It seems that what emerged as sound email principles and etiquette apply just as well to email marketing. But its not just email marketing… it’s effective email marketing.

Where previously formal letters and faxes used to be the way to communicate with clients and potential customers, the shift to the ‘softcopy’ world of the Web has meant that this same type of communication would have to happen in a format pertinent to this new venue. Email and email marketing asserted itself as the prime method of contact then. From brochures to customer support, everything can now take place through a few types on the keyboard and few clicks of the mouse.

However, there still is a protocol and a proper manner for effective email marketing:

- Be clear

Email is a shortened form of communication. There is no space for flowery and overtly ego-soothing language. Basic courtesy applies, like proper greetings and such, but on the whole, emails should be short and clear. Get to the point as soon as possible. Let your recipient know what is expected of him, what he stands to gain through this communication, and how he can gain it (for example, what he has to do, such as be within the first hundred to visit a site and thus earn a discount)

- Offer value, not information

Provide incentive for the email reader to read and click through. Add value to your communication. Attract and seduce. Don’t be surprised a boring, hum-drum email is deleted as soon as the recipient reads the first few lines. Entice, and do not provide too much information in the content. The website is there for this purpose. The email is for communication.

- Prefer text

Graphics take long to load and often emails with graphics and attachments are deleted immediately or go to a junk mail folder.

- Label your images if you use them.

Some people get only the text in an email in their browser. If you include graphics but fail to label them, the whole message may not make sense or the reader may not be enticed. Providing labels lets him know what stands at such a place in the message.

- Use a hook

You should aim to catch the attention of your reader from the first line itself. A good hook works then. Its message should be relevant and clear so that the customer can then immediately decide to read on or not. Remember that a reader is won through the first few lines itself.

- Support the hook

In the body of your email, use relevant information to support your hook and its message. However, be concise, as this isn’t an opportunity for an info dump. Your information should simply reinforce your hook.

- Be short and concise

Readers won’t read every word that is down in an email. They usually scan the thing in whole. Use the space you have succinctly to maximize the opportunity to grasp the reader.

- Provide the most important information first

Make efficient use of the top space of your email. Many readers read email through a preview pane. The top third of your email will be displayed in this pane, and based on this information, a reader may decide to read the full or delete the message already.

- Use a legible and easy to grasp format
- Arrange your text in a manner that is pleasant to the eye.
- Delineate text and paragraphs using hyphens or lines.
- Use legible font such as Georgia and Verdana in a readable size.
- Use bullets and lists to more clearly define your message so it can be grasped at first glance.

- Use the active voice

The active voice ‘involves’ the reader in the message and pushes him to react.

- Know your audience

And write accordingly with appropriate wording and information.

- Avoid URLs that are too long

Such addresses in emails can be difficult to click as they lose their link when they are ‘broken’ onto 2 or more lines.
Aim to have a URL on its own line. If needed, shrink the text for the link. Or you can offer the address without a hyperlink but as a ‘copy and paste’ option.

- Avoid caps and excessive use of punctuation marks

That’s basic email etiquette, which carries forward into your business communication.

- Offer an option to unsubscribe

Always offer a ‘way out’ for your recipients. An unsubscribe link is expected to be seen at the bottom of the email.
Providing your recipient with the option to continue receiving emails or to terminate the reception shows caring and courtesy to the reader.

Also ensure that an unsubscription is effective immediately.

- Easy to subscribe as well

Make it easy to subscribe as well. Provide links and offer a way to your guest book or how to provide comments and feedback. This shows consideration on your behalf.
It is also a good idea to let your readers know that they are free to forward the email as well.

- Make it easy to change subscription address

This way, if a client or recipient changes his address, he can make sure the email follows as well.

- Make good use of your subject line

The headline of your message should go in the subject box, as this is the first glimpse recipients will have to your email. Use it judiciously to convey information.

- Address your recipients by their name

This shows consideration and a personal touch. You definitely win over more people through a personalized message than through an impersonal mass bundling.

- Avoid in holiday periods

This time is often holiday from emails too, so keep email marketing communications to the minimum too.
You could however send out a message with the holiday’s greetings and best wishes.

- Consistency with corporate design

Having the same kind of layout and formatting as your website and other business communication supports ensures that someone recognizes your email at first glance too.

Once you have found the right template/format, use it every time.

- An email address that says who you are

People are more apt to trust a message with a From line containing information about who you are and where you’re from. This will also prevent your email from being listed as spam and from ending in the junk email folder.

- The landing page should fit the email and the offer

Make sure you are leading your reader to the right destination through the links provided in the message.

People hate wasting their time, and if this happens even once, you stand the risk of losing credibility.

By tailoring your landing page for links, you also make better use of your website to further engage the customer’s interest.

- Motivate newsletter sign up with a freebie or bonus
Offer something in return as an incentive. This could win you a lot of new subscriptions.

- Have good multimedia if you are using it

If you are using audio or video, make sure they are of good quality and can be accessed easily.

- Reply to requests within 24 hours

This is basically common courtesy but it pays to be recalled. Ensuring prompt replies show you care and value your customers.

- Email should be service oriented, not marketing oriented as with paper

Your aim through email marketing is to inform and provide an ‘easy’ access to your company.

- Customize so it doesn’t look like spam

Make sure your message is unique in its content and format so it isn’t brushed off as spam.

- Offer use
r control if possible

Wherever possible, give your reader the opportunity to tailor your communications to him. People are most apt to listen to the information they have asked for.

- Provide contact information for you

Always provide a way of contacting you. The signature in emails is one of your greatest effective email marketing assets.

By making use of these email marketing tips, you should be able to create a successful and effective email marketing campaign.

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