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Are you using email marketing as part of your internet marketing program? If you are, then you’re in good company. According to a 2013 survey by Edge Research, 20% of small to medium sized businesses are using email marketing to acquire or retain customers.

These businesses send a variety of communications by email: sales promotions, monthly newsletters, special events and more.  They’re in a variety of industries and fields, including retail and professional services. But one thing they share in common; they miss critical opportunities to boost response rates and maximize their investment in email marketing.

The following three tips can help your small to medium sized business improve response rates for email marketing.

1. Send Messages on a Regular Schedule

If you’re wearing many hats, as most small to mid-sized business owners do, then it’s likely that marketing is one of those hats. You may want to share that hat with someone who has more time, because putting off email marketing for ‘when you have a free moment’ is a bad idea. Revenue Inbound suggests that sending email messages on a regular schedule boosts response rates. Customers begin to anticipate and look for emails on Tuesdays, for example, or sales circulars on Fridays.  Sending your email marketing messages out on a regular schedule increases exposure to your messages among your clients and can help you boost overall responses to your email campaigns.

2. Test Subject Lines

The subject line is probably the most important element of any email marketing campaign. That’s because it may be the first – and only – text the recipient sees if he glances down at his mobile device, smart phone, or even in an email program on his computer. In that instant, customers decide whether or not they’ll open your email and read the rest of your message. The most carefully crafted email won’t generate a great response if it isn’t read.

Get your messages read by testing subject lines for your email marketing campaigns. An A/B split test is the simplest test you can perform.  Keep one subject line as the control (the one that doesn’t change) and then test different lines against it, one at a time. Split the list 50/50, with 50 percent of the recipients receiving the control subject line and 50 percent, the test line.  Then examine the results. Did changing the subject line boost the open rate and response rate of your email campaign?

It’s little things like this that can add up to bigger and better results for your email marketing campaigns. If testing isn’t part of your current email marketing program, evaluate your contact management systems to determine if it makes testing easy. Most do, and if not, you have options.

3. Don’t Make Every Email a Hard Sell Message

Here’s something that may surprise you; don’t make every email a hard sell message. By “hard sell”, we mean a blatant sales pitch. A mixture of emails with a good balance between promotional copy and informative, entertaining or newsworthy copy typically performs best for email marketing.  If you’re always pitching a sale price or hawking a new item, you aren’t adding much value to your customer’s day. But if you intersperse how-to articles, updates on the company, or success stories with sales messages, customers may perceive that your messages have higher value. More importantly, you can generate a favorable impression of your company in their minds by being helpful, entertaining or informative.

Ready to Begin an Email Marketing Program?

Dashboard Internet Marketing offers professional internet marketing services, including email marketing, for small to medium sized businesses. Learn how to acquire, retain and create loyalty among your customers with a professional email marketing program. Call us at 800-807-1852 for a free consultation.

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