I do a lot of email marketing. I use a tool called Constant Contact to manage my lists, send my HTML marketing messages and ensure I stay CAN-SPAM Act compliant.
Constant Contact hosted a free email marketing seminar this morning at the Sheraton Toronto on Queen Street near Bay. My fear going to these things is that they become a long product demo intended to sell their email distribution solution but this one did a good job of keeping to best practices.
It confirmed a great deal I always knew, but there were a few good tips, even for a guy like me who has already sent 33 HTML blasts in 2008 alone.
- Don't forget to build your prospect list in the offline world. Put out a guest book at trade shows where visitors to your booth can write their email address to be added to your email list.
- Remind recipients to add the email address you send from to their contacts so your blasts find their inbox and not their bulk or spam folders.
- Take that open rate with a big ol' grain of salt. They measure opens by placing a 1x1 .gif file in the email and when that file is called from the server it tallies a "read". Today, many don't download the images or read their email on text-only mobile devices.
- The sender and subject line determines whether your email is read or deleted. Get that right or your call to action in the email won't matter.
- Create quality content and send when your message is most likely to be read.
Nothing ground breaking there, just good tips to keep in mind. I recently analyzed the cost per name with a direct mail campaign vs. an email campaign and there was no comparison. Direct mail is dead. Long live email marketing with CAN-SPAM Act compliancy.