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Email marketing: how to hit the right targets and get a response


Writing for Inc.com, Tiffany Black asks experts for their tips on making email marketing more effective. The first piece of advice of is: keep it short and simple and don't waste too much time crafting the email.

Tim Watson, operations director at smartFocus Digital, says: "The message needs to be clear and consistent from the subject line to the e-mail headline and skimmable body copy."

Watson adds: "Readers are brutal with deleting e-mail. They are looking for reasons to delete and you have seconds to stop that from happening."

Monica Roldan, Internet manager at Citigroup, says: "Don't cram too many messages into a single e-mail or send large attachments that may clog subscribers' inboxes."


It is important to target your emails carefully with accurate information and not to "carpet blast" every address on the list.

Nigel Rayner, a marketing and advertising professional at NJR Consulting, explains: "I live on the fifth floor of an apartment block. If I get an e-mail offering me a $50 discount off lawnmowers, it's spam."

Creating value is key, according to email marketing expert Justin Premick: "Give people a reason to subscribe and to remain subscribed," he says.

To avoid annoying users and to protect your brand, you should allow users several methods to opt out. Premick says: "Recognise and understand the importance of permission. It isn't taken, it's given."

Signing up for competitors' emails is an effective, cheap and simple way of gaining competitive intelligence. You can keep track of what the competition is saying and how they are crafting their emails, and you can  take tips from them.

Your emails should include strong calls-to-action, and make it easy for subscribers to get more information and act on it.

Heidi Cool, owner of the web design and strategy company HeidiCool.com, says: "Using links in calls-to-action that take readers to custom landing pages with more information – and more calls-to action – can be very helpful. They guide the reader forward – towards your goal – and make it easier to track your success."

Bear in mind, though, that what works for one company might not work for another, and customer response can change over time. Therefore, constant testing is necessary in order to change your strategy accordingly.

Other tips include: strategically promote your e-mail newsletters; don't buy or rent e-mail lists; use a third-party e-mail system; don't try to manage your e-mail lists yourself; include advertising in regular company e-mails; and don't miss a marketing opportunity.

But Premick concludes: "There are lots of dos and don'ts, although the No. 1 don't is don't take anyone else's word for what works and what doesn't. Test for yourself."

How to Improve Your E-Mail Marketing
Tiffany Black