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23 best practices for email marketing

Make sure you're up to date on the latest best practices for this strategy.

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23 Best Practices For Email Marketing

What is email marketing?

 

This is a form of marketing that is practiced by marketers, bloggers and ecommerce website owners which utilizes emails as a mode of communication with the purpose of creating awareness about products and services, gaining new customers and retaining current ones.

 

It is also used for creating brand recognition, building customer loyalty, for company advertisements and for communicating promotional offers. As a means of developing a relationship with customers, email marketing has been misused for long time. Today, when you open an email account with third party providers like Gmail and Yahoo, you will find a specific folder known as spam.

 

This folder has a simple purpose only – to store mail that the system has categorized as spam. Gmail and other email service providers have developed spam filters which help to keep out the junk mail from one’s account. Spam mails are generally emails sent via electronic mail marketing but the concept used is all wrong.

Check out our Top 10 Email Marketing Software Comparison Table to see the best tools from a bird's eye view...

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At its best, electronic mail marketing has been found to keep customers on the know about what the company is doing. The good thing about email marketing is that it can be send to a specific group of people. For example, you have an online store that deals in health and wellness products, when you use electronic mail marketing, you can send information on new products and offers to a select group only. This is thanks to the database of subscriber emails you have.

 

Unlike traditional marketing methods, like billboards, TV and radio ads which target every individual even those who don’t want to know about the products, email marketing is more specific.

Who uses it?
Every business that is started around the world for instance those selling art, antiques, jewels, health products, clothes and equipment, has goals and objectives it would like to meet. First and foremost, the customers. A business needs customers who will purchase their products and services allowing them to earn profits. To gain customers, a business must market itself which is the second goal.
With email marketing, a business can reach a specific group of people who will assure it of sales instead of reaching a wider group who will not purchase any product. 

 

Many people use this form of marketing and some of them are in the following industries:

 

a. Technology
b.Health ad wellness products
c.Plumbing and home improvement services
d.Construction
e.Fashion
f.Marketing gurus.

Benefits of email marketing
Customers will be able to know more about what your business produces and sells thanks to electronic mail marketing. It helps to expose your business and your brand to the world.

Easily shareable
In the world today where sharing of news and new content has become a trend, offers send by a company via email can be shared to friends and family members by simply clicking the forward button. These means that your customers will be acting as brand advocates.

Measurable
The success of any marketing campaign is dependent on statistics and reports. A good email marketing software will show you what emails have not been opened, plus a whole range of other stat's for you to make better decisions and judgment.

Cost effective
Traditional marketing forms like TV and radio ads are known to be expensive. This is because you will have to adhere to given rates by the station. Electronic mail marketing is cost effective as you can have a free account where you can send limited amount of emails for as long as you want.

Email Marketing Best Practices

1. Make an attention grabbing subject line
The subject line is the first thing that your readers/subscribers will see so it is important to make it attention grabbing. You need to be informative and brief while providing all the information in just a few characters. For example, if you business is hosting an event on a weekend to honor customers, your subject line could read “Any weekend plans?”

2. Tailor content for the audience
The one reason you are marketing your business is to attract customers so when creating content for your email you need to tailor it for your audience and not to yourself. In your email, you need to add information that is useful to them and not just information about your organization or products. The one thing you need to know is that content tailored for your customers will improve reads and interactions.

 

3. Create a special club
Your customers need to feel special and this is a great way of generating excitement about your content or offers. According to experts, this is also a powerful community building tool. Take the example of Apple when announcing the release of a new iPhone; you have customers lining up the stores thanks to pre-orders.

 

4. Show that you care

Email Best Practices

Your customers don’t want to be bombarded with offers for free trials or downloading an eBook.

 

When you show that you care, it goes along way in earning the trust of your customers. A good example is Squarespace which takes a friendly approach to urgency. In their email, they will offer you a chance of extending your free trial period or a chance of upgrading if you want. By extending your free trial, the company shows that it cares and understands you may not have made the decision.

5. Request for feedback

Email Feedback

One of the ways a business can be able to track how their email marketing is progressing, is by requesting customer feedback. When they reply, you will know that they read the email, they clicked a button or a link and now they are replying. Providing such a feature in your email will enable your customers to learn more about your company as well as allow them to get great offers and products in the future. 

 

A good example is where a customer has cancelled a subscription for a service. By sending them an email telling them you feel bad they are no longer your customer, you can take the chance to ask for information why they cancelled.

6. Add downloads

Download Emails

The one thing every business person needs to know is that people love free products and services. While marketing emails do not generally contain attachments since the focus is on call to action and the design plus the message, you can include a link inform of a button. 

 

This link when clicked will allow the user to download a free guide or photos. When you design your emails with download buttons, it empowers the user to take action.

7. Consider the best email marketing service that suits your needs

Selecting Email Provider

In order to create newsletter and emails that can be sent to your subscribers list, you need to employ the services of an email marketing company. There are many examples you can choose from and two of them include MailChimp and GetResponse. Each service has its strength and weakness for example, you may select a service that offers great templates which allow you to create content easily. What if you have difficulty integrating with your website?

8. Tell your subscribers what action to take
The one thing businesses have failed in their marketing campaign is making the next step not to be abundantly clear. How can a customer be able to convert if they don’t know what to do next? If you want to increase your conversion rates, you need to be clear what step(s) your customers need to take. Do you want them to upgrade or extend their free trial?

 

9. Utilise referral codes
Referral codes are known to work which means that everyone gets to win in the end. According to research conducted by ReferralCandy, 83% of customers are willing to refer a product or service but the actual percentage that does it is 29%. If you can motivate your customers to do so, your conversion will be very easy.

10. Do you want more clicks? Use buttons

Email Buttons

If you want your users to click a particular link, use a button instead. Not only is it more presentable but it is easier to click than a hyperlink. The good thing about buttons is that they can be colored differently and one can even add an icon at the beginning. This allows the button to look more attractive. Furthermore, its color can be made to match that of your company.

11. Remind your readers who you are
What you need to know is that during the course of time, you will get to collect thousands of emails from interested subscribers. As time goes by, you will add more who will be updated to your database. For those who subscribed many months ago, they may have forgotten exactly what you do. To ensure that you are able to retain them, you need to add a link in your email that allows them to know what you do. According to experts, this link is usually clicked every time.

12. Make your customers happy

Happy Customer

Most businesses overlook generosity but what they need to know is that making customers happy is not that hard. You can make your customer’s day to be brighter thanks to a little message or offer. You can give away something, simply write something nice or just ask how their day is. For example, if you run a café, you can offer a free cup of coffee or espresso to the customer for that day. You can add an option for them to print out the voucher that will be used to claim the drink.

13. Always say, thank you!

By simply adding the words thank you in your content, you get to humanize the email and even evoke an emotion in the recipient. When you say thank you sincerely, it feels good not only to the one who has said it but to the one it is being said to. You don’t have to dedicate the entire email to them, just build gratitude into every email you send.

 

14. Always announce
Your subscribers do expect product update emails from time to time. The problem comes when the email becomes too salesy or boring. The one thing you need to know is that creating an email loaded with utility and marketing value is not a simple task. This means you need to put in extra effort.

 

15. Utilise the 1-2-3 method
There are times when you don’t know what to say in an email but you don’t have to fear, as you can use the 1-2-3 method. It is a tested method that is known to promote action. All you have to do in order to utilize this method is to tell the recipient, the next three steps you would like them to take. They need to be clear as providing an obvious path eliminates any anxiety. This method is known to work with inboarding campaigns and welcome emails.

 

For more information on 1-2-3 method, click here.

16. Use the Inverted Pyramid Method

Inverted Pyramid Method

In order to keep your emails focused, you need to use the Inverted pyramid method. It is divided into the following:

 

a. Grab attention
b.Build anticipation
c.Call to action

 

What you need to know is that highly focused emails do not rely on design, images and content. They rely on tone, clarity and timing. This helps to create a real advantage for a business that is smart. Here is a good example from Nike

17. Never use the word “newsletter” in your subject line
The one thing you need to know is that your customers are not looking forward to read your newsletter. All they want is to get through their inbox and move on. This means that your subject line should be more appealing rather than contain the word newsletter. A good example of a subject line is How to spend less time… or how to save more money.

 

18. Keep in touch every 5 to 7 days
The one thing every business owner with a subscriber list needs to know is that it is important to keep in touch every 5 to 7 days. If you go for longer periods without informing your customers about something new, you will end up losing more. When you stay in touch every 5 to 7 days, you build expectation and deliver value. This helps to build loyalty among subscribers.

19. Track the results
When you track your results, you get to know if your campaign was successful. You need to do a solid review of the reports generated by your mass email service provider. This will help you to measure the results easily.

20. Monitor your bounce rate

Decrease Bounce Rate

Always monitor both hard and soft bounce rates. What is a bounce rate? It is bad for a business to be shut down by their email marketing provider due to their list being perceived as low quality. Your hard bounce rate is what ESP’s use to rate your service. You need to make sure that hard bounces are scrubbed from the lists and you will be on your way to a prosperous campaign.

21.Never send unsolicited emails
Never send unsolicited emails to an individual as this could lead to people marking your email as spam. You need to monitor your feedback loops in order to make sure this does not happen. You need to remove subscribers who take this action. You can also remove inactive subscribers’ overtime. Use a welcome splash screen to set yourself for content success.

 

Example of a welcome screen

22. Perform an A/B split testing
A/B testing is a sure way of knowing which content is attractive to your users and which is not. What you need to know is that no best practices list is complete without A/B split tests. To perform the test, find 3 different subject line types, begin to apply best practices and allow enough time to collect data as well as analyze the performance. Doing this will allow you to serve the best content to your customers.

23. Your subject line needs to be short
You need to keep your subject line between 60 to 70 characters. You can improve on it by using active voice, avoiding symbols and email trigger words. To become a pro at this, you can start by creating two subject lines and test them. As you continue to practice, you will become good at it. For best guide on subject lines, click here.

Final Thoughts
Your business cannot be known or even survive with using a form of marketing like email marketing. Customers need to be aware of your brand, they need to know what products and services you are offering and finally they need to know what offers you have.

 

As a business person, it is important to ensure that you adhere to email marketing best practices as they will ensure the success of your campaign. Just as important as your strategy is the email tool you use, take a look at our review of the top 10 email marketing newsletter tools on the market.

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