50 powerful tips on email marketing

Email is a wonderful business tool that, if used properly, will enhance your sales and marketing efforts significantly. Try these methods to get the most out of email communications:
1. Use permission lists only.
2. If you buy a list, make sure it is qualified – that is, those email addresses are valid and they belong to people who have opted in to receive emails on products like yours.
3. Ideally, build your own list.
4. Include an opt-in page on your web site, so people can sign up to receive email communications from you.
5. As an incentive, offer customers something free in exchange for signing up – a one time discount code, or a free ebook.
6. Make it easy to opt out or update an email address.
7. Only ask for the information you need – too many questions puts people off.
8. Adopt a formal policy about how the data will be used, and make sure each subscriber has to read those terms before opting in.
9. Honor those terms, no matter what.
10. Put a cap on the number of emails you send each subscriber – once a week is likely to be welcomed, but three times a week may cause people to opt out.
11. Set up your system to flag addresses after so many failed delivery attempts; this will make it easier to keep your email list clean and up to date.
12. Avoid attachments; many people won’t open them.
13. Go for something that will work in the body of an email.
14. Offer plain text as well as HTML to accommodate different loading speeds.
15. Set up a reply email, so your subscribers can reach you when they want to respond to the email.
16. Consider using a newsletter format for your email communications.
17. Subscribe to a few email newsletters, so you can see how others are using the medium.
18. Make notes on what type of newsletter formats seem to grab your attention.
19. Ask others for their opinion of which newsletters they like, and why.
20. Don’t send email communications when there is nothing new to say. Repetition will only cost you subscribers.
21. Make the content of the email interesting.
22. Avoid the appearance of being spam, by not using all capital letters in the title for the email, or announcing "Free" in the title line.
23. Do always make sure the subscriber’s name appears in the "To" field. It’s more personal.
24. Look into using email programs that automatically include the subscriber’s name in the body of the email.
25. Keep it short and sweet. Rambling emails, even if they are newsletters, are likely to be closed and deleted without being read.
26. Always have the email come from the same person at your end. It helps to create a sense of rapport and stability.
27. Never use a subject or title line that is misleading; always make it descriptive of what is in the body of the email.
28. On the other hand, keep it snappy. Instead of "Your November Newsletter", use the title of one of the more important articles in your newsletter.
29. Make it clear that it is okay to forward the email to others, if the subscriber likes. This form of viral marketing can grow your subscriber list over time.
30. Always include links to your product pages in the body of the email.
31. Also include an easy opt-out link at the bottom of the communication.
32. Be sure to solicit responses and comments. People love to share their thoughts.
33. Formatting is especially important in plain test messages. Keep the attention going by using bulleted lists instead of lengthy paragraphs.
34. Stay away from using all capital letters or italicizing words, as they can be harder to view on a computer screen.
35. Watch the use of color in your emails, especially with text; lighter colors tend to be hard to read, especially on a white background.
36. Use fonts that are similar to those used in most email clients; it will make it easier to arrange the text to best advantage, especially for plain text emails.
37. Include some incentive to visit your website, such as promoting a new product or noting a new blog entry.
38. Don’t forget to include a special offer or a discount from time to time.
39. Always thank the subscribers for their time and support.
40. Before you send the emails to clients, send them to an email address of your own, with one in HTML and another in plain text. That way, you know exactly what the subscriber will see.
41. Don’t be afraid to try something different now and then. Vary texts, layouts, and other elements to see what subscribers respond to best.
42. Keep the text of the email focused; rambling will lose your audience, just as wandering text on your website will drive visitors away.
43. Use a reliable program to blast mail to your subscriber list; most allow you to review a report of successful deliveries once the job is complete.
44. Review the reports regularly, and compare them to spikes in your web site traffic, and the responses you get about specifics of the emails.
45. Used software to tabulate and categorize the responses. It will make it much easier to process them and turn them into usable data.
46. Assess the percentage of response you get. The industry standard is between five and fifteen percent. If you are getting less than that, it is time to rethink your approach.
47. If a response serves as the inspiration for an article in the next newsletter, ask the subscriber if it is okay to mention them by first name and initial. This is enough to maintain anonymity, while still recognizing their contribution.
48. Ask subscribers to submit some of their own copy once or twice a year. You may be surprised with the quality of what you receive. Reward the best one with a free ebook or other product.
49. Send out special holiday emails along with your regular weekly communications.
50. Listen to the feedback from your subscribers. It will help you refine the mailings as you go along.