Email marketing remains as one of the most effective marketing tools in use today. The statistics don’t lie: some 90 per cent of those that access the internet maintain at least one email account. That’s a huge proportion of the population. Add to that the ease with which great swathes of people can access their emails while on the move and it’s clear to see how email marketing’s popularity continues.

Unlike social media or television advertising, email marketing retains a professionalism which is hard to beat - provided it is done properly. There’s a lot of thought that goes into each of those emails we receive from brands and that is what makes the channel so professional. Considerations include:

Look

An email has to look the part, otherwise recipients won’t feel inclined to open it. Using an email marketing template provides marketers with a tool that enables them to create a message which is visually appealing and incorporates company branding. Many of these templates will also be configured to circumvent spam filters and are optimised for smart phones, so recipients won’t have a problem in viewing the contents. This is far more professional-looking than sending out a normal outlook message, isn’t it?

Content

Content is key. What you write must be engaging, relevant, interesting and of value. Keep it brief, keep it personable and get the point. Your recipients don’t have the time, nor probably the inclination, to wade through pages of text. If you can’t convey your message succinctly, an image or embedded video can do the trick. The subject line – that which your recipient sees first – must be well-constructed in order for it to appear attractive. Using the words ‘free’, ‘discount’ and ‘win’ are all effective.

Frequency

We all receive hundreds of emails a day and many of us can’t possibly read them all, therefore if the subject line doesn’t grab our attention, we’ll likely consign it to the deleted folder. A professional email marketer will be aware of this fact and thus be extremely clever about the frequency of which his emails are sent out. Too many and recipients will unsubscribe; too few and recipients might start to forget about the brand. There’s a fine line, but it’s one that with research, good marketers adhere to.

In addition to frequency, marketers will also know the optimum click open times, thus will send emails to coincide with this – perhaps early in the morning to catch those looking at their smart phones on the train to work. Nothing is let to chance, timing should be almost scientific.

Analytics

One of the biggest parts of any marketing endeavour, is to assess its performance and discover whether it did the job you hoped. If not, you will have sufficient information with which to change future campaigns. Using a good analytics tool will allow you to see exactly who has opened your emails, when and what they did next (i.e. clicked through the website). You will also be able to see where your message got caught in a firewall or spam folder, enabling you to make the appropriate changes. What’s great – professional – about this is that you can zero-in on your market and target your efforts on those who are readily engaging with your messages; reading them, responding and checking out the relevant links. It can save you money and help you improve your marketing strategy.

If your email marketing efforts don’t incorporate the above, it might be that they are languishing in the spam folders, unread. If you are serious about using this tool to maximum effect, then adopt some professional steps or get an expert to assist on your behalf. An effective email marketing campaign can really lead to some great results.

Article written by digital marketing buff and blogger Richard Howells on behalf of email marketing firm Brother Mailer.

What makes email marketing a professional communications tool?