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Five tips for navigating email marketing for utilities

Does your program have an active email marketing strategy? Email marketing can be as simple as sending a short message to promote the launch of a new program, or as complex as customizing a monthly e-newsletter for hundreds of readers. Because everyone has email, it’s easy to think it’s easy—but it does require planning and adherence to good practices.

Here are five tips to help maneuver the powerful, and sometimes tricky, world of email marketing.


Figure 1: APS Solutions for Business uses an email template that adheres to brand guidelines.

Know the rules. The federal government outlines the legal requirements for commercial emails in the CAN-SPAM Act. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Emails must offer an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe
  • Subject lines/headers, and from and reply-to information must be straightforward and accurate
  • Emails cannot offer rewards or benefits to readers for forwarding  to others

Establish consistency and credibility. Emails often only hold the reader’s attention for 25-35 seconds. And, readers are more apt to open emails from credible, known senders. Be consistent and establish a pattern: send emails at the same time, on the same day of the week, at the same time of the month and maintain a consistent frequency. Create (and use) a simple template that adheres to corporate brand standards. This consistency will build credibility and, in turn, reader loyalty.

Think ahead. Research indicates that scheduling the delivery of an email can positively impact its results. Consider the following:

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays receive the highest open rates for emails sent during the week
  • Emails sent between the early evening and early morning tend to have the highest open rates (perhaps because they are sitting in the inbox when it is opened in the morning)

Figure 2: Subject lines should grab the reader’s attention

Focus on subject lines. Keep subject lines short and sweet. Emails with short, direct subject lines are more likely to be opened and are better-suited for the small screen size of mobile devices. Place the core message at the beginning and entice readers with action words, such as act now, learn, save and increase.

Utilize online email marketing tools. Online email marketing tools, such as Constant Contact and Vertical Response, offer services to create, standardize, distribute and track various email components. Users can develop and maintain distribution lists, establish email templates, and determine ROI through reporting features.

Implementing these few tips can help improve the effectiveness of mass emails and make readers take notice the next time they’ve got mail.


Figure 3: Effective email marketing campaigns include reporting of open rates, number of bounced emails, and more.


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