Email marketing remains among the most effective tools to engage followers, identify your best prospects, and close sales. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct email marketing campaigns. If you want to maximize the return on your email marketing investment, you should follow some best practices and avoid some common mistakes. In this month’s column, I’ll outline five best practices. In next month’s column, I’ll outline four common mistakes.


Use an Email Service Provider for Your Campaigns

A reputable email marketing service (ESP) provides the software you need to create compelling emails, deliver them with confidence, and track results. ESPs automatically handle and process bounced emails, opt-out requests that are a hassle to process manually. And ESPs maintain relationships with internet service providers to help maximize delivery rates and get more of your mailings to recipients’ inboxes.

Some ESPs also offer professional services — people who can help you execute your campaigns if you don’t have the resources or desire to do so, and strategic consultants to help you plan.

Build Your Email List Aggressively

Put a newsletter signup form in a prominent place on your web site. Create free reports or other give-aways that entice visitors to opt-in. Add a link to your newsletter signup page or free report on your printed marketing materials. Drive people to sign-up from your social media. These are just a few ways to build your list. The key principle: Just ask! The more people who opt-in to your list, the more you will sell.

Plan Your Content

Businesses struggle with email and other content marketing strategies when they fail to plan in advance. Set aside time once a quarter to plan your content strategy. Begin by outlining the frequently asked questions and objections you hear from your clients and prospects. Devise ways to seek feedback through surveys. Plan to create content that educates, informs, and entertains, rather than simply pitches.

Include Links in Your Email and Track Results

Email service providers automatically track who opens your emails and who clicks which links. This helps you to identify your best prospects. In our business, we offer professional services such as strategic consulting and email production. When we describe such services in an email, we always include links to “read more…”. Then we track who clicks those links. Those who click have shown interest in these services and are warmer prospects than those who did not click.

Send Targeted Follow-ups to Prospects

We all know the basic principle: follow-up sells. It can take multiple touches before a prospect decides to buy. It’s best, however, to follow-up with true prospects who welcome additional contact from you. As you track email results, follow-up with those who open your emails or click selected links. They are your best prospects, and they will welcome the contact. Targeted follow-ups lead to more sales.

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