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Email marketing remains one of the most effective forms of direct marketing and one that can be closely integrated with social media marketing efforts. A successful email campaign provides useful information to recipients who have requested it. Conversely, unsolicited email can trigger spam complaints, alienate potential prospects and even lead to substantial fines.
Keys to effective email marketing include:
• Transmit only to opt-in recipients-Send emails only to those who have requested to receive them though a registration process, either online, by mail or in person; provide content according to their preferences.
• Build your mailing list-Include sign-up or registration forms wherever prospects will see them: on your website, at conferences and trade shows, or at retail locations. Also, leverage your social media marketing to capture email addresses from interested participants, either as a direct link or as part of the process of registering for a free download (such as a white paper), webinar or product demo.
• Time your emails appropriately-Business-to-business emails are most effective if sent Tuesday through Thursday at midmorning or shortly after lunch; consumer emails are best sent weekday evenings and Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.
• Avoid spam triggers-Do not use all capital letters or multiple dollar signs or exclamation points, all of which can lead to your message being flagged as spam; be familiar with words or phrases that large ISPs use to identify spam, such as "act now," "call now," "you've been selected" or "cash bonus."
In general, your email marketing content should conform to the same guidelines you use in social media content: professionally produced, relevant copy that your recipients will find beneficial. Newsletters are the ideal format for email marketing that will be integrated with your social media marketing. You can use excerpts from your newsletter for posting on your social media sites as well as links to the full newsletter; plus, you can add links on your newsletter to your social media sites to facilitate sharing and commenting.
Although marketers now prefer inbound marketing tactics over email marketing, it remains a valuable tool to keep in the marketing mix when used properly.