"One of the best newsletters that I subscribe to is produced by a business consulting firm," Middendorf said. "Each week I receive 2--3 emails from them and I learn something useful in each email that I read. That’s the key. I learn something that I can apply to the growth of my business; therefore the content is very valuable to me. After receiving six months of valuable information from them, I decided to utilize their services. By giving away valuable information, the consulting firm was able to establish themselves as industry experts and convert me into a client."
Trading useful and pertinent information for an email address also works well.
"We often create an eBook or white paper, set up a landing page and give it away in exchange for an email address," he said. "Mine your LinkedIn contacts. Most people make their email addresses available to their first degree connections. I still recommend a personalized email beforehand. We also often experiment with lightboxes. We use SumoMe on a couple of the websites that we support. This provides an easy way for readers to add their email to the subscriber list."
Other tips for email campaigns
• Specialization is key. Some body shops do separate email campaigns for their customers and insurance partners with specialized content that caters specifically to each.
• Present your email using the same tactics as you use for blogs or social media. Open with interesting, engaging content and funnel readers through to your company’s landing pages.
• Think mobile: Most of your customers are perusing email on their phones today, so design your emails to be mobile-friendly.
• Present small bites: Separate content using headlines, subheads and bullet points. Give your readers information that can be quickly scanned and absorbed. People will not read lengthy articles, because they just don't have the time.
• Make it personal: Email is a personal form of media, so cater your campaigns to be as personalized as possible.
• Avoid spam: Set up a regular contact routine, but don’t flood your contacts with advertisements and products. You want your readers to look forward to hearing from you, so be consistent and courteous.
• Unsubscribe link: Make it easy to unsubscribe. Small or hidden unsubscribe links are very annoying.
So, the $64,000 question is: Does email marketing still work?
"Absolutely," Middendorf said. "Email marketing is considered an important part of any robust online marketing campaign. Your company should still consider other well-established marketing strategies, such as blogs and branded websites; however, email is an affordable way to reach more people with minimal expense. For the best results, turn your online marketing campaign over to a company experienced in the field that is able to assist you with keyword strategies and reaching target audiences."