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11 Sure-fire Tips on How to Make Sure Your Email Marketing Works

11 Sure-fire Tips on How to Make Sure Your Email Marketing Works

When social media turned up the art of email marketing took a back seat with many marketers. But with Facebook organic reach reducing, email has become the new cool kid in the class.

It’s better to ask someone for their email instead of waiting for them to “like” you. Having a healthy email list and high open rates is now essential.

If you focus on the high deliverability of your content, you can’t lose. But remember you have many things in your way. This includes “Google bots” with the nanny abilities of determining who goes where. They determine your email placement such as  do you go into the “Promotion” Tab today or the “Primary” in people’s Gmail account?

Which is the best place to be, you ask?

The correct answer would be, Inbox. But what usually happens is that people get discouraged with their low open rates and then turn to social media. They don’t realize that Facebook is already knocking your views there too. You’re lucky if 10% of your fanpage even see your next post, that’s without a link by the way. Many people turned away from email marketing to social media hoping for that silver bullet of success.

So let’s talk about social media for a minute.

The social media argument

Some will argue that email is dead and that other avenues are better. They feel like email shouldn’t get as much attention as other things, like Social media. Social media fads have come and gone (like Myspace), but one thing has never changed, they (social media) will always be asking for your email to register. Isn’t it amazing?

People will almost shoot you down about how Facebook trumps email marketing, and that email marketing is old school. Email can’t even touch the power of Facebook they say. Facebook is more hip and it’s where the money is at they say. I smile as I think about what it takes to even login into this powerful independent tool. Your email address.

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a great way to get the message out. It’s just a cheap way to let people know that you exist, but it’s not the best way for traffic or introduction of your company. People would rather see what junior had for lunch than to buy your eBook for $9.99 on Facebook. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s better to use the tool for what it’s made for and that’s to connect and remind.

How to get the most out of your list

So what can we do with your email list and to get more traffic? It’s quite simple, raise your open rates. Let’s do some math for a second.

If you have an email list of 10,000 people and you send your email 4 times a month. What would happen if you increased your open rates by 10%. I’ll show you.

Average open rate is 20%. So let’s use that.

20% of 10,000 on your list= 2,000 People open your email. 2,000 x 4 (times a month) = 8,000 People open your email in one month.

Now let’s increase by 10% after you read this post.

30% of 10,000= 3,000 People open your email. 3,000 x 4 = 12,000 People open your email in one month.

That’s 4,000 extra people saw your email this month. All because you took an extra 10 minutes to read this post. As for doing the work? You’ll be spending less time writing that email than what you was.

Can this really happen? Yes, if you do everything in this post, you will see a difference in your open rates.

The secret formula

I have written for many major bloggers like Pat Flynn, Problogger, Jay Baer, Social Fresh etc. and it’s amazing how  soon Google likes to switch things up. You can still apply those things mentioned in those earlier post, but as Google gets smarter, so should we.

Here is the list of new things you should be doing:

  1. Keep it short and sweet
  2. Hold the links to one (possibly 2)
  3. Include as much information about the reader
  4. Be consistent with delivery
  5. Every email must add value to reader
  6. No pictures
  7. No sales pitch
  8. No RSS
  9. Text Form In HTML
  10. You must have an amazing subject line
  11. Reply to Messages

Let’s break down each point.

1. Keep it short and sweet

People are on the go, no? They don’t want to read an eBook form of an email. They want something quick and something helpful. If you feel like giving them an eBook, then email them a link to your eBook. There is a reason why email’s are being checked more and more on mobile devices.

You know why?

They’re moving around with a little time in between stops. America is on the move, but she doesn’t have time to read the eBook. And if you do send that eBook form of an email don’t do it 3-5 times a week! They want to feel accomplished, that they actually read the whole thing. Make them feel better about themselves.

How does Gmail feel about long post?  People have actually gotten away with this. Rami Sethi does it this way and it works for him. This isn’t penalized by Google usually. So it may arrive in the inbox at first for awhile, but if the person doesn’t seem to be opening them, Google will eventually scoot you along to the other tabs.

Example of this:

Email marketing

2. Hold the links to one (maybe two)

Pat Flynn does great with his open rates based on our discussions we’ve had. Unless he does this one thing, and that’s add 3-5 links per email.

Which this is somewhat of a new thing still for most. But it’s when his emails go bye-bye in my and your Gmail accounts.

I don’t do anything, it’s all on Google. I want to receive these emails, but their “nanny” filters thinks it knows best. So too many links will hurt you. And yes, the unsubscribe link is being counted by Google. Strict I know. I’m not saying 3 links and you’re out, but I am saying you’re risking it.

Emails with many links go to the Promotional Tab as you see here:

Email marketing

See! It’s in my promotional tab.

 Email marketing

Note: Am I dissing these people? No! This is what Google does with these emails that have for instance, too many links. This isn’t saying that your content level is low, it’s just not making it to the Inbox. All these emails here are ones I have subscribed to and they still hit my promotions tab. And yes, I have a Magic Jack!

3. Include as much information about the reader

Break down your readers in the list they come in. Organize them based on the days they sign up. Say things like, “ Hey it’s been 2 weeks since you join the list and I’m so excited to tell you about……” You know, something like that. Include their name with name tricks provided by your email provider. Try to get as personal as you can with your audience. Also, write like you’re writing to one person. This keeps the connection burning. Be creative and divide your list up based on the say they signed up.

4. Be consistent with delivery

Have a set day that you send out emails so people know when to expect you. 10am or 3pm seems to be a good times unless you know something otherwise. Times vary on your email list and industry, but be sensitive.

Don’t email at crazy hours.  Unless you’re Paypal. You can email them anytime. Sunday, 3am in the morning, with a message stating “You have received $10,000 from Jeff Bullas” never made anyone mad. Those always get opened with joy:)

5. Every email must add value to reader

Like Paypal, you’ve got to send something that your reader is looking for. Something that will either inspire them, make them money, save them money, save them time, save them pain etc. And it must happen in that email, not just the link they’re clicking. Everytime they see your name, they must feel that value is coming their way. So make that email a good one. It’s THE best way to get traffic, so you’ve got to make this one a good one.

6. No pictures

Sorry graphic designers. Studies have shown that emails do way better without the images. How do I know? Look at the below image.

Email marketing

All of these guys have images in their inbox. Every single one. And it’s why they never reach my inbox. Unless you’d rather have a corporation feel over open rates, I would remove the header and logos.

I know this one hurts. You may make better profit with the images in all your emails, but if you’re looking for higher open rates, it’s got to go.

7. No sales pitch

We all hate being sold, and definitely in our email. It’s pretty slimy feeling actually. It doesn’t work and it’s why Mailchimp has almost completely shut down affiliated marketing within their services.

So my suggestion would be? To be helpful. Sale on your website and possibly Amazon, but not Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact etc. You can do affiliate marketing within your email, but you will see your open rates go down eventually.

8. No RSS

This is great for notifying your readers about your next blog post. I would suggest having one sign up box just for this. But if you’re looking for higher open rates, you’ve got to turn it off. Why? Gmail is directing your content to the trashcan. Well I say trashcan, it’s more like the Promotions tab or Social Tab. It’s a proven fact. Not only does Google see you as a nuisance, eventually people will quit clicking on you. People are looking for more connection these days than anything.  But combine content with connection and bam! You have open rates soaring like the bald eagle.

9. Text form in HTML

The only reason I wouldn’t simply go just plain text is because you must be able to track progress. The other reason would be for that 1 link you’re wanting to include. So it’s why HTML is still the best option.

10. You must have an amazing subject line

Jeff talks more about headlines here in his article 10 Awesome Headlines that Drive Traffic and Attract Readers. You can apply this to subject lines also. This is great, and as you practice, the better you’ll get.

Here’s Jeff’s top headlines:

Also subject lines like:

All these work great.

11. Reply to messages you get

Last but not least, make sure to reply to your readers. Nothing is more important than this one thing. You complete that connection by responding. People want to know that you’re real. That you’re more than just about money. Make your replies #1 priority. And nothing is uglier than no-reply@yoursite.com. You’re emailing them, but they can’t email you? So this is a one-way street? Not a good message you’re giving here.

So hopefully you will apply these today. Start reaping the benefits and make the list work for you. It’s the best way to send your message and to be seen. And that my friend is half the challenge, and it’s simply being heard in this noisy world.

If you need further help with your email marketing feel free to join my list here! I write about email building because it’s the greatest way to reach out to customers and increase profits. I talk about other things, but my focus is email and how to make that email list sing! Getting your readers to interact. It’s what marketing is all about.

About Author: Luke Guy blogs at Lukeguy.com. He researches email marketing and how to grow businesses doing it. He talks about other things but usually it involves emailing.

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  • Hi Luke,

    Adding value makes you stand out.

    If someone volunteers their email to you, the least you can do is to make that act of trust worthwhile for them. Over deliver. Short and sweet can work nicely, but only post short emails if your blog posts are thorough.

    If your blog posts are short, over deliver on the email side of things, or else folks will go elsewhere to get something meaty. I learned this message with my old blog, and decided to go with three, 2500 word posts on my new blog. All going nicely so far.

    The subject line makes or breaks the email. We see many different topics/approaches/techniques daily, so make yourself stand out from the email marketing crowd by inspiring your readers to click through.

    I use double figure list or tip style posts to get more clicks and opens. Some with shorter emails will use questions, or a quick How To tutorial, to make their point. Whatever your approach, keep doing what’s working and let go any email subject lines which aren’t generating clicks.

    Track, track and track your results some more, to rock out this email thing.

    Thanks so much Luke.

    Tweeting in a bit.


    • Every comment, every post, every conversation, every tweet. The thought behind all of these must be value. As you say Ryan, Adding value makes you stand out.

      I agree 100% with this. And subject lines determine open rate on the reader’s side. This is for sure. Thanks for the valuable comment Ryan 🙂

  • David Graham

    We have been following the rules you listed and have had tremendous success with our email marketing

  • David Graham

    Hi Jeff. We apply an email marketing model at Deloitte Africa which is based on the advice you provide in your article and we have had tremendous success with this approach. We segment our subscriber list by country, management category and industry and only send targeted, relevant communication, based on user’s frequency choices, which is personalised and “skimmable”, which introduces content that resonates. We follow up with persons who show interest in the content with an offer to meet or send them related articles. We have generated countless leads and significant business revenues as a result. I am excited that your thinking is consistent with mine as I published an article on the subject on LinkedIn this weekend! Regards David Graham, Digital Engagement Leader, Deloitte Africa

  • Tricia Baker

    Great blog today! Thanks!

  • Excellent post, Luke, Very informative!

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself when stated “it’s better
    to ask someone for their email instead of waiting for them to “like” you. I
    think we sometimes get too wrapped up in social media and implementing a new
    strategy to fight these algorithm changes on what use to be a free advertising
    platform. I personally love getting deals so being in the know of all the
    brands I follow that others won’t get elsewhere is huge. And let’s face it we
    check our emails more than anything all day long.

  • THAT is wicked stuff! Thank you I did notice that Jeff Bullas practices in his Newsletter what you preach here: few links & no pictures.

    I have a question: Would you say a newsletter like this will have a lower open rate because of the pictures & links?


    (Found as an example in Brian Honigmans valuable post about Customer Relation: http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2014/08/25/building-trust-with-first-time-customers/ )

    • Wow. That is one long, picture and linked filled email. Yes, Google would slaughter this.

  • Excellent post , how length the body of email should be ?

    • This is debatable, this is based on your readers. Who are they and how much time do they have to read. I’d say 500 words is usual. But every email must be valuable itself.

      • A Post should be at least 750 to 1000 words, with images and video.

  • This is very helpfull article regarding email marketing works, We are following the rules what ever you suggested and now we are getting good result.
    Thank you so much for your valuble post

  • The article is really helpful and now i am going to start my first email marketing campaign with the help of this article 🙂
    Thanks for sharing

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