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  • Make Your Email Engaging, Not Enraging

    Email photo from ShutterstockDespite the growth and influence of social media, email marketing is still an effective and affordable way to connect with your market. Email marketing helps you build rapport, share information, and make sales. However, email marketing done wrong will annoy your subscribers causing them to unsubscribe and avoid doing business with you. Here are some tips for ensuring your email marketing efforts generate business.

    1. Always focus on value. Whether you’re sending an update, article or offer, your email should provide value to your subscribers. People’s email boxes are full and they’re feeling overwhelmed. Sending them content that doesn’t benefit subscribers is a waste of time for you and your readers. Always have a clear purpose to your email (i.e. provide tips) and how it will help your readers.

    2. Respect your subscribers. It should go without saying that everyone on your email list should have opted-in. These people have entrusted you with their email address in return for gaining information or resources. Don’t ruin that trust by treating your list as a source of quick cash by over emailing or delivering subpar information (#1). Some email marketing gurus give guidelines on how often you should email and the ratio of content versus offers sent. While these tips can be helpful, what works best for your list will depend on your business and your subscribers. If you run a stock information business, subscribers might expect daily or multiple emails daily regarding the stock market. Most businesses, however, will have subscribers dropping like flies if they email daily. It’s your job to determine what your list will view as value and what will be considered going too far. Monitoring your stats after emails can be helpful to find out how many people opened  and clicked on a link in it, as well as how many unsubscribed.

    3. Make the email easy to read. Start with a subject line that says what the email is about. Vague or deceptive email subject lines for the purpose of tricking people into opening them will backfire and probably be labeled a spam. The next part of an easy-to-read email is that it can be read on multiple devices. Not all email-capable devices can handle extensive HTML and design. If you want to include HTML in your emails, have a text-only option as well. Most email list services provide the ability to create both HTML and text emails. Finally, keep your email short and to the point. People don’t have all day to read paragraph after paragraph in an email.

    4. Make it easy to unsubscribe. Most email list services offer a link in each email that allows the reader to unsubscribe. If you don’t use a service, you should. People get annoyed if they have to jump through hoops to get off your list. I’ve had lists that required me to email and tell them what email address to take off the list. That’s too much work. Subscribers should only have to press a link to get off the list.

    Once readers unsubscribe, keep them unsubscribed. Lately, I’ve discovered that I’m continuing to get email from some businesses after unsubscribing. That’s not only against CAN-SPAM laws, but it’s annoying and will likely lead to complaints and maybe even negative feedback online about your business.

    Ultimately, people join your email list because they expect to get information that is going to help them. If your emails don’t offer the value they’re looking for, they’ll opt out. You can make your subscribers happy by delivering helpful content, resources and offers, in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or annoy them.

    Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She's appeared on CNN.com, Fox Business, Redbook and a host of other media outlets discussing telecommuting, home business and other flexible career option. She speaks regularly on career-related topics, including telecommuting, home business, marketing, personal development and authorship. Learn more about her at LeslieTruex.com.

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