Our Short Guide to Successful E-mail Marketing Nicci Troiani MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Benchmarking Report identified that 67% of organizations increased their email budgets last year, with one-fifth of them increasing it by more than 30%.While e-mail marketing is the new standard for businesses, there are a lot of factors to consider when starting an e-mail marketing campaign.Should you get an html template? Should you send to your whole list? Which e-mail address should it come from? How do you optimize opens and clicks? Should you do testing?Overwhelmed yet?–Don’t be. The first step to e-mail marketing is… just get started! There are certain things that every e-mail marketer should know before getting started. However, your business and audience is unique to you, and you will learn what works for you best as you proceed.There are 3 main things that every e-mail marketer needs to do: Get your Emails Opened, Optimize your Response Rates and Track, Analyze and Test. Here are our tips throughout this process:1. Get your Emails OpenedIt has to get opened to get read! Here are some tips on getting your e-mails opened:Subject Line: Keep it short and don’t get too creative. If it sounds like you’re marketing, the recipient will hit delete. Who is the Sender? Make sure that the e-mail is coming from you (the person), not you (the company). Having a personal touch makes the e-mail seem like it was written just for the recipient and not part of some mass marketing mailing.Segment your recipients: Sending relevant information to smaller segmented groups in your contact list is going to give you the best results. Your contacts are more likely to open an e-mail that tells them what’s in it for them and contains information pertaining to their interests.2. Optimize Response RatesWhen do I send? There is no “magic send time.” Consider your audience: do you have mostly work e-mails? If so, they will be checking their e-mails during the day. If not, send after work hours. Do you have many different time zones? Don’t send a mass blast to your whole list if it’s going to be 2 a.m. for some of them. As far as day of the week, usually Mondays are busy and people are mentally checked out by Friday. Tuesday mornings are my ideal time, but that doesn’t mean that is best for you! This chart from Adweek actually shows that more marketers’ e-mails were responded to on the weekend: (Check out the full article on sending times here.) Let them Unsubscribe! Make sure that the system you are sending from has an “unsubscribe” link. Sending information to people that don’t want it does you no good. Help, don’t Sell: Don’t send out pushy sales e-mails. Unless you want to receive SPAM complaints. Send out helpful, educational information that pertains to your industry. Doing this will solidify your image as a trusted adviser and expert, not a pushy salesman. Text, Text, Text: A text-only e-mail is much more personal than a heavy HTML newsletter e-mail. Also, heavy HTML can be flagged as SPAM and looks like it came from a business, not a person. 3. Track, Analyze and TestLook at Opens and Link Clicks: This will let you know which e-mails are better received and which material your contacts were most likely to click through on. This enables you to make more successful e-mails in the future. Test Everything: Look at what works and what didn’t and test things like sending dates and times, subject line content and e-mail body content. Without testing, you may not get your optimal results. The majority of the leads you market to are not yet ready to buy, but are going to buy at some point. By sending an effective e-mail nurturing campaign you and your business stay top of mind and become positioned as an expert in your field. This helps to ensure that when they are ready to buy, they come to you.