5 Must-Haves for Effective Marketing Emails

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It's a weekday morning, and you're reading through emails on your mobile device over your first cup of coffee. Chances are, if you use Gmail or a similar client, the first thing you do is glance briefly at the subject lines of your new messages, delete or mark any email under the Promotions tab (or from any unfamiliar email address or company) as spam and get on with the regular business of responding to the more pressing items in your inbox.

On the email marketing end, a prospect's refusal to even read through an email before deleting it is tragic—especially given the extensive research, list-making and drafting stages that launch many (good) campaigns. In a situation where the reader automatically deletes messages from unknown senders, then nothing will help you get read.

In other scenarios, well-crafted subject lines are crucial to get readers to at least open your message. At that point “the key," says Sheri Johnson, president of Morningstar Communications, "lies in creating personalized, relevant content delivered at the right time to fit your prospects’ needs."

In this excerpt from PR News' Writer's Guidebook, Johnson shares a few must-haves for effective email marketing:

Updated contact list: Give your existing list a good cleaning by reviewing email addresses, company names and even the names of the people on your list. While you’re at it, divide your list into relevant segments. This allows you to customize and focus your message to the people who matter most to your business.

Check out a full list of PR News' guidebooks for communications professionals.

Clear call to action: Your email must have a call to action with a clear goal or recipients will be left wondering why you sent them a message. Always include relevant, recipient-oriented messaging. Draw attention to key phrases by using bullets and strategically placed colors.

Personalization: Email recipients love to feel like a message was written for their eyes only. Greet your recipient with her name, not a generic hello. And sign off with an electronic signature from someone on your team. These details will take your emails to the next level and remind recipients you care about building a memorable relationship.

Working links: If you’ve done the first three must-haves correctly, then your email recipients should be hooked and seeking more information. Ensure your links direct them to a working landing page with content that matches what you promise in your email. As a general rule, keep your links to one every 50 words.

Mobile format: Modify your emails to include larger text, visually appealing photos and easy-to-tap buttons in colors like orange and red. Remember to adapt versions of your email to fit other mobile devices like tablets.

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