Your message. Their Inbox.

How many times did you check your e-mail today?

If you’re a tech-savvy 21st century business professional (and chances are you fit that description, since you’re reading this blog), you probably open your Inbox several times a day. A dozen maybe? We all check our e-mail more than we care to admit. And some are absolutely addicted to checking email.

And who can blame us? As Internet usage continues to expand, more and more people are pointing to e-mail as their preferred choice of communication. It’s easy to use, it’s fast and you don’t get that stomach-turning taste in your mouth from licking envelopes and stamps.

What’s more, there’s rarely ever a time when the Internet is beyond our reach. Wireless Internet has become much more prevalent than it was five – or even two – years ago. Devices like BlackBerrys, iPhones and PDAs mean our Inboxes are never more than a click away, even when we’re out on the street or at the hairdresser.

e-mail communication is cost-effective and reaches consumers and business professionals directly. reports that “spending on e-mail marketing in the U.S. will grow steadily to $2 billion by 2014, almost an 11 percent compound annual growth rate.”

If your business is not taking advantage of e-mail marketing, then it’s time to try it.

The most common form of e-mail marketing is the e-newsletter. An e-newsletter is exactly what the name implies: a newsletter that regularly appears in the reader’s Inbox. It may be distributed weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or over any period of time that the marketer specifies.

eNewsletter distribution is very cost-effective compared with direct mailings. If you’re interested in getting involved with e-newsletter marketing, here are some valuable tips:

• Place a link on your home page where users can subscribe. Services like Constant Contact offer a choice of pre-formatted boxes and links where your site visitors can sign up for your e-newsletter. These links can be added to your company’s home page. When they use the link, they’re taken to a form template where they enter their contact information, which is automatically added to your database.

• Pay attention to your subject line. The subject line of an e-mail is often the deciding factor for whether or not that e-mail gets opened. The subject line should pique the reader’s interest, while at the same time not coming off like the headline for an ad in the Sunday morning paper. compared subject lines with very high and very low open rates..

• It’s not all about ads. eNewsletters should contain a mixture of advertising and informative articles – about 50/50. It should never be 100 percent advertising, or you’ll quickly find your subscribers opting out. For example, an e-newsletter distributed by a dental office might feature reviews of toothpaste, tips on cutting back on plaque or a glossary of dental terms, in addition to testimonials from clients. Articles on other sites can be referenced as long as you credit those sites and provide a link. For some good examples of eNewsletters and valuable reader content take a look at my company’s newsletter archive.  corecubed has been distributing these monthly for almost 10 years.

• Conduct analytics to evaluate progress. Most online e-newsletter distribution providers offer services that gauge the effectiveness of your mailings. Metrics such as open rates, click-throughs, opt-outs, forwards, etc. are all quantified and placed in an easy-to-read report so that the marketer can determine whether his efforts are successful. If open rates are down and opt-outs are up, it might be time to change the e-newsletter’s format or content. Either way, you won’t know unless you’re on top of the metrics.

corecubed specializes in providing monthly marketing communications with a specialization in the home care industry.  We have had such great success with email and eNewsletter marketing ourselves, we wanted to extend that to our clients.  In fact, we just launched a home care targeted eNewsletter called careconnect, which can be used by agencies to target valuable referral sources and build new relationships.  Is your agency communicating via email?