Email marketing is a cost effective tool in your arsenal to communicate your products and services to a wide range of consumers. Even so, if not done well you could be missing out on better ROI as well as wasting your time and money. In this article you will find email marketing best practices to sharpen this tool and get it working harder for you.

Compliance: Your Due Diligence to the Law

It’s important to understand the laws which regulate how businesses send commercial email. Every business is subject to these regulations and non-compliance can be costly. Violators of the U.S. CAN- SPAM Act of 2003 could face up to $42,530 in fines and even imprisonment. Essential areas of compliance to remember when conducting email marketing are:

  • Make sure your header is not false or misleading: your email must clearly identify your business as the sender of the message.
  • Use a subject line that is not misleading: the subject line should clearly reflect the email’s content.
  • Make it clear that your email is an advertisement.
  • Include your business’s valid physical postal address.
  • Have a clear and simple way for people to opt-out of future emails.
  • Process opt-out requests promptly, this must be done within ten business days.
  • Anyone doing email marketing on your behalf must also be in compliance.

If the email is about your business then you and the sender are both legally obligated to comply. You can learn more about how to comply with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 on the Federal Trade Commission website. Please keep in mind that different countries, such as Canada and the European Union have their own anti-spam laws, which may differ from the United States laws. Some of these, like GDPR, apply to citizens living in the U.S., so be sure to educate yourself on the different laws applicable to your business.

Email Deliverability & Avoiding the Spam Folder

Legitimate emails can find an undeserved home in the spam folder for a variety of reasons. Internet service providers (ISPs) use filters to keep spam out of inboxes. If these filters detect spam-like qualities in your emails they will be marked as spam and will not reach your recipient’s inbox. Is your email open rate lower than you expect? It could be that your recipients are not receiving them. The more often your emails are marked as spam the lower your email deliverability rate becomes.

Here are some tips to lower the risk that your emails end up in the spam folder as well as how to craft an effective email that people will actually want to read:

  • Send content that matters to the recipients and keep it short.
  • Avoid using spam buzzwords in your subject line and in the body of your email (e.g.) “offer,” “free,” “prize,” “act now,” “deal.”
  • Include more text than images and keep your content free of clutter.
  • Use links in your email when sending videos or forms, do not send Flash or Javascript.
  • Do not use URL shorteners.
  • Do not use excessive punctuation or write in all caps.

Remember before sending your emails:

  • Send a test email to yourself, so you can view it in multiple environments including a browser, desktop email client, and a smartphone email app. This will allow you to see it as the recipients will see it.
  • Proofread it, then have someone else proofread it.
  • Always check to see whether any content in your email could get you into trouble legally or would be problematic for your public image. If you are struggling with email deliverability issues or low open rates for your business’s emails, we are happy to dive in and figure out why your emails are not meeting expectations and put together a strategy to fix it!

Tailor Your Content

Informed decision making is key for good email marketing. Take the time needed to think through your consumer base to find out: who is your target audience, what is most important to them and how will your product or service help them? You also want to take into consideration where they are in the buying process. The answers to these questions can be vital since your content for someone who does not even know they need your product will differ greatly from the content you want to send the person who is in the final stages and ready to buy.

Tailoring your content will give you better results. Most email management tools offer a variety of options for segmenting your list and managing the messages that you send based on the individual’s expressed interests, actions, and stage in the buying cycle. How to segment your lists is a much larger topic that we plan to cover in a future blog.

Keep it Diverse & Keep at it

I recently interviewed Dustin Pearce, Accounts Manager at MakeShark Website Design & Marketing Agency in Columbus, Ohio to discuss email marketing. Dustin had this to say, “Email marketing is just one piece of a holistic marketing approach.”

Dustin uses email marketing in conjunction with: social media marketing, telemarketing and sending postcards. Email is one powerful tool of many you can use to market your business to consumers, but it should be part of a diverse marketing approach. Email marketing is an ongoing process. There is always room for continual improvement. Let us help you strengthen your approach to email marketing and build a more comprehensive strategy for your connection to the market.

Sources cited:

Federal Trade Commission. (2019, March 26). CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business.

Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Gunelius, S. (2018). Entrepreneur magazines Ultimate guide to email marketing for business. Irvine, CA: Entrepreneur Press.

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