By Rachel Neppes

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) in San Diego, a three-day conference dedicated to online marketing education, which was led by foremost experts in the online marketing profession, including representatives from Kodak, Planet Hollywood, and the Obama Administration, to name a few. This conference covered a gamut of topics, ranging from social media and search marketing, to web design and usability, and email marketing.

One of the sessions that I attended, which stood out for me the most, was Email + Advanced Tactics for One to One Marketing, led by Joel Book, Director, eMarketing Education for ExactTarget, a company specializing in on-demand email marketing and one-to-one digital communications.

I have always recognized email as an important communications channel. But before attending this session, I didn’t know just how many things a marketing professional can actually learn from their customers and target user base through a strategic email marketing campaign.

Effective email marketing is all about having a conversation with the customer or whichever target audience the marketer is trying to reach.  Initiating this two-way conversation allows marketers to understand what their target audiences want and need, allowing them to then respond to those needs appropriately. So what are strategies for achieving this? Below are some of them.

  • Use compelling calls to action to build your subscriber base, whether it’s through an exciting product giveaway or by simply posing a question to create dialogue from the user.
  • Design for your audience. Your email communications should be aligned with your overall brand identity, but while still addressing the unique needs and preferences of different subscriber groups. Addressing different subscribers’ preferences will garner the best response.
  • Be polite and DO NOT over inundate your email subscribers with too much information. Try to limit your email communications to once or twice a month at the very most, and ALWAYS adhere to established opt-out and spam laws.
  • Make sure that your email communications combine product information with education. Don’t just try to use email to sell a product or service.
  • Once your customers or subscribers respond, whether it’s by making a comment or inquiry, or purchasing a product or service that you’re offering, take action by offering them information that is relevant and interesting to them. One great way to do this is create custom email campaigns and messages, which they receive exclusively, or part of a small group with similar needs and preferences.
  • Test and test again. It’s important to test your design across multiple email clients and ISPs to ensure your subscribers see what you expect them to see in both the HTML and text versions. Testing design for rendering purposes is important, but it’s also critical to ensure that your design is effective—leading subscribers to convert and support the email’s business purpose.

For more information about this blog post or to learn how email marketing can give your company an extra boost, visit BERKMAN online at or contact us at 619.231.9977.