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5 Ways to Improve Email Marketing Campaigns

Email MarketingAs the economy takes its toll on business owners, it is a profitable goal to make the most of your marketing efforts. When done well, email marketing is a highly effective tool to increase sales and to establish customer loyalty.

Here are five suggestions on how to improve the results you get in your email marketing campaigns:

1. Clean Up Your Email List

Maintaining a clean list is a challenge for businesses of all sizes, especially small business owners who often don’t have dedicated staff to handle such tasks. In order to improve your email marketing performance, reputation and deliverability rates, start fresh by scrubbing your list before sending your next campaign.  Start by checking that your unsubscribe requests are up-to-date.

2. Analyze What Worked and What Didn’t

Take a close look at your email marketing successes and failures from last year so that you can repeat the winning campaigns and scrap the under-performers. Refresh this year’s campaigns by combining elements of successful email marketing tactics from the past to see better results.

3. Plan a 2013 Email Marketing Campaign

Many of us leave email marketing campaigns to the last minute, but a great way to increase effectiveness is to look at the calendar through the eyes of your customers and plan them in advance.

First, determine what business and seasonal cycles are most relevant to your target market, and then create an email campaign calendar plotted to those cycles. Planning your top campaigns for the year in advance will ensure that your campaigns are relevant and timely.

4. Utilize Customer Data

Most businesses use CRM systems that are filled with rich customer data which you can integrate with your email marketing service to effectively improve campaign results. In addition, you can build more targeted and segmented lists based on customer data.

You can still segment your email lists based on purchasing data, reputation, and deliverability rates. Also, polls can be conducted quickly through your email marketing service to gather additional information from your customers that should help you improve the targeting, relevance and timeliness of your campaigns.

5. Try Something New

Challenge yourself in 2012 by trying something different in your email marketing campaigns.  For instance, embed a video or podcast that will make your campaign unique and engaging as well as differentiate your business from the competition.  Using A/B testing to gauge response to your campaigns is another great way to learn about your audience which improves results and drive sales.

Automated trigger campaigns can also improve the timeliness and relevance of your email marketing campaigns. It may sound a bit complicated and time intensive, but a good email marketing service should have the tools and technologies to make it simple for you.

SEO: Surrounding Links with Relevant Text

Link Building SEOLinks are an enormous part of the success of your SEO efforts and the overall traffic from organic searches to your site. However, there are several issues related to links to your site, such as anchor text, that you need to pay attention to. One of great importance is the text that surrounds your links- it’s just as important as your internal links with anchor text.

It is common to have a link in the footer/sidebar of someone else’s web site.  Your goal is to have the links promote you as a trustworthy site that offers something of value to the client.  But in order to avoid appearing as nothing more than a list of paid links, you need to find out what the surrounding text is around those locations. The links to your web site should be surrounded by text- as if the other site is “talking about” your website and thus “pointing” to it.

Here is an example list of links:

Fort Collins Web Marketing
iPoint Technologies

The links above are not really the “ideal” type of links. Sure, they all include keywords related to search engines, but let’s take a look at the next paragraph of text:

There are several SEO companies that have been around for a very long time such as SEOMoz. SEOMoz has inspired many others to follow in their footsteps such as Fort Collins Web Marketing. Fort Collins Web Marketing is owned by a website design firm called iPoint Technologies, which has been in the industry for over 10 years.”

The text surrounding the links above provides context that is relevant to the paragraph. Because of this, search engines tend to “like” those links better than if the link were in a list.  While there are other factors involved (whether or not the links appear on a sidebar, footer, or somewhere lower on the site) it is widely preferred to have your link surrounded by text.

*You should explore the text that surrounds your links if you already have links to your web site, or if you are analyzing your current ones. If the text surround your links is off-topic or you are unsatisfied with the content, you may be able to talk with the web site owner and get it changed.