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4 Email Marketing No-Brainers

June 25, 2012
Personal Finance
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You send (and receive) tons of mass emails every day, but what makes an email that people will actually open? Here are four easy ways to increase your response rate and build your community.

1. Test, test and test again

Everyone says it, and no one does it. Before you send out your first email blast, be sure to run it by at least three people – and that doesn’t mean you, three times. Especially if you’re the one drafting the email, you’re bound to slip up with the syntax, the merge tags, or even the company name. If possible, ask someone who is representative of your target audience to proofread. This will prevent you from using obscure jargon that your readers won’t understand.

2. Establish and codify a convention

The easiest way to streamline and error-proof a mail merge is to establish conventions early on. Will you use articles in the body of the text, or will you include them in the merge fields? Are you going with “Dear <name>:” or “<salutation>:”? Once you’ve finalized your rules, write them down as a handy reference for yourself and for anyone else you may ask to do the same tasks. You will forget the conventions. It’s human nature. Just make sure you aren’t reinventing the wheel every time you forget.

3. Keep abreast of new technology

Do you use an email marketing service like Mailchimp or similar? Sign up for their update emails or subscribe to their blog. 90% of what you see may be the service trying to upsell you, but the last 10% may be features that can save you time and effort.

4. Remember the phones

Almost any demographic you try to reach will include a cohort who will read your emails on their mobile phones. If you’re targeting young people, professionals or the tech-savvy, the cohort may be fairly substantial. Mobile phones present a challenge and an opportunity. Ensure that your emails are readable on a smartphone (Rule #1!) and skim through a primer on designing emails for mobile. Once your email blast is sent, separate out your success metrics for mobile and traditional viewing. Given the inherent demographic differences, comparing mobile and computer behavior will provide your company with valuable insights.

The two keys to email marketing success are reducing repetition and analyzing outcomes. You’ll likely send out many email blasts over the course of your corporate life, and it’s well worth the time investment to reuse as much of your previous efforts as possible. Every time you have an email campaign, ask yourself, what did I do this time that I shouldn’t have to do next time?

And once your email blast is sent, always ask yourself what you learned, and what you wish you learned but didn’t have the data for. Remember that the objective is not just getting a good success rate, but to make sure that you increase your success rate with every subsequent campaign.