Tuesday, February 14, 2012

7 Essential Attributes of Successful Email Campaigns

Online services like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor can make creating and distributing email campaigns easier and more efficient.

But beware: There’s more to successful email marketing than plugging your data into a form on one of these sites.

Email best practices continue to evolve on many fronts. Staying ahead of the changes can mean the difference between a campaign that captures your audience’s attention and one that’s captured by spam filters.

Here are some of the key areas to keep in mind:

Design that pops. Many online templates leave a lot to be desired, but good designers can help customize your look to make it more attractive and reflective of your brand.

Content that audiences care about. It pays to take the time to identify your audiences . Segment them in a way that makes sense for your company – whether that’s demographically, geographically or by products/services used.  Then you can address their needs, wants and pain points in a way that piques interest without giving away too much intellectual property. 

Spam filter friendliness. The restrictions imposed by filter programs are a moving target, with a growing array of red-flag phrases and practices – pay particular attention to subject lines – that will doom your distribution.

An accurate contact list. It’s crucial that you have correct info for people you’d like to reach as well as those who don’t want to be reached. Contacting only people who know you and who’ve opted in via web forms or in person will help keep you in their good graces – and off spam lists.

Optimization for relevant mail clients. Whether it’s mobile or desktop/browser software, you’ve got to make sure your email can be accessed easily and creates a consistent brand experience.

Review and adaptation. Heed your results and learn from them. What types of articles do audiences click on the most? Use the knowledge to adjust your approach.

A holistic approach.  Email marketing is only one piece of the puzzle.  An effective campaign needs to be supported by other online and offline activities that deliver a consistent message and provide valuable information. Consider social media channels, content marketing and public relations.