[E-MAIL MARKETING] Inbox Insights

Features - Advertising & Marketing

Dos and Don’ts: 10 tips for better e-mail marketing.

March 31, 2011
Amy E. Olivieri

When it comes to e-mail marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about selling your business. Instead, e-mail marketing is a great way to use credible content to position you and your business as an expert in your field. Maybe your customers won’t need your services the second they get your message, but maintaining a regular presence in their inbox will keep you top of mind.

Want to improve more aspects of your e-mail marketing program? Here are some dos and don’ts.

Invite customers to join your online mailing list every time you connect or communicate with them.
Your customers appreciate the service you offer. Never miss an opportunity to tell them that you can help them even when you’re not in their home, and that they can continue to receive valuable information and insight from you by joining your mailing list. Have a sign-up form on your website; link back to it on Facebook and Twitter; and mention your mailing list on receipts and during phone calls. Every time you connect with customers, mention your e-mail mailing list.

Don’t assume that all your customers will want to join your list.
Your e-mail mailing list should be completely permission-based. Just because you’ve offered your service doesn’t mean a customer will want to receive your newsletter. And that’s okay. If someone hasn’t explicitly said, “Yes, I want to join,” then don’t add him or her to your list.

Include a compelling subject line.
Your subject line is like a magazine headline: It needs to grab the reader and make him want to open your e-mail to read on. Be clear, and use actionable language. Let the reader know exactly what to expect from opening your message.

Don’t use excessive punctuation.
Your subject line may be very good, but there’s no need to add multiple exclamation points or other symbols to make your e-mail more exciting. Therefore, refrain from using words with all capital letters or the following words or symbols: “Free,” “% Off,” and “$$$.” These words may relegate your e-mail to your senders’ spam folders, where it’s likely your message won’t be seen.

Include compelling, shareable content.
Your customers are your best marketing tool. Arm them with content you’d want prospective clients to have when they’re in need of a pest control service, and make it easy for them to share that content with others. For example, your customers will pass along quick tips, such as “7 Ways to Prevent Ants from Moving In,” or web links to resources where they can learn more about dealing with cockroaches.

Don’t send everything you’ve got.
E-mail marketing is a great way to quickly remind your customers that you’re thinking of them and that you’re there when they need you. There’s no need to send an overly long message that includes everything they’d ever want to know about your business. Your time is precious and so is your customers’. Keep your e-mail short.

Add share links in your e-mail.
Most e-mail marketing service providers make it easy to let your e-mail content go social by adding share buttons to your messages. Be sure to place these in your e-mail, call them out to readers, and encourage them to share the message with friends, relatives and colleagues. That will get your content out to a wider audience than your mailing list and may even attract the attention of someone in need of your service.

Don’t ignore social media.
Popular websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be your friend (no pun intended). In addition to sharing your content, get your customers talking on social media sites. Start a discussion in your e-newsletter and continue the conversation on Facebook. Ask your readers to share quick tips on Twitter. Then use what is being shared as the basis of a future e-newsletter issue. (Editor’s note: Be sure to sign up for PCT’s Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/PCTMagazine.)

Pay attention to your readership data.
Any good e-mail service provider will offer you data about how often your e-mails were opened, what links were clicked on, and more. This is valuable information that will tell you the best times to send your messages and what types of content are getting the most attention. Use this data to adjust your campaign strategy accordingly.

Don’t make it hard for readers to unsubscribe.
No matter how good your content is, your subscribers may not always want to receive your e-newsletter. Make it easy for customers to opt-out, and encourage them to tell you why they’re doing so. And make sure these people know that even though they may not want to receive your newsletter, they can still receive updates from you on social media, and you’d still be happy to work with them when they’re in need.

Amy E. Olivieri is a Houston, Texas-area regional development director for Constant Contact. For more e-mail marketing best practices, visit www.ConstantContact.com. To contact the author, e-mail aolivieri@giemedia.com.