We live in the information age – don’t fight it – embrace it. Email marketing can be fast, efficient and effective, here are my top tips for getting it right…

Businesses using permission based e-mail marketing report that it’s very easy to see a direct correlation between an e-mail shot being delivered and a spike in visitors to their website. So… remember, make sure your website is full of benefits – and that you are driving people to the relevant landing page within your site – don’t waste the traffic.

Keep in mind that hundreds of e-mails pour into people’s inboxes every day. Your challenge is to make sure that your e-mail gets opened. Here are several key factors help you succeed where others fail.

Get permission to send people e-mail. Obtain Opt in commitments from new prospects before sending them e-mail marketing materials. At the end of your e-mail. You must also provide the facility for people no longer wishing to receive e-mail from you to unsubscribe or opt out.

Work a niche. As with any marketing campaign, you must clearly define your target audience. What do they want, what might they really need, what problems have they got that your product or service will solve.

Grab their attention! The subject line of your e-mail must be compelling enough to make people want to open your e-mail and feel safe in doing so.

Be sure you are spam filter friendly. Because of the multitude of junk mail being circulated around the Internet, spam filters have become far more sophisticated about weeding out what is deemed to be junk mail. Use the wrong words in your headline and even in your copy and away you go… straight to the junk folder, never to be read. Professional e-mail marketing software, like Aweber or Constant Contact will check your e-mail before you send it to establish its deliverability against spam filters. Where possible incorporate the name of the person you’re sending to in the subject line. This can often tell the filters that you know the person you’re writing to and so avoid your message disappearing into dreaded black hole of a junk folder.

Don’t send Incognito. The “from” line of any e-mail still remains the primary decision factor for people to open or delete messages without reading them.

Get straight to the point. Your subject line gets attention. Start your message with a clear headline that is full of benefits to create immediate interest. Use short and concise bullet points to build desire and end your e-mail with a call to action. What is it you want the recipient of your mail to do next? Tell them clearly what to do and how and when to do it.

Don’t stand on ceremony. Be professional, but informal. Keep your copy, light and conversational as much as possible. Don’t go flat out to impress people with your command of the English language or your extensive vocabulary. Your e-mail should read as if you were talking directly to that person, even though you may be sending the same e-mail to 10,000 people and the click of a button.

Don’t confuse your message. Stick to promoting one item or event per e-mail. If this is difficult because you have a range of products and services that are inseparable. Make the purpose of your e-mail to get people to visit a separate dedicated landing page where you can then provide all of the relevant information.

Send a test message. Please…before you send your marketing message to 10,000 people, check the content, the layout and check it works. Programs such as Aweber let you test your e-mail in HTML and plain text before you commit to sending it.

Follow-up. Have your next follow-up message planed and prepared. Integrate your e-mail with other direct marketing strategies such as direct mail or telesales, but whatever you do – follow-up. If you’re not following up, you run the risk of leaving 98% of your business on the table for your competitors.

Over 120 people in the audience of an Essex FSB seminar listen intently on “How To Beat The Recession and Boost Your Sales” with FSB member Steve Clarke.

Steve Clarke is the Managing Director of Eureka Sales Solutions Ltd. During his business career he has taken company’s from start up to stock market floatation. He was instrumental in developing the sales & marketing strategy that allowed his last business to reach