Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

So, you are ready to enter the wonderful world of email marketing, and you visualise lots of people opening your email, giving you great responses and then sales coming in the door instantly!

Perhaps you have already sent an email campaign, but you didn’t get the result that you were looking for.

Email marketing is great, but you have to have the right approach. Like everything in this world if you want something you do have to put some work in first.

Here are 10 tips to help you.

1. Be clear about your objectives. Do it for a reason, have an outcome in mind,  for example, is it information, a sales pitch, a “just keeping in contact” or a promotional piece? If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you won’t get any meaningful results.

2. What do your readers expect of you? Why did they sign up, what was your previous offer? If your list is made up of previous customers then ask yourself what would you want them to feel when they get your email and what they might want to know after buying from you.

3. What do you want your audience to do after reading your email? This will depend on your objectives to start with, but if you want them to do something, you have to give them a clear call to action.

4. Think of email as part of a relationship. Not all emails should be sales focused.  Work on building a relationship through your emails, rather than going for a big sales pitch with the first message you send out.

5. What is your message? Make it clear and concise; no one likes reading lots of text online, nor does your audience have the time to wade through long rambling emails. Is this a one-off communication or part of the series? If it’s part of a series you can build the message. Focus on getting just one key point over at one time. Too many messages are confusing to the reader and actually REDUCES the likelihood that they will take action.

6. Remember quality content beats quantity every time. Whilst striving for perfection is a good trait to have, the perfect email that never gets sent out won’t get you anywhere. The imperfect email that gets sent is much more effective!

7. Choose an engaging title for your subject line. This will encourage the recipients to open the email, but don’t disappoint them with poor content.

8. Segment your list. The message you’re sending right now might not be appropriate for everyone. If you are sending out a sales message there isn’t much point sending the email to your suppliers. If  it is not appropriate, then don’t send it to them and they will be more likely to read the messages that you do send them.

9. Don’t over solicit. You wouldn’t dream of phoning your prospects every day or week and the same applies to sending email. If you had to print out the message, pop it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and then post it for every email you write, then you’d think twice about sending it wouldn’t you?

10. Avoid unsubscribes by sending quality information to the appropriate people that doesn’t constantly bombard them. You have to build trust and respect. If you get a request to unsubscribe then make sure it happens, Constant Contact will do that for you automatically.

Why is this important?

1. Preparing and sending an email marketing campaign takes time (and so eats into your resources). Therefore make sure you do it right first time, otherwise it just becomes a waste of your time and also damages your brand reputation with your audience.

2. Your unsubscribe rate will go up if you over solicit your audience or you send them messages that are not appropriate or useful to them.

3. You want to have a high open and click through rate. This will only happen if you give your audience value and quality on an ongoing basis.

You can get more information from Shirley by visiting her website, or connecting with her on LinkedIn here. She also tweets @coachsme

What are your big pitfalls when you are email marketing? Let us know in the comments!