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28 Email Marketing Tips for 2014

28 Email Marketing Tips for 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to pause and reflect on the year that’s passing, and make our New Year’s resolutions for the year to come. And if one of your resolutions is to amp up your email marketing efforts, then you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of 28 email marketing tips sure to get your subscribers opening, reading, and clicking through your emails in no time.

1. Create an imaginary friend. No, seriously! Here’s the thing. If you write your emails as if you’re talking to a crowd of “subscribers,” or a “list,” they just won’t have the same intimate feel that an email to a friend would. So when you write, imagine you’re talking to just one person. And not just any person, but someone who fits your customer’s persona. That way, the tone will be much more personal.

2. Don’t be a hyperactive emailer. As tempting as it can be to send email after email to your subscribers, you don’t want to risk annoying them with a flood of communications. Only email them when you really have something worthwhile to say – that way, they’ll learn from experience that your emails are consistently valuable and worth opening.

3. Give from the heart. Make sure that your emails include something of real value for your readers – free, and truly useful, content, or a great deal. People will form a favorable opinion of you if you’re generous.

4. That’s my name – don’t wear it out. Using a subscriber’s name once or twice in an email is a great way to personalize the message and get the reader’s attention. Using it more often than that makes it sound like an annoying, stilted telemarketer’s script.

5. Feel their pain. Empathizing with someone is one of the best ways to gain their friendship and trust. Let your subscribers know you understand their lives and their problems, and offer your help.

6. Boost those serotonin levels. Every email you send should make your readers glad they opened it. Whether you give them a great tip, an inspiring insight, or an awesome discount, make it something that’ll kick the “reward center” of their brain into high gear. That way, they’ll want to keep coming back for more.

7. Tell it like it is. In your email subject line, tell your subscribers exactly what they’ll get out of reading your email. Make it about the benefits to them, not just about the content itself.

8. Get emotional. Using dramatic, powerful words in your subject line will draw attention to yours over the many others in your subscribers’ inboxes. Use the power of emotional or sensory words to attract eyes – but don’t go overboard, either, or you’ll look like spam.

9. Be a math nerd. There’s just something about numerals – not numbers written out, but actual numerals – that arrests the eye. Use that knowledge to your advantage in your email subject lines, and include a number whenever you can.

10. Risk a cat’s life. Curiosity is a good thing – especially when it gets people to open your emails. Make those subject lines intriguing enough that subscribers will want to find out what you’re talking about.

11. Point fingers. But just not at people – that’s rude, you know. Instead, try writing emails that point out common mistakes people make, and how to avoid them. No one wants to make dumb mistakes, so subscribers will want to read more to find out what not to do.

12. Don’t try to be clever. We’re not saying you’re not a clever boy (Whovians unite!), but the harder you try to make your subject line sound clever, the cheesier it actually becomes. Really. Trust us on this one.

13. Be willing to try new things. Remember the definition of insanity? Don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results – go out on a limb and do some experimenting, with blog topics, subject lines, sending frequency… Then tweak your strategy based on what works.

14. Become an email marketing Padawan. You don’t have to wear one of those long braids – unless you just really want to. But subscribing to the email list of a master marketer is a great way to learn at their feet.

15. Keep those emails short and sweet. No one has time to scroll through miles of text. Get your message across quickly and succinctly, and leave them wanting more – not wishing for less.

16. Aren’t questions compelling? It’s just human nature – if you ask a question in an email or subject line, people automatically either answer it in their heads or feel compelled to find out what the answer is by reading further. Either way, they’re engaging with your content.

17. Don’t follow a formula. If every email you send sounds the same – or even worse, sounds the same as any number of other marketing emails popping into your subscribers’ inboxes – your readers will get bored pretty darn quickly.

18. Inject your personality into emails. If the real you shines through, people will be much more likely to warm to your emails, because they’ll sound like a real person is talking to them, and not some robot or impersonal company.

19. Personalize your salutation and closing. “Dear” and “sincerely” are so last century. Go for more unique, personality-filled greetings and sign-offs to give your emails flair.

20. Make it a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure email. Simply by using the word “you” in your emails, you establish a powerful connection with the reader. You’re speaking directly to them, so they’re more likely to stop and pay attention.

21. Forget the “marketing” in “email marketing.” Well, don’t completely forget it – after all, that’s why you’re doing all this in the first place. But while you’re writing, think of what you’re doing as talking, not as marketing. You’ll come across as much more likable that way.

22. Write well…but not too well. So here’s the thing. The tiniest whiff of bad grammar, or even awkward style, will send most readers running for the hills, screaming spam all the way. But if you write as you did on those super-formal college philosophy papers, they’ll be running just as fast. It’s okay – and even preferable – to break some writing rules and conventions to make your content conversational and readable.

23. Care Bears…..Stare! You may not have rainbows beaming from your stomach, but you can still show how much you care about your readers by being unselfish in your email marketing efforts. Not everything you send has to be marketing-related – sometimes, it’s good to send a simple message of thanks, or a free gift just because. Show your subscribers it’s not all about the money – it’s all about the relationship.

24. Show ’em what they’ll miss. No one likes to miss out on something great. Phrase your emails and subject lines to let readers know they’ll be missing out if they don’t take action now.

25. Tell a story. It’s tempting to put some sort of Teddy Ruxpin reference here because stories have the amazing ability to draw people in, almost unawares – even when they’re being told by a robotic bear. Make that especially when they’re being told by a robotic bear. But don’t put a robotic bear in your email. That would be weird. Just tell a story.

26. Give a deadline. Nothing creates urgency more effectively than a strict deadline – remember those philosophy papers we mentioned? You wouldn’t have stayed up all night to write them if they hadn’t been due the next day, right? Well, the same goes for your email offers. Let subscribers know there’s a cut-off date, or they’ll procrastinate.

27. Include a clear call to action. Don’t expect people to know what you want them to do once they read your email – spell it out for them. Tell them to click, or download, or visit your store to buy – and more often than not, they will.

28. Try a P.S. Finally, try harnessing the power of the postscript. It’s a great way to remind readers of something important, like your call to action, while humanizing your email even more in the process.

As you make your New Year’s resolutions, and craft your email marketing strategy for 2014, taking these tips into account can help make a big difference in your open and click-through rates. Which of these tips will you be trying in the New Year? Let us know in the comments section below!


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row. Learn More


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What's your moment?
Daily videos to ignite your momentum

What's your moment? Daily videos to ignite your momentum

Receive daily videos with strategies, best practices, and litmus tests for discovering and igniting your moment.