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Email marketing: How to get your emails opened

Is email marketing dead?  Absolutely not!  For my money, email marketing, is THE most cost effective and time effective way to market yourself and your business, to your clients and customers.  If you’re not using this fantastic method of building relationships with your clients, you’re missing out on a HUGE opportunity.

Small business examples of email marketing that’s working

Not convinced?   One of my photographer email marketing clients, consistently gets over 60% of his respondents opening his newsletters and on average will get 2 new pieces of work as a result of the email that we send out.  For Women Unlimited, 60% of the tickets that we sell to events and training are the direct result of the different emails that we send out.   And finally for one of the delegates, from one of our previous email marketing workshops, had been sending out emails for months and getting no response and after the workshop, she was able to attribute 10 customer visits (from a list of 60 people!) to her restaurant after updating her email.

Do you make this mistake?

The mistake that most small businesses make with their email marketing is that they make their emails all about them.  Does this sound familiar?  If you look in your inbox, no doubt you will find a lot of emails from service providers and retailers that are totally focused on themselves.    It’s all me, me, me.

Look at your own behaviour as an email marketing recipient

What do you do when a marketing email lands in your inbox?   90% of you will delete it immediately.    But if you track your own behavious, I suspect you’ll discover that you don’t delete all of them

Reasons people open marketing emails

Ask yourself why you don’t delete them and you’ll have your answer to great email marketing.    You will decide to read the email for a few reasons, and if your email marketing fulfils one of these reasons, you are on your way to effecitve email marketing.

1. Curiosity:  The subject line or first paragraph of text makes you want to open up the email and find out more

2. Value: You are expecting to get some personal value out of reading the email, whether it be an opportunity or knowledget or discount code or special offer

3. Relationship: You have a good relationship with the writer and you know that there will be a payoff of some description

4. Anticipation:  The email is one of a series and offers some fulfilment of some description.

5. Right thing AT the right time: This is the magic of email marketing.   When someone is regularly sending you emails, there will almost certainly come a time when you may need their product or service.

6.  Interest: They are writing about something that you are interested in, whether it’s events, news, education, new products.

7. They’ve asked for it: When people choose to receive your emails, rather than just entering all the business cards  you’ve picked up from a networking event, you’ll find that your open rates go up enormously.  This is because they have decided that you have something to say that they would like to hear.

How can you apply this  to your business?

These reasons are all well and good, but how can you apply them to your own business?

1. Ask your customers /prospects what they want:  The answer may surprise you.   One of the simplest ways to find out what you should include in your newsletter is to ask.  What type of content would they like, what are the most important issues for them

2. Identify important times of year: For example Early Learning Centre always send me a 20% off voucher before Easter and Christmas.  Perfect.

3. Give them information that they will value.  Ie if you’re an accountant, send them updates on how they can make the most out of their expenses in period coming up to tax

4. Share special offers: both yours and non-competive partners.  If people know that something is coming that will make it financially worthwhile, they are more likely to open the email.

5. Be conversational:  Emails are an informal communication method, so don’t write it like it’s a formal letter to a client.  Show that you have a bit of personality.

6.  Make it look good:  In the HTML vs Text debate, HTML always wins in my opinion.   Firstly it is a branding opportunity, secondly it helps you track who opens your mail and who doesn’t, and finally it makes your business look more professional

7. Make it easy to read:  This falls in line with the description above, however it’s possible to have a good looking email that isn’t easy to read.  Your content should have clear sections, with clear text based headings (rather than image based)

8.  Always and consistently add value through every email that you send.

Hopefully this will give you a good starting point for making your email marketing work for you.

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About the Author: Julie Hall is the founder of  Women Unlimited and Springmedia, a web marketing agency based in south west London.  Julie is an expert in search engine optimisation, email marketing, social media marketing and wordpress.  Julie is also a regular speaker and runs many of Women Unlimited’s workshops and webinars.

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About Julie Hall

Hi, I'm Julie Hall, the founder of Women Unlimited. Which is my 4th business. I've had a business as a headhunter, a consultant, a new media agency and now finally Women Unlimited. I've learned lots of lessons - many of which could have been avoided. I hope you find the articles and stories on this website useful, and feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.

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2 comments

  1. I just came across this article today. Great series of tips, looks like you put an incredible amount of time on this piece.

    I would be interested in potentially hosting an edited/amended version on one of our sites maybe emailexpert.org If you might be interested please do get in touch Julie

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