A recent article in the Denver Business Journal entitled Email Remains Biggest, Best Emarketing Medium, presented a thorough yet concise summary of the outstanding value and best practices involved in promoting a business via email.
This article was rather unique since similar articles regularly appear in magazines and websites which are dedicated to online communications, but this piece was in a broad scale horizontal regional business periodical.
The readership of the magazine certainly includes many business owners and managers not currently engaging in or perhaps even contemplating email marketing. Many of the points made by Jeff Kear in the article bear repeating for the edification of all email marketers, both neophytes and seasoned experts.
Summary of impressive statistics
The article begins with a summary of impressive email marketing statistics:
- 74% of all online adults prefer email as their method of marketing communication, and this preference is consistent among age groups
- 93% of all online individuals subscribe to at least one recurring campaign
- 88% of all online individuals check their inbox every day, and 94% do so at least once a week
Kear then goes on to list some primary tips for success which certainly merit being jotted down on Post-It Notes and affixed to every email marketer's computer screen as the pure basics of the process:
Clean your list – He mentions that people change email addresses very frequently and that it is common for any online individual to have dozens of email accounts that are either stale or extinct. Due to this rapid expiration, sending out an email to the entire list once a year requesting an update to contact information can help weed out the dormant and the dead.
Offer valuable incentives – In order to attract new subscribers, a valuable and sought-after incentive product or reward should be offered. Kear suggests "white papers, how-to guides, webinars, case studies, relevant giveaways and videos."
Use more text – Sixty percent or more of all emails are read in email clients or browser types which automatically remove the graphics by default, thus it is not recommended to design emails with a concentration of graphics, especially above the fold.
Treasure the top left – The top left "10 o'clock" corner is the first area most readers look at, therefore it is the best place for your primary message and even the call to action. Many emails squander this advantage by following the "letterhead" layout and placing the brand logo at top left. In the majority of displays this will be seen as nothing but a small red X.
Personalize the From line – From lines should be specific and personal, so Kear suggests relating the name to the type of email you're sending, and placing an employee's name there as well, adhering to case studies which have shown that it can have a beneficial effect on open rates: "Julie Scriptor, XYZ Skateboards Newsletter"
Strive to be relevant – The ability of your newsletter to be relevant to your audience has a direct effect on your email metrics. Kear suggests crafting subject lines under thirty characters which are specific and direct, and warns against clichés or marketing hype in your content. Instead focus on instructive content with offers of real value which help your reader make meaningful connections.
Be consistent – Studies show that it can take up to ten touches before a prospect is ready to consummate the transaction, so maintaining consistent and regular email newsletter frequency can keep the prospects engaged and in the funnel. Kear also suggests that the preferred frequency is more than once a month, echoing various surveys which have found that a considerable number of etailers send email newsletters three times a week or more!
An admirable summary
Kear's article does an admirable job of summing up the essence of email marketing best practices. With the addition of a nod to the importance of newsletter campaign subscription list segmentation and A/B Split or multivariate testing, the Denver Business Journal piece definitely becomes a valid outline to achieving success in the email marketing of any business.
Curt Keller is CEO and co-founder of Benchmark Email, one of the world's leading, global email marketing services for small businesses.