8 Ways to Ace Your Email Marketing Strategy


The average person is bombarded by many different kinds of marketing tactics every single day. Your customers are no different.

Everywhere they look, someone is likely trying to sell them something, and often, it’s through email marketing. What does that mean?

Your email marketing needs to be way above par if you expect your customers to consider opening any of the emails you send.

Persuading customers to open your email is just the beginning. You want them to read and enjoy your content so they’re more likely to read the next email you send.

Whether the goal of your email is turning passive customers into active buyers or simply a promotion for the latest products you’ve debuted, there are a number of essential things to consider before you hit send.

Here’s are 8 best practices to help you ace your email marketing:

1. Use a CRM:

Good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can really enhance customer communication and response. A CRM that integrates with email marketing, the way Insightly integrates with MailChimp, is an excellent way to go if you’re trying to streamline email marketing processes and track large amounts of information about your customers.

2. Be Careful When Personalizing:

Personalization is an email marketing strategy that’s backed by research, but it’s not as easy it sounds. Using a person’s name may not necessarily be the right kind of personalization. It’s so overused it seems fake. Instead, opt for personalization that directly relates to the customer’s last purchase, which acknowledges their unique history as a customer.

3. Limit Your Subject Line:

There are some pretty interesting facts about the length of subject lines out there. Adestra found in their July 2012 report that subject lines with less than 10 characters were opened at a rate of 58 percent. However, they also found that subject lines as long as 70+ characters were beneficial for encouraging readers to open and click through the content. Just beware—subject lines that hit between 60-70 characters appeared to fall off the radar.

4. Timing is Everything:

Experian reports that 8pm to midnight is the best possible time to send your marketing emails if you want them to be opened. It makes sense, too, when you think about it. While everyone is at work (between the hours of 8am to 5pm) they’re not only busy working, but they are also trying to filter through all the other marketing emails that are sent out during those hours. Yours stands a better chance of being seen if it’s sent at non-peak hours.

5. Offer Something For FREE:

Great content is very important to your email marketing strategy, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, focus on creating an offer that your customers can’t refuse—give them something for free. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, but it must be valuable to your customers if you expect them to view it as beneficial and worthwhile. People LOVE free stuff. Don’t you?

6. Create Content Relevant to Your Audience:

If your target audience is opening your marketing emails, you’ve already breached the first line of defense. Next up—you’ve got to keep them reading. That happens when you have stellar, engaging content that pertains to your email recipients. First, you’re tasked with identifying your target audience, then, you WOW them with words.

7. Don’t Drive Them Crazy

! When it comes to the sending frequency of your email marketing, keep in mind rule #1—more is NOT always better. In fact, email frequency and reader engagement are negatively correlated, which means when one goes up, the other goes down.

8. Stay on Top of Your Sender Score:

Knowing your sender score is crucial, but what’s even more important is improving it if it happens to be low. Because your sender score determines your reputation as an email sender, mail servers use this to determine whether or not to ever deliver your emails to your customers’ inboxes in the first place.

Following the 8 rules listed above should help you craft excellent marketing emails that not only hit your customers’ inbox (though not too often), but also have a good open rate.

In addition, the better and more targeted your content is, the more people will engage with whatever you’re communicating to them, and ultimately, click through to the links you include.

Kelly Lucia is the Lead Staff Writer at PostsbyGhost.com. A ghostwriting service that provides businesses with the opportunity to build their online presence and grow their companies, Posts by Ghost offers strategic blogging, content marketing and SEO assistance to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Kelly hit the ground running as a web copywriter several years ago and hasn’t stopped since. Over the last few years she’s developed a vast range of knowledge within the realm of content writing, and she prides herself on being able to write clear and unique content for an immense variety of industries, from overseas blogs about raffle tickets to small business and marketing advice on ChamberofCommerce.com.

Is Your Sales Pipeline Dry? Five Signs You Need a CRM


If you’re a small business owner who still hasn’t adopted a customer relationship management (CRM) system, then Five Signs You Need a CRMyou’re falling behind.  You need a CRM. According to a recent infographic by Intuit and SalesForce.com, the key to turning a small business into a sales powerhouse is, surprise . . . CRM.   While it may not seem like a shock that Salesforce or Intuit would come out with evidence supporting CRM and financial apps that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

When you started out in business and had only a few customers, it was easy to keep track of them with a simple spreadsheet, an electronic address book and your inbox. But as you’ve grown larger, and the number of communication channels has grown, you’ve probably reached the point where you need a more efficient system.  It’s time to find an appropriate Customer Relationship Management solution.

There are a lot of CRM solutions on the market  – some of them more complex than others. CRM systems used to be the exclusive domain of the Fortune 1000 companies who could afford a multi-million dollar investment in one of Oracle’s half dozen CRM platforms.

Salesforce.com democratized the market and made CRM available for as little as a couple hundred dollars every month, but it requires highly skilled staff to administer. Today, companies like Insightly have built products that are designed especially for small business. They offer a free account for 1-3 users and require very little experience to get started.

So how do you know if you’re ready for a CRM system?

  1. You’re not managing customers and contacts efficiently. The result:
    1. Customer data goes into a black hole. Everyone on your team keeps track of his or her own customers and accounts, without sharing the data. When an employee leaves, you lose valuable knowledge.

    2. The sales team is doing one thing, marketing is doing another, and customer service has its own agenda. Nothing is more frustrating than when a client gets mixed communications from you and your team. Embarrassing!

    3. Customers are frustrated. When communication within the company is disorganized, the chaos spills over into your client interactions. This degrades the client experience and leads to disaster, because customers who don’t feel valued simply go elsewhere.

With a CRM solution, you have a single, centralized space to store your data. Everyone on your team has access to the latest information about each customer – when the last appointment took place, what was covered, what that customer is interested in, etc. Plus, when everyone is up to speed, you can reduce the time spent in meetings and increase the time reps spend in the field, pursuing and closing business. And making more money.

Bonus: You can reassign representatives to different accounts and know they’ll be able to assimilate the necessary information about that client.

  1. No one knows who’s doing what. You can’t tell what your sales representatives are doing or what stage their deals are in. You don’t know who last touched a client or how long it’s been since that connection. While you waste valuable time chasing down your reps for answers, your prospects are likely going elsewhere – to a company that already has a CRM system in place.

A CRM could help you assemble reports quickly and see the status of your leads at a glance, know immediately how many touches a prospect has received and the outcomes, assess team members’ monthly progress against their quotas, identify your top performers, figure out where in the sales cycle your leads are converting to sales and determine why you won – or lost – a sale. Using those results, you also should be able to tell whether your business is attracting the right kind of prospects.

  1. You can’t stay in touch from the field. There’s no fast and easy way to store information so that sales reps on the road can share details with your entire team. As a result, follow-up is spotty.  Notes taken on the road aren’t transcribed, details get lost, and leads fall through the cracks. Once again, prospective clients calling for information end up speaking with someone who doesn’t know their status. That’s how you lose potential sales.

Many of today’s CRM systems have mobile apps, so sales reps can update contacts, request information, and always have access to the latest customer information even when they’re on the go.

  1. You’re not communicating regularly with customers – a key ingredient for business success. You don’t have a master marketing list because the necessary information is contained on individual computers. So you phone customers when it’s convenient or at the end of the month in hopes they’ll place an order. You’re not fooling anyone. Those customers know they’re not top of mind.

You can set up your CRM system to send automatic reminders to team members to make follow-up calls at critical points in the sales process or as part of your general outreach to clients and prospects.

  1. Every customer gets the same treatment. You send the same offers and messages to customers and prospects in different industries and regions – and in different stages of the buying process. Don’t spam your customers with an offer they can’t help but refuse.

With a CRM, you can group your targets and refine the messages you send. A targeted pitch makes customers feel loved, instead of neglected.


Bottom line: If these five warning signs sound familiar, it may be time to consider a CRM. Used correctly, the software can increase your company’s productivity and your sales revenue. You’ll be able to track sales better, stay abreast of communications between you and your customers, and market directly to the right clients based on interests, industry or existing products.


Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.