8 Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing

Hundreds of billions of emails are sent each day. While many are personal communications, many are part of email marketing campaigns. If you represent a group trying to increase membership or raise money through association marketing, you need to understand how to reach your target audience in such a way that recipients won't unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam.

Improve your email marketing efforts and the results you get with these eight tips.

1 – Stop Using the Wrong Lists

In order to get a high click-through rate and prevent spam or junk mail claims, your direct mail list must be highly targeted and responsive. The best bet is always to use your own house list of members and people who have expressed interest in your group due to previous marketing efforts.

One of the worst things you can do is purchase or rent a general email list and send your introductory message out to everyone on it. This puts the focus on quantity over quality. Chances are, the bulk of these untargeted people will simply unsubscribe or delete the email unread.

Find a better alternative: instead of renting general lists, use an email marketing list that filters down to the most responsive demographics possible, ones that align with the purpose and goals of your association. Often, working with an experienced mailing list broker can help you avoid selecting lists that are not going to be fruitful. An experienced list broker like Bethesda List Center, www.bethesda-list.com , knows how to target your requirements

2 – Avoid Excessive Rapid-Fire Emails

Although it certainly takes more than one contact to make your association a known name, sending out too many emails causes annoyance. Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules about email marketing frequency that work across all industries and niches. When and how you should send emails depend on the purpose of each individual contact. For example, an opt-in newsletter should be sent on a regular schedule once per week or month; but messages with free trial offers or special gift deals can be sent more frequently.

3 – Make Personalization Accurate

Email servers allows senders to use merge tags in order to personalize every email they send out. If Sally receives your email with her name inserted ("Hi, Sally"), she is more apt to respond positively. However, merge tags do not always input the correct data. Set up the service carefully, so the correct data are inserted. If you don't have the necessary data, auto-fill a word such as "friend." Delivering an email with a "Hi, friend" greeting is much better than delivering one with an error message ("Hi, [insert]".

4 – Focus on the Recipient

Not only should you provide content of value with every association marketing email, you must pay attention to data such as click-through rates and direct feedback from recipients. Many email newsletter owners receive comments or questions from subscribers that should always be taken into account when future emails are sent. The same thing can happen with marketing emails. The more you listen to the people you want to join your association or do business with you, the more apt they are to respond favorably to the messages you send.

5 – Send Out Attractive and User-Friendly Emails

Although content trumps style, every email you send should be eye-catching and attractive. Using ugly or garish colors or old-fashioned graphics will not endear you to the people you are trying to impress. Also, make sure every email shows up clearly on all browsers and mobile devices. There are automatic testing programs, but the ideal way to make sure every subscriber or association marketing recipient can access your message is to do the tests yourself.

6 – Resist Using Clickbait or Clichéd Subject Lines

Phrases such as "the secret of," "you won't believe," or "shocking new" may have attracted attention when email marketers first began using them 10 years ago, but readers are now savvy to clickbait and the false promises they make. These clichéd come-ons get a much lower click-through rate than honest, straightforward subject lines.

7 – Plan Follow-up Email Marketing or Other Contact Methods

After sending out an email campaign, you can analyze your clicks, reads, and unsubscribes. Understanding what these data mean is essential to planning your next move. In order to nurture readers, you need to develop additional content that provides value to them. Make an ongoing plan to align that content with each stage of marketing you will put your audience through.

8 – Follow the Laws, But Don't Make Unsubscribing a Simple Choice

Every direct mail you send electronically must follow appropriate anti-SPAM laws and have an unsubscribe button clearly designated at the bottom. This also helps recipients know that you respect their decisions about what type of contact they get and whether they are interested in your association or not. Enabling readers to unsubscribe improves trust overall.

That being said, the last thing you want to do is make unsubscribing a simple choice. The best way to avoid this is by always delivering relevant and interesting information about your association goals, values, events, and special offers. People who receive something they want and need will choose to continue.

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