Email marketing is still alive and well, thank you very much. Because we can’t seem to resist the click of finding out what’s inside. At least until we realize we’ve been spammed.

Here are three tips that will have people opening your emails when they pop into their in-boxes:

1. Only email when you have something important to say: Remember how telemarketers used to interrupt the dinner hour with their surveys and sales offers? They trained us to screen our calls, if not turn off our phone ringers, if we wanted peace while bellying up to the trough. Your emails are like those phone calls: they interrupt. Earn your recipient’s trust by only sending information they’ll find valuable. Coupons, perhaps. People love coupons.

2. Forget the hard sell: Do you like people selling to you? One of the main reasons I jump OFF of email lists is because the emails are all about them, them, them. I want them to be about me, me, me. Right? I’m not saying you can’t sell. I’m saying first offer value. If you become known as a spammer, you’ll find your email marketing list dying a quick death. Ouch. What’s that saying? “If you want to sell a pot of honey, you gotta get ’em salivating first.”

3. Make your offer sound so good they pant: Deadlines work. People get really motivated to buy if the offer period is limited. Personally, if I know the offer will always be on the table, or if I know the offer will cycle through fairly regularly, I’ll typically pass. So add a sense of urgency to get your prospects and raging fans reaching for their wallets. Remember, people buy what they want, not what they need. (Admit it: you’ve purchased something from a late-night television infomercial, haven’t you? Have I? Ummm…no comment.)

A good way to learn to do email marketing smartly?

Subscribe to a few (two or three tops) email lists of companies or people you admire and trust. Study what they’re doing, and copy the parts you think you can pull off. Do they start with a motivational quote or really funny visual? Do they offer a freebie that is instantly downloadable? Does their writing style excite you or make you smile? Figure out the sparkle and make it yours.

Every bit of marketing involves testing to see what works. Wash, rinse, repeat. If you’re committed, you’ll find your winning email marketing process. Or you can contact me. I’m happy to help.


Sheri A. Bell is a writer, developmental editor, proofreader, and children’s author living in McKinney, Texas. You can check out her services and blog at Get to know her a bit via this radio interview. She is the author of You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? (40,000 copies sold), Great World War II Projects You can Build Yourself, and Sanctuary Rises. Have you purchased your copies yet? ;-)