Email marketing can be a valuable marketing tool for any small business. Yesterday, Wikus Engelbrecht of GraphicMail shared his tips for making your small business’s email marketing more effective. Here are five more ways to ensure your email campaign works.

6)    Write Appealing Subject Lines and Increase Open Rates

Writing the subject line is a mission-critical element of your email marketing strategy that you shouldn’t leave until deadlines are looming. These first few characters are the doorstep to your email marketing success; since it’s all you have to entice readers to open your message.

Since a subject line should distill the essence of an email, consider writing it first, as this will help keep your email marketing content from straying off topic.

Think about what the objective of your email marketing programs is and clearly state what your reader can expect from your email. You need to create a sense of urgency with your subject lines, but without offering what you can’t deliver.

7)    Test, Test and Test Again

Testing different subject lines or email content prior to bulk sending can help you increase your open and click rates.

Especially if you’re dealing with a large list of contacts, it’s advisable to run A/B split tests on a small group of recipients before sending to the full list, to see which variants will produce the best results.

Once you’ve figured out which one was more successful, you then send the top-performing newsletter to the remaining percentage of your mailing list.

Be sure to run your email through a checker to identify spam-like words, phrases or sentence construction and make any suggested changes to help it survive the journey to the inbox. And also check that your links are pointing to the right landing pages.

8)    Time Your Newsletter Sending

Send the right message at the right time.This means you have to listen, you have to educate and you have to guide subscribers on their conversion path – all at the right moment in the purchase cycle.

Many marketers try to bypass this by relying on urgent calls-to-action bound to everything they send, which can easily backfire.

With the timing data provided by an ESP you can group individuals who habitually open at specific times, and then accordingly optimize your sending schedule to that specific segment of subscribers.

9)    Add a Clear Unsubscribe Link

Spam complaints can have a disastrous effect on your sender reputation. Unfortunately, even when people have explicitly signed up for an email they may still use the “report spam” button.

Some readers even use the report spam button instead of going through the proper unsubscribe process, since both tactics have the same outcome for them.

So, make it clear at the time of subscription how often you’ll email subscribers. Include a name that subscribers will immediately recognize in the sender field of your emails, and most importantly, make it incredibly easy for them to unsubscribe.

10)    Keep Emailing

To keep your list current, make sure you send messages to your subscribers at least once every 90 days.

While it certainly does depend on your industry and what type of products or services you offer, if the waiting period between messages is too long, your bounce rate will increase due to people changing addresses or forgetting who you are – and maybe then assuming your email newsletters are spam.

Stay in front of your audience and retain their interest by giving them valuable, relevant content at a reasonable frequency. Add autoresponders to your email campaign mix to help nurture the conversation as provide proper responses when your customer interacts with your communications.

Wikus Engelbrecht is a writer, journalist and digital writer at GraphicMail, an international email and mobile marketing service provider. His professional career in language and media has traveled the film, print advertising, magazine publishing and online content industries since 2003.