Email communication has become the most important way for businesses to communicate with their customers because the cost of sending an email v. direct mail or telephone is less expensive. But just because email is “cheap” doesn’t mean that you don’t have to spend the time and resources on making the communication effective. 
 
Below is a list of key things to consider to maximize this form of communication–a Call to Action. This is the first in a two-part series about making your emails more effective.  Look for the second part this week.
 


List selection

Often the term “eblast” is used for email communications, which has a negative connotation. It sounds like you will send as many emails as possible to hit as many people as possible to desperately get some kind of response. Like direct mail, the more direct and surgical the message, the better the response.
 
-Know the audience that needs to get the message (who needs the message, what does it need to say, when does it need to be there, and how can they act?)

-Make sure email addresses are up to date – ask your customers to give you their current email address periodically or use an external service that can provide updates.

-Check for duplicates – no one likes getting two (or more) of the same email.

-Some lists will be big (e.g. a newsletter) and some will be small (e.g. women living in a specific city or region who buys flowers). Sometimes, adding prospects to a list is good as long as the message still fits. If not, prospects should be mailed separately.
 
Deliverability

Don’t just “send and forget” an email communication.. If an email never makes it to an inbox, it never has a chance to get opened and read. All your work of gathering content, creating images, building promotions and merchandising is for naught. Some key things to consider:

-Use an email service provider (ESP) that provides strong reports on deliverability – “delivered” can have several meanings. Some will say it is delivered even if it is landing in a junk folder. Know that it gets to the inbox.
 
-If there are issues with landing in SPAM, consider switching IP addresses or service providers (this is a deeper technical issue requiring more research).
 
-Ask people to “white list” your emails by adding your send address to their address book.
 
-Respect wishes to opt-out. If you don’t, more people will click the “SPAM” button and you will get a very bad reputation.