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Email Marketing Best Practices: 12 Key Tips

Email Marketing Best Practices

It is no secret that the internet has transformed modern communication. Terms like; Instant messages, private message, post, like, share, tweet, bump have become entrenched in the marketers' venacular over the past several years. However, email is still the most powerful tool to communicate with customers and prospects.

If you're like me you send and receive hundreds of emails every day. Message from clients, colleagues, vendors, competitors, the African Prince who intends to leave you his sizeable fortune for a one time cost of $2500 all crowd your inbox. How many of these are marketing messages? Count them. Studies show that 30-40% of the emails we receive are marketing messages. How many of the messages in your inbox captured your attention? More importantly, are the messages you send being read or even received? Below are 12 best practices of email marketing to keep your messages out of the dreaded spam folder.

The 12 most important tips you will ever read....

1) Have a Call to Action -- What is the end goal for your recipiant? Download a new product brochure or informative eBook? Sign up for a seminar? Vist your website for a limited time offer? Email marketing has the highest ROI of any inbound marketing activity, with $40 return on every $1 spent!!

2) Segment your list -- Do you speak the same way with your college buddies as you do with your wife and kids? Probably not. Do you speak to an unqualified prospect the same way you speak with your oldest and most loyal customers? Probably shouldn't.

3) Pesonalize when possible -- Do your emails begin with "To whom it may concern"? They probably get deleted. If they begin with "Dear Sir/Madam", they definitely get deleted (and probably reported as viruses). Hi <First Name> if you have it, if not, something simple like "Hi there" or "Greetings"

4) Create consitency between sender name and address -- Did you know some email systems actually filter out addresses like "" or "". Best practice is: If Tom is writing the email, it is best that the message be addressed from ""

5)  Use strong, vibrant, actionable language -- Action Verbs are awesome! Use them! 

6) Create clear and compelling subject lines --  A majority of email marketing messages get trashed before they are even read. Why? Long, un-interesting, or "spamy sounding" subject lines. This is your ticket in the door. Don't blow it! Ask a question, stress urgency. Best practice: Keep it less than 50 characters!

7) Write mostly in the second person -- An extension of our #3 most important tip you will ever read, this helps to personalize your content. Talk about you and your, I and we. Best Practice: Never write (or talk) in the third person, like ever.

8) Focus on benefits, not features -- "Hey Prospect, We're awesome, buy our stuff!" doesn't tend to be an effective use of emai marketing time. Picture yourself in the customers' shoes. Try to look at things from their point of view. What is their pain?

9) Be Brief -- Concise, straight-forward, to the point. Focus on one theme, one message, one primary call to action. Best practice: 200 words or less.

10) Use a concise signature/footer -- Eye movement studies show that when we first open an email we first look at the top left (where there is not a 'dear sir/madam, right?), then we glance at the middle and go straight to the bottom. Then we decide if we want to go back to the top and actually read the message. Make sure your contact information and social tags are in your signature/footer. Maybe add a picture (you handsome devil, you). Best practice: Use Post Scripts. This is a good way to sneak in a secondary call to action. 

11) Test your email -- Pretty self-explanatory, right? Send it to a couple of colleagues, and your personal address. Make sure it reads correctly over different email platforms. Open it on your mobile phone to make sure it reads correctly. 

12) Analyze -- How many opens and click throughs are you getting? How many hard bounces? What about soft bounces? Are the leads rolling in? If not, go back to number one. 

Email marketing can be a powerful tool when used as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy. For questions about how email marketing can impact your business, or to find out more about the inbound marketing philosophy, contact us at

Blue Frog is a Des Moines based marketing firm specializing in Inbound MarketingCommercial PrintingGraphic DesignSocial Media ManagementWebsite Design and SEO.

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