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Email marketing success in five stages

Email marketing has become an important marketing channel for businesses. It is a fast, relatively inexpensive and easy way to engage with customers, keep them coming back to your site, and generate sales. Here are tips on how to effectively use email marketing for your business:

1. Determine what you want to accomplish in using email marketing.

The first step is to set your objectives. This will help you craft your messages in the emails, and what you want to impart to the recipients. It is important that you make it clear to the audiences why you’re emailing them, why they should care about your emails, and what they need to do next. Your success in email marketing will depend on how your emails provide value to your target audiences.

2. Understand your audience.

It is important to know who will receive your emails, and what they expect to get from your emails. They may be looking for the latest information and news about the industry, or they may have signed up expecting to get some good deals and discounts from your messages. Also consider how your audiences will be reading your email - whether they will read it at work where images are most likely blocked, or whether they will read the email from their mobile phones. Your message content, design and style, as well as rending of the email should consider how your intended audiences will read and use your email.

3. Develop a strong message.

Email recipients now know what kinds of email they want in their inboxes, what they don’t want - and they will do whatever it takes to keep unwanted email away. Email marketing has evolved to what the users want to receive, and not about what the marketer wants to send. The key to email marketing success is sending relevant and targeted messages to recipients. Doing so entices your recipients to actually welcome your emails, but also anticipate you. As a result, they are more likely to open your emails and do the action you want them to do.

4. Send your emails consistently and regularly.

Predictability in email marketing is a virtue: recipients expect your email in the timeframe you specified when they signed up to receive it. If you say you are going to send a weekly newsletter every Monday, make sure that you actually deliver and send a newsletter every Monday, not once a month or Fridays. Otherwise, your subscribers will lose their interest, and even forget that they signed up to receive your email. Plus, they may flag your email as spam.

5. Improve Deliverability of Your Emails.

The biggest challenge facing email marketers today is deliverability of their messages. You need to look at ways to ensure that your opt-in messages are able to pass through the spam filters of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and delivered into your recipients’ inboxes. Some of the steps include making sure that you never send a commercial email to someone who has never agreed to receive it. Also, practice good list hygiene by removing hard bounces, and email addresses that have not opened any of your emails for a long period of time.

(Martin Button is the Managing Director of UK Vending (Britain’s longest serving vending business)
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