This underutilized form of direct marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to keep in touch with your customers.

By Art Conforti, PFCI

Email marketing may seem like a dinosaur to some business owners, but this incredibly underutilized form of direct marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to keep in touch with your customers. With email, you can reach out to clients directly at any time and on any device. This alone makes email a strong contender in the world of modern-day marketing methods. However, email has many other advantages that are often overlooked—and most important, improperly utilized by business owners. But with a proper strategy, email can be used as an incredibly powerful tool for generating new leads and increasing conversions on your website.

Every day, we are constantly bombarded with marketing, from the moment we wake up until we turn off our smartphones and fall asleep. We get so many marketing messages that we don’t even pay attention to many of them except on a subconscious level. Computer algorithms are so accurate in their ability to show us relevant advertising that it is sometimes difficult to determine ads from real news stories. Even though the messages are customized specifically to a person’s interests, they often tend to blend in instead of standing out.

Begin with a solid strategy

Timing and strategy are the keys to a successful email marketing campaign. If you do not have a custom email list yet, now is always the best time to start building one. It is important to make sure that lists are detailed enough so that you can segment them for more effective results. For example, you can have separate lists by gender, demographic location, etc. Sending email blasts without a specific target in mind is like shooting arrows in the dark—you may hit something, but you’re much more likely to miss your mark.

Once you have your email list ready, it’s time to start planning your content and timing strategy. What are you offering your customers? Is there anything new that they should know about? Make sure to send valuable content along with promotional offers so that recipients will be more likely to engage with future emails from you. And finally, always test different subject lines and email formats to see which ones generate the best results.

Timing is everything

Timing also plays a crucial factor in email marketing strategy. While there are no absolute rules as far as optimal times of day or days of the week because every business has different audiences, with varying preferences—but there are some general guidelines, including:

• Early morning on weekdays is statistically some of the best times to email; most people are at work and checking email during that time.

• On weekends, send emails in the morning or early afternoon. This is when many recipients have free time to check their email messages

. Remember that emails received on Saturday mornings may get buried under other weekend messages, so plan accordingly!

The rise of mobile devices has changed how consumers read email dramatically over just a few years. The number of smartphone users who access email through apps continues to grow every day while laptop use for this purpose declines each year. When timing your campaigns, it’s important keep these changes in mind because they will affect open rates significantly. Make sure you track all metrics carefully, and adjust strategies according to data collected from multiple sources.

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing

Automating your custom emails will save you a lot of time and work, but, sometimes, too much automation is happening, and shops are not aware of what is being sent or how often emails are being sent out. This can be extremely detrimental to your marketing efforts. The last thing you want is for customers to unsubscribe permanently because you send them too many emails.

Sending unsolicited emails every day—or even every other day—is just too often in most cases. Too many “special” offers make them less special over time, and that is when the effectiveness drops considerably.

If you have Teleflora or another company sending out marketing emails on your behalf, it is important to know exactly what they are sending out and when. It is important to analyze the data and take responsibility for what you are sending out.

At Bloomerang, for example, we not only help our clients send marketing emails but also provide tracking links, and we analyze the data in order to plan, target and track the results. We then archive the emails as a benchmark for future correspondence so that our clients are informed and in control every step of the way. When properly utilized, email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing available to business owners today.