Email isn't what it used to be. A number of marketing experts place less emphases on email marketing campaigns these days, often tilting in favor of social media or content marketing.

But used correctly, email marketing can still be an important tool. What should you know? Here are 10 tips from Austin, Texas-based Study Breaks College Media. The company markets primarily to college students in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and South Carolina through print, digital and social media.

Maximize Your Email 

Here are the top tips from Study Breaks, along with some thoughts of our own.

Use the WebsiteA home base for growing the email list, the website should offer an email subscriber signup field on every page. Every email interaction, such as confirmation of a purchase from the website, should include a call-to-action for signing up.

Be Clear with Potential Subscribers: Communicate directly and effectively about the benefits of signing up, as well as the fact that signup is optional. Those are essential, but there's another subject the company doesn't mention that also deserves your honesty and candor: an anti-spam privacy policy. 

If you can honestly say so, make your concern for your customers' privacy and your commitment against spam a key part of the pitch, and link to a Privacy Policy written in plain English. For knowledgeable would-be subscribers, the more they are confident you won't spam them or sell/trade/loan/rent their addresses, the more likely they'll be to signup.

Run Promotions. Promotions encourage signups. These could include discounts, insider information, contest entries or other perks they can get as long as they get on your mailing list.

Create Incentives: Be creative. Give subscribers a perk if they forward the email (such as a newsletter) to a friend. Make it clear, of course, that this doesn’t compromise the friend's privacy or automatically subscribe him to the list.

Physically Sign Up Subscribers: At events, meetings or conferences, you may be able to add subscribers by allowing them to sign up on physical forms. As with other touch points, be sure to emphasize both the benefits and your emphasis on privacy and non-spamming.

Install Opt-in Lightboxes on the site: A web lightbox is an overlay screen with a center set of information or forms on top of a dimmed page. This is a website technique to get the visitor's attention. The main point: make email signups easy, prominent and clear, along with benefits and privacy.

Learning Opportunities

Use Social Media: One medium should feed the other, so Facebook pages should have email signups, for instance, and email messages should contain your social media addresses.

Blog Strategically: A frequently updated blog can boost search engine optimization and provide other benefits, such as testing marketing copy or other ideas. It should contain email signup info, and also provide content that makes the reader confident they're working with a trustworthy and interesting brand.

Include Signup Info on Business Cards and Flyers: In other words, email signups, along with benefits and privacy declaration, should be a visible part of every touchpoint with a customer or would-be customer.

Partner with Other Businesses: Cross-marketing with a related business that is not a competitor could lead to increases in both your and their email lists.

As noted, Study Breaks does not mention the privacy and no-spamming issue, which is paramount for many subscribers. It's hard to imagine that savvy users out there would even consider signing up for a list unless they are assured they aren't going to increase their already heavy spam load or have a problem getting off the list.

Study Breaks also fails to mention the importance of including a simple and clear "remove me from the mailing list" link in every email communication. It's also a good idea to briefly mention near signup something to the effect of "a simple click will remove you from the list if you want."