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Email Marketing Simplified: What Really Works and Why

May 5th, 2012

Computer deleteImagine a prospect you would really like to court. This person can work at a small company down the street or for a large multi-national. It doesn’t really matter. Now imagine this person opening their inbox as they sit at their desk with a cup of Joe. Surprise, surprise. Ten new messages pop up – and yours is one of them.

Starting at the most recent, with middle finger poised to strike the delete key, your target prospect gives each subject line a quick glance before a decision is made: to delete or not delete.

From the prospect’s perspective, there is no recourse, no penalty involved for striking dead an email not worthy of attention. And considering most people operate on very short attention spans, most e-mail marketing messages don’t stand a fighting chance.

So how does a marketer avoid the delete key? So glad you asked. Here are some valuable pointers that are sure to help your emails get opened and read.


  • Make a Personal Connection. Want higher email response rates? Of course you do. So take a little time to make a personal connection. Did your prospect’s Alma mater win a big game the previous night? If so, mention it. Bottom line: If you know something about the individual it can only work in your favor to include it.
  • Don’t Be Fake. Mislead your prospects and you’ll be on the receiving end of useless leads, if any at all. People don’t like to be fooled, especially if someone is taking the time to read your message. Also, it is important to allow subscribers a way out. By providing the ability to opt-out from your newsletter you give people exactly what they want: options.
  • Bold Call to Action. Apply the K.I.S.S. methodology here and you’ll win more often than not. You can lose a prospect in milliseconds if they can’t find a URL or reply button.
  • Subject Line Jail. Your email won’t get opened if the subject line doesn’t evoke curiosity or appeal to self-interest. Be careful with your presentation. Describe the offer or the reason to click thru. And please don’t use gimmicks. Oh yeah, one more thing: people are more likely to open email from a person, so include your name.
  • Boost Response With Branded Promos. Imagine the facial expression of a prospect you have been trying to reach (say four times) with little progress. Get a response by mailing a useful business gift like a desk accessory. Why send a business gift? It is the easiest way to engage the rule of reciprocity. Next time you call or email guess who will get through now? Not your competition.
Desktop accessory
  • Hello Mr. Landing Page. Who cares about web site traffic is it doesn’t convert at a respectable rate? No one. In order to add value to your embedded links you must send prospects to a dedicated landing page that expands on your email message. The one very large variable that can make or break your campaign? The offer. Example: Mr. Smith is allergic to dairy, so he’s probably not going to cash in on your BOGO ice cream cone offer. Make sure people need or want what you are selling before you approach them.
  • Don’t Overstay Your Welcome. You’ll get blacklisted in a hurry if you jam e-mail messages down your prospect’s throat, so be considerate of their time. In no time you’ll have a dirty list. And that’s laundry no one wants to clean up.

Is Content King?

Copywriters and successful marketers all agree content is king. But there is a fine line between writing enough to inform and writing just enough to inform. Targeted e-mails work really well when they are short and make a compelling call to action. Think about it like this: When you are exchanging e-mails with your customers do they write long-winded messages or are they brief, one-liners?

email marketing 101

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