Make A Splash: Surfing Etiquette For Your Email MarketingWhat does surfing have to do with email marketing? Well, both disciplines require a strategy, timing, preparation, and best practices, or what we surfers call surfing etiquette, to make a memorable surfing session.

Speaking of surfing; that’s a photo of me at one of my favorite hometown breaks in New Hampshire. I know what you’re thinking; surfing in New Hampshire… do they even have beaches there? The answer is yes, we sure do! But lets get back to email marketing.

To help you make your email marketing efforts a success in 2012, I have provided some keys fundamentals every email marketing campaign should include as we suit up for another year:

  1. Build an opt-in list. Building an opt-in permission-based email list should be your top marketing strategy. Don’t purchase lists from third parties. Recipients are much more likely to hit the “spam” button when they receive email from an unknown source.
  2. Create a web form. Include a web form on your website to gather profile data on your customers. Use this information to segment your list so you can be relevant with your message and offers. Ask your subscribers what you need to know and add it to their profiles. This gives you a clear idea of how the segments, and your communications with them, will differ.
  3. Clean your list. List data gets old. On average, every email list loses up to 30% of its addresses each year. To improve email deliverability you need to reduce duplicate, invalid, dead, and bogus emails, and find deliverable emails. Like a good spring and fall cleaning, scrub your list every 6 months for optimal results.
  4. Craft irresistible subject lines. Like the one I like to use when contacting my new accounts! “Surfing the Email Marketing Wave,” and not “check this out….” Test different subject lines for different customer segments (e.g., use of personalization vs. non personalization, short subject lines vs. longer ones).
  5. Use the right words. Rethink the term “newsletter”, and be more creative when designing your website join button. Instead of saying “sign up for our newsletter” say “stay current on all our new products and special offers”.
  6. Know when to send. Surf conditions change with the outgoing or incoming tide and you need to know the best time to paddle out. Identify the best day and time to send your message. Divide your list into various groups and send on different days and at different times, to determine the best combinations for your mailings.
  7. Extend your reach. Send social networking links in your emails, from Facebook to Twitter, so your customers can post your message on their wall or “tweet” a short version to their friends. The social forward option is built right into the message creation process… all you do is select the option while creating your message. This is one wave you must ride!

Get your email marketing strategy ready to make a splash in 2012!