A business acquaintance of mine recently claimed, Anyone who believes email marketing is dead doesn’t know how to do email marketing. I have to say, I agree. Yes, today’s tech-savvy and self-aware consumers are sensitive to and perhaps even cynical about efforts to capture their attention through their inboxes. But, email continues to be one of the most effective means of directly engaging consumers online. The tips below offer guidelines for appealing to consumers by creating emails that align with and do not offend their informed sensibilities.

Recognize that niche marketing is the new mass marketing

We live in a niche world. An email that does not directly appeal to a consumer’s niche interests and values will be deleted immediately, and often compel consumers to unsubscribe. Respect your customer’s time and assume that their time is constantly under assault from competitive brands promoting products, services and special deals.

Effective email marketing campaigns should engage your customer with informed offers that cater to their specific biases, shopping habits, and circumstances. Emails that are too general fail because consumers perceive them as contrived and insincere. For example, a consumer who just bought a car from an auto dealer and subsequently signed up for the email list does not want emails promoting deals on more new cars. However, emails that target the needs of a new car owner such as car insurance promotions, oil change discounts, or gas-saving tips are generally appreciated. Emails should always target a consumer?s niche needs. We marketers must perceive our audience not as large groups of anonymous consumers, but as groups of individuals with unique interests.

Timeliness is good

Email marketers can overlook the importance of timing and scheduling. The goal is to have emails seen and read by as many consumers as possible – this means reaching consumers when they are engaging with their email. Blasting out an email campaign at 9am EST may connect with East Coast consumers, but those in Los Angeles are less likely to see it at the equivalent 6am PST. Consider segmenting your list by time zone to optimize your open and conversion rates.

You should determine an impactful and effective schedule for sending out emails daily, weekly, monthly that targets the specific needs and routines of your customers.

Great design is better

You have mere seconds to make a favorable impression on your customer. This tiny, make-or-break window is often determined by the design of the email. If the email appears unappealing, your customer will be less likely to engage. You should also ensure that the formatting of emails translates well across all browsers, computers, and mobile devices. Emails that appear clunky or disorganized are quickly deleted, or worse, clicked to unsubscribe.

Successful marketing emails offer a balance of words and images that guide consumers into a comfortable world of desirable options and opportunities. Messaging should be simple and direct, and not too aggressive your customer does not want to feel pressured into making a decision. A concise value proposition followed by a respectful call-to-action caters to the modern consumer mindset.

Proofread after you’ve proofread

The greatest and most easily avoidable transgression in an email is the typo. Consumers find typos inexcusable and a sign that you do not value their time. Every email publisher should have a system in place where the content is systematically proofed and approved.

Mistakes happen. We’ve all been there. Marketing emails are inherently prone to errors, as sometimes we rush to send them. Still, grammatical mistakes and misspelled words immediately undermine even the most compelling message. Implementing a set of procedures that account for typos makes the process less stressful and enhances quality. Proofread your emails. Then, proofread them again.

So, the next time you hear email is dead, consider the source and even better, hope it’s one of your competitors who is listening and believing.