By = Kristina Weis on = July 20, 2010
Using email to send out marketing pieces and newsletters can be a powerful way to touch your customers on a regular basis, prompting them to come back to your website or tell a friend about you.
Sending email is pretty cheap, too. It can cost as little as 1 cent per email, and many companies let you send unlimited emails for a low monthly fee.
While social media is gaining prominence and popularity in the Internet marketing space, email is still important. You can reach a wider audience with an email campaign than with a social campaign, because more people use email than any social network. It's also easier for people to check email while they're at work -- it's less obvious than opening a social media site, which may be frowned on as a waste of time.
Compared to posting something on Facebook or Twitter, email is a more likely way to reach people. Your message will sit in your prospect's inbox until he or she deletes it. But someone can easily miss your post on a social site if their stream is full of postings from lots of friends, or if they don't happen to log in on the day you broadcast your marketing message.
Below you'll find a few tips for sending great emails and some email marketing services that can make your life easier and your email marketing more effective. We also have an article dedicated to keeping your emails out of spam folders.
Tips for Creating and Sending Email Newsletters
- Keep your goal in mind.
- Whether you want to get people to click a particular link, become your fan on Facebook, or contact you, make sure to craft your email to guide readers in that direction.
- Make sure your email looks okay in various email clients and mobile phones.
- An email can look great in the email client you're using -- but it may not look so great in Yahoo, Hotmail, or on an iPhone.
- Make sure your email looks okay without the images displayed.
- Many email clients don't display images in emails by default. Make sure to create the content of your email as actual text, rather than placing your important message in an image. The tools I recommend below allow you to create your message as text.
- Pick an appropriate time to send your emails.
- Sending emails during the middle of the business day on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is generally recommended. People tend to be busy catching up on Mondays, and are rushing to complete work and leave on Fridays. But use your knowledge of your own business and customers -- other days may be more effective for you.
- Give your emails an accurate and enticing subject line.
- You want people to open your emails, right? Tell them what to expect in a way that will make them want to open and read it.
- Note: A misleading subject line can get you dinged for spam, and remember that a subject line should only contain plain text because HTML or other markup won't do anything but make your email look broken.
- Make sure you send your emails from an email address that you actually check.
- It's common for people to reply to marketing emails, asking to be removed or with some other customer service issue. You don't want to risk missing these messages.
- Build your email list by giving people ways to opt in:
- Make sure your website offers either a link or another way for people to sign up for your newsletter.
- If customers visit your physical location, offer them a way to sign up while they're on the premises.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Long emails and big blocks of text can make people gloss over and not read what you have to say.
- Include a plain text version of your email.
- Not everyone will view your email in its pretty HTML glory, either because of their email client or a preference they set. Many of the email marketing services below will help walk you through this.
- Many businesses post to these social media sites more often than they send out an email newsletter, because it's easier and cheaper. Direct people to these sites so you can touch them more often.
- Using an email marketing service is probably your best bet.
- There really aren't good ways for you to send and manage bulk emails or craft a beautiful email without using some sort of service -- that is, unless you're an email marketing expert yourself, in which case you probably wouldn't be reading this article.
- See our related article, Find the Best Email Marketing Service for You, for more info and a list of email marketing platforms.
- Don't be a spammer.
- See our related article for further tips on staying out of spam folders and blacklists.