Email Best Practices

E-mail marketing remains one of the most cost-effective options available to business marketers, with every dollar spent delivering a solid return. And the sophistication of data hasn’t made e-mail marketing less desirable. It’s actually made it more so, and it’s helping to define some of the best practices e-mail marketers need to embrace in today’s environment.

For starters, good data can make it easier than ever for you to personalize your marketing e-mails, and we know that personalized messages deliver a much stronger return than those that are not personalized.

It’s not just a matter of using the recipient’s name in the salutation, or even in the body text. Location data now makes it possible to customize the images you include in an e-mail to match where the recipient lives. How much difference will it make if both the look and feel of the e-mail connect the recipient to the place he or she knows as home?

Virgin recently experimented with this approach and its click-through rate improved by 29 percent. How much difference would it make to your bottom line if you could achieve that improvement on every campaign you launch?

That’s one of the ways good data can help.

Another best practice driven by data is the segmentation of your list. It’s common practice to segment by geography or demography, both of which rely on good data at the outset. But you can go beyond that. You can also segment using data that tells you how engaged users have been, and you can develop campaigns specifically aimed at re-engaging those who haven’t opened one of your e-mails in awhile.

Some savvy marketers also seek to enhance their data by asking survey questions at the time someone signs up. That way you get more than just the e-mail address. You also get some insight into the person’s thinking, which can guide you into better use of your access to that person’s inbox.

Needless to say, compliance with spam laws is an essential good practice. CAN-SPAM has been with us since 2003 but it’s still important to remember you need to manage your opt-outs, ensure your unsubscribe link is legal and make sure you include a physical address with the e-mails you send.

And don’t forget that CAN-SPAM also regulates your content to some degree. If your subject lines are misleading or the sender you identify is not legitimate, you could find yourself in trouble – not to mention landing in a lot of people’s spam filters.

E-mail marketing is still one of the most powerful ways to reach your market, and good data used effectively makes it more powerful than ever. So make sure you’re up to speed on best practices and the law, and prepare to reap the rewards.

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