Email Marketing 101.
Abacus International.
Wednesday, 30th May 2007
We all know that emails can be an effective marketing tool-

But it is also one that has been abused and is shrouded by a cloud of suspicion, thanks to spam mail and irresponsible users.

In this issue, we'll look at some ways as suggested by authors Jim Sterne and Anthony Priore, to craft effective email messages some dos and don'ts that will help us on our way to a successful email marketing campaign.

The Headers

The email headers can be likened to the envelope in the good old days of paper mail, or snail mail. Like the envelopes, the headers will show the recipient where it is from, and give clues as to the nature of the mail. Before you even craft the email message proper, the important fields that we want to look at are the "from" field, the "to" field, and the "subject" field.

Have you received emails from quirky, elusive addresses lke 204676@sunrise.com? Or how about 8983787@58098.com? If you can't even identify yourself, forget getting people trusting you enough to even read your mail.

Bonafide companies who are confident of their product and the value of their message will not hesistate to identify themselves. Info@xytravel.com works much better in establishing who the message is from. If you are able, use a personal name. jim@abctoursandtravel.com is even better.

In the "to" field, you can either choose to address the group as a group (for example, "subscribers", or "customers") or you can send it to individuals. We recommend the latter. Anything you can personalise is always better. The other thing to consider is to hide your group lists. Do not expose all the email addresses of the group to the others this is private information that should be kept private.

Next, the subject header - here are some don'ts.

Do not use exclamation marks
One of the first spam filters people set up has a rule that says if it has more than one exclamation point, it is automatically routed to the trash bin.

Do not use dollar signs
These come in the same category as exclamation marks.

Do not use the word "free"
While you may be tempted to think that's the catchall word that will win anybody over, think again. People are sassy enough to know there is no free lunch. Spam filters often rule that "free" offers go to the trash as well.

Do not use caps
This is tantamount to shouting at your recipient.

Be Brief
The industry standard is 25-35 characters. The rest will unlikely to be displayed on an email client.

The Body

Before you even begin your message, it is suggested that you should give the option to unsubscribe, or opt-out of the list. And make it easy for people to do so. Better to lose them now than hang on to angry recipients who will get angrier each time they receive an unwanted mail from you.

Keep the email body short and to the point. If there is an offer to be had, describe it succinctly in the beginning. Don't make your recipient wade through a bunch of niceties to find the real meat. If you have more information you want to share with your recipients, provide a link to a webpage for those who are interested to know more. And obviously, make sure the link works.

Avoid too casual language and smileys, or emoticons. While those are appropriate for personal emails and chats, they will come across as highly unsuitable for business communications.

Always sign off on the message with full contact details. You want to make it easy for the recipient to take action on the offer. Give various modes of accessibility points email, mobile phone, office telephone numbers, web address, etc. The more ways they can get in touch with you, the better.

If you can remember these simple rules, you ought to find more successes in your email marketing campaigns. Be an effective user, and not an abuser of emails!

2007 Copyright @ Abacus International. All Rights Reserved

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