Since I’m in the business, I’m on a LOT of lists.  And I watch a lot of email campaign strategies.  I see some really poor efforts, some very sleazy efforts and some very good strategies.

Here’s what your crafty email marketer might be up to.

1. They tempt you with new offers

You should be watching for NEW offers.  Something different. Something interesting.  Something compelling. That can be quite a challenge sometimes.  I had a client that for 18 months could only imagine a 5 to 15% discount on their products.  It became harder and harder to dress up a 15% discount.  The good ones come up with new and interesting offers continuously.

2. They feed your senses

These days there are lots of things you can ‘include’ in an email.  I use the word include because at this point in time you can’t embed an actual video in the email body (although I did see Yahoo attempt to demonstrate that feature at a conference – didn’t work!)  However, you should expect to see emails offering videos, podcasts, or landing pages with flash.  The really good ones aren’t afraid to mix it up.

3. They only show you what they want to show you

One thing about emails.  They aren’t spontaneous, like a Tweet.  You need to put a bit of thought into what you’re going to say and why.  You don’t want 750,000 people on your list to get the wrong impression!  You know when you get an email some planning and thought have gone into it.

4. They peak your interest

The best emails are short and designed to do one thing… get you to leave your inbox on a journey to a website.  What’s on that website?  Well, if they’re doing it properly is should be something you really need and could use and just have to learn more about.  That’s good targeting.  If the email is not relevant you’re either not the audience (bad) or they aren’t targeting an audience (also bad).

5. They lure you with discounts

Yes, they do.  I hope though it’s not all they do.  Some times you get in a rut and just start training your list to expect discount after discount.  If so, I hope they aren’t wasting your time with false deadlines.

6. They play a pricing game

Just what are you being offered when you see price offers in an email?  Is it really an offer that’s only for their SPECIAL customers, like you?  Or, is it an offer that’s available for the whole world.  In social media marketing these specials are out there.  In email marketing the ‘special’ price can be a special, limited-time, one-time offer.  That’s good.

7. They show social proof

Or they should.  Social proof is simple things like a testimonial, or a Facebook badge with Likes to demonstrate that what they say is true… you can trust them… really.  Over time they’ll earn your trust and then you know you’re on a good list.. one run by a marketing master.

The point of these 7 tips is to let you know that great email marketing is work… hard work.  They don’t just sit around and hammer out a winning subject line. They think about strategy, objectives, conversion metrics, and results.  I know, it’s what we do all day long.