Email marketing is a great, inexpensive, way to reach the people on your list. When done correctly email marketing will take your business to the next level and bring a great ROI for years to come. Here are some of the most important things you can do to improve your email marketing.

START WITH YOUR OPEN RATES

The first question is are you even tracking your email open rates? If not, start doing so immediately. Your email marketing provider (here are some I recommend) should have this information available, and you should definitely start paying attention to it.

Once you start paying attention to your open rates, you’ll probably want to improve them. There are several reasons why your emails might not be getting to the inboxes of your prospects and/or not being getting opened. The first is they are getting caught in Spam filters.

Most e-mail services like Constant Contact and Aweber have Spam checkers and you should definitely use them.

Avoid words that often trigger Spam filters

If your emails contain a lot (or sometimes ANY) spam related words (such as free, cheap, %, work-from-home, click here, discount, coupon, special offer, limited time, weight loss) chances are slim that your emails are getting through to your subscribers. Even more benign terms like (reverses aging, ‘Hidden’ assets, stop snoring, Free investment, Stock disclaimer statement) will likely trigger spam filters.

Spam filters are becoming more and more sensitive, and they can remove your email before it even gets to the inbox. Be sure to run a Spam check on every email before you send it.

Compelling Subject Lines

Once your email gets through the spam filters, your readers have to decide whether or not to open it. The subject line and “from” address will determine if your email gets opened and read.

Use interesting subject lines that intrigue or make a compelling promise. At the same time be sure you don’t overpromise. Many of us have become skeptical of e-mails (and all other marketing) that makes big claims but falls short in the delivery. See “5 Reasons These Subject Lines Work“.

The other important field is the “from” field. Keep it consistent and don’t use “noreply” or “systems” addresses. Keep it personal..

Add Value

Email marketing is about adding value to your subscribers. That value may be a sales offer or it may be an informative tip, the important thing is that YOUR readers appreciate what you have sent.

How Often Should You Send?

This is always a great question. You want to send frequently enough to maintain “top of mind awareness” and not so often that you are a nuisance and people unsubscribe or simply trash your e-mails. Find a happy medium where you can stay in touch with prospects without bombarding them with daily emails. Funny, as soon as I wrote that I thought of tow lists that I subscribe to that send emails at least daily and sometime several per day and while I don’t read every single email they send- I do read most. The bottom-line is simply find what is right for you and your readers, and be sure to let your readers know what to expect from you.

Engage and Send to your Landing Page

I have found that short e-mails that build interest and anticipation and then send the readers to a landing page, blog post, product page, or other destination are often more effective than a newsletter style email. Be sure to test both types.

I promote many events and I find that if I build anticipation by sending reminder emails and emails that prepare attendees for the big day the events are attended by more people.

Use Permission-Based Marketing

Your subscribers should opt-in to your list in order to receive email s from you. This is called permission-based marketing. When a prospect opts-in to your list you should tell them what to expect from you. Let them know approximately how often you will be emailing them. Will they be receiving weekly tips, occasional promotions, or daily offers, or a combination of those? Be sure to spell out both the frequency and content matter of your future emails.

It is also important to allow your prospects to easily opt-out of communications. Here’s the deal, some of your subscribers will opt-out of your list and that is VERY OK. Things happen, some people will no longer be in the market for what you offer, some will die and some just won’t resonate with you. Don’t sweat it. be who you are, be considerate,  add value and keep building your list.

Your Email Strategy

Sending one-off emails to friends and family works great, but it doesn’t work well for marketing. Each email you send out should fit into a greater scheme, and they should all work toward a common goal.

For example, you can create an email series that highlights the “3 secrets to winter driving.” Each week, you can send out another email packed with data, stories, and links relating to one of the secrets. At the end of the series, you can ask recipients to buy your book, attend your workshop, or come in for a set of winter tires. The emails work together, building anticipation along the way, and culminate with a call to action.

You can do the same thing with long-term follow-up sequences, new lead education, or any other marketing campaign. Best of all, you can write, create, and load these emails ahead of time. As you get new leads, you can put them into whichever sequence is most appropriate. These are called “auto-responders” and many systems offer them including- Infusionsoft

Video and Your Emails

Email marketing is a great way to communicate with prospect and customers, but it isn’t always the best way to educate, entertain, or sell. I have found that by including links to videos I have on a Landing Page I can present a more complete and compelling message in a unique and engaging way.

In other words, you don’t have to say it all in the email … use all of your resources together. Email is just a great way to get the word out. Different prospects respond to different forms of communication, so don’t be afraid to try different strategies.

Nurture

My long-time friend Jim Cecil is the father of Nurture Marketing. Jim is quick to point out that one of the major reasons small businesses fail is that they don’t follow up with leads and prospects. In general, it takes several communications with a prospect before he/she is ready to buy. But most businesses give up after one or two emails. That won’t get the job done. Stop leaving money on the table and start following up with all of your prospects.

Stay in front of them by educating and building trust along the way, they’ll come to you when they are ready to buy. One of the best ways to have consistent follow-up is through an email sequence. If you put a new-lead campaign, a long-term nurture sequence, and a new-customer campaign into place, you will see dramatic improvement in your conversion rates. The best part? You have to write these campaigns only once. You will find that Infusionsoft has an excellent automation system. I recommend their excellent e-book- “Improve Your Online Marketing and Grow Your Business—FAST!

Have you had any particular success with Email Marketing? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences!