Four Top Tips to Develop Better Email Marketing Campaigns

By creating a sound email marketing strategy your will improve customer relations, increase awareness of products and services, boost sales and decrease client turnover.

It’s often the case that businesses spend a disproportionate amount of time focussing on one of the common ‘issues’  with email marketing such s avoiding spam content or getting the subject line right or choosing the best day to send the email, rather than looking at more basic ways to develop a decent email marketing strategy.

Understand SPAM Filters, but They’re Not the Be All and End All.

Code your emails correctly!  Never use such and such a word in the subject line!  Always send on a Wednesday!  The list goes on.

Yes, it is important to factor these anti spamming and read rate maximising tips in as much as possible, you should not let them wholly influence your email campaigns.

Many email marketing software solutions in fact do spamming checks as part of the send out process so you can spend more time on the overall strategy and importantly, the results - all too often the email campaign gets sent out and then the results - the real granular statistics that indicate reader behaviour - are not really analysed.

Spam filters generally identify certain keywords and phrases to classify an email as spam, and consigning the email to the junk/bulk mailbox. Obviously you should avoid words and phrases like ‘free’, ‘once in a lifetime’, ‘buy now’ and so on but it is best to get your draft email down first then refine it, again, don’t stall the project before it starts by running the campaign on the basis on what you think you should and should not say in the email.

1. Avoid Certain Topics That are Common in Spam Emails

  • Making money.
  • Breakthrough products and services.
  • Looks and sounds like a sales pitch for money lending.
  • Contains urgent matter.
  • Money back guarantee.
  • Why pay more.

2. Other Things to Avoid

  • Exclamation marks - if you have a specific or key point to make, craft the sentence accordingly.
  • Capital letters - as above, craft your email more effectively, a well written piece of text does not need exclamation marks to make a point.
  • Coloured fonts, multi coloured text.
  • HTML emails that consist of one main image and little or no text - if the image blocker in the recipient’s email client is on, you’re done for.
  • Sending test emails to multiple addresses at the same company.
  • Developing HTML emails in Microsoft Word or non standard HTML editors - the code will be messy and you will increase the time to create the campaign.

If you are already starting to feel overwhelmed with what you should and should not do, just look in your own junk mail folder, open one of the dozens or more emails up, and don’t replicate it. On the other hand, of course there may be emails in there that you do not want to be labelled as spam, so again, look at that email, see why it could possibly have been placed there and learn from it.

If your campaign read rate is less than 25-30% it could be that you have a an issue with your email content. However in our experience 15-25% is fairly normal too, so don't worry.  Or it may be that your emails are not engaging the audience and the theme or actual content needs jazzing up a bit. Place importance in the click rate - this is a real indicator of interest.

You can also review bounce messages to find out why emails are not being delivered.

3. Use Effective Segmentation to Reach the Right People

So many people think that ‘big is best’ when doing email marketing and strive to get the biggest list possible without giving any consideration to who the intended recipients are or even whether they know them.

Why blast emails to people who might not be interested in what you have to say?

The best email marketing programs, unlike the classic 'cold call', require you to actually know your contacts and clients. This can be based on known information kept in a CRM, previous buying habits, known support issues, known interests and so on.

Do your contact management using a CRM, make sure you know their full name, gender, email address, location, company name and business type, if relevant, website, marital status and career details, as well as:

  • Interests in your products and/or services.
  • Product / service purchase history.
  • Previous email and website statistics, e.g. opens and clicks of previous email campaigns and even visits to your website - Zoho IQ for example will show you exactly what customers are looking at on your website allowing you to target them with the most relevant information.

The obvious message from this is: the best email marketing is personal!  Of course it is. In this day and age when we all receive 20, 30, 100 spam emails a day containing completely irrelevant information, we’ve all become adept at glancing at our emails and deciding in less a than a second whether we are interested in it. Your email has to be meaningful to the recipient else it will suffer the same fate as that one offering free viagra or a chance to make 70,000,000 million dollars from the mystery benefactor in Ghana.

4. Automate as Much as Possible and Be Consistent & Predictable

Don’t change your style or layout each time you email. People will come to expect a consistency that you should provide and this will also help with things such as brand recognition and familiarity with your business.

If you use an email marketing tool such as MailChimp or Zoho Campaigns you can use clone functions to rapidly create campaigns based on a uniform layout/theme.

This will allow you to:

  • Send staggered emails to new leads
  • Follow up with further information.
  • Keep clients informed about upcoming company events.
  • Send regular product updates.
  • Send industry news and views.

Like many things the campaigns that have most time spent in the planning and development phases are often better in terms of results.

One thing is for sure, if you do not invest some time in this, your competitors will. 

Finally, although his article is about email marketing, it’s not the 'be all and end all' when it comes to developing customer relationships and improving sales and customer service.

You still need to make that phone call or send the fax when the client needs a hard copy, visit your clients when appropriate, send text messages, and indeed use whatever other form communication your contacts are comfortable with.

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