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Getting Started with Email Marketing
Most people use email every day, if not multiple times a day; so it’s safe to say that email marketing is good for business. In fact, a recent study showed that email marketing is almost 45 times more effective in new customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined!
While email marketing seems simple—send an email to a bunch of addresses and gain a few customers—it's easy to get wrong. The trick is to engage with your audience and maintain their trust so your mailing list grows to be a network of subscribers that are eager to hear from you and share your content with their friends. ‘Cause that’s the whole reason you have a mailing list, right? We thought so.
Email marketing has a long history of being abused which has given the impression that anything goes. Thankfully, that isn't the case now that we have laws to regulate what can and can't be emailed to the masses. As a U.S.-based company, our user agreement requires our customers to follow the rules in the CAN-SPAM Act which applies to any email sent for the primary purpose of advertising or promoting a product, service, or website—even business-to-business email. Most countries have similar laws; so if you live outside the U.S., you'll also need to comply with any local email laws.
Our basic mailing list requirements, largely based on the most common anti-spam laws, are listed below. These aren’t just good suggestions; they're requirements.
- Confirmed Opt-In. Also known as Double Opt-In or Verified Opt-In, is meant to ensure only people who want to receive your information are subscribed to your mailing list. When enabled, new subscribers will be sent a confirmation email with a link they must click in order to be added to your mailing list. Constant Contact and other email marketing services can do this for you.
- One-Click Unsubscribe. A one-click unsubscribe link must be included in every email. The link should be easy to find so the recipient doesn't resort to marking the message as spam.
- Identify Advertisements. Commercial email that promotes a business or paid service must be clearly identified as an advertisement.
- Clear, Concise Subjects. The email subject line must accurately reflect the content of the email. It is better to be simple and direct in your approach, rather than catchy and misleading. If the content of your email is worth opening then the subject line should write itself.
- Identify Yourself. Use accurate "From," "To," and "Reply-To" information in your email headers so your recipients know it's you. In addition, your contact information must be included in every promotional email that you send, including a physical mailing address or PO Box where you can receive mail.
- Don't Use Purchased Lists. Using a purchased, rented, or scraped mailing list is not only against our Terms of Service, it’s a huge waste of money! These second-hand lists are notorious for providing bad addresses that lead to high bounce rates and blacklisting. Good email addresses aren't for sale.
Email Marketing Done Right
Email marketing is unique in its ability to shape a business's online image. When done right, it will grow your customer base and promote your cause — people will want to hear from you. Sadly, we can all think of examples of businesses who've done it wrong, ranging from uninteresting content to outright spam. So let’s make your readers happy by doing it right!
- Relate to Your Audience. Understand why they've come to you and use your content to show how your product or service makes their life easier.
- Balance Content and Promotion. Plan ahead to determine how much of your campaign will include advertisements and how much will be interesting and useful content used to engage your readers. You could try the 80/20 rule: 80% content, 20% promotion.
- Collect Subscribers. Create an opt-in campaign on your website that offers an incentive to sign up—perhaps a contest or email exclusive deal. Encourage your users to share your content with “forward to a friend” buttons and “share on social media” links.
- Utilize List Segmentation. Segment, or divide, your subscribers into groups based on their interests, demographics, and preferences on products or services. You can easily do this by including additional fields in your subscription form. By treating your subscribers as distinct groups with distinct needs, your email campaigns will have increased response and engagement rates.
- Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! Fix any grammatical, factual, and other errors before your readers find them! Read your message aloud, spell check it, and read it again before sending.
- Preview on Multiple Devices. Does your email look as good on smartphones and tablets as it does on a computer screen? Desktop email has slowly been replaced by mobile apps. Today, the majority of email is initially opened on a mobile device. If your emails don’t look good on mobile devices, you’re neglecting a fair portion of your audience.
We want you to be successful with your email marketing campaigns, so we’ve partnered with Constant Contact to give you the best email marketing tools available. Take a look at these fantastic features:
- Customizable Templates. You don’t have to be a professional web designer to make a beautiful email campaign. Just select one of their professional templates and customize it to your preferences using their drag-and-drop editor. It’s that simple!
- Automate Campaigns. Customize automated campaigns so you can send the right message at the right time. Automatically remind customers of the products they've left in their cart or follow up with customers after they've completed a purchase to recommend other products they'll love.
- List-Building Tools. Easily grow your list in-person and online with trusted-partner apps that sync to your Constant Contact account, customizable sign-up forms for your website, and custom texts or QR codes that let people subscribe to your emails from their mobile device.
- Ensure Delivery. Constant Contact has the highest delivery rates in the business because they provide you with the tools you need to be successful, including confirmed opt-in and one-click unsubscribe to help keep your emails compliant with anti-spam laws so your emails go to your subscriber's inbox, not their spam folders.
- See What Works. Use the email tracking tools and detailed analytics to track your marketing success. Check your mobile email open rates, clickthrough rates, and bounce rates; measure audience engagement; track how much revenue you’ve generated, and more. You can even set up A/B testing to see which campaigns work better. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to make your next campaign even more successful.
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