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The Essentials of Email
With the increasing domination of social media, many people wonder whether the old fashioned email is dead.

No! There is definitely a place for well-targeted, professionally presented emails. Just like print, people are returning to this form of communication, fed up with the barrage of sheer ‘noise’ from social media.

There are a myriad of options out there – from the simple to the sophisticated. We usually recommend a system based upon the time and comfort within each business. The good news is that there will be something that suits you perfectly.

Here are our top five tip tips if you're embarking on emailing:

1.    Take A Step Back – before you start emailing, take some time to think about why you’re using this tool. What are you expecting to achieve?  How will you measure success – website visits, social media connections, emails, calls?

2.    The System Itself – how straight forward it is to use? If it’s unnatural and clunky, you’re less likely to make the most of it. Check it has a free trail too – some are free forever, as long as you meet certain criteria such as list size.  

3.    Design – most options offer a range of pre-set templates which help emails look professionally presented. How good are the ‘free’ options? What flexibility do you have? Your template must offer the corporate style and consistency that your brand needs. Changing colours and fonts for each email happens all too often, devaluing brands.

4.     Content – think about your recipients. What are they interested in? How will you grab their attention and encouraging them to read on, of click through? Concentrate upon benefits to your customers, teasing through your wording so that they want more details. A link to your blog is ideal, keeping your newsletter inviting to read and inviting people to your website. 

5.    Did It Work? How will you know? Most email software options will give an analysis of your email campaign. The depth will depend upon the package you’ve signed up for; the freebies still offer good insight though. Plus – check the visitor numbers and landing page traffic in your Google Analytics. This will show whether your email links have enticed readers to your website.

The legal bits…
It’s never ok to ‘cold email’ a personal email address; business addresses ones are ok. In all cases, you should explain how/why the email has arrived with the individual and data must be kept securely. Everyone must be given an ‘opt out’ option, which it is vital to respect.

Last thought…
Results from a first ‘cold’ email are rarely great. Allow momentum to build with a series of three or four regular emails. Just like your print adverts or direct mailing, repetitive exposure works a treat!

If you would like to know how these tips can work for you, please contact us. At Decisions Marketing, we love email... and it's also good to talk!
Enticing Email Marketing
Despite the increase of social media as a communication tool, emailing remains a personable, flexible and successful marketing activity.

It’s ten times cheaper to gain an order or a piece of work from someone who you already know; yet many business owners concentrate on chasing their next new client, forgetting those who have already invested in their product or skills.

Why send marketing emails?

Staying in touch is vital for referrals, repeat business, cross selling and simply out of courtesy. Emails are the perfect opportunity (not forgetting to blend in personal contact too – underutilised by businesses and appreciated by clients).

The title – then the content – of your email will be essential in determining the success of your activity. Here are some top tips to help your email get noticed..  and opened:   

1.    Plan the email title carefully – the words like ‘save’, ‘offer’, ‘win’ and ‘discount’ will be seen as spam by many filters, (as are capital letters). This will stop your email reaching many inboxes.

2.    Varying the title increases the open rate significantly. Entice people to open your email by tempting them with content clues within the title. ‘Latest News’, ‘Summer Update’ or ‘Newsletter no.21’ simply don’t scream ‘open me’!  

3.    Consider using some keywords within your title and content… researched, of course. If these terms work for your website traffic, they should engage your contacts enough to open and read your email too. (Hopefully gaining valuable website traffic and contact engagement.)

4.    Content – position your best stories and deals/most seasonal/most popular items at the top of the list so that people will see them within their inbox – no need to scroll down. These items will draw people into opening the email.

5.    Timing – the day of the week and time of day are crucial to opening rates. Popular days vary between markets. How about looking at your website statistics and social media engagement to see which days and times seem most popular with your contacts?

One other point: one you’ve started, you need to keep going! Frequency will depend upon your market, content and workload. Whether you follow up monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or occasionally… do follow up.

If you would like to discuss your emailing plans or want a helping hand with putting the words together, please contact us. We can save you time and give you a guide-line for future emails. Let’s start sending!  

Emailing Etiquette: Staying Legal
Emailing works.

Yes – many of us have moved to social networks to make contact, (excellent if you don’t have email addresses). Most of us are protective of our email addresses – particularly when faced with growing inboxes. Despite these trends, emailing works.

It’s ten times cheaper to gain work from an existing contact compared with generating, nurturing and converting a new one. The secret to success? Relevant, interesting content and the right frequency. These only work, of course, if they’re going out to the right people.
So – if emailing an offer, newsletter or update is right for your business, (and it probably is), there are some key, legal considerations to bear in mind before you press ‘send’:

1.    Everyone must have the option to unsubscribe. Angst may soon turn to negative word of mouth if someone wants to stop receiving your emails only to find themselves trapped without an escape route. 
2.    It is illegal to ‘cold email’ someone’s personal email address, even with an ‘opt out’ clause. Plus - business email addresses should only be targeted when the email content is relevant to the business rather than for personal use.

3.    Business email address can be contacted ‘out of the blue’, however explaining why you have written to them will help with how your message is received.

4.    It is extremely bad practice and against data protection laws if recipients can see the addresses of others who have received the email. Yes, we know that. Yes, it still happens – often.

5.    Identify yourself! Who you are and why you’re writing should be made clear. Transparency will keep you legal and open the way to credibility. 

Ignore these pointers at your peril! Worst case scenario? Blacklisting and/or a fine.

Popular online emailing software is good at giving tips and keeping your emails legal. They’ll also spot unusually high ‘opt out’ requests or spam notifications. For anyone with under 2,000 people to send to monthly, we recommend Mailchimp for its templates, support service…. and its nil cost!

If you would like to discuss emailing campaigns or other online marketing, please do contact us for an initial chat, without any obligation at all. Emailing is great; sometimes, it’s good to talk!   

For more information about the legal requirements, look at the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act, or contact us.