How to Successfully Use Email Marketing

Subject: This is not spam!

Email marketing is the usage of email service providers to send out newsletters, promotions, or announcements to a customer base. There are at least 147 million email users that check their email everyday, which can be extremely beneficial for small businesses because such a wide targeted audience can be reached. When used appropriately, email marketing can be a highly effective form of communication. To be effective, email marketing should be an extension of your company and contain valuable information. Your business must take key steps in email marketing to be successful.

For a small business, the first key step is building a customer email list with the customers permission. This can be done by marketing your business at events and meetings, placing a link in your email signature and/or website, using social media outlets, or obtaining emails through phone calls. Once a customer list has been built, email service providers can be used to help manage your list and improve your delivery. The second key step is to set an objective, whether it’s to promote events, inform or relate to customers. The third key step is increasing the likelihood that a customer will open your email. The “from” line should contain a name that is recognizable or refer to your business and the “subject” line should be short and simple, roughly 30-40 characters including spaces.

Sephora is an example of a business that utilizes effective marketing. Though it is a larger company, similar concepts can be applied to your small business’ email marketing campaign.

Sephora begins the email with the subject: “A Surprise Inside,” which is effective because it entices the customer to open the email due to its mystery element. The “from” line is recognizable and contains brand equity. The format of the email is geared towards promotion because it highlights new products that the company offers. Sephora also uses the same style for their email marketing. This consistent form of branding allows customers to become familiar with the brand. At the end of the email, Sephora provides social media outlets that enable the customers to connect with the company on another level.

As a small business, it is important that you take into account the key steps for successful email marketing: build a strong customer base, set an objective, and form effective “subject” and “from” lines. These tools will enable your small business to reach your desired audience, and reinforce your brand identity. So remember, successful email marketing begins with you!

Comments welcome…

Note: The preceding post was written and researched by students in my Honors Marketing 351, Fall 2011 class, from the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, Cal State Fullerton University, Fullerton California.  Many thanks to their time, talent, and contributions to both their career and this marketing blog.  Go Titans!


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