How to create successful email campaigns to market your website

This morning, at the Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre’s monthly networking breakfast, I heard an interesting presentation by Shelley Reed of Reed’s Writing Block on how to create a successful email campaign to market your small business.
She gave some great advice and tidbits about maintaining your brand image, who to target, how often to target them and how to avoid your emails ending in the recycle bin or spam box. I thought I would share with you some of what I learnt during Shelley’s presentation.

The main criteria required for a successful email campaign are:

  1. The use of your business name in the “from” line (your recipient is more likely to open your email if they know who it’s from)
  2. A title in the subject line that entices your recipients to read your email (announcing a special offer, coupon or new product)
  3. Well written and interesting and/or informative content (your content should be clear and to the point)
  4. A design that complements your website (maintaining your company branding)
  5. A clear call to action (such as a link to print a coupon, email you or visit your website)
  6. A database of recipients (newsletter subscribers or contacts whose business cards you’ve collected)
  7. Email marketing software (to quickly and easily send multiple emails)
  8. And, most importantly, avoid spam at all costs

In fact,  on doing some research, I discovered that the US has strict anti-spam laws and Canada is following suit. If passed, your emails will soon need to comply with the Canadian Spam Law (included in Bill C-27).
Shelley, who specializes in web content writing, gave tips on how to avoid ending up in the recipients spam box, such as the types of words not to include in your content, not emailing people who have asked to unsubscribe and so forth.
She also gave some other useful suggestions such as including unsubscribe options but never asking why, adding content from partnering businesses, ensuring your signature is always included in every email so that it’s clear who your emails are from, only emailing people who’s first name you know so that they are more personal, as well as suggested frequencies and timing of your emails.
Shelley also mentioned the benefits of using email marketing companies, such as enabling you to create a re-usable template, to send test emails, to email multiple recipients, to archive emails/newsletters on your website and to track your campaign’s success. A couple of companies providing email marketing software that some of my clients use are Constant Contact and Mail Chimp. Although they are based in the US, they both seem to offer all of the benefits Shelley mentioned.
For more information about Shelley’s services visit Reed’s Writing Block.