Orig. Post by Self Made Success | Re-Post November 11, 2014
Some say that email marketing is dead and that things like social media are now more important in online marketing. It’s funny how people say that though, because last time I checked, all social media platforms still ask for everyone’s email to sign up.
The fact is, email marketing is not dead. It is in fact very much alive and still thriving throughout the world of internet business. But, you still have to know what you’re doing and leverage today’s techniques that work, instead of practicing old school methods that are outdated.
Here’s What You Need To Be Doing To Succeed In Email Marketing:
1. Always Give Value To Readers
If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule, it means that you should give value to your readers 80% of the time in your email marketing and ask for the sale 20% of the time. People will not care about your brand or what your business does if you don’t give them something in return.
If you show them you are an expert, build a better relationship or trust with the reader by providing great tips and solutions, they will love you for it.
When you develop this relationship with readers instead of selling them all the time, they will happily volunteer to buy your stuff because they will see how good your free content is and assume your paid stuff is even better (which it better be).
2. Keep Emails Short And Sweet
Many marketers, especially old school email marketers, will swear up and down that long copy in emails is always better. But, in a new age where no one has the time or patience to read a novel email everyday, that just isn’t a good practice.
Your emails should be short and sweet. Usually you will have a link in the email anyway to get your leads to take a certain action, so use a short introduction to what the link leads to and let the longer copy, video, main content, etc. be available when they click the link.
3. Be Consistent In Your Delivery
Don’t do random emails at completely random times throughout the week. If you are providing good value to your subscribers like you should be, they will be anticipating and looking forward to your emails.
It makes it pretty hard for readers to keep up with you if you don’t consistently email out around a certain time. Some good times to email are around 10:00 AM or 3:00 PM. You may also want to experiment with emailing at times when people would usually check emails.
Most people have to rely on day jobs so email within their schedule to get better results. Test sending emails before work, around lunch break and around the time work usually ends. Then, come to a conclusion and stick with it.
4. Don’t Overdo It With Your Links
I’ve studied a lot of email marketers over the years and it really amazes me how some people will put 5 or more links in one email. With strict email accounts, like Google, that are always looking for spam, you cannot put too many links in your email broadcasts.
Links are one of the primary things affiliated with spam and if you use anymore than 3, you are really pushing your luck. Keep the email shorter and using less links will be much easier without any kind of drop in your open rate.
5. Don’t Have Any Kind Of Spam
Spam will hurt your open rates, click-through rates and worst of all, sales conversions if you have it in your emails. Links are only part of what triggers spam filters. Another thing to watch out for is overusing punctuation or capitalizing every letter of some of your words.
Luckily, email services like Aweber have spam filters built in to help you know how much spam is roughly in your emails before you send them, allowing you to tweak any mistakes. But, you can’t always depend on spam filter ratings, so you need to know what to avoid.
Avoid these types of spam:
– Using punctuation multiple times in a row (like this: !!!!!!!!)
– Avoid using words in all caps (BIG NEWS! OPEN UP)
– Once again, avoid too many links
– Avoid pitchy, sales lingo (Examples: sale, open, click here, guarantee, financial freedom, etc.)
– Don’t use images
6. Get More Personal
Lets face it, we all like to fee special don’t we? If you collect names for subscribers, use their name in emails. Sometimes you may use lines that include how long they’ve been on your list or where they’re located. Your email service (if you have a good one) should provide many different customization options that include info about the subscriber.
Make emails seem more personal and don’t let them feel like it’s nothing but bulk emails every time. You may even tell a story once in a while that people can relate to and tie it into a lesson or some kind of value.
7. No More Pictures
Not using pictures in email marketing may surprise you and hurt your feelings a little, especially if you’re a creative design person like me, but it must stop. Pictures hurt your chances (especially with Gmail) at getting your emails delivered to the primary inbox of subscribers.
Remember, not only must you have great emails, but you must get them seen for them to get opened and read. Pictures can sometimes trigger spam filters and frankly, don’t help conversions much anyway.
In fact, some of the most successful marketers I’ve ever studied didn’t even hardly use pictures in emails, capture pages, sales letters, or anything else. It’s just an extra thing that take attention away from the copy, which is where the real value is.
8. Use Attention Grabbing, Curiosity Building Subject Lines
Apart from getting your emails delivered to the right inbox, the subject line is the most important aspect of getting your emails opened in the first place. You need to stand out and make your subject lines fuel your readers’ curiosity and make them have to click to see what’s inside.
You may try asking a question, using their name, using numbers, etc. to capture attention. For more on subject line creation, read here. Think about the emails you would open.
9. No More Sales Pitches
Lets be honest, people love to buy, but hate to be sold. It has to be their idea to buy something. Frankly, more and more people are becoming less tolerant of sales emails. It doesn’t work and email companies like Mailchimp, have almost eliminated affiliate marketing in their services.
If you want to build a better brand, sell your products and services on your website, not on your email service.
10. You May Want To Stop Using Blog Broadcasts Or Any Other RSS Emails
Many of the better email services, like Aweber, offer blog broadcasts or RSS generated emails that send automatically when you publish a new post. This may seem like a fantastic idea that will save you time, but Gmail and other email email platforms see right through this.
These types of emails can easily end up in the spam or promotional inboxes where they will probably never be seen again. I’m not saying these don’t work at all. Some marketers do well with blog broadcasts because they know what they’re doing and just don’t have time to edit emails ever time.
But, people are looking for more of a personal touch and connection these days and robotic emails that are exactly the same everytime, may not fly with some of your subscribers. I’m not saying for sure that it will, but there’s a good chance RSS emails will hurt your open rate, as well as deliver-ability.
Either have one separate email list for blog broadcasts only, or just eliminate them altogether. I know this may seem inconvenient, but it’s all about having satisfied subscribers and customers.
11. Format Your Emails Right
Email services tend to have many different fancy email templates and other options for formatting your emails, but that doesn’t mean they work better. The best thing to do is stick with what works best for all the other top marketers and just use plain emails without a template or graphics.
When you use templates, it makes emails just look more sales oriented like they’re straight from a business that only cares about sales. You want to instead create more of a personal feel to your emails.
What would you do if you were sending an email to a friend or relative? You wouldn’t use a fancy template would you? As far as plain text vs HTML, stick with HTML because you need to have that link or two in their to drive traffic and convert sales.
12. Show Subscribers You Care
Sometimes your subscribers will reply to your emails and ask you a question, thanking you for the great content, or even just give you some feedback. Whatever the case, if subscribers email you directly, answer them.
It doesn’t look good on you if you send them emails all the time, but won’t take the time out of your day to read their replies and answer back.
If you can master these 12 techniques for you email marketing I can guarantee you will see an increase in your open rates, click-through rates and even sales. Times have changed, and you must adapt to the new way of email marketing to keep your business moving upward.
Jim is a 30 year veteran of Fortune 500 sales and marketing with companies such as Oracle, Dell, and EMC, as well as Hilton and Omni hotels. His passion lies in helping emerging growth companies raise funds by leveraging the marketing tools and strategies that large corporations typically use. His focus is simple. “Help Businesses Raise Capital!”