Because email is so quick and easy to use, it often means that insufficient attention is paid to making it effective. The focus needs to be on generating results, whether that’s sales or visits to your site, rather than just getting it produced.
The main areas for a micro-business to focus on are given below.
Make it Relevant
Often, for convenience, the same email is sent to everyone on a list but doing this can mean that people eventually unsubscribe as they do not see your company as relevant to them.
Using the database and customer knowledge, identify the topics that would be of most interest and only send out emails on those areas. Consider splitting your customer list into groups and sending different campaigns to each, so that you increase the relevance for all recipients.
Don’t be a Spammer
Many email providers, e.g. Hotmail, detect potential spam and send it straight to a Junk Mail folder. They look for certain indicators in the email and use that to determine a ‘spam score’. High scores get sent straight to junk. Email despatch software, such as that discussed in Bulk Email Despatch Systems checks emails for these indicators before they are sent so that you can change it, increasing the chances of it actually getting into the recipients’ Inbox.
The ‘From’ Address
Recipients look first of all at who the email is from. If they like the person or it is a brand they recognise, it might get opened. Otherwise, it will be deleted. Choose a ‘From’ address that recipients will recognise.
Think also about whether it should be from an individual or a department. If there is a personal relationship then sending it from a named individual can help, rather than potentially appearing as a faceless organisation, as opposed to a caring micro-business.
The Subject Line is looked at next. If it’s of no interest or doesn’t appeal quickly, the email will get deleted. If it passes this stage, they may move on to the next. Subject Lines lend themselves well to small volume tests to get it right, before sending out a large volume. Read more about Testing if you want to see how to do this more effectively.
Preview Pane and Above the Fold
Many email systems offer users the chance to look at the top of the email in a Preview Pane before they decide whether to open it or not. Look carefully at what is at the top of your emails – is it likely to appeal to recipients?
Similar to this is the content they see before they have to scroll down, known as ‘the fold’. If your key messages are below the fold but there is no incentive for them to scroll down, they will miss what you are trying to say. Put special offers and the most attractive elements higher up the email – above the fold.
Unless you send out emails via something like Microsoft Outlook, your email despatch software should provide you with a results tracking service. This will show how many people opened the email, when and what they did as a result of opening it, e.g. whether they clicked through to the site and how often.
This information is a goldmine. It should determine when you send future emails, the different offers you make and who to send it to. Use Testing principles to make it even more effective.
You will also need a suitable system to send out your emails. Read Bulk Email Despatch Systems for a guide on the different options and Measuring Marketing for guidance on the most relevant measures of effectiveness.