According to an email statistics report from Radicati.com, around 4.1 billion email accounts exist in 2014. Think of that as your potential pool of marketing prospects. Even though you can’t get to the whole lot, if you’re able to tap just a tiny fraction of that massive pie, it can boost traffic to your website. Apart from SEO, social networks and other channels, email marketing contributes a huge percentage of website visitors. The recent infographic from MarketingLand.com: Which Is The Most Effective Digital Marketing Channel, indicated that about 51% of traffic comes from audiences who discovered a website through emails. It’s a shame then to ignore the enormous potential that email marketing can offer. It’s also a bigger shame on your management, if you’re unable to optimize its benefits. If you’ve already started your email campaign, or you’re in the planning process, here are 5 solid guidelines to help you and your business create a captivating email marketing campaign.

#1 Target Audience Research and Mailing List Segmentation

Beginners in the business often try flooding their clients with brute force selling and multiple angles of messaging. This can cripple the image and credibility of the brand you’re trying to promote. A good workaround on this is to plan out the scope and audience of your campaign. Yes, you can use a general email and send it to everyone. However, it can be more effective to segment your mailing lists based on the type of audiences you have. You can base your lists on shopping preferences or history of each email recipient. For example, separate the list of visitors on your site who have opted to subscribe to your newsletters based on their specific preferences. Teens most likely would love to receive a sales update on Fashion, Pop, Music and hot trends, while those who recently purchased mobile phones will much prefer gadget trends. Knowing more about your target market would give you ideas on how to make your brand more interesting to your prospective viewers. Alternatively, entice them with freebies and offers. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Customer satisfaction is still the best element of social selling.

#2 Compose Engaging Email Copy

Which emails get opened? In an article by ConvinceandConvert.com 15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping The Future, it states that about 69% of emails are marked as spam just because of the subject line. What makes a great email subject line? Keep it short, at the most 50 characters, and make it concise yet interesting for the reader. The same article also states that ROI can increase at least by 9% if the  email marketing is optimized against image blocking. Some email platforms have the option to block images. With that, consider composing an email copy in text only format. The “From” line is also as important as the subject line. If possible use your name or business name or department. Avoid vague and ambiguous names or words.

You can also include URL references and social links in your email. Social selling with emails is the newest cost-effective strategy in today’s marketing trends. Link your customers, your email recipients to your pages on social networks. Most customers don’t have the time to search through your site, a link to a blog post, your Facebook page, your twitter account; these URLs can help keep their direction.

Apart from these, another strategy would be to embed your registration or opt-in/opt-out form in the mail itself. For example, most blogging sites have a ‘comment section’ wherein the user is required to sign up in order to post comments. You can also embed the registration form on the page itself without redirecting them to a separate page.

#3 Tap Into the Power of Social Media

Keeping up with new marketing trends and strategies is a healthy marketing habit. You can integrate social media in your campaign. How can social selling help your email campaign? Apart from bringing more traffic to your website, it can also help in building up your  email marketing list. A single viral post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can boost your online presence drastically. By making your posts relevant, interesting and entertaining (not just educational), the chance of persuading customers to sign up for your mailing list increases. You can add an email subscription form on your Facebook page. You can also add social network buttons on your email.

People on social networks are also more open about their product preferences, what they like and what they are not fans of. The simple clicks on the like button on your Facebook post can help you determine what your audiences prefer. This way you can segment your mailing list and customize the emails you send to them more effectively. Social selling supports personalization of services and this will help get more emails opened rather than getting thrown straight to spam folders.

#4 Follow Internet Etiquette and Laws

First rule in email etiquette, do not spam. Don’t even try. You’re operating a legit business and you should avoid any channels that will destroy your ethics and image. If your business puts focus on the US market, know that there is a new CAN-SPAM Act from the FTC. Here are some of the guidelines under CAN-SPAM,

  • Do not falsify headers.
  • Do not use deceptive subject lines.
  • Disclose clearly that you are sending an ad, and always include a physical address.
  • Always provide an option for them to opt out from receiving email from you.
  • Do not send any more emails to an address that had opted out from your mailing list.

For more information, we suggest you read this guide from the FTC called: CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business at this link. Before you launch your email marketing campaign, make sure that you are updated and your email copy complies with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Follow email etiquette on your campaign. Always review your email before sending it. Remember that a single mistake in context may be interpreted the wrong way. It also gives a bad impression to your audience. Also, it would be helpful to keep these questions in mind. “Do I come off as too pushy? If I were sent the same message, will I give it a second look?”. Make sure that your email sounds as professional as it can be. Judge its composition in the perspective of the receiver and refine it before hitting the send button.

#5 Follow-up and Expand

It’ll hurt your campaign if you don’t follow-up emails with your clients. This goes for new clients and existing ones. For new people who signed-up to your mailing list, make sure to send them a follow-up right away while they are still show interest in your product or service. Likewise, for previous customers, send follow up emails that they might be interested in. For example, they bought a gadget from your online store and they opted to be included in product updates. You can send them relevant content about accessories associated with the gadget they bought.

Scrub and expand your mailing list regularly before you follow-up. Two things to keep in mind here.  First, use lead scoring to identify the right time for your sales team to pick up the phone and put a friendly voice behind the emails.  Second, there will be people who have opted out from your list, and there will also be new email addresses added when you use social sharing and forward friendly email templates. This is should help you comply to anti spam laws, and avoid problems in the future. Likewise, expanding your mailing list can help you tap connect with other potential clients. You can expand your mailing list by adding double opt in on your online store. You can also make use of social selling and expanding your audiences on networks or on your blog.

You should also constantly expand the horizons of your email marketing campaign and your entire business. After all, growing your business is the ultimate goal. If you are confident with your existing formula, then you can stick with it. However, taking calculated risks and trying out new marketing techniques and mixing it with old ones could possibly lead to greater opportunities. In the end, consistency is important in execution of marketing campaigns. Being true and loyal to the people that you’ve asked to sign up to your business makes for lasting and stronger relationships.

In need of killer content for your email marketing campaign?

Visit Xtendly and get in-depth personalized messaging tips that get your email opened rather than going straight to the trash bin!