Five Principles of Email Marketing
Having had to work on a few email campaigns already, both in a for-profit and not-for-profit context, I have been able to garner some insightful tips on how to produce a better, more efficient email marketing strategy. More than merely tips, I like to think of them as principals. Sticking to a fairly ethical modus operandi when running an email campaign is in great part the reason for the success of such campaigns-and failing to do so often the reason for their failure. With a little common sense and general knowledge of what the technical aspects of running a campaign involve (the proper software, the ways to acquire new contacts and subscribers, etc.), these principles will help make the difference between positive and negative results, between success and failure of your online marketing strategy as a whole.
So keep these principals in mind when implementing your campaign, and learn from your own experiences (as well as those of others, like me) how to retain a clean reputation for your business:
1) List hygiene = business hygiene. If your list is not "clean," which which I mean clear of contacts for whom you are an unsolicited sender, then the reputation of your business runs the risk of being tainted. Spam is unsolicited mail, and you are basically dooming your campaign if that's what you got: junk folder filler. Scrupulous, ethical harvesting of new subscribers is done through double opt-in links through your site in almost all cases! Opt-outs, which help ensure that people remain on your list voluntarily, need to be visible in every email, and require no more information than an email address to become effective. A healthy, clean list will help you keep your business healthy and clean, too.
2) Revere your ISP. The almighty gods of the internet must not be disturbed, and their wrath for such distortions is mighty and woeful. If you have an ISP that already engages in heavy spamming or junk mail, you're probably not to have an ISP for much longer (recently two major spam servers were shut down, sending global spam levels plummeting). If you have a reputable server that frowns upon spamming and bad email practices, then they will not allow their reputation to be affected and they will shut your operation down, without warning or explanation. You must harvest a good reputation with them, consult them on what is allowed and what is not allowed, and always keep them as happy as can be.
3) Responsiveness and Reactivity. This is two-in-one. You must be responsive to your readers requests, concerns, and stated interests, because otherwise you portray the image of someone that's only interested in sales and none of the convincing that needs to be done to get there. People will go find another place to get their questions answered and needs or desires fulfilled if they feel like you are not necessarily courteous and attentive to them. Then, be responsive to what it is that people are interested in; find out what are the best-sellers in your field, what words and phrases catch the eye more than others, how to grab people's attention more effectively. Stay alert to the market.
4) Trust Trumps All. When you have earned a customer's trust, it is the most valuable asset you can possibly possess as a business owner. Do not squander it, and work to preserve it; never take it for granted. There are many ways to earn trust, but delivering a personalized product or service in a timely fashion without complications is always the first and most important.
5) Polish, polish, polish. Polish up your grammar and spelling, and polish the overall image of your emails. The aesthetics as well as the correctness of the content-not even to mention its relevance-are the front line in terms of business image when conducting an email campaign.