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20 Email Marketing Do’s And Don’ts For Entrepreneurs

If you already have an email list or you’re building one from scratch there are several things you should know first. Checkout these twenty do’s and don’ts, unleash...

Last Update: July 7, 2015

Online marketing is an excellent cost-effective and metrics driven way to increase sales and build brand awareness. One of the best digital tactics, amongst many, is email marketing – sharing your message directly with interested parties via email.

If you already have an email list or you’re building one from scratch there are several things you should know. Checkout these twenty do’s and don’ts, unleash your email marketing genius and cultivate profitable and loyal relationships along the way.

 

Email Marketing Do’s

 

  1. Select an online email client (software) that is user-friendly, cost-effective and scalable. When it comes to email marketing services and list management, not all platforms are created equal. My favorites include MailChimp, AWeber and Campaign Monitor.

  2. Utilize a clean and modern email template. There’s no excuse for poor execution here, given most email marketing services include free templates. Or you can find inspiration from other beautiful email newsletters, hire a designer and create your very own.

  3. Capture email and business card opt-ins on consumer facing touchpoints including your website, trade shows and social media networks (provide a link). Give people the option to communicate with your company on their own terms.

  4. Create an email marketing calendar (content plan) to coincide with new product/service launches, new news or educational (branding) communications. Need immediate content? Use your company blog feed.

  5. Use A/B testing to refine your email communications over time. Test subject line headings, landing pages and content.

  6. Cross promote your company’s social media outlets in the body of each email.

  7. Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. Give people the right to have you stop emailing them, and understand the penalties for violating this Act.

  8. Measure the performance of your email campaigns. Become familiar with email metrics such as open rates, click-throughs and conversion rates to track the effectiveness of your communications.

  9. Improve conversion rates (desired actions) by aligning the frequency of your emails with the length of your sales cycle. How long does it take you to close a deal? Do customers regularly inquire for more information? Are there major barriers to purchase? Consider these factors and set up a drip campaign accordingly. Here are a few examples.

  10. Focus on building a quality email list. What good is it to have a hundred thousand uninterested email subscribers? Most companies would rather have ten thousand active and involved relationships instead.

 

Email Marketing Don’ts

 

  1. Don’t use personal email addresses to send “business emails”. These days, most if not all, hosting packages are equipped with a domain and email accounts. Communicate professionally and get to know your audience. Like it or not, your conversations make a statement; make sure it’s a good one.

  2. Don’t add people to your email marketing list that did not opt in; it’s annoying and against the law. If you’re an early-stage startup, sure it’s okay to email your friends, family, dog, etc. to share the good news. But give people a chance to opt-in and then continue the conversation.

  3. Don’t forget to double-triple check your email content. If writing isn’t your strong suit, hire a freelance copywriter. Your messages should be concise and clear. Not jumbled with 50 million things you want to say about your business. Keep it simple.

  4. Don’t send an email without an unsubscribe link. Have you ever wanted to unsubscribe but couldn’t? Don’t force customers to angrily email you and tell you they’re not interested. Give prospects the option to opt out of your conversation.

  5. Don’t send emails too frequently or not at all – find a good frequency level based on the type of business you operate, the amount of new news, availability of content and preferences of your customers.

  6. Don’t share your email list data (customer information) with third parties without receiving expressed consent first. Customers trust you to keep their information private.  Email responsibly.

  7. Don’t use outdated images or inconsistent creative. The look and feel of your email marketing campaigns should be consistent with all other online touchpoints, starting with your website. Cohesiveness is king.

  8. Don’t use images only (without text content). Images are appealing, but most of the time they are blocked by email providers until permission is granted. Include relevant copy to ensure your message is not lost.

  9. Don’t copy your competitor’s emails; inspiration is one thing – plagiarism is another.

  10. Don’t ignore your customers’ needs. Pilot test emails. Make sure your content is valuable and that it resonates with your audience.

Email marketing is meaningful, relevant and effective — from content to new news, incentives and more. The benefits of having an email list are endless, thus every company should incorporate email into their customer relationship strategy. It’s simply another tool to effectively build bridges, trust and loyal customers.

Photo Credit: Zhang Jingna

 

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