Before starting out in e-mail marketing you need to accept one thing: nothing sells itself. If it did it would not be on your shelves.
The marketing e-mail depends to a great extent on the words and images that it contains. Before giving the nod to the latest design there are a number of checks you should consider to ensure you are exploiting both to their limit.
1. Is it personalised?
Ask yourself if you could divide your email marketing lists any further. Good enough is not, by any stretch of the imagination, good enough. It needs to be as good as you can make it. Personalising the email can be as simple as a different mode of address or the number of images in relation to the words. You need to use your email marketing software to its full extent to be better than the majority of your competitors. Accept that there will be more than one email per campaign. For each sectioned part of the list you will have a slightly, or more so, different email.
2. Is it scan-able?
We keep reading that subscribers will scan a marketing email rather than read it in the way they would a newspaper. This is because this is a fundamental truth. Check that every bit of information that will convince the reader to purchase the item is available to those who just, for want of a better word, scan your email.
3. Is it focused?
There should not be, there cannot be, any wasted words. If a headline, a paragraph, a caption or any other bit of copy can lose a word or two and still retain its impact then delete the words.
4. Is it honest?
Do not try and trick your subscribers. You only ever get the chance to do this once. If you are straightforward with them and the item is as described then the unsubscribe box at the bottom of the e-mail is unlikely to be ticked.
5. Is it legal?
Talking of the unsubscribe box, people are nowadays very willing to complain, and what they complain about most is non-compliance with regulations. Remarkably these are very straightforward for bulk email marketing and in reality there is no excuse for failing to conform. This is something that the legislators feel as well.
6. Is it conversational?
A marketing email is a personal item so ensure that you talk to the subscriber personally. Be clear without patronising, be friendly without taking liberties and ensure that they know that you are aware of their needs and preferences. Include only such matters that they will appreciate reading and, just as importantly, ensure that they are not left wanting more.
I've saved the most important bit till last, something you should not do in email marketing. It can be very jarring to find that images and words conflict. If you are selling a holiday and the image is of a beautiful sunset viewed from a very posh hotel terrace, then the words nearby should not be emphasising water skiing, or bungee jumping.