Get SMART: 8 Best Practices for Email Marketing

This post is a guest post by Marc McDermott

Email marketing should adhere to best practices just like any other marketing campaign strategy. The content or message as well as the packaging should be consistent across platforms.

Mind Your P’s in the Mix
The “4 p’s” of marketing are standard marketing principles regardless of methods. Principles of marketing are product, price, place and promotion. Determine whether the email marketing is itself the product or whether its role is supportive or both.

Stick to the Big Picture Marketing Plan
Email marketing should be a strategic component in a larger business plan. Best practices require marketing plans with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive (SMART) objectives. SMART objectives should include SMART strategies to accomplish objectives. SMART marketing objectives should flow down to SMART email marketing objectives and strategies.

Email as Mini Web Site
Email is a digital window for users. Email recipients browse email as if browsing websites. What appears in email windows is a bite-sized slice of web-capable brand content. Email analytics software can provide snapshots akin to website analytics software. Email access, click through and other details can fine-tune marketing.

Apply Web Site Development
Principles that apply to website development also apply to email. The content of websites includes graphics, design, layout, multimedia and SEO copy to accomplish SMART objectives. Contents can include photos, links, backlinks, and other content.

Apply Consistent Copy
Words count, both quantity and quality. Online text follows advertising and web rules. The “Z” reader eye movement concept applies. Reader-worthy email subject headers use relevant ad keywords that hook readers. The email message should reel readers down to a call to action.

Apply Consistent Design
Appearance matters. Consumers judge a product by its package. Graphic design concepts that apply to print and web design also apply to email. Email promotes and brands.

Include SMART Calls to Action
As with a website and other marketing vehicles, email marketing should include a call to action. SMART objectives should flow down through email marketing and circle back from SMART calls to action. Curb excess and potentially deal-breaking interaction with target audiences. Distinguish brands and communications from tons of junk mail received by target markets. A SMART call to action may be to provide feedback, request something, patronize business or use a discount.

Repurpose Content
As with retail products, email content can be repackaged to recycle across audiences and platforms. Content can be provided wholly or partially free to business, consumers, and across media to build business, goodwill and open doors to new opportunities.

About the author
Marc McDermott is the Marketing Manager at Merchant Express, a provider of transaction processing services and payment processing technologies with a specialized approach to merchant credit card processing, merchant bankcard processing and transaction processing services.

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