In many ways, the key to success in email marketing is to strike a critical balance. The simple fact is that in the modern era, technology gives us tremendous power to do many things. To go to extremes, consider the absurd: If we want, we can send a thousand emails to a customer per month. But the simple fact is that such a customer would be outraged and would instantaneously seek to unsubscribe from our email list. It becomes immediately clear that the balance we must strike is to send out emails that achieve our goals, but also are respectful of our customers and their most precious resource — time.

This principle underlies my three New Year’s resolutions for better email marketing.

  1. Keep Your Message Simple and On Target. Emails deliver their greatest value when their content is clear and easily grasped by the recipient. As a result, it is best to keep emails pithy and to the point, without too much meandering. Reverting to the core principle above, an email is destined for failure when it fails to respect the time a recipient has for reading.
  2. Provide a Clear Call to Action. Remember that your customer has requested your emails because he or she sees value in them. As a result, there is no reason to be shy about telling the customer what you would most like the customer to do. This is what we in the marketing business call a “call to action.” And yet again, the core principle comes into play: when creating a call to action, we must remember to be respectful of the customer. A call to action is best styled as an invitation, not a command; and it should be clear, not confusing.
  3. Don’t Send Everything to Everyone. If our core principle is to be respectful of an email recipient’s time, then it stands to reason that we do not want to send her or him emails containing information we can reasonably expect holds no interest for the recipient. In other words, don’t send everything to everyone all the time. Cast in the affirmative, use whatever tools you can to send your recipients information that you know is of interest to them while omitting information that is not of interest.

MarketVolt has unique tools that enable you to market this way. For instance, our Auto-Assign feature enables you to place someone who clicks on a link in an email into a designated group or characteristic, and then send them an automated follow-up about that subject a few days later. In this way, we do not send the follow-up to everyone in our list, just the folks who clicked on a link and therefore showed some interest in the subject.

Similarly, our Dynamic Content can help when you create an email containing multiple items of interest, but you are confident that one of the items is not of interest to your whole list. Using Dynamic Content, you can make the item appear to only those recipients who would find it interesting.

So, going forward in 2014, if you want to be effective, remember to be respectful of your audience.

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