Email marketing is a powerful tool for any business to drive results again and again. However, there’s far more to it than simply clicking on the “send” button.
For a successful email marketing campaign, you have to understand and follow the email marketing best practices for optimal results. But what are those best practices you should follow? Just as importantly, which are the errors you should avoid?
We Influence is here to guide you with the help of our email marketing gurus. Read on to find out our do’s and don’ts of email marketing…
Everyone relies on various digital channels for communication, education, entertainment, and shopping. Simply put, the online world is crucial to everyday existence.
Read more: What are the Benefits of Email Marketing?
To succeed, you need a digital strategy. The cornerstone of every digital strategy should, and for the time being, always will be, email marketing. You can attract and retain customers with bespoke messages to promote your content and product. You can also segment contacts to deliver messages to customers that can’t be ignored.
To succeed in the digital world, you need to rely on several different types of marketing. You should create blog content, engage customers on social media and target potential customers through online paid ads. However, what holds your digital strategy together is email marketing. We’ve summed it all up below:
- Incredible return on investment: email is massively cost-effective. Campaign Monitor found that email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent, even as high as $76 for every $1 spent.
- Email on mobile is dominating: with smartphones becoming more commonplace, we are accessing our email on mobile much more than on a PC. An email with a mobile-ready design is a must-have.
- Email ties other techniques together: you can promote your blog with subscribers. Invite subscribers to a social media competition. Send a product email to subscribers to drive traffic to your website. Then, follow it up with paid search.
- Email can be personalised: You can create tailored experiences to increase engagement and enhance brand awareness with leads or new and returning customers.
- Connect more than social media: Social media use is huge and always growing but it still doesn’t outpace email use. We rely on email much more to communicate than social media so it has a higher usage.
There are many do’s of email marketing, but we’ve picked out the core ones to get you started. Some are more obvious than others and the first is key – plus, it stops you cutting a corner and suffering for it.
Build Your List Properly
Before you get started on any email marketing campaign, you need to decide just who you want to reach – your mailing list.
You will need to build an email list that includes people who are actually interested in your products. In other words, people who want to hear from you – they’ve opted-in. But how do you do this? Simple, invite them to subscribe on your website. You can do this by using a subscribe button or a popup to give them the option before leaving your site.
This is about quality, not quantity. While buying a list sounds like a great shortcut, you’ll suffer for it. A large subscriber list is a great goal, however, that list is largely useless if your audience is not interested in your product and never opens or clicks your email. Why would you want to send a message to people who aren’t interested?
Set Goals for Your Campaign
Along with a proper list, one of the first things you need to do is to set goals for what you want your campaign to achieve.
You need to ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you plan on doing so. There are four common goals for an email marketing campaign, which we’ve detailed below:
- New subscribers: This applies to every business at any point in its growth. You can do this by letting potential subscribers know about your business and what you offer. This can build a relationship with them.
- Increased engagement: Like the above, you can do this at any point in your business growth but it is extremely helpful to young companies. Regardless of making sales or promoting services, this goal focuses on subscribers interacting with the content of your website.
- Value to existing subscribers: Do you want to do rewards to subscribers, update them on news? Whatever it is, let them know to make your relationship stronger.
- Bring subscribers back: Have you had a decrease in the traffic your website receives? Let any inactive subscribers know what you’ve been up to and tell them about new services or products you can offer them to entice them back.
Decide the Type of Email
A promotion, sale, company news, welcome new users, an event or a new service – you need to decide which email you send and to whom.
The importance of knowing the type of email you want to send is that it helps dictate appropriate wording in the email’s body. This will attract new customers and drive sales. Deciding the goals of the email is interlinked with the type of campaign you send, who you target, the content you may include, and how you measure the campaign’s success.
If you subscribe to any emails yourself, you’ll know there are a range of campaign types, so we’ll keep it to four options. There are newsletters, offers, invitations and announcements. How you decide can be based on the segmentation of your subscriber lists. This can be based on their preferences when signing up – give them the option of what they want to hear about.
Keep it Short & Eye-Catching
This goes for your subject line and the email content itself – nobody wants to read huge paragraphs, it’s a turn-off.
The first thing a subscriber sees is the subject line, so this will make or break your campaign. It attracts their interest and leads them to open the email and read the contents. You need to keep the subject line short, between 40 and 50 characters, and to the point – tell them what to expect. Add the subscriber’s name to get more interest from them.
Make sure you keep the email body short, but not so much that you can’t get your message across. Catch your reader’s attention early and make them want to continue reading with your hook. Useful information, interesting content, resources and statistics can educate users but also keep them engaged. Finally, like the subject line, include the user’s name.
Personalise the Email
We’ve mentioned it above, but personalisation is something you have to do to ensure a successful email marketing campaign.
Research shows that personalisation will increase the chances that your email is opened by users by up to 26%, according to Experian. Customers have evolved and no longer appreciate or respond to emails that don’t deliver content that is personalised and relates to them. Thankfully, personalising an email is incredibly easy.
This is more than including the user’s name in the subject line and throughout the email – even though they are powerful. Segmentation of subscribers is a powerful weapon and can be based on purchase or browsing history. It’s possible to tailor emails to specific groups. Furthermore, you can personalise emails timely to send relevant emails at the right time, such as based on time zones.
Email marketing is extremely powerful but the process is not always easy. Practising poor email etiquette could see your messages deleted or left unread. We’ve highlighted some of the main don’ts of email marketing below.
While following up on your initial email will show you are invested in your subscribers, too many emails will turn readers off and send messages into spam folders.
There is no correct number of emails to send or the frequency. Monthly newsletters may work just fine for some. A good way to plan the number of emails you send, especially for new subscribers, is to wait three days after the initial welcoming message to send a follow-up.
Then, wait three weeks before sending another unless your reader answers with questions, allowing a quick response. People have too much in their inboxes already – they don’t need you sending them three emails in a row because you either forgot to keep up with your marketing or are too keen for results.
Send the Same Email to Every Subscriber
Just because you have a list of subscribers doesn’t mean they want and respond to the same thing – this is why research and segmenting lists helps.
Free email formats offer marketers the ability to segment their audiences. Therefore, you don’t have an excuse for sending mass emails instead of creating content based on the needs and interests of your customers. Give people options when they subscribe to what they want to hear about.
This does depend on your services and products, retail is largely straightforward on the whole. If you offer various products, let your customers choose the email they receive. Sending irrelevant information makes you look like you don’t care about your customers’ needs. It’s a turn-off and will likely make your email marketing campaign unsuccessful.
Overuse Images & Video
Media is an important element of most emails, but you want emails to be easy to open without causing problems for the user’s device.
The majority of emails are opened on mobile devices and some disable images on their phones due to limits on data usage. So, if your email is heavily reliant on aesthetics, it may never be read. Images may take a long time to load, and you don’t want your reader’s initial interest to disappear as they wait.
Try adding a couple of images, but ensure your message gets across in text form. The same can be said for using the same images for every one of your subscribers. It spoils the customer journey. Would you send male-focused imagery to female subscribers? No. People perceive images in different ways, so use images sparingly to reinforce your purpose.
Use Cheap Language and Poor Punctuation
This relates to your email body, call to action and the subject line – certain language and punctuation can scream “scam”.
Never underestimate the importance of subject lines and devote all your time to the email body. Why have a great email no one wants to open? The same goes for your call to action link or button. Not adding an actionable link can lead to failure. A single email is not enough to show your readers everything you can offer them.
Using excessive punctuation, like exclamation marks, can make it appear like you’re scamming. Especially if you are using language such as “free”, “sale”, or “one-time offer”. It’s off-putting and sends the wrong message about your business. Keep the tone and language conversational – you’re talking to the reader after all.
Learn more about our marketing successes with our case studies.
📧 Read more about our new email marketing service 📧