Joining telemarketing and direct mail as effective ways to reach potential clients is email marketing. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what makes a good email campaign. Here are a few things to think about before you launch your next email marketing campaign.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone receiving an email – we all get so much of it, there has to be something that stands out in an email to make you want to bother opening it. American audiences are different from UK audiences – but there are some common elements.

1. The subject line has to scream ‘Open me!’ to make me want to open an email from anyone I don’t know.
2. The salutation needs to be my name – not ‘Dear friend’, ‘Hi there!’ or ‘Dear reader’. And definitely not my full name ‘Dear Lesley Morrissey’, has me reaching for the delete button! I KNOW it’s spam, I don’t need to read it to check!
3. The message must have value to me – even if it is a sales pitch, it needs to tell me something I want to know – not just what you want to tell me!
4. It needs to be short enough to keep me engaged to the end and long enough to have substance.
5. It must give me an easy route to taking action.

There are some other things to consider:

If it’s a fancy html message I now know it’s a sales message. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use visual images – it does mean you need to think very carefully about your message and how it will be received.

One email won’t work – a percentage of your audience won’t read it for all kinds of reasons, from ‘not interested’, to ‘too busy’. Most of us need between 5 and 12 contacts before we are ready to buy (assuming the product or service is of interest in the first place). A good campaign will have a series of email messages integrated with telephone follow ups and maybe even one or two direct mail items.

A minimum number of messages would be 3, but 5 would be better. The intervals between messages should not be too frequent (i.e. not every day or even every other day), and should be scheduled so they arrive on a different day of the week so if a recipient is always busy on a Tuesday, then the messages don’t always arrive on their busiest day.

Each message should stand alone – but be about the same product or service. Consistency is good! If each email is for a different product those people who read several will be confused as to what you’re presenting.

Most of this is good common sense – plan your emarketing carefully and you’ll find it pays off – providing, of course, you’ve got a good list – but that’s a whole other subject!
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