The tools might be different and more effective, and the variety of technologies and capabilities keep growing, but email marketing is still the king of ROI in the marketing kingdom. Email marketing relevance can be seen across a number of sectors and companies. After all, 92% of online adults use email, with 61% using it on an average day.
But how to get it right? What is the prerequisite to get better results? On this blog post, we will list the 50 top tips to email marketing best practices.
Email marketing remains one of the best ways to generate leads and convert prospects, because it allows a personal, direct channel of communication between the company and its leads. So focus on making the most of it and guarantee the success of your email marketing strategy.
So let's cut to the chase:
1)Segment your audience
Every single marketing professional who works with email marketing should know that segmentation is number one rule when it comes to email marketing best practices. Consider grouping your contacts based on their interests, demographics, etc.
Your contacts may also be in different stages of the buying journey. This means that you must provide them with different types of information of each of them, based on the stage they're currently in. Segmentation proves to increase open rates results, click throught rates and customer retention.
39% of email marketers realize better open rates through segmentation (eMarketer)
Click to tweet
2)Build a calendar
To be sure that your email marketing will actually work, you must have a planning calendar. Set the dates of when you are going to send the emails, mark important dates, define your goals and priorities, and schedule everything so you can track the whole process.
There are a countless number of data that prove that personalized emails have higher open rates. So go beyond personalizing your subject line and salutation: think of studying the best time to send your emails, when is more likely for your customer to actually open it. Create segmented lists based on different interests, invest in defining your personas to be sure what kind of content your contacts like the most. Personalizing can be considered the top 10 email marketing best practices.
4)Think of your subject line
It might seem pretty simple, but your subject line does have a big impact on the open rate of your emails. The first rule is to keep it short. It might be difficult at first, but remember that your subject line should be no more than 50 characters long. Be personal and add your recipient's name. Think of something that calls for urgency like "Only today", or "Last minute offer" to encourage your customer to open the email. Use attractive lines to catch your customer's attention. The subject line should be intriguing and vague at the same time. Think of how your customer can benefit from your email.
Carefully choose your fonts, template, and layout. Make sure to not use fonts that are too small or too difficult to read. Avoid overly bright colors but do not forget contrast. Contrastant colors will make your layout stand out and grab your readers attention.
6)Use the preheader
Preheaders or preview texts do increase your open rates, simply because your customer already now what to expect when they open the email. Seen as a short summary of the message, the preheader is particularly seen on mobile devices, so make the most of it. Once again keep it short and catchy. No more than 50 characters.
7)Avoid unfamiliar senders
Emails sent with personalized sender email addresses are more trustworthy. Your customer doesnt want to hear from a robot, but from a real person. Avoid generic email senders such as marketing@ contact@ sales@, etc so you don't get mistaken as spam.
8)Don't forget your logo
It might sound obvious, but your logo has major importance in your email design. The logo will remind your customer of the brand behind the email and may prevent your newsletter from being deleted right away. Remember to keep it on the upper left-hand side of the email, as the latest eye tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos there.
9)Keep your text concise
Consider yourself as your own customer. You are probably busy and with your inbox full of email messages, so bear in mind that your email should be short and concise. Long emails are also more likely to fall on the spam folder, so try to keep your message as simple and short as you can.
10)Use power words
There are some words that are proven to work well on email marketing. Study your audience and find out which ones are more interesting for your public. In the meantime these words can be somewhat helpful: love, free, results, new, save, offer, immediate, etc.
11)Add links to your text
External links can increase the opportunity of engagement. Add some links to different pages of your website in your text and make it more interesting. But don´t over do it as ISPs (Internet Service Providers) might see you as spam.
12)Bring some humor to your emails
Humor creates an instant personal connection with the reader. Try adding some fun elements to your campaigns: it's not only entertaining but it might increase your share rates.
Images can bring life to your emails. Avoid too small or too big images, and remember to use images that reinforce you company's values and concepts. Try to figure out the right amount of images, too many or too few can also impact on your overall deliverability result.
14)Add links to your images
Your email should be interactive and one way to make that happen is to add links to your images. Make sure to tell your customer that the images are clickable and show them where it leads to. Doing that you can also increase your click through rate.
15)Include alt-txt to your images
Nowadays a lot of email software and clients block images from emails, so it's important to always add alt text to your images, otherwise, it will be just an unexplained blank button your email.
16)Include a call to action
The CTA grabs your customers attention and asks them to perform some action. The CTA is mandatory when working with email marketing. Use power, simple words, work with contrastant colors and make sure to leeva enough space around the button so your layout stays cleans.
17)Add alt-txt to call to action
The same rule that was applied to images has to be used on CTAs. When people block images this might include CTA buttons son don't forget to add the alt-txt on them with the desired action you want your customers to do.
18)Add social buttons
Your customer may not know your social pages yet. Remember to tell them how to find you on the main social networks, this way they can find out more about your brand, stay updated with recent news and become one of your fans.
19)Add social sharing buttons
Increase your engagement and your brand awareness by adding social buttons to your emails. This is particularly interesting if are offering some sort of benefit to your customers such as contests, discounts, etc. This way they can pass on the offer.
20)Use social media to Promote Opt-In URLs
We already told you how to integrate social media and email marketing. So remember to take advantage of that and promote your email marketing on your social media pages and get more subscribers. Post your newsletter content on Facebook or Twitter, for example and ask your fans if they already receive it your emails. If not, invite them to sign up.
21)Send emails on weekends
Although it's not a very common strategy, sending emails on weekends can help your chances of being seen. The difference of open rates between weekdays and weekends are not substantial, but every little thing counts. On weekends, the volume of emails are not so big and people have more time to read it, so focus on that when sending targeted campaigns.
22)Send an email to new subscribers within 24 hours
Take advantage of new subscribers and email them within 24 hours. Your brand's name might on your customer's mind so take this opportunity to make a good impression.
It's no secret that 45% of emails are read on mobile devices, so create responsive layouts to ensure that your email is being read everywhere. When thinking of design, choose fonts that are big enough and easy to read on any screen. Select images that look good on every device and keep calls-to-action in the appropriate size and easy to be clicked on.
24)Combine with mobile strategies
You can always use mobile strategies to improve your email marketing strategy, and integrating your email marketing with SMS is a good tactic. You can double your chances of being seen by your audience by sending texts to alert about different types of emails like events, sales, promotions, contests, etc.
25)Make your email sharable
Consider including a "share to your network" CTA and spread the content of your email. Link the call-to-action to a pre-made email complete with subject and body. This could be interesting if you have an irresistible offer, discount or is promoting some sort of contest, for example. It can also be used if the content is user-generated so your customer can share the content with their friends.
26)Study your competitors
Sign up for your competitor's newsletters and find out what they are doing. Analyze their strategy, strengths and weakness to find your own competitive advantages. Check their frequency, content, mobile optimization and other information to make sure you work is as good as it can be.
Asking questions in your email marketing campaign can be a great asset to your strategy. It puts a human element behind the transaction. It will help you engage with your audience on a deeper level. Focus on open-ended questions (would, should, how) and forget about the yes or no questions.
28)Test your emails before sending them
After your email is ready, remember to test them before actually sending them out to your contact list. Unfortunately, your email might not be displayed the same way for all your customers and your perfectly done email might look like a drag in someone's inbox. So guarantee that everything is running smoothly by testing your emails first.
You can either test manually, creating different accounts and sending the emails to different providers and opening it in different devices, or your can use a testing service to help you with the task. Most of the email marketing services offers the possibility of testing your email before sending it. This is crucial as email marketing best practice.
29)Tie your email to landing pages
This is a very important advice that is not usually followed. Create landing pages to specific email marketing campaigns. The landing page will continue your conversion process. The email and the landing page should have the same language, they should create a powerful experience to your customer.
30)Make easy to unsubscribe
As obvious as it might sound, sometimes the unsubscribe link is not very accessible on some emails. Make it easy to find and click.The better way to display it it´s on top of the email. By doing that you gain your customer´s trust and avoid bad reputation.
31)Use A/B testing
If your conversion rates are not as high as you expected, why not test some differents formats for your email campaign? That's what A/B tests are for.
Experiment on different CTAs, subject lines, layouts, images, etc. Send the test to your list and carefully analyze the results: the open rates, the click-through rates, and the conversion rates. Running tests is a great way to understand your audience preferences, likes, and dislikes.
If it’s worth marketing, it’s worth testing (Kath Pay)
Click to tweet
32)Give something away
People love to get free things. And we know that giveaways are a great strategy to grow your contact's list, but try making it as interesting as possible. Create contests to bring user-generated content to your website or social media, and give prizes to encourage your customers' participation. You can also give simpler things such as free downloads of ebooks, whitepapers and checklists in exchange of your customer's action. Be sure to place strong CTAs and magnets to get your expected response.
To be sure that your email is not going to fall on the spam folder, always know the rules of spamming from the country you're working with. and avoid some basics actions like not using more than 3 links on the body text, not using spammy words (like free leads, no investment, cash bonus, free installation, etc), not overusing icons or all caps, not overusing images, etc.
34)Don't use attachments
If you are sending any form of content like ebooks or pdfs, for example, don´t attach them to your email, as this will diminish your deliverability and it isn´t trackable. Send your file on a link that you host in your own domain, so you can check who is viewing and then analyze the success of your email.
35)Contact inactive subscribers
Why not send targeted messages to the subscribers that haven't used your service lately? Instead of sending them promotional content try to offer relevant content to re-engage them such as " look what you´ve been missing", or "latest news", include CTAs and try the giveaway strategy to try to bring them back.
36)Add an opt-in option
An opt-in is a great way to get your customers respect and trust. If you are still considering which opt-in to chose for your emails our advice is go for the double one. This way your sure that your customer wants to be part of your mailing list and you protect your list and your customer from unwanted situations.
37)Gifs and videos
Videos are already a trend so try adding them to your emails, for example, you may add them on your landing page. Gifs and videos can add some fun to your email, attract your customer's attention and engage them. According to the Emarketer, emails with videos report a 55 percent increase in click-through rates. Gifs can also bring more results. If your are still not sure of how to proper use videos of if you feel insecure about your customer´s email provider supporting videos use gifs. Videos and gifs aren´t used very often So give it a try as is can be a great email marketing best practice.
Powerful animations allows marketers to create eye-catching and engaging campaigns(Justin Khoo)
Click to tweet
Just like videos and gifs, audio should be used in a very clever way. Be creative, keep it short, entertain and delight your customer. Audio clips are a great way to encourage people to forward the message. Once again, if you think that your customer might not listen to the audio because his email provider does not support it, consider sending the link to a landing page and inviting them to go there so they can listen to it.
39)Html and plain text should match
Don't forget to set up a plain text version of your HTML. Some emails services already do that, but others don't. Remember that without the plain text your chances to get into the spam folder are much higher.
40)Use numbers statistics
Numbers are not only catchy, but it makes your audience slow down and think. You can even use numbers on headers and grab your readers attention from the beginning. Look for interesting data that is relevant for your audience and take advantage of that.
Autoresponders are a series of emails send in pre-determined time and sequence. It's usually focused on a single topic. The autoresponders can help you build trust with your customers and the frequency will create a sense of expectation as your customers will be already expecting your email on their inboxes. Think of a smart plan for your autoresponders, focus on giving relevant information and transferring know-how.
The frequency of your email campaigns is extremely important for your success. Analyze your open rates and find the best timing. Find what works best for your audience. Is it an email per week? Two? Make sure to not stay too long without sending emails as your customer may forget about you. Emails send too often, however, can be irritating. Find the perfect balance and make the most of your strategy.
43)Use SEO keywords
Did your know that you must use your strategic keywords also on your email marketing campaigns? From the subject line to the body of the email your whole text should be optimized for the search engines. This will probably increase your open rates. If your subject line has one word that is highly searched for your audience, for example, the chances that your customer opens your email increases. If you publish your newsletters on your website (as some experts recommend) this may also increase your website traffic.
44)Resend unopened emails
It may be a good idea to resend unopened emails. Your customer may have been too busy to open it at the first time, so you can give it another shot. The first thing to do is changing your subject line. You could add words like "reminder" or "last chance" to make it more appealing, for example.
You can also correct the timing: check what time you first sent the email and make adjustments, for example if you sent the email in the morning and wasn´t open at the first time try sending at night. Another good strategy is to give the content a refresh, making it more interesting. Update some data and make sure that you only resend the email to people that didn´t open it at the first time.
User-generated content can boost your emails strategy. Invite your audience to create compelling content and include it in your email marketing campaigns. There are many ways of doing that: create contests, ask them for a photo using the product, video or texts testimonials, etc. You can create specific emails to showcase the content, integrate it with your social accounts and get more subscriptions.
Storytelling is not only a trend but a great way to communicate effectively with your customers. People like listening to stories. Storytelling can increase your customer's desire to purchase your product or service. When creating stories, try to focus on the problems that your product or service will solve for your customers.
47)Clean and update your email list
Keeping your mailing list clean and updated will improve your results. Get rid of bad email addresses so your bounce rate don't impact your reputation , remove inactive subscribers on a regular basis and diminish the chances of being blocked by Internet Service Providers.
48)Track and analyze your results
Are your emails being opened? Are your customers reading them? What are your conversion rates? In other words, are you keeping track of your results? If you're not following up your results, you will never know what are you doing right, how to improve your email marketing strategy or how to convert more leads.
49)Keep an eye on industry trends
Always, always, always be updated. Check for new trends and see where the industry is heading to. A new trend might be the answer for an old problem and you can always learn from new strategies.
50)Use an email marketing service
There's a great number of benefits of using an email marketing service to send your email marketing campaigns: you can track your results, segment your lists, personalize your emails, send autoresponders, and much more. Choose carefully the best platform to fulfill your needs and make the most of your email marketing strategy.
Most of this tips are simple and easy to be implemented. With a little bit of effort and a lot of creativity, you can build great email marketing campaigns and increase your open, click-through and conversion rates. Don't be afraid of trying new things and always keep track of your experiments and results.