Mobile and social marketing have pushed email into the “You’ve Got Mail” days in many millennial’s minds. Something for “the olds”—they would say—as dated and desperate as Meg Ryan pitching fidget spinners from an AOL email address, right?

Well actually, not so much. While there’s are certainly antiquated methods still rampant among email marketers, many treat email as their most valuable tool capable of delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time—essentially the trifecta for effective marketing.

Email isn’t retro, it’s (still) relevant. It’s not archaic, it’s incredibly accessible. Marketers, regardless of technical ability, industry, or budget, are recognizing the power and affordability of email marketing and automation, and taking advantage.

The average person receives 121 emails a day

Okay, that’s a lot. Enough to discourage and overwhelm any marketer. “How will my message ever rise above the noise?” We approach it from another angle. With nearly 200 billion emails circulating the globe everyday, yes, there’s a lot of crap out there—but it’s also proof that consumers still derive tangible benefits from email. With the help of better inbox filtering, Gmail specifically, email is no longer a catchall for marketing come-ons. Your inbox is manageable now, segmented into personal, social, and promotional streams.

Newsletters still work, too

Email newsletters are considered to a great way to grow and maintain relationships, even when potential customers aren’t actively making purchasing decisions. There’s a catch, though. Your newsletter has be really good. The average person is on seven different monthly newsletter lists—all touting their own offers and value. To take it a step further, the smartest companies have automated their newsletter-type emails into a series of emails triggered on the users’ interaction with your brand or website. The messages are sent in context of the interaction, rather than relying on a signup form (more on that later).

“Newsletter (emails) are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”
– Carr, David (2014, June 29) The New York Times

How are your lists?

The first step to any email marketing campaign is determining the Who and the What. Who will be receiving the emails and what do you want them to do? To tackle the audience portion, you will need to have segmented email lists. Now, we know you’ve heard of buying email lists. Don’t.

Quality email addresses aren’t for sale—and if it is for sale it means that person has already been spammed by others and is much less likely to open your email, let alone click through to your offer. If you need help building lists, here’s a couple low hanging tips. . .

Do you currently have, or can create, content your target audience(s) would find compelling? Would they volunteer their email address to the content? In the early stages of the buying cycle content that both shows off your brand’s expertise while also offering a valuable resource to users helps nurture potential customers before they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. Maybe an ebook or well-designed PDF, for example. Alternatively, for anyone who has clearly expressed interest in your company, demos and phone call consultations would be ‘end of cycle’ material that would pique their interest. Just remember: supply something useful for your audience and they’ll happily trade you their email address in return.

Don’t bury your sign-up boxes to your blog or newsletter. Feature the box within news sections of your website and even consider displaying it on all the top-visited webpages and blogs. For our own blog, we use a couple of methods—including a modal popup and prominent footer form to sign up for the blog.


Are your emails CAN-SPAM compliant?

The CAN-SPAM Act, according to the FTC, is “a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.” This isn’t something to ignore. In fact, worst-case scenario, if you or your business violates the CAN-SPAM Act each separate email in violation is subject to penalties of up to $40,654. Yikes. While many of the email delivery dashboards (e.g., MailChimp, ConstantContact) have many of the act’s stipulations built-in it’s important to be aware of the major guidelines, as follows:

  • The footer should include an ‘unsubscribe’ link to opt-out.
  • Remove any individual who unsubscribed from the list
  • Include your physical location in the email signature

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