The Ins and Outs of Email Marketing Best Practices
There’s a reason your inbox is always full, email marketing works. In fact, 347 billion emails are sent a day. Email marketing has evolved into one of the most efficient forms of digital marketing. But businesses need to be smarter to ensure every message counts.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that can help you reach your target audience, build valuable relationships, and grow your business. I’m not saying you should start spamming your database with endless emails!
Picture this: You spend hours crafting the perfect email campaign, but once sent, your open rates and click-through rates are disappointingly low.
So, what went wrong?
To utilise email marketing as an effective acquisition weapon, you need to first learn the ins and outs of email marketing best practices.
Use an Email Marketing Platform
No matter your strategy, you need the right tools to get you there. Forget Gmail and Outlook for business communication. To manage a higher volume of emails and subscribers you need an email marketing platform that’s been optimised specifically for what you need. Platforms like Mailchimp, Spotler or Salesforce provide you with instant metrics into your opens, bounces and click-through rates. Also allowing you to A/B test different variations of the same email to make sure the one you’re sending is the most effective. These email tools can also store and sort your contacts – a win-win!
Nurturing your Email Database
According to a recent study, 25% of your email subscribers will likely disappear within a year. So, it’s vital you keep your email database healthy and engaged. Here’s how:
Build your own Contact List
The second rule of a successful email campaign is building your own contact lists. Sending emails to random people who aren’t interested in receiving your emails, not only wastes your time but their time too – and it could also spoil your brand’s reputation.
Instead, add a sign-up form to your website to organically collect the email address of your visitors, to make sure you’re reaching the right people.
Segment, Segment, Segment
Naturally, your mailing list is in different stages of your sales funnel. Some have signed up through your website, others from that event you held, and others have been with you throughout your whole journey as a business. Your subscribers have entered your email list at different stages.
Remember at some point your subscribers have signed up to receive emails from you. But they might have just discovered you, whilst others are loyal long-standing customers. The problem is, if all your contacts are in one single email list, don’t expect good results. You heard that right. That’s because your email copy will only address one segment at a time.
Segmenting your audience in an email marketing platform, allows you to create personalised, relevant, and valuable emails that resonate directly with customers.
How you segment your email list depends entirely on your business’s KPIs. For B2B companies, age and gender aren’t always useful demographic conditions. Other attributes are more beneficial, such as:
- Job title
- Website/email engagement
- Sales funnel
The biggest benefit of segmenting your email list is that you know the exact personas of each segment. Based on that, you can craft and create your emails to enhance subscribers’ experiences. Defining who gets what message is key to improving campaign engagement, driving conversion rate, and reducing the dreaded unsubscribes. Basically, the more personal, the longer they’ll stay subscribed.
Clean your List Regularly
Starting off with a great contact list is never enough. Having consistently low open rates could lead to your emails being marked as spam. Set time aside each month to go through your contacts and purge contacts who never open your emails. Keeping your list up to date is easier than it seems with an email marketing platform, as they can action:
- Adding new subscribers instantly
- Removing invalid emails
- Provide an unsubscribe option
Quality Over Quantity
Now we’ve covered your contact list, let’s move on to the design. When a recipient opens your email, they will be expecting to view high-quality and engaging content from your business. A well-designed email is one of the best ways to create an instant positive impression.
Consistency is key. Start with an email template that gives you flexibility and allows you to stay consistent across messages. Your email must also be readable on desktop, mobile and everything in between.
When it comes to visuals, you want to lead your reader’s eyes to crucial components of your message. Choose your colours wisely and try to stick to your branding. Try incorporating these in your buttons and clickable text.
Finally, any images you include will need to be accessible. Adding descriptive alt text helps visually impaired subscribers understand your content. This will also help if your image doesn’t display or load when the email has been opened by the recipient.
The Perfect Time to Send Your Email
With your email design nailed, it doesn’t mean ramping up your email frequency. In fact, sending too many emails will overwhelm your recipients and achieve the opposite result that you want. Start slow and test how your audience responds to avoid those unsubscribes.
Figuring out the perfect send time is a tricky one. We don’t have a silver bullet for this, but we do have some advice. From all our email campaigns we’ve found the top times to send an email are 9:10 a.m., 10:20 a.m., 1 p.m. or around 5 p.m.
However, this can depend entirely on your audience. Testing different times and keeping an eye on open rates will provide you with your golden formula.
Clear, Friendly, and Engaging Email Copy
Whether you dread or love writing email copy, here’s a few pointers to engaging copy:
- Make it short
- Place your value add at the top
- Keep it skimmable
- Stay simple
- Be consistent
A Subject Line You Just Can’t Ignore
Every part of your email is important. But your subject line sits at the top of your list. From one quick glance, your recipients will decide whether to open your email or continue to scroll through their overcrowded inbox. Here’s our top tips:
- Try to keep your subject line on the shorter side (3-5 words).
- Consider your subject line after you’ve written the other components of your email to help decide what angle you’re going to take.
- Provide a clear sense of urgency or action to reel your contacts in and drive those conversions.
Track Meaningful Email Marketing Metrics
Last but certainly not least, you want to find out what is and isn’t working! That way you can continually improve your tactics and increase conversions throughout your email marketing journey. Our top metrics to track are:
- Open rate
- Click rate
- Click to open rate (CTOR)
- Bounce rate
- Delivery rate
- Spam percentage
- Unsubscribe number and rate
This is where A/B testing comes in. Tracking your emails allows you to make more informed decisions about different components like subject lines, types of emails, structures, calls to action, click-through buttons, and send times to provide you with the best overall results.
To A/B test send two slightly varied versions to different contacts in your segmented list to see which performs better. You can A/B test just about anything, and an email marketing platform will have built-in testing features to make it as simple as possible.
By implementing our email marketing best practices, you can take your business marketing to the next level. Or let us do the hard work for you by getting in touch!