So you’ll probably find loads of posts about this online….but here’s my version of the truth

In last months email we spoke about methods of marketing using comparatively low Internet technologies to help your budget in economic down turn. This month we’ll discuss good practices when using one of these methods – emailing your clients to get the best possible readership and return.

First ensure you plan your email(s) carefully, what are there purpose, are you trying to sell a product, build or strengthen your relationship with the customer or both.

Decide how you will measure your success will it be sales generated directly from the email campaign, or will it simply be the quantity and quality of feedback you receive.

Give yourself a realistic targets not just based on financial and responses, but remember if you commit to monthly correspondence, you will have to ensure you have the content, write ahead ensuring you have enough good information to provide you customers.

So once you have decided on your targets, now you will need to work on the layout of your emails and there content.

Some useful tips:

Work with 2 or 3 columns this way you can place more of your key points “above the fold”
Always make content short and to the point, any further information should be hosted on your website, this provides

  1. An indication of what your clients are interested in through measurement of individual click throughs and time spent on pages
  2. More room for other information on the email
  3. As you begin to understand what your subscribers are looking for in yur emails you can begin to tailor them further

Personalise your content and the more, the better, this helps make the subscriber feel a real part of your brand and will build levels of trust. At the very least you should be looking to begin your correspondence with hello {firstname}{surname}

When receiving feedback ensure you reply and action feedback, the more the customer knows your listening to them the more they will respond to further correspondence

Ensure your content is specifically relevant to your audience, for instance there is no point providing information about a camcorder if your customer has just purchased that specific camera from your site, but it may be worth providing reviews on peripheral products associated with the product.

Ensure you have both HTML (these are the graphical email with formatted text and images) and Text emails, this will ensure your email reaches the maximum possible audience.

Once you have found the best layout for your audience stick to it ensure similar content can always be found in the same places – like building a website its important for usability.

Always provide a link to instructions on how to white list your emails, so they will not appear in spam filters

Provide a forward this to a friend or colleague link, your audience can help promote you.

Perhaps provide something for free, weather it be a screen saver, desktop image or white paper, if users see they are getting something for nothing they are more likely not to opt out

Send 100 emails at different times to different people and see what responses you get. The best times to send out your emails can only really be judged over a period of time, you must send the email at different times of the day and days within the week to discover when you get the best pick up, once you have discovered your perfect time stick to it!

Ask for feedback whenever possible, if nothing else your audience will steer you in the right direction in how to communicate with them

Every business and audience is different, when starting out you must test, test, test until you discover the best, layout, content and distribution rules that you should then adhere to.