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Remember the "good ole days" when you would open your mailbox and see a bunch of mail and get excited thinking about all the people who care enough to write to you? Then as you go through them one-by-one you realize that all but the Halloween card from your Great Aunt Clara was actually "junk" mail that you immediately discarded into your trash. Well, eMail Marketing is the new Direct Mail Marketing, and if you don't manage it right you could be banned from inboxes altogether. The first step is to know the best ways to get people to open your email in the first place.

Start with a Good Subject Line

The only thing between your email recipient and the delete button is a powerful subject line. Think about what gets you to open your email? It's probably similar to what gets you past the headline to read an article or blog. The question to ask yourself when you are creating a subject line for your email is what's in it for them? What will get your reader to stop, click and read what you have to offer?

Well, that is the million dollar question? The good news is email marketing has been around long enough now for digital marketers and software to spot trends both in the industry as well as specific to your business.

Here's 7 tips to consider when coming up with a compelling subject line:

  1. Keep it short and snappy - Consider the lack of time your reader has to whip through her emails in between projects, family responsibilities and what little leisure time she has to herself. Hubspot says 40% of emails are read on mobile devices, so they recommend no more than 50 characters.
  2. Make it personal - One example is to use the recipients name in the subject line such as, "Hey Judy! Need a break?" or "A Gift Just For You Judy!"
  3. Be truthful - Do what you say you're subject lines says you're going to do. Don't make false promises.
  4. Verbs rule - Start your subject line with an action verb. "Hangout With Celebs!" or "Decide Your Future Today"
  5. Love on your customer - Make your recipient feel like they're important. "Just for You" or "The Perfect Gift for You" or even "Thinking of You."
  6. A sense of urgency  - Here's one I got from Costco - The "From" said "Thank you!" The subject line said "Open immediately." Here, they gave me the love and created a sense of urgency.
  7. LOSE THE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!! - Nobody likes to be yelled at.
These are only a few examples of enticing subject lines. Remember, think about what gets you to open your emails. That's a good place to start.

Share your email marketing tips below!

Make it Human

Be sure to send your email from a person, not an inanimate entity. You're less likely to get someone to open your email if they see it's from Even more than that, an email like that is likely to end up in someones spam folder. And even beyond that, you could be blacklisted from an email service like Yahoo or AOL altogether.

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Segment Your List

Write one or two paragraphs describing your product, services or a specific feature. To be successful your content needs to be useful to your readers.

Margaret Croom, the Director of Digital Marketing for eWomenNetwork says most small business owner do not have a large email list.  She says you don’t need one if you segment the list you have based on the subscribers needs.  Nurture your list with valuable information and of course, use the right email marketing software.

What does Margaret mean by, "segment?"  It's the practice of splitting up your email list into more targeted groups. You can determine what your customer is interested in by simply asking them when they give you your email information through a free online download from your website. For example, in your popup asking for their contact information, provide a drop-down list of your offerings such as Product Updates or Newsletter. You can also segment your own internal list by differentiating your list through your email marketing software such as a "customer" list or  a "lead" list. Both of those will require a different content approach and determine how often you send send emails to them.

Types of Email Campaigns

There are different types of emails. You need to decide what your desired outcome is for your email and then create your email campaign around that. Business News Daily lists a few examples of the types of emails you would choose from:

  • Newsletters: A quick way to regularly keep customers informed on any business news or upcoming promotions. Newsletters are typically sent on a recurring basis, such as every week or month.
  • Promotional campaigns: These emails let customers know about upcoming sales. These emails can be sent in the days leading up to the sale, as well during the sale, as a reminder for customers.
  • Invitation emails: This kind of message keeps clients up to date on upcoming special events. Invitation emails can be sent weeks or days before an event occurs as a way to encourage a customer to attend.
  • Catalog emails: Sent as a way to highlight products or services.
  • Lead-nurturing emails: Designed to keep brands at the top of mind for prospective clients. These emails are sent out regularly until a potential customer is converted into a paying customer.
  • Survey emails: Sent as a way to find out more about customers' needs and wants.
  • Transaction emails: Sent after a purchase is made, as a way to confirm the transaction, say thank you and encourage the customer to shop with you again.

Email Marketing Software

When it comes to successful email marketing, Margaret Croome advises you use the right email marketing software for your business. How do you know what is right for you? Margaret says, "If you are just starting out, make sure you use a service that has great templates, at least 2 ways to “auto-respond” to your list and free until you have a specific amount of subscribers. If you have 500 on your list with a consistent 20% open rate, get rid of those who never open.  Why pay to send emails to those who never open!  I’ve known people with 100 on their list with a 75% open rate and they do very well with selling their services to them.  You may be tempted to buy into an expensive system that has all the bells and whistles because the “guru’s” are highly successful using it, but make sure you are ready for that.  What is worse than paying $250 a month for software you are not able to use to the fullest?! Keep it simple. Your software capabilities should grow with your needs."

Also, the software you use should have analytics that will help you determine the exact behavior of your reader, which includes your open rate, your click-through-rate (CTR) and your unsubscribe rate. There is no guessing. Once you understand the behavior, you can make adjustments. For example, if your open rate is low then you might have to provide more valuable content. If your CTR is low, your copy might not be compelling enough. If a lot of people are unsubscribing then it's time to make some big changes in your campaign.

How Many Emails is Too Many?

If you have to ask yourself that question, then it's too many. Think of your list as a privilege. These are people who have given you permission to intrude on their lives and their ever-growing inbox, so be careful about invading their space. Their inbox is their home, and you're a guest knocking on the door. Make sure you have compelling content and that you are providing your readers with something that they already told you they care about.

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 Author, Phyllis Smith
Content Manager, eWomenNetwork


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