Content, Recipients Key to Effective E-Mail Marketing

Article excerpt

E-mail marketing should be so simple:

* Know what you want your e-messages to accomplish.

* Keep the message short and relevant.

* Send your e-mails to the right people.

* Don't overwhelm recipients' in-boxes.

So why do e-mail campaigns sometimes stumble?Content and list are huge factors.

"If you put information in your e-mails that is valuable and relevant, then people will open your messages," begins Steve Robinson, Deerfield-based regional development director for Constant Contact, Inc., a Waltham, Mass., pioneer in small business e-mail management. "But they'll stop if the content isn't relevant."

Determining what in your message actually is relevant to e-mail recipients takes some effort.

"In the beginning, it's a trial-and-error process," says Jamie Pritscher, CEO of That's Caring, an e-commerce company based in Elk Grove Village.

Although she warns that "What works for our gift basket company won't necessarily work for you," Pritscher's suggestions are worth consideration.

"Do some A-and-B testing," Pritscher says.

"Split your list" and send different messages, or offers, to each half. "Ask outsiders -- co-workers, even your Mom -- to look at your message before it's sent. If the response is 'I don't get it' or 'What do you mean?' then rework your message."

"Be concise," Robinson says. "Don't send 'Gone with the Wind.'"

Don't send entire articles, either. Whether you're writing a newsletter or sending along someone else's written information, "Include the first paragraph, then have a link that sends the recipient to your website for the whole article. …