Email gives great opportunities for you to connect directly with your customers.  Sending a regular newsletter or a special offer by email is a wonderful way to engage with them.  Here’s a simple guide that will show you how to use email to get great results.


Develop a contact list of customers and potential customers

Use any chance you get to collect your customers email addresses.  When they visit your site make sure you have a form that they can submit to receive your newsletter.  Don’t ask them for too much information on this form and try to give them an incentive to sign up (e.g. 10% your next order if you sign up).

If you have a physical shop or office, ask them for their email address before they leave and let them know that they will receive news and special offers.  But make sure if they give you their address that you follow through and send them something by email to say thanks.

Send them something that’s of interest to them

If you sell books and toys online make sure that you are sending the emails regarding books to the people who are interested only in books.  There is something quite annoying about getting an irrelevant email and it goes straight in the trash folder.

Personalise it

We all like to hear the sound of our name, or even see it written down so use their name in the email.  If you know they are living near the shop then mention something else that is going on in the town.  Make them feel special, we would all like to feel a little important to you.

Build relationships and continue to strengthen them

Use email as a way to keep in contact with your customers.  Inform them of what is going on in your business, educate them with information on new products.  Engage them with special offers and give them a reason to come back to buy from you.  Show them you are interested in them and value their custom.

Have a great subject line

They may get 50 emails a day so it’s important to have a great subject line that grabs their attention.  Create a good first impression so they will want to open your email.  Clearly show who the email is from because if they recognise it’s from you then there is more chance they will not move it to the trash.   Keep the subject line short, under 10 words ideally and maybe personalise it for them.  Don’t use words like ‘percentage off’, ‘free’ or ‘reminder’ as these words can encourage the email to be sent to the spam folder.

Keep their attention with the good stuff  

Once they have clicked on the email make sure they read it.  Most people have a quick scan to decide if they want to read the whole email.  Keep the message concise and easy to understand.  Use short paragraphs because you can always link to the longer versions on your site for more information.

Links it back to your website

It’s all about them coming back to your website and either buying on line or seeing something that makes them pick up the phone to you.  Include links to offers on your site.  For example, if you are offering 10% off the order or free postage this month, the button on your email should like to a specific page on your site to allow them to redeem this.   Remember that if they do click to visit your site the landing page should be relevant to what they clicked on.

Test to see what works and learn from mistakes

You should try testing emails to see how different versions perform.  A/B testing is when two versions of the same email are sent to a small part of your list to see which one performs better on their open rate.   That shows you what works and what does not. At the end of each email campaign you should measure the results.  When you measure you learn and you can then use this information to improve your next email.

Finally, what NOT to do

Don’t buy a list or use a random list of email addresses.  This is spam, it’s not nice and it’s not allowed.  You want to send emails to people that want to receive them.

Don’t bombard them with emails.  Have a think about what rate of emails would be acceptable in your industry and for your customers.  Maybe 3 emails a day is a little over the top?

Don’t send emails that are not relevant.  If they receive something that is totally contrary to their interests, then they might not be as excited to receive your next one.

Don’t send them the same thing multiple times.  You sent them some great offer, they didn’t redeem their coupon, but don’t keep sending it again and again.  You will just annoy them.

Don’t continue to email when they have asked to unsubscribe.  Respect that they don’t want to get your emails and don’t take it personally.  They may return in the future but if they don’t then you will find many more people who are interested.


Maybe I have convinced you that when you are planning your marketing strategy you won’t forget to include Email in the mix.  Direct contact with real customers can be gold dust for generating sales.  But remember, in the immortal words of Wham! ‘If you’re gonna do it, do it right – right ? ’