Email will never die, at least not within the next decade I think. Although it's about as old as the internet, it has proven its ability to evolve with the times, technology and user demand. No longer being a privileged service but packed with a plethora of options on a freemium model. It's an intricate part of our personal and business lives and remains crucial for communication. One thing worthy to note from a marketer's perspective is that the medium is more protected than ever before as we guard our inbox as personal space. Only offering our address to service providers with genuine and worthy offers. It's a huge gate guarding the consumer's circle of trust and once violated, marketing to that consumer via that medium is dead. So how do marketers remain relevant, ahead of the game and continue to make email a performing marketing medium? It's generally accepted that email marketing typically offers an ROI of 4,300% when executed properly, which is great news, especially for those just exploring the medium. Here are some guidelines and do's and don'ts that will help you drive your campaign and place your products in the hands of more consumers. Attitude & Approach 1. Every Customer & Prospect is Relevant Whether the person you're interacting with is spending money with you right now or not, that person is valid and deserves your attention and respect. Combine this with the "customer is always right" mindset. An attitude that expresses genuine care and interest will attract more clients. The moment you begin to think of prospects and customers as disposable or only there to put money in your pockets, it will show through your communication. It all starts with the right mindset and values for delivering superb customer service to all. 2. It's About Trust & Relationships You won't give your email address to a company you think is going to potentially spam you. Your email inbox is sacred. Remember that in all email marketing activities. Building trust can be a slow process but it is well worth it. It leads to loyalty and continued sales over a longer period of time. Build trust by delivering on what you promise, do not bombard your subscribers with daily mails, unless they ask for it, don't bait, communicate clearly and honestly. 3. Give, Give, Give, Ask This term was coined by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell your Story in a Noisy Social World. In a nutshell, it means that you give more than you ask for the sale. In giving and providing native content and value to your audience often enough, you'll kind of have a surplus in the "emotional bank account" so that when it comes time for you to ask for the sale, the customer feels inclined to hear you out, give you a chance and buy your product. All because the relationship is there, they trust you and know what you're about. Provide value more often than how you pitch for a sale. 4. Keep it Short & Sweet Nobody wants a 1,000 word article in their inbox, we simply do not have the attention span or time to read it. Regardless of how interesting and packed with value you may think it is. Long form content rarely performs in email. Keep your mail short and sweet, enticing the reader to click to the complete content if they wish. It will be better accepted that way. 5. Know Your Audience Knowledge is power in this digital age and the more you know about your subscribers and clients, the better your position to provide the specific things they need and are in tune with their intimate desires. An email marketing platform offers a plethora of tools that help you to segment, store and study the behavior of your list. Take note of key demographics such as age, gender, location, etc. This is going to be vital for collecting data on the performance of your campaigns and subscriber interactions. 6. Avoid Red Flag Words & Phrases Email service provider systems are smarter than ever. So smart that if your email is never opened by your subscribers, they may be automatically flagged as spam. Meaning that even though your mail is legitimate, it goes nowhere. Use of keywords that are usually viewed as spammy such as pharmaceuticals, gambling and even survival knives are surefire ways to land in the spam folder. Emails with too many links also signal red flags. If you are legitimately in any of these industries, ensure that you ask your subscribers to check their spam folders and white list your emails. This secures delivery for the future. 7. Know When to Schedule Your Campaigns Email open rates are higher on weekdays versus weekends. People check their emails more often on work days. Take advantage of that. Design 8. Kiss: Keep It Simple Sily Creativity is always a great asset but this is where simplicity and a clear vision is vital. Do not overload your email content with lots of imagery, links and offers. Confusing readers making them unsure of what to pay attention to and click. They won't take the time to decipher what you've written. Keep it straightforward. 9. Strategize Your Call to Action Use one to two calls to action. Use a bit of color for your link text, button or image that say Learn more, Read more, Buy Now, etc. More does not translate to better here and delivering a simplified call to action that clearly describes what the reader will gain works. Incorporate calls to action in the middle and end of your content. 10. Understand & Use Appropriate Colors Color psychology is a powerful art to be aware of. The use of various colors affect mood and appeal to different users and demographics. Choosing the right colors will affect how users respond to your email copy and will mean the difference between a sale or not. For example, blue represents dependability and trust while orange evokes confidence and cheerfulness. Many companies employ A/B testing to determine how customers respond to content. The results were often dramatically different based on different colors tested. Shades of red and orange tend to imply urgency and action. Use them wisely. Research your audience and determine the best options for you. 11. Never Forget About the Mobile Experience The average mobile screen will facilitate mail that is about 600 to 720 px wide. Going beyond this will result in a poor experience for subscribers as they will need to scroll left to right and back to consume your content. They simply won't bother. Remember that mobile screens are usually limited. Therefore, if your audience is more likely to view your mails on a mobile device, you need to get straight to the point and keep your message short, sweet and full of life. Attention spans are shortened on mobile. 12. Sculpt the Perfect Subject Line Here are some email subject line best practices: Keep them under 50 characters More CAPS do not equal more opens Keep your "From" field professional and personal - Don't use your company name or any other goofy titles / names Pay attention to the preview - The email preview that follows the subject line is a valuable piece of property, and yet so many businesses ignore it or let it get filled with garbage text. Sprinkle a little controversy or shock value into subject lines - Something like "Your Marketing Sucks - Here's Why." However, this should not be your only strategy. Funny subject lines are ok Personalization and localization helps - It's great if you can target users based on their city or specific interests Using “Daily” or “Weekly” in subject lines boosts open and click-through rates whereas “Monthly” hurts open and click-through rates Get to the point quickly. No nonsense Technology 13. Testing & Optimization Never assume that your email marketing campaign is fine the way it is simply because you think so and are getting a few clicks and sales. There's always an opportunity for better performance. Always be testing. There's no such thing as a perfect campaign or business but continuously focusing on what you can do better is vital for remaining relevant and beating the competition. For that end, AB testing is extremely crucial. Roll out and test various content styles, layouts, subject lines, copy and images to determine which strategy works best. Once you've identified it based on improved results, use it. Make sure that the Email Marketing service you go for has a built-in split testing option to make your life easier. GetResponse’s AB testing feature is awesome in that regard and if you’re struggling with setting it up, you could always watch a tutorial. 14. Never Use Standard Mailing Services Never try to use your standard mail service such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo. You're simply going to fail since there are so many limitations associated with these types of services. They're just not built for bulk mail delivery and lack a majority of the features you'll get from a premium provider like GetResponse. 15. Embrace the Analytics - Don't Focus Solely on Open Rates Getting subscribers to open your emails is great! However, if that's all they're doing then how successful is your overall marketing campaign? They need to do something with the content you're delivering. Other key metrics to take note of are: Clicks Soft Bounces Hard Bounces Abuse Complaints Unsubscribes These metrics speaks volumes regarding how effective your campaigns are and provide insight on what works and what you'll need to adjust. Conclusion Acquiring a prospect's email address is a privilege. Use it wisely and respect the new relationship you're about to build. Email is a powerful and robust marketing medium and as other traditional media quickly die it continuously delivers results for those who pay attention to users and utilize the best tools.