Email marketing88% of business owners use email marketing to retain existing clients / customers and attract new business.

Why? Because it’s still one of the most powerful yet personal ways to reach your target audience.

However there are pitfalls. Email marketing performance stats state that on average marketing of this nature receives a 24% open rate, and a click-through rate of just 13%. So it’s important that each piece of communication is carefully planned.

Having said that, although many small businesses can’t necessarily place an ROI on their email marketing efforts, there are still 41% of business owners describing it as an ‘excellent’ marketing tool, and similarly 42% of business owners regarding it as ‘average’.

Since email marketing is likely to stick around, here are the top Do’s and Don’ts when putting this marketing method into practice:

Use bespoke email campaign software: Instil professionalism, make it personalised, track the results.

Make it easy to subscribe: Place a sign up form on the homepage of your website, Facebook page, and blog encouraging registration by providing a reason why.

Welcome email: Send an automated welcome email to each new registration. Perhaps incentivise them with a special offer to show your appreciation of their loyalty.

Plan each campaign: Have a purpose, a call to action and make it relevant to them. This may mean sending different email campaigns to different groups within your email list.

Create a compelling subject line: Increase your chances of your message being read by carefully wording each subject line. Remember the 4 U’s – Useful, Ultra-Specific, Unique & Urgent – the former two being the most important.

Timing: Research suggests the best time to broadcast emails are on Tuesday & Thursday between 10am and 1pm.  The worst is Monday between 8am and 10am.

Create a schedule: Decide how often you’re going to broadcast messages and schedule them in to your diary.

X Harvest data: The decision maker’s email address is unlikely to be given using this technique so you won’t reach the person you need to. As you’ll be one of many companies using this method those people you’re contacting will receive what they perceive as ‘junk’ mail and therefore your broadcast won’t be opened. 3rd party mail service providers do not allow using this form of data.

X Spam: Only send your broadcasts to those who have signed up to receive them. Make sure there is an opt-out function and always remind recipients why they’re receiving your email. To ensure you don’t breach SPAM rules, read the CAN-SPAM Act.

X Ask too much: Asking your target audience to do X, Y and Z each and every time they open one of your broadcasts will eventually become tiring. Only include 1 call to action per broadcast. This will target the marketing more effectively and therefore have a greater success rate.

X Overload: Including too much content per email will also become tiring over time. Make sure each email communication is ‘scanable’ allowing even the busiest of recipients to take out the key points of your message to decide if they want to take action.

X Ignore mobile devices: The number of people opening email marketing on their mobile devices has increased from 30% to a huge 70%. Ignoring this channel could be detrimental to your efforts. Therefore keep the process simple and don’t over-complicate the design so your message remains clear.