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We all get bombarded with marketing emails… everyday.  Every time I open my emails, 80% of them seem to be from people that I don’t know about things I’m just not interested in.  So, what makes a good email stand out from the crowd?  Here are my  top tips to help you get your emails noticed:

1 .Set one objective per email – do you want recipients to register for an event, visit a specific web page or make a purchase?  Be careful to only have one strong call to action that is immediately apparent as soon as you view the email.  All too often it’s easy to add just one more link to that email and before long, it’s so busy you just don’t know where to look first.

2. Don’t forget the subject line, it could be the only thing people see – it’s so easy to focus all of your attention on the creative and messaging within an email and then just dash out any old subject line.  The subject line is what makes a recipient decide whether to open the email or not, so consider this as much you do the main email message.

3. Carefully consider the sender name that you use from the outset – try to make it sound ‘human’, like a real person is sending the email, rather than a generic email address such as ‘info@companyA.co.uk’.  Instead, why not try ‘donna@companyA.co.uk’?

4. Decide who you are sending your email to at the beginning of the process.  Don’t always send every email to all of your database.  Instead, consider targeting different segments with different messages.  This will enable you to have a strong, targeted message, appropriate to the group of people you are sending the email to, thereby increasing your response rate and ROI.

5. Test personalisation within your emails – it’s so much friendlier to read ‘Dear Donna’ at the start of an email rather than ‘Dear Customer’.  If you’re able to, try to personalise the subject line, perhaps with the location of the recipient, or other data that you may have collected that makes the email more personalised.

6. A/B testing in email marketing can have massive impacts on the end results – only ever test one thing at a time so you can be sure what variables have affected the results.  Unless you have a huge database that you’re sending the email to it’s best to test one thing per email sent and so it can take time to determine the best combination of variables.  Things to test include subject lines, HTML v’s Plain Text, personalisation, imagery, headlines, copy, design, messaging hierarchy… the list is endless!

7. The day and time that you send an email can have a huge impact on the open rate, click thru rate and response rate so test this until you are confident you’ve got the best combination – if it’s a B2B email than sending Monday morning at 9am is probably not the best time to stand out from the rest of the emails that have been sent over the weekend.

8. Always check how your message looks in different email clients – all too often an email looks great in Outlook and so it’s sent to the recipient list only to find that in Yahoo or Hotmail the images don’t render correctly and the flow of the email is lost completely.  Most email broadcasting software has functionality to allow you to quickly check emails in a wide variety of clients, so be sure to find out how to do this.

9. It’s imperative that you include an unsubscribe link within each email you send – make sure you test the process so if someone does click on this link they are actually unsubscribed quickly.

10. Do as much as you can to ensure that your email doesn’t end up in spam folders there are so many guidelines of how to do this that they could warrant an article in their own right, mostly because they change so frequently, so, check with your email broadcasting software provider as they are likely to have already built a number of methods into their software already.

You can see from this top level list that there  are a lot of things to consider when planning email campaigns, but don’t be scared, if you can get them right email marketing can be a really cost effective, quick way to target  your audience.

This post was written by Elephant Creative Associate, Donna Hewitt and you can read more about her on our Team page

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