One of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to connect with customers is via email. Email marketing is about delivering advertisements using email as a tool. Email marketing, in a broader sense, is every email sent to a potential or current customer and can also be defined as communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience using electronic mail.

Mail became a vital tool for marketing after the United States Postal Services created a nationwide postal network in the 1940s. Nowadays, email marketing is essentially the same as direct mail marketing, but instead of doing it through the post office, it is done electronically.

The best thriving business relationships are founded on trust between the client and the business. Email marketing offers companies the ability to reach a vast community of prospective customers and is a vital component in building customer-firm relationships.

Below are some frequently asked questions about email marketing:

Can email marketing help the growth of a business?

Contrary to the belief that this tool is outdated, according to eMarketer, 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is integral to their business and a recent poll by Pew found that more than 69.7% of internet users in the US chose email marketing as their preferred communication method.

How do I create a powerful email marketing plan?

This step has a lot to do with creativity and innovation. A well thought out plan and strategy must precede every email. If you work in a team, it is good to brainstorm. Regardless, your ultimate goal will dictate the degree to which you maximise your efforts. In maintaining regular contact with clients and customers, there’s a temptation to use email always. Bear in mind that ‘watery’ content will send your email straight into the contact’s spam folder.

To start with, here are some points to think about before sending out an email:

  • The target audience
  • Their present lifecycle stage
  • The specific information that matches their needs
  • The timeframe for the sending of your emails
  • With the points above, you will have a great visual of specifics such as:
  • The number of email drafts in a specific timeframe
  • The frequency of the emails
  • The content of the emails

Upon completion of the list, it is then vital to create simple and concise emails with accurate call-to-actions.

How do I grow my email list?

Without prior contact addresses, a solid email marketing strategy is pointless. For this reason, a method for effective acquisition is important. You can offer downloadable content to your website visitors – the initial step is to target prospects and help them solve a problem or ease their job. Then, promote the piece of content on a landing page, however, put the offer behind a form. This is where the trick lies. Upon submission of information by the contact, they can access the content while your form captures the contact information to build your database. This framework allows for the promotion of your offer on websites where the target prospects consume information already. So, there will be greater conversion rates as the contact database grows.

What is the CAN-SPAM act?

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law which sets the rules for commercial email. It allows email recipients to express his/her right to stop receiving emails from a company or individual. Also, it comes with a list of commercial message requirements alongside the penalties for violating the rules. You can research the full documentation yourself to ascertain the rules and regulations that bind email marketing.

What is the best type of email subject line in email marketing?

Different niches will use different subject lines. However, a high degree of honesty and conciseness in the subject line is important. In most cases, a compelling one-liner should be sufficient. You don’t want to appear untrustworthy by offering what appears to be a lie in the header.

What is A/B testing?

A new maxim for email is ‘Always Be Testing’. With A/B testing, you will get more information about your campaigns. For instance, you may show option A to a group of people and option B to another group. Then, you compare and determine the option that produced better results. To a large extent, this test gives better insight into the way you send campaigns. For this test, you may consider areas such as pre-header message, the subject, and time of the day or week.

How do I avoid spamming in email marketing?

The first move is to think like an email recipient. How? Create quality email content that will be useful for your customers, the kind of helpful information that you would like to see in your own mailbox. Focus on creating a user-friendly email experience for each of your clients, which means relatable content and, if possible, outbound links to relevant resources.

It’s very important that you personalise every email for your client. Yes, personalise. Keep your messages on a first name basis like ‘Hi, James’.

In addition, trust, as mentioned before, plays a significant role in email marketing. This is highlighted by a survey which found 64% of the people sampled said they wouldn’t open any email if they didn’t trust the sender. These email-marketing practices are very important for you to keep in mind.

However, you could follow all the stated tips and still end up in the spam folder.

Five steps to avoid spamming in email marketing

Keep the subject line smart

Would you click on an email with a subject line like “Win Big!” or with all words CAPITALISED? Avoid using words in ALL CAPS, phrases that seem “click-baitish” and which are over-punctuated.

Personalise it

Rather than send bulk emails to your customers, use an email provider that allows you to personalise the space for your contact’s name instead of just email addresses. Email providers like Mail Chimp and Mailer Lite, amongst others, offer this option.

Be relevant

Do away with the tricks and schemes. Develop relevant and informative content that will be helpful to your users. Avoid generalised mail, if possible. If the information is specific to a group of contacts, then only send to that group. Nobody wants a generic email with irrelevant information. This could lead to users unsubscribing.

Include the unsubscribe option

When creating content for your email newsletter, make sure to give your users the option to unsubscribe. Beyond it being email etiquette, it will ensure you don’t get cursed out by annoyed contacts via replies.

Cross-check your email

If, after doing all the above, you still have a low open rate or no response at all from your customer base or potential clients, then you just might still be ending up in the spam folder. What then? Don’t worry, there are online tools that can help verify your email for spam tendencies. Tools like Litmus will highlight words that could be picked up as “spammish” words or phrases by the servers. You can call it the spam test. And, most of all, these tools will enable you to write better emails by teaching you suitable words, phrases or sentences that improve your chances of making it out of the spam stereotype.