will you stand out from the crowd?

Sixothree's Top Ten Tips


1. Make best use of subscription forms

Ensure you capture the customers’ interests when they subscribe/opt in to your emails. With clever data-driven marketing techniques, we no longer have to ‘push’ products and services towards our audience. Using opt-in permission-based marketing, customers are able to ‘pull’ the information towards them, choosing what communication they want to receive, and when. Knowing what products/services your customers are interested in is a big step forward to customer engagement.

Your subscription forms need to be short and to the point. You don’t want to lose them by asking too many questions. Initially, just capture the information you need to send them an email. Once they’ve signed up, you can send them a welcome email and ask them some further questions. Make sure the questions are well thought through and your customer understands the benefit to them by answering them. This gradual engagement will ultimately give you higher volumes of better quality data, while growing your relationships.

2. Use data to ensure relevant messaging

Customers have become very fast at identifying whether messages are relevant to them. Make sure you provide them with the information they want, when they want it. Using analytics and segmentation marketing tools to determine the demographics, purchase patterns and lifestyle choices of a wide customer base, you can send highly targeted email campaigns. If there’s something specific you want to know about your customers to enable you to target them with more relevant products/services in the future, why not ask them? Just make sure you tell them why you need the information and how it will benefit them.

3. Get the design and layout right

A professional looking HTML email is essential to stand out from the inbox clutter and maximise your response. Each email needs to be relevant to your customers, using data to dynamically customise both the content and the design of the email, ensuring each individual receives a fully customised, relevant message. The positioning of each message needs to be considered during the design process to ensure the main message you want to get across is in the most prominent position to each segment.

With the growing popularity of mobile browsing - 13.36% of emails currently being opened by a mobile operating system or device (Knotice, 2011) - it is important to design your email templates to display correctly across multiple clients and devices.

4. Engaging copy will capture their attention

Strong copy is essential in all your communications. But nowhere is it more important than in online communications. With a dozen distractions a click away, it only takes one tricky or boring sentence for you to lose a potential customer. Good copywriting gets their attention from the start, and maintains it with simple, interesting copy. Back up your claims with proof. And when you’ve said what you need to, stop.

Above all, to engage your customers and stand out from the crowd, your message must be relevant to them to spark an interest.

5. Use an engaging subject line

Choose a subject line that will ensure the highest open rate as well as keep you out of the spam folder. No matter how good the email design and content is, if you can’t get the recipient to open it then they will never see it. Your subject line needs to be short, relevant and engaging. Tell them why they should open the email.

6. Choose the most effective ‘from’ name

The subject line is very important but the ‘from’ name is of equal importance, if not more so. It’s what identifies the sender and often the first thing people look at when they get an email, especially if they’re scanning a number of emails in their inbox to see which to open. Some people use the company name or senders name, some use a brand name or simply an email address. Choose what will be most recognisable to the recipient and test it. Use the strongest from name and stick to it – it’s what they will recognise next time you send them an email.

7. Be consistent

When your customer signs up to receive your emails, tell them the frequency in which to expect them. Better still, ask them how frequent they would like to receive emails from you. And stick to it. Whether it’s once a day, once a week or once a month. The more frequent they are, the more your clients will become familiar with your brand and expect to receive your emails. But make sure there is a valid reason for each email, and make sure the content is relevant.

8. Make use of automated trigger emails

Trigger marketing enables you to hit your customers when they’re in the market to buy. You can react to their changing demands, target them at the most effective times, and so minimise costs while maximising response. Trigger emails are simple, automated emails which can be set up within your email marketing software. You can set up ‘triggers’ based on birthdays for example, or even a reminder trigger for an offer or voucher that is about to expire.

Even if you know your product, your customers and the best ways of approaching them, knowing when to approach them can still be particularly difficult. Trigger marketing removes a lot of the guesswork, making it one of the most invaluable tools in online marketing.

9. Opt down instead of opt out

All emails should have an ‘unsubscribe’ option. When a customer clicks on that link to unsubscribe, it is a good idea to understand why they are unsubscribing. Unsubscribe rates often go down if you direct them to a preference centre. It might be that they feel they are receiving too many emails from you. Giving them the option to receive less, more targeted emails may stop them from unsubscribing. Of course if they still choose to unsubscribe this must be honoured.

10. Test, test and test again

As with any form of marketing, testing is key to achieving the best results. With email marketing, testing is simple and cost effective. You should test everything from the subject line, ‘from’ name and the time of send, to the layout, key messages and call to action. Ensure you outline what your key performance indicators are going to be first. But beware, something that may work now may not work a few months down the line. Testing should be continuous to ensure optimum results.

For help with your email marketing strategy call Karen on 07908 610 190 or email karen@sixothree.co.uk.