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E-mail is the missing jewel in the marketing crown

Well over a billion people are using e-mail, according to Email Marketing Reports. That’s the sum you get after adding up the users of Microsoft’s Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail.

There are many other providers, too, which means the total number of users is probably even greater than that. We haven’t even begun to count the masses that have been using Apple’s mac.com and me.com addresses, now moving onward and upward to iCloud.

Darren Rowse of Problogger claims e-mail never really went away. He believes e-mail is personal, accessible – and drives great traffic. ‘There is something about a regular e-mail newsletter that just seems to make people feel more connected to you,’ he says on his site.

‘I find it hard to put my finger on why. But there’s something about receiving a good e-mail that just seems more powerful than reading a good blog post via an RSS feed. It just seems a little more personal, more special.’

So if all this is true, then how do you make the most of e-mail marketing in your work? Here are some handy hints as you create your e-mail newsletters and messages:

  • be transparent – make sure your customer knows how their details will be used;
  • be  engaging – connect with your customer as if they’re the only person reading your e-mail;
  • be  personal – use warm, friendly language, but don’t get too familiar on the first date (!);
  • be hygienic – keep cleaning your list on a regular basis, making sure it’s up-to-date;
  • be  concise – make the subject line snappy and keep your sentences short;
  • be  consistent – ensure you link your e-mail themes with other marketing strategies such as social media and print;
  • be relevant – address your customer’s needs and concerns, and collect data that matters;
  • be  inviting – welcome your customer not only to the e-mail but also to your  blog, your website and other online resources;
  • be  enticing – keep sharing news of what’s coming soon, like they do at your  local cinema;
  • be  considerate – finish each e-mail communication well, ‘closing the gate’  behind you.

Even after you’ve done all that, there’s still the challenge of keeping up the flow of newsletters and messages. For that, you’ll need research. So start a file – electronic and hard copy – of any useful material you come across. That might be anything from someone else’s e-mail newsletter to a cutting from your local newspaper or a trade mag. Then you’ll never run dry of ideas.