Email marketing is still very much alive, and done well, it can be pretty effective. It’s a fairly cheap way of promoting your business, but it does take time, thought and effort to get it right.

We’ve put our heads together in the office and come up with a quick-fire guide to email marketing, with 10 tips to print off and use as a checklist to keep you on track!

Our quick-fire email marketing guide

1. Build a base – before you create a great campaign, you need a base of contacts to send it to. Put in the groundwork on social media, offer an obvious but unobtrusive sign-up option during the checkout process, incentivise engagement and work your PR charm as hard as you can! Once you’ve a good network, you can start to segment your audience, tailoring your campaigns towards the most receptive recipients.

2. Research – you need a clear idea of what information, offers and media your audience is primed to receive, so you need to do your research well. Look at competitors, related content and social signals to see what works and what doesn’t; study your demographics and analyse your audience.

3. Plan – don’t just dive in blindly, otherwise ongoing measurement and admin is going to be a nightmare! Create a calendar that details different opportunities, campaign types, audience segments, seasonal and industry events etc so you’re always prepared for the next email you’re going to distribute.

4. Create awesome content – now you know what your audience is looking for, what kind of content engages them, and when you’re sending specific items out, you can start creating your campaigns. Write well, use great visuals, mix it up with video, and make your purpose clear, which brings us to…

5. Call to action – sharing information is one thing, but you need to have a clear objective in terms of the action you want your audience to take. Do you want them to look at some brand new products, ask for their help, offer them free postage, invite a friend to sign-up?? Whatever it is, have a clear call to action that links immediately to the page you’re leading them to.

6. Personalise – we’re much more receptive to friendliness, and being addressed directly helps to establish an immediate relationship, so make sure you don’t just tailor content and campaigns to different groups, but to also personalise the text to every individual too. Your email marketing software will do this for you – just make sure your contact data is clean and consistent, and don’t go overboard!

7. Hook them in – however great your email marketing content is, you have to persuade people to open it in the first place. Make sure your subject lines are unique and snappy, and personalise by location or interest where possible. Present an immediate benefit or solution to a problem, or offer them something – even if that’s an exclusive preview to a product their buying history says they might like.

8. Timing – you need to find the right balance if you’re going to retain and gain an audience. Analyse open rates and click-throughs etc and build a picture of the days/times your contacts are most open to your emails. If you promise a weekly/monthly update, stick to it and don’t go crazy – an email every day is probably a little too much!

9. Spam – email marketing campaigns are at risk of being filtered into spam and junk folders. Make sure you’re well-versed in how the filters work to avoid wasting your efforts – and never add someone without their permission, offer an immediate opt-out to all new subscribers and always offer a clear and easy unsubscribe option.

10. Analyse, adapt – you’re not going to get it right every time, but every time you’ll learn a little more about getting it right. Monitoring campaigns and analysing your success rates might not sound like much fun, but it’s the best way of understanding what you need to change and where you need to improve.

So there you are, our top ten email marketing tips to help you focus your efforts on the right things in the right order – but if you need any professional assistance, we’re here and happy to chat!