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What You Need to Know For Successful Email Marketing

When you do it right, email marketing offers a fantastic ROI. Without spending a lot of money, you can reach your clients directly and get immediate results. The hitch? (You knew there’d be one, right?) Many email inboxes these days are crammed full of special offers, promotions and deals. There’s a lot of competition.

So we need to get your email seen, opened, possibly forwarded and clicked on.

I’m going to offer you some of my best advice where email marketing is concerned, and these tips should get you headed in the right direction toward that fantastic ROI.

Only ask for the info you need. When gathering subscribers from your website, Facebook page or a form at your counter, only request necessary information. Don’t ask people to fill out a two-page questionnaire just to receive emails—conversion rates actually decrease with each additional field of information you include. Obviously you want names and email addresses—and if you ask for birth dates, you can send special birthday offers. But don’t ask for what you don’t need—it’s annoying. Also, be clear on what they’re signing up for. Tell them what they’ll receive and how often.

Look at your emails from a user’s perspective. Now more than ever, there are a million ways to check your email. People use desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets and now mini tablets. That’s five different screen sizes to think about when creating your email. Don’t let that scare you, but be mindful of it. Send a few test emails and open them on different devices. If something doesn’t look right, tweak and test until you’re happy with your results.

Make sure that you optimize for mobile. Keep in mind that your mobile readers are not really readers. They’re scanners. So make it easy for them to scan. Headlines and photos work great for newsletters, and your subject line should be to the point and easy to read, for both newsletters and special promotions.

Remember that content is still king. What is your email going to say? Will you send a monthly newsletter or a special promotion? Newsletters are a great way of keeping in touch with your clients and prospects. Popular content can include seasonal feature stories, marketing articles, news about your store or staff and current promotions. Don’t forget about the dreaded unsubscribe link—it needs to be at the bottom of every piece. Just keep reminding them why they subscribed in the first place.

Be consistent. Regularity is key to email marketing campaigns. If you miss several cycles, you can easily be forgotten about or marked as spam. Email marketing requires commitment, but setting aside time every month may be the only investment needed. Also, be sure you know when your recipients will be in the mindset for receiving your email. I would personally stay clear of delivering at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.