Posted 11th March 2011 | By Nick Evans, Chairman

If you're practising permission based email marketing then congratulations, youve taken the first step in respecting your subscribers.

If you're carpet-bombing email addresses collected from a variety of sources (that you may or may not have permission to email) then please contact us, your subscribers (victims!) will love you for it.
Now that youre emailing your subscribers legitimately through a permission based system youre done, right? Wrong, you need to make sure your subscribers feel loved, wanted and that theyre getting the attention they deserve. Ive outlined a few tips on how to achieve this below:
1) Welcome mails If you have something interesting to say to new subscribers then send a welcome mail. Perhaps they need guidance on how to use your product, perhaps you're offering a discount for new subscribers or if there is another reason for a welcome mail, then send one. Welcome mails are hitting the inbox of a subscriber when they are most engaged. If you're just sending a mail to welcome them to your list dont bother, it sets a low standard for future mails and is likely to add to the inbox clutter of your subscriber (they will be aware they have signed up, you don't need to remind them). Certainly dont do what one recent magazine did and set your welcome mail to be a survey, this is the email marketing equivalent to standing at the door of your party waiting to see whether guests have brought a bottle of wine before youll let them in.
2) Email them relevant content This is perhaps the most important one to follow, dont start sending the subscribers for your biscuit newsletter content about your new business importing cane toads, they will not be interested. This doesnt mean all of your content has to be about biscuits, if the bottom has fallen out of cane toad importation and you are now importing tea then include it in your next email as this is relevant to your biscuit audience (and will hopefully increase the number of subscribers to your tea newsletter).
3) Dont sell your list This is a well duh! tip, but its surprising how often I get emails telling me Im subscribed to a list because I signed up to a newsletter from another site (okay, sometimes I forget to tick that box). This is an instant way to destroy the trust of your subscribers, so dont do it. Youll get more benefit from your subscribers' trust than you will from sharing your list with other businesses.
4) Choose your frequency No Im not suggesting you start a web-radio channel, Im suggesting you outline (internally and to your subscribers) from the very start how often you will email. It helps to have a content plan for the next two quarters (longer if possible) so that you can schedule accordingly. One general rule of thumb is unless subscribers are expecting a daily email dont email more than once a week (and based on tip 2 less than this is perfectly okay). Of course if you have an event or a promotion the occasional 2 or 3 emails in a week is fine. Conversely dont be too sporadic about your emails; if you dont email for 2 or 3 months and then start sending every day, your subscribers are going to wonder whats going on. Try not to leave too long a gap between mails, this ties in with tip 1, if youre not sending a welcome mail make sure any new subscribers are going to receive a mail shortly anyway.
5) Use your data All good permission-based email marketing systems will be able to provide reports on your email campaigns. Use this data to see what is successful and what isnt successful. If you find that the A note from the CEO section isnt getting any clicks it may be time get rid of it in your emails (be sensitive, just like your subscribers, CEOs have feelings too!). Equally if the Did you know section features your highest Click Through Rate (CTR) then perhaps it should be in a higher profile position in your email. If you find that your unsubscribers are increasing and that the open rate is falling perhaps you need to reassess your marketing campaign (using the 4 tips above) to see where it is going wrong. Dont ignore this data, use it to improve your emails for your subscribers so that you are dishing up exactly what they want.
Ean at ExtraMile Communications Ltd in Eccleshall
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Article by Ean Faragher of ExtraMile Communications Ltd - marketing with commitment

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