Arches headshot CAN

Tracy (T.L.) Higley here, posting another marketing lesson I’ve learned from my years in online retail sales. As I’ve mentioned in previous months, I’m currently in the midst of an experimental year, applying principles from my retail business to the marketing of my fiction. If you’ve missed earlier posts, and would like a better explanation of my background and what these posts are about, please see Principles #1-#5 here.


So, on to Principle #6… Learn how to use email effectively.


Did you know that there are basic principles that, when followed, will greatly increase the chances that your email gets opened, read, clicked on, and acted upon? Do you know what they are?

Various studies show that anywhere from 45-60% of people make a decision about whether to open an email based on the subject line alone. And the wording and set up of your email itself can greatly influence people’s response to it. Last month we talked about making a good offer, but it’s equally important to word that offer in the best way possible, to gain the best response.

There are other principles at work for emails, e-newsletters, and e-zines as well, that will greatly affect whether your carefully-crafted message ends up in your readers’ Junk folder, or screened out as spam. Do you know what they are? For example, we talked last month about offering something free to your readers. But did you know that creating a subject line that begins or ends with the word “free” is very likely to get the message filtered to spam/junk? Much better to reword it to something like “Get a free…”

These principled aren’t complicated, and it pays to learn them. You’ll also find that lots of creative ideas for connecting with your readers will spring out of the research you do to discover the best practices for email marketing.

To get you started, I’m including a few links to some email guides you can download for free, from companies I respect. You will need to offer your email address in order to download these guides, but be assured that I have never been hassled in any way by these companies, and if you find yourself getting email from them that you do not wish to receive, unsubscribing is simple.


Mail Chimp’s Guide


Lyris Guide #1


Lyris Guide #2

The following is not a link to a downloadable guide, but a link to a website that is absolutely outstanding in the free content it offers, as well as e-books for purchase. I cannot say enough good things about Ralph Wilson’s site. I highly recommend signing up for his newsletter if you are interested in marketing online. I read every single issue that comes to me, and almost always click on a link within it to read more. The link below will take you directly into the section of articles on Email Marketing.


Wilson Web


Email marketing is effective, powerful, and cheap. Learn how to use it well, and you’ll see an increase in the actions you’d like readers to take.

One thought on “Marketing Lessons from the World of Retail

Leanna Ellis

February 10, 2010 - 14 : 01 : 10

Good stuff, Tracy! Thanks so much!


Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *