Email Marketing Best Practices
Take a look at this comprehensive guide to Email Marketing!
Email Marketing is a fine art. You have to get the right balance of copy that truly shows your brand voice, the best images to illustrate your point, then you have to target the right people, and on top of that, you have to send your email at the right time.
With so much to think about, it’s enough for anyone to throw their hands up in despair! But don’t despair. Here’s some pointers for your next big campaign.
What are the benefits of email marketing?
- Highly personalized and targeted campaigns, thanks to segmentation.
- Stay “top of mind” at low cost.
- Email campaigns can be implemented in days.
- Real-time analytics and tracking.
- Rapid test cycles, with the ability to quickly A/B test variants such as the email subject line.
Nothing worse than being labeled a spammer. In some countries, it’s illegal to spam. Not only that, it ruins your reputation. Just don’t do it.
A recent report from the Direct Marketing Association found that customers will buy from you if they trust you, and if you’ve earned their trust, you want to keep it that way by not spamming them.
The first step to earning the trust of your prospects and customers is to follow some simple anti-spam best practices:
- Use personalizations such as your customer’s name, offer relevant content, and use engaging language.
- Use CTAs to drive engagement.
- Send clean emails with minimal images, and no special fonts, red letters, all caps, and exclamation points
- Always comply with anti-spam laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Compliance
- Easy opt-out, with an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email.
- Regularly remove opt-outs and hard bounces from your email lists.
- Even when you comply with all of this, you will still get spam complaints. Accept that this a part of email marketing.
This email example is very minimal. No images, short text.
Measure the right metrics
Before you even write one single word of your email, you have to determine what metrics you want to measure.
Many businesses measure their email campaign’s success by vanity metrics such as open and click rates.
While these metrics can be helpful, they’re not adequate enough to measure the true success of a campaign.
If you want to know how successful your emails are, you have to track your recipient’s behavior once they get to your website.
The best metrics to look at are:
If they followed your call to action
Opt-ins (including downloads)
If your recipient receives your email and is compelled to take action, then you have a successful campaign.
Target the buyer-persona
Who are you writing to? Do you have any idea who your customers are? If not, you need to seriously work on your buyer personas. Run, don’t walk, to the HubSpot website for more help.
Buyer personas are a broad definition of subsets of your customers, and it’s helpful to have them so you can tailor campaigns to address their pain points.
Buyer personas include information such as income, position within the company, age, interests, and marital status.
If you already have buyer personas in place, then it’s time to start targeting emails and content directly at them.
Buyer Persona Sample Sally is waiting for your highly-targeted emails.
A/B Testing is an inexpensive way to measure which elements are working effectively in your email. The results from these tests can be used to optimize future email marketing campaigns.
There are three aspects you should test for: Subject lines, formatting and the creative aspect.
Subject lines are critical to get right because they determine if your email gets read or not. You can try using the recipient’s name in the subject line, emojis, or compelling calls to action.
You can also use shocking subject lines such as “We’re going out of business…” only to have the email reveal you meant this metaphorically! (caution, don’t over-do this, like all things with shock value, it gets old quickly).
These are relatively easy to test, you can send 50% of your emails with one subject line, and 50% with the other. Then check your analytics to see which subject line gets the best open rate.
Try short paragraphs and long paragraphs. You can play around with traditional email formats, or use an eye-catching template.
Try different images, use personalizations in different places, most of all make sure your email is mobile-friendly.
Example from MailChimp announcing a new feature. Minimal text, bold use of image.
Make sure your email is delivered
Experian Data Quality found that almost a quarter of companies believe that their customer data is inaccurate, and 56% of companies believe the biggest cause for incorrect data is human error. It’s wise to adopt a clean data policy. You can do this by following these tips:
Inaccurate data means one thing: your emails aren’t going be be delivered.
Either they have the wrong email address, or you got their name wrong, or their buyer persona is totally different. This can cost you an incalculable amount of business.
In light of this, you need to adopt a clean data policy. You can do this by following these tip:
Use a double opt-in. A mailing list is useless if it is nothing more than a rag-tag collection of uninterested prospects. You can’t even call them prospects because they’re not interested.
Don’t buy lists. This goes back to the first point. You want an email list with qualified contacts, you can’t buy this.
Delete bounced email addresses – these emails will never, ever, ever be delivered. Get rid of them.
Make sure you validate email addresses using a validation tool such as Email Verifier . Because while we know email@example.com is probably not a real email address, firstname.lastname@example.org might be real, (or is it?).
Check for duplicates – 51% of companies have problems with duplicate data. It could be that you input a prospect in as “Steve” and your colleague input the same prospect in the system as “Steven”. The best way to avoid duplicate data is to make a commitment to consistent data entry standards and invest in data integration.
If you’re working in different platforms, such as your CRM and an email marketing platform and they’re not integrated, then you’re working in the dreaded data silos.
Avoid this by using native integrations or using PieSync to sync the contact data between the two.
Email marketing is constantly evolving, so it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date on email marketing best practices, and also keep ahead of email sending laws and spam filters, to keep your company on the right side of the law.
You might also like to read: Get your Emails read: Cold Email tips.