I cannot over stress the importance of making your email marketing work for you. Too many companies just send out “words” without an overall strategy. Every business that is serious about marketing will undoubtedly use email marketing as one of its marketing tools. This is great to inform your audience about what you are up to as well as sending out offers to keep the cashflow on track.

The easy way to proceed is to simply send out one e-shot to all recipients. However, as we all know, everyone is different and they all have different wants and needs. Personally, I love sailing, and any email with a sailing picture or reference to sailing will grab my attention. A close friend of mine is mad about trains and send him a reference to the Flying Scotsman and he will read every word.

However, despite the differences in our likes, there are many things my friend and I share a love of. The key to getting your message read is to ensure everyone on the list gets something they can relate to and this often means segmenting your list. When it comes to making your email marketing work, there are a number of areas you need to consider.

1. Segmenting Your List

There are many ways to segment your list but it fundamentally falls into three areas and each will have a difference importance dependant on your product.

Transactional
This is based on your clients buying history and potential likes. Emails sent to this segment will often include the following.

  • Up-selling and cross-selling
  • Winning back lapsed clients
  • Discounts and offers

Demographic
This is sometimes a bit harder to define but would include details about the person i.e. age, gender, business sector etc. This information is usually gathered at signup and helps larger emails to the right Audience. Typical segmentation will include.

  • Offers for products for men or women
  • News that relates to a specific age group
  • Business sector news/offers

Geographic Location
Knowing where your clients are located can be very useful. If you have multiple stores then this can be included to offer relevant emails for the store closest to your clients. Typical segmentation could include the following.

  • News and offers relating to your nearest store to the email recipient
  • Offers relating to topical local news

2. Subject Lines

When an email arrives in your inbox, one of the key things that will encourage it to be opened is to have a compelling subject line. A lot has been written about subject lines but basically you need it to be one of the following to draw the reader in.

  • Make it funny
  • Make it topical
  • Have a time sensitive offer
  • Promote a limited offer

3. Frequency of Emails

One of the hardest things I find is to set the frequency of your emails. Send too many and people get bored and too few and they can forget about you. Each business is different and you need to look at your list and try out different frequencies to find out what works best for you.

One tip I often give is to send 3-4 help and advice emails that give the reader something “free” and then send 1 sales email. That way hopefully the reader sees value in your communication and does not just see it as a a sales email. Trial and error linking frequency to sales results will give you a good Indication of what works.

Times vary enormously but typically range from once a week to once every 6 weeks. Conventional wisdom says longer that 6 weeks and you risk being forgotten.

4. Inconsistent Mailings

A common mistake made by many companies is that they send infrequent and inconsistently timed emails. Sometimes this is down to being too busy to get emails written and sometimes it is simply that their value is not really appreciated by the sender.

Its simple really, send quality emails on a regular basis.

The other key point to consistency is that your name becomes recognised and may also be anticipated. Along with a good subject line this is a key point to increase email opens. After all, you would always open an email from a friend wouldn’t you. Its all about building a relationship with the reader.

5. Keep it Simple

There are plenty of times when a great complicated design works wonders. However, in email marketing this is rally the case. You need to keep the style clean and simple and within your brand guidelines.

Remember that the email is just a means to an end. You want the reader to take an action in order to purchase your product. Use strong images to draw people in and off course strong calls to action but get the balance right and do not overload the reader with too many things to do or read.