Barry Clifford

Email marketing: Strategy and best practices for communicating with customers.

With the proliferation of new mobile devices and the evolution of business communication, email as a marketing mechanism is going to evolve extensively in the coming years. In earlier times, purchasing a list from a list vendor and sending out an email blast  to everyone on that list was thought to be an effective email marketing strategy. Today, tools such as Google’s priority Inbox ( have advanced filtering features that will make it more difficult to reach your audience through email.

Clearly, building a robust email campaign from the ground up requires investments in time to generate the right content, accurate measurement of results, and studied decision making based on metrics. An effective email marketing strategy in the current environment requires careful segmentation analysis and integrated thought that recognizes available best practices and the advances in technology.

Some of the important elements to consider when formulating an effective email campaign are:

  • Email List Building – Who will you be sending emails to? Is your list comprised of registered, opt-in recipients, or are you mailing cold from a purchased list?
  • Deliverability – Because of heightened filtering by ISP’s and email clients, less than 75% of B2B email marketing messages reach their target. What can you do to make it through to the inbox?
  • Email Design – How should you design your email and arrange your content to lay out attractively across varied applications (web/mobile etc)
  • Segmentation/Relevance – Segmenting your email list and targeting your messages will decrease the risk of being considered spam, and increase the chances of response. What you say to the CIO will be different from what you say to the CMO.
  • Landing Pages – You’ve succeeded in piquing a reader’s interest – don’t lose them by landing them on a page that doesn’t directly answer the reason they clicked
  • Timing – 50% of B2B and B2C said that determining the best time to send emails is an email tactic that works particularly well[1]. How should you time your email to ensure the best read rates?
  • Testing – You don’t have to wait until after your whole campaign has been sent to tweak your emails. Testing will help maximize reads and click-through rates.
  • Integrating with your social media strategy – How can you use social media to move prospects and leads through the sales pipeline faster and to increase contact your database?

Companies who are adopting new email marketing practices and modifying their existing ones to the changing technology landscape will gain ground on the competition and be more effective in reaching their marketing goals. So as a marketer that is looking to initiate or retool an email marketing program, you’ll want to think about all these issues, as well as to define your overall email marketing goals.

[1] Silverpop“Exploring the Differences and Similarities of B2C and B2B Marketing Tactics” (2010)

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