Ten tips for effective email marketing

Posted by Martin Stott

Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing. Social media marketing is a great way to build engagement with new and existing customers, but when it comes to getting people to actually click-through to your site, email marketing is still way out in front.

Email marketing campaigns in business and finance achieve an average open rate of 21% and a click through rate of almost 3%, according to email marketing service Mailchimp. By comparison, click-through rates for Twitter are far lower, generally around 0.5%, says Campaign Monitor.

Two thirds of people have made a purchase as a result of a marketing message received via email, compared with just 20% on Facebook, according to the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). And don’t forget that there are three times as many email accounts worldwide as there are Facebook and Twitter accounts combined.

Here are ten tips to make your email marketing campaigns as effective as possible:

1. Build your database


Use online and offline methods to add email addresses to your database. Make sure you have an email sign-up form on your website, include a sign-up opportunity at the end of blogs and other articles and use one-to-one meetings, conferences and networking events.

2. Think quality not quantity


The more addresses on the list the more success you are likely to have, but don’t get carried away. Focus on quality not quantity. Make sure recipients are likely to be interested in your product or service. A lower number of high quality interactions will be more effective than a large number of low quality ones.

3. Consider an ESP


Using an Email Service Provider (ESP) such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor provides a range of benefits. You won’t need to upgrade your own servers, they can help with sign-up and unsubscribe tools and they provide a range of useful tracking and analytics tools.

4. Don’t buy email lists


Many ESPs prohibit sending to purchased lists. These lists can include spamtrap addresses, send to these and you could find yourself either in trouble with your ESP or having your own IP blacklisted and blocked for spamming.

5. Work hard on your subject line


It is absolutely key to the recipient’s decision about whether to open your email. The first two or three words are vital because that may be all they see. Split test to see which subject lines achieve the best open rate.

6. Get your content right


Make sure the text is clear, succinct and relevant. Use headings and good design to break up text and include a clear and specific call to action.

7. Do not put key messages in images


Many people will have images turned off and so will not see them.

8. Keep your text simple and professional


Using a mixture of different fonts, lots of words in bold or capitals or excessive amounts of exclamation marks can all trigger spam filters.

9. Send your email at the right time


Highest open rates are achieved Tuesday to Thursday, with the best times being between 10am-midday and 2pm-4pm, according to the DMI. Open rates are typically 8% lower on a Friday.

10. Don’t fall foul of data protection regulations


Make sure you only email people who have given their explicit consent in the past 12 months for you to email them. Do not email them about things unrelated to the product or service they have given permission for. Ensure they have a simple cost-free way of opting out every time you email them, and include your company’s physical address.


Malcolm Jones recently completed the Digital Marketing Institute’s Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing.

To discuss how we can help you with your content marketing strategy please email me: malcolm.jones@bulletin.co.uk or ring 0115 907 8412.

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