Email marketing can be an inexpensive yet effective way of communicating with potential and current clients. But with inboxes ever more cluttered and the delete button a constant threat, how can you improve the chances of your email offers being read and responded to?


Vicky Williams, online marketing manager for Advantage Travel Centres, gives her top five tips.


1. Write clear subject lines


To grab readers’ attention and encourage them to open the email, make the subject line simple, newsy and relevant.  Don’t make it sound like spam or advertising and don’t leave it empty as this will probably be stopped by spam filters and the email won’t get delivered.


2. Be creative


Reading emails is similar to reading web content; people will scan an email and click to open/read it if it is relevant.  Emails should be in short, bite-sized pieces and relevant.


Segment your database and understand your readers to ensure the right communications and offers go to different clientele. Ensure your call to action is easy to find. Take care with images. Don’t send emails that are just an image – by default most images don’t display and need to be downloaded.


3. Get personal


You are developing and nurturing a relationship so personalise emails – this should also improve open and read rates.


4. Track, test, review


How effective is your email? Use a system that measures open, read and click-through rates. Monitor different subject lines, content, sending times and keywords. For example, does ‘offer’ generate a higher response or does ‘cheap’ work better?


See how the recipients’ actions vary. Then tweak and review your emails accordingly. Emails can display differently in different programmes so send test messages to Hotmail, Yahoo and Google email accounts to spot and eliminate any problems.


5. Unsubscribe


You must have an unsubscribe mechanic. This may be a one-click opt-out or an address to request immediate removal from the database. Unsubscribes can be good.


Maybe your offers aren’t relevant or the recipient has moved on in the life-cycle–couples once looking for short breaks may now need family-friendly resorts. Feedback will help you develop more effective campaigns. If you are getting too many unsubscribes, have another look at your campaign.


Vicky Williams, online marketing manager, Advantage Travel Centres Vicky Williams is online marketing manager for Advantage Travel Centres