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5 Crucial Steps to Smarter Email Marketing
Virtually every business today uses email to communicate one-to-one, and newsletters are an effective way to share relevant content with key audiences. Here are the 5 crcuial steps to help businesses send email newsletters smarter.
  1. Define Your Newsletter Strategy
    An email newsletter often has goals that are distinct from promotional campaigns. It tends to focus on customer retention and lead generation by providing relevant content to a targeted audience on a regular basis. Yet, there are many exceptions to that goal. Is this aimed at customers? Prospects? People who have browsed the Web site? Selections from the in-house email list? Understanding goals and target audience is the first step in planning an email newsletter – or perhaps more than one to meet the needs of varying segments.

  2. Build the Distribution List 
    The key to an email newsletter’s success is the right audience. Most businesses have an in-house email list comprised of customers and prospects. That can serve as a starting point, but careful planning of the list building process is key. The best email results are achieved through opt-in lists, and the most common way to get an opt-in audience is through a Web site or through targeted emailing of existing customers and/or prospects. Joining should be easy with an inviting sign-up form. But using lists containing uninterested recipients invited the spam label.

  3. Design the Newsletter
    Focusing on design includes both the physical layout and the various elements of the newsletter. That includes the ability to unsubscribe or update subscriptions. And the newsletter needs to carries the brand: logo, color and any other elements to promote both familiarity and consistency with the audience. The “from” address should be clearly identifiable with meaning to that audience. The subject line should be short and convey relevance, value and urgency. Ideally, 35-45 characters long. And the masthead at the top of the content area sets the tone for the entire newsletter, reinforcing brand and newsletter identity in a simple and narrow format that allows easy access to the content.

  4. Test and Send
    Newsletters should never be sent without testing, to catch any glaring errors first. Almost all ESPs allow test messages. It’s good practice to send the message to different email clients including Outlook, Gmail, AOL and Yahoo accounts. In addition to testing for grammar and display, businesses should also test for features such as links, personalization, forms, opt-out and updating profiles.

  5. Get to the Inbox
    Deliverability involves getting the newsletter into audience inboxes – a serious issue considering that as many as 20% of emails do not reach their destination. To reduce undeliverable emails, businesses need focus on five key criteria proven to optimize deliverability rates. Be Professional, Be Relevant, Maintain Low Complaint Levels, and Understand Your Reputation – rules that will make or break email newsletter campaigns.

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