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Dos And Don'ts Of E-Mail Marketing

How to get a strong response from your e-mail campaign

If you're trying to rise above the e-mail marketing crowd, remember these two words: personalization and customization.

Broadbase Software recently surveyed 50 e-commerce sites, measuring the time between a consumer's purchase and when the site e-mailed the customer with additional marketing offers. The company found that sites took an average of 26 days to contact the customer, and that only 16 percent of e-mails were personalized to the recipient.

However, it's easy enough to increase those percentages and become a savvy e-mail marketer if you post these few reminders near your computer:

  • Know your customers inside and out. Know their interests, their acceptable level of contact and what they're looking for in terms of contact (a lengthy newsletter vs. a short note, for instance). This will take an extra level of cyber-sensitivity on your part, but it can make a real difference in your bottom line.
  • Take the phrases "opt-in" and "opt-out" very seriously. In other words, customers should know you'll be e-mailing monthly product announcements or other marketing pitches. They should also be given easy access to a tool that allows them to stop receiving e-mails from you at any time.
  • Don't rest on your laurels. If you had successful results from an e-mail campaign in February, don't assume the same thing will work in August. Tailor your e-mails to keep up with the times, technology and your competition.
  • Don't expect a 30-percent click-through rate going in. It may be hard to swallow, but know that, realistically, it might take many hits before you get the kind of results you want.

Julia Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer who specializes in business and marketing. She can be reached at juliam129@aol.com.

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