When in 1971 the computer programmer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in history, he could hardly have imagined that fast forward more than forty years and his novel form of communication would have been implemented all over the world and would be the second most used Internet service. Similarly, Tomlinson did not know that with that first email, he would be creating one of the most useful forms of advertising communication - cheap and easy to implement.

While email marketing is declining in the face of an incessant onslaught from social media marketing, it still remains the cornerstone of many a businesses’ marketing strategy year after year. And in order to stand out among the crowd of emails in their customer’s inboxes, these businesses have to invest in their emails being read. Here are some of the many reasons that lead to a more efficient email marketing campaign.

Offer an excuse to open the mail

As mentioned earlier, one of the main challenges of email marketing is to stand out among all those dozens of emails that fill the user's inbox every day. Here the main option is to focus on the issued mail and its intended purpose very well. What will you offer to someone who has dedicated a moment of their time to open your email? Who is this email intended for: your existing customers or are you fishing for potential customers?

One of the most common ways to increase the opening rates of emails is to offer promotions and discounts. Your user may not be interested in that particular discount, but they will still have opened that email out of curiosity and looked at the information which is additional to the discount but actually the focus of your campaign – like the launch of a new product line or a new brand your website is stocking.

That said, the 'hook' can be anything, but make sure that what you offer as a hook corresponds to the image you want to give of your company and what your customers expect from you. Don’t let your email just be those run of the mill promises, exclamations and other messages that can make the end user think that your email is from the House of Spam. This is the worst that you can do as many people will actually report your email as spam, which may result in your email ID/domain getting blacklisted and filtered by the email companies. Furthermore, individuals will consciously unsubscribe from your mailing list which will lead to a loss in circulation and potential customers.

Make sure you know your audience

It has been a while since you started collecting your customers' emails. Now you have a good database of them. Thousands of users are classified by place of origin, the type of products they buy, their average spend etc. Now, do you really send exactly the same mail to all your customers? No.

Take advantage of this database that has cost you so much time to gather and create several email models, each tailored according to a particular customer profile. This way your emails will be more targeted and have a higher chance of conversions.

For instance, at an online bookstore customer patterns can easily be ascertained. Some customers mostly buy nonfiction books while other buy fiction ones, in further classification, some customers in the former group have a penchant for autobiographies while those in the latter like graphic novels. An email marketer’s focus should be on sending emails that are relevant to each group.

Be brief and concise regarding what is your sell

Taking into account that a good part of the mails are not read, but are 'scanned'. Therefore, it is essential that you make the message clear with as little content as possible. Go to visual resources and adequate typography, but above all, do not extend yourself.

If, for example, you want to summarize the new products that have entered your e-commerce website, make a selection of 3 to 4 of them and present them briefly. Do not expose the entire catalog as news because you may overwhelm the reader, leading them to move out into the inbox.

This idea of simplicity is especially important since a good number of clients will open your email from their mobile device, an inadequate platform to offer a lot of information at the same time due to the lack of screen space.

If you still do not have a newsletter...

... start to work on one right now! A good newsletter is one of the best ways to maintain contact with your target audience and to promote the products of your e-commerce website or physical store. A good newsletter is also essential in maintaining a relationship with your customers since they won’t be placing orders every day. In this space, the newsletter would serve as a reminder for them. And given that their earlier experience was optimal, they will remember to shop with you again when the need arises.

Analyze the impact of each email

The opening ratio of an email marketing campaign is only the first of many of the data you can analyze. Where the user clicks on links within your email, what bounce rate do you get? And of course, how many of these clicks converted to sales or registrations?

After each campaign you should draw several clear conclusions and orchestrate your following email marketing strategies based on those ideas.

In conclusion, despite the prevailing fever of social media marketing, classic email continues to be one of the most reliable and simple ways to get your message across to customers. It is simple, efficient, and, if done right, brings with itself a plethora of benefits.