Don’t Start Email Marketing Until You Know This

Travis Van SlootenGeneral Online Marketing

In a previous post I highlighted the 7 reasons why businesses should be email marketing. Towards the end of that post I gave a couple quick ideas on how to build a list.

Building your list is just part of the puzzle. The other part is actually marketing to your list. There are literally books and entire websites dedicated to the art of email marketing but for the purposes of today’s post, I thought I would provide some basic email marketing tips for the beginner.

1. Don’t send unsolicited emails.
At the very least, consider unsolicited emails on par with the telemarketer who calls you during dinner. Nothing loses a potential customer faster than emailing without permission. But more serious than a simple annoyance is that unsolicited email is considered spam. And sending spam can result in fines and penalties for violating the CAN-SPAM Act.

2. Have an email marketing plan.
Many small business owners start an email marketing program with only a vague idea of what they’re going to do. They do not define goals or have a clear marketing plan. Every email must have a purpose that dictates what you clearly want to convey so have a plan.

3. Have an engaging subject line.
Your subject line should promise short, digestible information that is likely to be of interest to your subscribers. The “from” line is also important. Few people are likely to open an email if they don’t recognize the sender. Make sure you use an email address that uses your business’ domain. An email address like, “joe_anderson1972@yahoo.com,” screams you aren’t taking your business seriously.

4. Send relevant content.
This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how often business owners forget to keep their subscriber’s needs in mind. If your subscribers signed up to get helpful real estate tips from you, don’t send them emails about some great new restaurant you like and highly recommend. Save those kind of communications for Facebook or Twitter.

5. AVOID USING ALL CAPS!
Using all caps in the subject line or in the body of your email is equivalent to screaming in real life and turns off readers. Bold or underline important text instead.

6. Use proper grammar and avoid speling erors.

Make sure you check for spelling and grammar errors! Nothing gets subscribers hitting the unsubscribe link faster than an email that reads like a third grader wrote it.

7. Give your subscribers the option to unsubscribe.
As per the CAN-SPAM Act, you are required to provide an option for your readers to unsubscribe from your list. If you don’t, your emails can be reported as spam and you’ll be in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act where you can be fined!

These are just some basic email marketing tips to get you started. While there is so much more to email marketing, don’t get too overwhelmed. Just keep it simple and use common sense. The main thing to remember is to keep your subscribers in mind. They want regular useful information from you and they want an option to say good bye if at any time you let them down. If you keep that in mind, you’ll be fine.