Ever wonder why your inbox is often jam-packed. The answer is simple. Email marketing works!

While the most popular form of email marketing is the email newsletter, we are all too familiar with email newsletters that waste our time or are full of spam. So it's not surprising that rarely a week goes by without someone asking me if they should even bother having an email newsletter.

However, email marketing should not be ignored if you want to grow your business. It's relatively quick and easy to get started and inexpensive. And, if done right, email marketing can generate new customers, repeat sales and profit for your business.

So to help you get started, here are five ways to harness the power of email marketing for your business. 


1. Build your email list

First up, you need an 'email list' of clients, customers, prospects, and newsletter subscribers who want to hear from you and that you will communicate with regularly.

A simple way to grow your email list is to include a 'subscribe' or 'opt-in' form on your website and social media that invites people to subscribe to your email newsletter. Don't ask for too much information; first name and email address is enough.

Tips: Every person you meet in business is an opportunity to grow your email list. Don't be shy. Tell them about your email newsletter and ask their permission to add them to your email list. Some may say no, but most people will say yes.

Whether you plan to send company updates letters from the president, e-commerce sales, daily deals, or weekly tips, it's important to tell your readers what to expect and how often to expect it. Give them as much information as possible on your signup form, so they can decide whether they want to be on the list or not. 

2. Treat your email list with respect

Email marketing comes with big responsibility as people don't give their email addresses to just anyone. So think of your email newsletter as a value exchange - your valuable information for your reader's valuable time. If you do this well, your email audience will trust you not to fill their inbox with worthless junk.

Tip: Email newsletters that deliver real value get read, saved and shared. Those that don't, get deleted.

It's always smart to remind people why they're on your list and reassure them that good things are in store. You might even send new subscribers a special offer or exclusive content, as your way of thanking them for their loyalty. 

3. Design your email newsletter to fit your brand.

Make sure your email newsletter matches the look and feel of your brand. Keeping your email newsletter consistent with your brand helps your readers identify you and remember who your are.

Tip: If you're using an email template, customise it with your brand or business colours, logo and slogan.

4. Be human, be friendly

People do business with people. So use an informal, friendly tone and include a warm, personal message early on in your newsletter. Where relevant, invite questions, comments, and feedback and let your readers know that you'd love to hear from them.

Tip: include first name as well as email addresses in your email list. This way you can customise your email newsletter to dynamically add the recipient's first name into your email greeting.

5. Make your email newsletter shareable

If you send quality content, your readers need or find interesting, they will share it with others. So make it easy for them to do so. 

Add your social media links (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) to your newsletter, so readers can share your content via social media. Include a public link to the web version of your newsletter campaign so they can read it outside of their email programmes.

Tip: Think mobile. Many people now view their email on their smartphones. If your email newsletter doesn't look good on mobile devices, your reader will hit delete. If your email template is not mobile responsive, it's time to change. 

Finally, this might seem obvious, but only send an email newsletter if you have something worthwhile to say.

Too many business start email newsletters with no plan and put little effort into thinking about their content. Ask yourself: what's the goal for our email newsletter? What do we have to say? How will we measure success?

Before you push send, only send thoughtful newsletters with great content, and make your email messages count.