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FourSquare. Facebook. MySpace. Friendster. Blogs.

Track the evolution of social media, and one thing is constant — change.

If you do the same with email marketing you see… email.

While so many web technologies have come and gone, and consultants hop from social media to search engine optimization, email marketing remains the most robust and consistent tool for reaching online audiences.

Are you using email to the max? Here’s a few best practices for this ageless online tool:

Follow the stats

Any reputable email service provider will give you stats of how many recipients open and click on an email. Our platform even shows you what actions recipients took on your website. Use this information religiously.

Send to your audience’s preference

The rule of thumb is to send to your list once a month. But for certain industries (and audiences) people prefer to receive information more often than that. The trick is to hit the pace where you stay top of mind with your target audiences but don’t annoy them.

Segment, segment, segment

You have rich data on who your audience is and how they want to hear from you. Use this information to send different emails to different segments. Slice and dice your list to send different messages and see what works.

Build lists organically

Nothing will kill your email outreach campaign faster than using an old, rented, purchased, or donated list. You might look at 50,000 additional addresses and think that’s a gold mine. It’s a trap. Those people don’t know you, and if just 0.01% mark you as spam on Comcast, AOL, or another ISP, they will block all of your emails from coming through.

Studies have shown that opt-in (organic) lists not only have a higher rate of engagement, but also have higher raw numbers of engagement. A recent study showed even within different units of the same company, brands that sent to only opt-in lists had a higher number (as well as rate) of opens and clicks, even though brands that sent only to opt-out (purchased or rented) lists sent over 60 million additional emails in the same period.

I hope this helps as you plan for 2012. What other email tips should communicators keep in mind?

(Speaking of opt-in emails, please take a minute to sign up for ours using the form on the right! We’d love to get in touch and send you regular updates on how to leverage digital communications.)

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