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There are various factors that can determine the success of an email marketing campaign, all of which can be summed up in ten fundamental points that all companies should take into consideration. Some of these rules may seem perfectly obvious, but our experience shows that many companies still fail to observe them, which is why their email marketing strategies are either not as effective as they could be or fail altogether. If you would rather not be just another name on this list of failed campaigns, take note of the following ten commandments of email marketing:

DO NOT SEND EMAILS TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT EXPECTING THEM

The first question you should ask yourself before preparing an email marketing campaign is 'Is the recipient actually expecting my email and will they be interested in receiving it?' The aim is not to send out emails at random, with no rhyme or reason, but rather to focus on those who are interested in your products or services. Monitor your data gathering operations, particularly any that may be performed by a lead generation agency, and make sure they are providing you with the quality of leads that you require. A person may give you their permission to send them emails, although in actual fact they do not want them or are not interested in them, meaning that this lead is worthless. Most importantly of all, do not buy or rent any databases as this is bad practice and will only cause you problems.

KEEP YOUR DATABASE CLEAN AND WELL-ORGANISED

The database is the cornerstone of your email marketing campaign, so look after it as best you can. If someone no longer wishes to receive your emails, there is no point keeping them in your database (remember rule no. 1), so don't make it complicated for them to opt out. Insert a highly visible unsubscribe link at the top of your emails and remove any recipients who report it as spam. It is also important to ensure that the email marketing platform you are working with has feedback loop agreements with the main ISPs and webmail providers. Clean any hard bounces and exclude inactive accounts from any new emailing drives (you can target these with special revival campaigns later on) so as to keep your database active and in perfect condition, which is what's really important.

TREAT YOUR USERS AS CUSTOMERS AND NOT AS MERE EMAIL ADDRESSES

Think about what sort of relationship you want to establish and maintain with your customers and choose the appropriate tone when communicating with them via email. Personalise your emails to make the relationship feel that much closer and 'listen' to what your users are trying to tell you. In order to do this, it is essential that you set up a reply-to address and try to read and respond to the emails they send you. Try, also, to offer your users some form of added value, rather than just bombarding them with promotional offers.

ALWAYS CLEARLY IDENTIFY YOURSELF

Be it by sender's name, logo, images, links or any other element, the customer needs to be able to identify you at first glance. Identifying yourself clearly will help you establish a relationship of trust with them and therefore increase their loyalty to you. Not only that, but your emails are also more likely to reach their destination if they are clearly identified. Concealing themselves is what spammers do, and this also makes it easier for the ISP to block you. Your email marketing provider will be your major ally in this respect, since helping you is part of their job!

MONITOR THE RESULTS OF YOUR CAMPAIGNS CONTINUOUSLY

Databases are constantly evolving, which is why you need to quickly identify changes and adapt your strategy accordingly. Analysing and understanding the statistics provided by email-sending platforms will enable you to adapt to the needs of your users and ensure that your email marketing operations remain effective. In order to achieve this, it is essential that your email marketing provider help you to really get the most out of this information and work with you on improving your strategy.

ANALYSE THE BEHAVIOUR OF YOUR DATABASE AND ADAPT YOUR STRATEGY

The first task involves segmenting your audience: use all of the data you have on your customers to segment your database into homogeneous groups with the same buying habits and who have a similar perception of your brand. Gone are the days of mass emailing; it's now all about adapting your approach to each specific segment and personalising your campaigns. It is also a good idea to perform the A/B test to help you better understand the recipients of your campaigns. You might like to try it with different subjects, sending times, content, etc. to adapt as closely as possible to what they expect from you. Finally, filter out any inactive accounts and target them with special campaigns to try and understand why they have not been opening your emails and try to reawaken their interest.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE DESIGN OF YOUR EMAIL

Visual identity is very important in reinforcing your message and creating a sense of trust. Identify hot spots in your messages and locate your 'calls to action' and any buttons and links you want the recipient to click on in these areas. Having said that, don't neglect the html, either, since the layout of your message is crucial. Check your email on all the different email clients, webmail providers and mobile devices to ensure that all recipients will be able to view your message correctly. You should also optimise the HTML code to prevent it from marking your email as spam. Another good way of preventing your emails from being marked as spam is to maintain a good balance between images and text, since emails that contain only images cannot be viewed unless the images are activated, and emails containing text alone are boring. Again, the expert advice of your provider will prove very useful in this respect.

INNOVATE, SURPRISE AND TRY NOT TO BORE

If you find your opening and click rates are dropping, it's highly likely that this is because your recipients have become bored or because they find your messages disappointing. You have to be able to attract and keep the user's attention, and the secret to this is to surprise them. You can and should experiment with just about every aspect of your emails, including the subject, the design of the email, the sending time, the type of email and the offer, among others, to achieve the greatest possible effect on the user. If you constantly structure your argument in the same way, however good it may be, it ends up losing its effect. When company X, for example, mistakenly sent out an email with the subject line Email day 16 instead of the usual Offer of the day with 15% discount, it observed significantly higher opening rates, despite the fact that the subject was far less appealing. In this case, recipients were opening the email out of sheer curiosity, simply because it was different.

THINK MOBILE

Internet usage habits are constantly changing. We are progressing from single-medium consumption (the PC you've had all your life!) to multi-media consumption (PC, mobile phone, tablet, smartTV, apps, etc.), a change that is making email marketing increasingly complex. Your communications have to adapt to this new situation since at least 30% of your recipients will be opening your email on their mobile phone. As a result, sending a simple HTML is no longer enough if you want 100% of your recipients to be able to view it. Responsive email design can help you adapt your message to suit whichever medium each recipient uses to open it.

WORK WITH A RELIABLE AND PROFESSIONAL TECHNOLOGICAL PARTNER

The job of your email marketing provider is by no means limited to helping you to send emails; they should also inform you and offer advice on improving your email marketing strategy. Furthermore, you should ensure that the email marketing platform you use observes all good technical practice guidelines (feedback loop agreements, automatic hard bounce detection and cleaning, technical identification of emails, etc.) which will have a direct effect on the emails you send. Achieving success in your email marketing operations is a long, ongoing process and the result of close collaboration with your provider, who should provide any help and direction you need. We leave you with this graphic summarising the ten rules to make it that much easier for you to remember them. Keep them to hand! DOWNLOAD NOW !

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