You can’t surprise anyone with running an email campaign nowadays, but it’s those, who try new things and test them, who get the most results.
To have a flawless campaign and get the most results from your efforts, read this guide to learn how to:

  • get more opt-in subscribers
  • write great e-mail messages
  • design effective emails
  • make sure your emails reach your audience
  • increase open rates and click-throughs
  • improve your landing page conversion rate

How to Get More Opt-in Subscribers

  1. Place a Signup Form on Your Home Page
    Place a signup form on your homepage, so that visitors could leave their contact information immediately. Be sure your web form is impressive and at the same time simple enough to attract people and make them fill it and press the ‘Subscribe’ button.
  2. Link to a Signup Form from Every Page of Website
    While exploring your site visitors may consider to signup at any time. That is why it is useful to place a link to signup form on every page.
  3. Include Subscription Checkbox on All Website Forms
    Besides the usual way to subscribe to your newsletter, you can place newsletter subscription fields in your site registration forms, trial forms and any other forms, where visitors should fill in their contact information.
  4. Do Not Ask For Much Information
    People usually hesitate, when they need to fill in personal information online. Your web form should make visitors complete the subscription process, so since no one wants to spend hours filling lots of fields, don’t ask too many questions, this may scare your visitors.
  5. Make It Clear What Visitors Are Signing Up For
    Provide visitors with all the necessary information like what they get, why they may want it, and how often they will be contacted. It should be a brief (but detailed) explanation of what you are offering.
  6. Make It Easy to Sign Up
    You need to make the subscription easy. At the same time you want to get some basic info about each visitor. Some signup forms are too long and people don’t like to describe all their life online. Make your form simple and short, this will attract your visitors.
  7. Include Email Subscription as a Requirement to Get Download
    People are usually ready to fill in signup forms to get downloads, so you can make your visitors subscribe to your newsletter to get the download. Or you can offer download as a bonus for signing up.
    Offer a free download as a bonus for subscribing to your e-mail.
  8. Welcome Each New Subscriber
    If the user confirms his subscription, you should send him a welcome letter. It helps to establish a relationship with your potential customer. It also confirms that you have received the information from the signup form and that your appreciate visitor’s attention and time he spent on your site.
  9. Never Add an Address to Database Unless You Have Explicit Permission
    Always send a confirmation email to validate address accuracy. This is the essential rule of permission email marketing. Send a message that repeats the subscriber’s opt-in data to be sure you get the right e-mail address in your database.
  10. Add a Benefit-based Invitation to Subscribe
    Don’t simply invite people to subscribe to your newsletter: add a reason or two in the form of benefits, based on the main values of your customers and newsletter.
  11. Offer Free Giveaways to One Lucky Subscriber
    People like to receive something for free. You can encourage visitors to sign up by offering them a free gift, such as t-shirt or a gift card, to a random subscriber. It can also be a free portion of your service or your product.
  12. Update Your Button Text from “Submit”
    As you offer your subscription or even offer a free gift on a landing page, you can use benefit-driven labels in your button, such as “Subscribe to learn the latest news” or “Get your e-Book right now”
  13. Send a Re-opt-in Message to Subscribers Who Haven’t Acted on Your Emails
    You can send messages with special offer to those subscribers who haven’t acted on your emails for a long time. You can delete the addresses that don’t respond to this reminder or move them to a separate list.
  14. Send a “Re-Introduction Email”
    If you have a list of email addresses you haven’t send messages for a while you need to send them a Re-Introduction email first. Remind them how you’ve got their address or how they’ve bought something from you. Attract their attention so not to be marked as ‘spam’.
  15. Add the Link to Signup in All the Invoices
    You can add a link to subscription form in the invoices or other brochures that your company sends.
  16. Add the Link to Signup in Email Signature
    Add a link to your signup form below your email signature in emails. It may describe the benefits of your newsletter, some promotions or special offers.
  17. Promote Email Communications in All Printed Materials
    You can add a call to action to sign up to your free newsletter in any brochure or postcard. Even a business card is a great place for it.
  18. Setup a Subscription Computer at Tradeshows
    Tradeshows and special networking events give you a great chance to enlarge your emails database. Tell people about special offers you have and benefits they can get after signing up. They can subscribe immediately using the subscription computer.
  19. Ask Your Customers for Their Email Addresses and Permission
    Don’t waste any chances to tell your customers about email communications. You can ask them to signup personally, for example, in a physical store or over the phone.
  20. Invite Your Readers to Share Your Emails
    Make it easy for people to share some information from your newsletter with their friends and colleagues by inserting the link to share and a call to action in your newsletter.
  21. Create a Facebook Fan Page With a Standing Subscription Invitation
    Promote your Facebook Fan page in your email messages and on your Web site. Update it frequently with fresh content such as Facebook-only news and offers.

Write Great E-mail Messages

  1. Make E-mail Messages Stand Out in the Preview Pane
    People get lots of emails daily, so you need to make your messages unique to stand out from the crowd. As emails are usually viewed in the preview pane, you should make your messages clear and brief, including a link to register and your call to actions.
  2. Make Content Easy to Scan
    People usually scan their e-mails in seconds. You should write your message with clear content, clickable links and the message should be attractive enough to make people click the links.
  3. Put Your Copy on a Single Screen Above the Fold
    If you want people to read your emails until the end, you should pay more attention to your email designs. One of the points is that the copy of the email should be on a single screen above the fold.
  4. Take Longer Sections of Copy and Link to Them on Separate Pages
    If your readers are interested in your information, they will want to read the whole email and go to your site to find out more, so link out to more useful information on your site.
  5. Have a Strong Call to Action in the E-mail Subject Line
    The first thing people read in the message is its header. It should be attractive, impressive, and unique to call the reader into action.
  6. Persuade Them With Your Words
    Write naturally, be clear when explaining the subject. To persuade people to do something (to click the link or to accept your offer), you should know what problems your readers want to solve and describe what your offer is, why they should use it, how it they will be able to use it and who exactly will benefit from the offer.Learn more how to persuade with your words.
  7. Tell Them Why They Want To Take Action
    You need to explain people what will happen if they accept your offer. They need to see what benefits they will have and how their life will change.Learn more how to tell them.
  8. Don’t Waste Your Readers’ Time
    Make sure that you emails are worth reading. Start with the table of contents so that reader may choose which point to read first. Show the key points in the subject line, so that reader could see all the important information in the preview pane.
  9. Make Unsubscribing Easy
    Don’t wait until reader mark you letter as spam, place the link to unsubscribing option at the beginning of the letter. Be sure to make the unsubscribing process obvious and easy.
  10. Use Accurate and Descriptive Subject Headings
    People want to know who is communicating with them, so include your company name in the heading. The subject should make readers curious and interested in the topic of the letter. As the space of the heading is limited, keep it short but informative.
  11. Don’t Forget Your Plain Text Version
    Remember that not every e-mail client can display HTML text, so it’s better to use a plain text version of your message.
  12. Make a Link to a Web Version
    Sometimes readers may have such email clients that can’t display your email properly. In this case, you should provide the possibility to view the content of the letter online on your web site.
  13. Do Not Rush
    You shouldn’t be in a hurry with sending emails. Make the proper design of your messages, think carefully of the content, and plan the subject line. Make sure all the people from your email database opted-in and gave the permission to use their email address.

Design Effective Emails

  1. Email List Segmentation Starts with “Welcome!”
    List segmentation is the key to your success and profit. Welcome new campaign visitors by sending them special messages. You can use automated welcome programs to send such messages.
  2. Fine-Tuning Email Rendering
    As your customers have different email clients, your message will be displayed differently. Users also have different computer preferences. It’s important to optimize email rendering so that clients could see your message correctly.
  3. The Top of the Email is Not for Pretty Pictures
    The top of your letter isn’t the best place for your logo or some picture. It is better to start your message with call to action information as it will be the first thing reader sees in the preview pane. You can put your logo or some graphics below the message.
  4. Web-like Navigation is Murder on Mobile Devices
    Many mobile devices have problems with rendering HTML correctly. To avoid it make a text version of your HTML, place it on your Web site and put a link to this version in your email message.
  5. Graphics Don’t Work – No, Really, They Don’t
    Don’t have much graphics in your letters as many email clients block images by default. All the readers will see is empty boxes instead of pictures.
  6. Images Should be Posted on Your Publicly Accessible Web Server
    Focus on your message, not graphics. Post images on a fast, public web server. Don’t use a secure connection or an external server as it is too slow.
  7. Don’t Code Emails Too Wide
    You should design an email so that it will fit in the viewing area of most email clients. A width of 650 pixels will fit in most email client windows.
  8. Invisible Calls to Action Don’t Get Clicked
    Don’t put any important information that readers really need to see in graphics. As graphics is not displayed in some email clients, reader may loose interest to such a message.
  9. Use Stronger Call to Action
    Call to action in your letter should be clear, concise and visible to the reader in any format. Make it easy for the clients to understand why to click through, and what they can expect on the other side.
  10. Email Clients Don’t Honor Cascading Style Sheets
    Many popular email clients don’t honor CSS, so 99% of your CSS won’t work. That means no CSS-positioning, DIVs, etc. Webmail services usually disable CSS, because it can override the rest of their page.
  11. Use HTML Tables for Layout
    The main idea is to is divide your web page into sections and columns to give it a professional view and to make it more user friendly. HTML tables will make layout more complex.
  12. Don’t Expect JavaScript, ActiveX, Flash and Video to Work in HTML Email
    JavaScript, ActiveX, Flash, and videos usually don’t work in HTML emails. Even if you send them your reader most likely won’t be able to see them. Most email programs block it for safety.
  13. Use Animated GIF If You Desperately Need Some Kind of Video
    The best way to include a video in your email is an animated GIF. But if you need sound or video of better quality you should place a link from your email to the video.
  14. Consider Using Free Templates
    Sometimes it’s efficient not to use a web designer. There are many automated free templates and site wizards which can create a simple message.
  15. Brand Your Emails
    You can strengthen your brand with email marketing. When you send email, include your logo and locate it in the same place each time. Use the same colors and fonts in your messages as you do on your site.
  16. Test Email in Lots of Different Email Application
    Before sending your emails to clients it is better to test how it will look like in the most popular email applications such as Outlook, Lotus, Apple Mail, Eudora etc.
  17. Test Email in Lots of Different Webmail Services
    It is better to test your emails before sending in different email services such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail.