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6 Email Marketing Tips to Improve Your Online Campaigns

August 29th, 2012
These days, consumers' email inboxes are so jam-packed with messages that only a fraction of them are opened and read. In fact, a recent study by the email marketing firm Silverpop revealed that the open rate for messages sent to American email accounts is only about 20 percent. And even when a subscriber does open your email message, he or she may choose to unsubscribe from your list. So, how do you make your email marketing campaigns more effective? Here are six email marketing tips and tactics to consider:

1) Fill the Message With Links. Typically, the purpose of your email marketing campaign is to drive traffic to your site to increase customers and sales. Do this by adding more links throughout your message; the more links a message has, the more likely a person is to click through to your website or promotional page. Also make sure they are obvious links: Highlight them in a different color, make them bolder font or add a call-to-action such as "Click here!" to guide your subscribers.

2) Create a Clear Call-to-Action. While the general aim of your email marketing campaign is to drive traffic, each campaign should also have a more focused purpose. There should be a clear call-to-action that encourages your subscribers to do something, such as printing a discount coupon or visiting your brand's site to gain access to an exclusive video. Stick to one call-to-action per email campaign to avoid confusing customers. You can also be repetitive -- include the call-to-action in your email subject line, at the top of the message and again at the bottom.

3) Keep Text Short and Sweet. The attention span of online users is very, very short, and most people will scan an email message from a brand without actually reading any of it. To ensure that your message gets across to your customer, keep your text brief and engaging. Use bullet points where possible and highlight key words with bold font or another color to convey the overall purpose of the message. As states, "Too much text will get your email deleted just about as fast as anything, and it creates more risk for triggering spam filters."

4) Send a Test Email First. One of the worst things that can happen when sending out an email marketing campaign is that you send it out to your subscribers prior to fixing all bugs and typos. Any marketing material that has obvious mistakes, or doesn't display properly when opened by subscribers, can hurt a brand's reputation. Thus, make sure you send out a test email prior to sending the email campaign to your entire marketing list.

5) Avoid Getting Flagged as Spam. You might have a great offer for your email subscribers, but that won't mean a thing when their inboxes are flagging your message as spam. To avoid this, take care to remove anything from your email campaign that could be misconstrued as "spammy." For instance, avoid overusing characters such as "$$$" or "!!!" and avoid writing verbiage like "Win prizes" or "No obligation!" that make the email sound unsolicited. Also avoid using backgrounds other than white; according to Get Elastic, colorful backgrounds are more frequently flagged as spam.

6) Customize Where Possible. Try to customize your email messages as best as you can. For example, directly address the recipient by using his or her name in the email message. Although simple, this can mean the difference between the consumer scanning the email for more information and deleting your message right away. Even better if you are able to separate your email lists by geographic location; this allows you to include information and content that is more targeted and location-specific, which will be more interesting to subscribers.

These email marketing tips are by no means an exhaustive list, but they will nonetheless help you toward fine-tuning your email marketing strategy. For more about email marketing, developments in this area and what online strategies brands are using today, download Trend Hunter's Email Trend Report and Social Media Marketing Trend Report.