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One of the most daunting task facing any new startup is simply how to raise awareness of their brand and their product among prospective customers. For many startups, effective e-mail marketing can spell the difference between failure and success.

However, e-mail marketing is not as simple as just buying an address list and spamming the list with marketing materials. To be successful, e-mail marketing must take a much more nuanced approach. Your e-mail marketing is a direct reflection of your company. You have one chance to make that first positive impression – do it incorrectly, and you may lose that customer for life.

Here are a few e-mail marketing tips that can help you grow your startup:

  1. Collect e-mail addresses wherever you can: Opting-in to receive e-mail from your company is an obvious sign that customers want to receive e-mail marketing materials from you. However, while effective, you have to think beyond the obvious – and intrusive – method of asking users to provide this information in a ‘contact me’ page on your website. For instance, Twitter offers a feature called a ‘lead generation card’. A lead generation card is an embedded link in your tweets readers can click to sign up to your mailing list. Other social media platforms offer similar options to gather e-mail addresses of prospective customers.
  2. Include quality content: If you want to engage readers of your e-mail, you need to give them quality content from your blog or other sources. If you can’t engage, entertain, and raise the interest of your readers, no one will read your marketing materials.
  3. Be willing to send your subscribers other content: Don’t be afraid to send your subscribers information about the industry in general, or information only tangentially to your company or product. Your subscribers want great content, and they want great content that interests them. This practice also builds good will among subscribers by demonstrating that you are willing to give them interesting content, not just content narrowly defined by your business.
  4. Keep your subject lines short and simple: E-mails with simple subject lines are more likely to be read than ones with long convoluted subject lines.
  5. Make your information shareable: All of your e-mail marketing materials should include a trackable referral link that recipients can use to share the materials with someone else. To make it more interesting, you may consider offering some kind of reward to readers for sharing the materials to other users. For instance, the men’s grooming brand Harry’s launched in 2013 with nearly 100,000 addresses already in their database. They accomplished this simply by offering a two-page, pre-launch microsite with a ‘refer a friend to be eligible for prizes’ link. How successful was their campaign? Harry’s reported gather those signatures in roughly one week.
  6. Welcome and engage new subscribers: When someone signs up for your mailing list, they should get a personalized welcome e-mail. This e-mail should come from a real person with a real working reply address, so that customers can reply to the welcoming message if they would like to.
  7. E-mail is a two-way street: Allow subscribers to reply to your marketing e-mails and be willing to engage them in a two-way conversation. Nothing turns customers off faster than an e-mail that carries a note that says recipients can’t reply to the e-mail or that replies will go to a non-monitored mailbox and will not be read.
  8. Don’t make the subject line too detailed: An ideal subject line should interest and intrigue the reader just enough for them to open the message. If you give too much away in the subject line, recipients may decide they have no interest in reading the message.
  9. Review your e-mails on multiple platforms: Not all e-mail clients are created equally. Because of this, an email that looks perfectly okay in Microsoft Outlook may have issues displaying correctly in Apple iMail. Check your messages in various e-mail clients to make sure the content looks as intended on different platforms.
  10. Proofread, and then proofread again: Always have at least two different people proofread your messages prior to sending them. Mistakes can be embarrassing.
  11. Integration and coordination is important: Any messages going out to your e-mail list needs to be coordinated between the different departments of your company. For instances, e-mails from your marketing department should not contradict e-mails from your sales or support departments. A consistent voice prevents customer confusion.
  12. Look behind clicks and reads: Metrics are vitally important – how many emails result in sales? How many result in referrals for other customers? Develop a mechanism that helps you gauge the effectiveness of your communications by determining how many sales are actually being generated by your marketing e-mails.

Contact us for more information on how to maximize your e-mail marketing efforts.