Email marketing is a powerful marketing medium if you know how to use it effectively. I will share with you seven best practices that should help you make the most of your email marketing efforts.
The world of email marketing can be a confusing one. If you’ve never done it before, it is easy to jump into it blindly and do it poorly. There are some best practices that you should use to make sure that you are doing email marketing correctly from the very beginning.
Send welcome emails
The welcome email is the single most effective message you can send.
According to our latest data, average open rates soar above 80% – and click-through rates are around 22-25%.
Welcome emails also help keep your list clean and improve your email deliverability. If someone enters the wrong email address, the welcome email will generate a hard bounce. That then notifies your email provider to remove it from your list.
They also reassure your new email recipients that the signup worked, and the information they want is on its way.
Plus, they help you connect with new subscribers. Offer something valuable or exclusive at the start of their journey and watch click-throughs rise.
Time your email marketing campaigns well
Every email marketer wants their newsletter to be at the top of the inbox.
After all, most subscribers will pick the emails they see first.
So when should you send your emails?
Our latest study shows that the best time to send email is largely an individual thing. It varies across different locations, industries, and audiences.
The best practice is to send your emails using a send-time optimization algorithm like the GetResponse Perfect Timing. These tools adjust the send-time for each individual subscriber automatically, based on their previous behavior.
Pick the right email frequency
Another email marketing best practice is knowing how often you should contact your subscribers.
And that can be a tricky task.
If we look at the mailing frequency data, we see that email marketers who send just one newsletter a week get the highest average open and click-through rates.
It’s a popular approach since 49% of all accounts we analyzed only send one newsletter a week. Bear in mind this data doesn’t exclude marketers who also send triggered emails or RSS emails.
What about other frequencies?
Around 19.5% send two newsletters a week, and 9.32% send three. Just 5.5% and 3.93% send four and five emails respectively.
At the same time, since most marketers want to maximize their email campaign ROI, instead of average CTRs we should look at the total number of conversions they generate.
Based on that assumption, you might be better off sending two or more emails in the same week.
But to say for sure, we must take into account some other factors: extra revenue you’d make from sending an extra campaign, how many subscribers would leave your list after receiving too many messages, plus the cost to replace those leads.
In fact, one study, conducted by Return Path in 2015, focused on the consquences of both undermailing and overmailing.
In short, undermailing leads to missed revenue opportunities, lower lifetime value, lack of inbox presence, poor or inconsistent sender reputation, inability to maintain a clean list and avoid spam traps, and counterintuitively – increased complaint rates.
Overmailing, on the other hand, leads to decreased engagement, increased opt-outs, reduced visibility for all subscribers, and more total complaints.
As for the most optimal mailing frequency, there wasn’t one clear winner.
The primary email recipients (those who accounted for 83% of all email reads), were able to tolerate up to about five emails per week from a given sender before their complaint rates increased dramatically.
If you ask me, that number is a bit extreme and I wouldn’t suggest that you go out and start sending your email campaigns five times per week.
This all depends on your market and products.
Divide your audience into two or more groups, and see if sending one extra email campaign boosts your results – both in the short and long term.
In his article, Tim Watson dives deeper into how you can establish the right mailing frequency for your business.
If you’re not interested in experimenting, you can also ask your audience to manage their own frequency, using an email preference center.
Remember that while it’s easy to control how often you email, it’s often harder to see how many triggered emails are sent to your contacts each week – especially if they’re sent in response to an action.
Planning your email marketing campaign
1. Try market segmentation.
Unlike with a billboard (because you have no control over who drives down the freeway), email marketing hits its target every time. Therefore, it’s the perfect medium for marketing segmentation. In other words, you can tailor your message by audience.
One common way to do this is by age group. Ivan Veta, digital marketing specialist at NexTravel.net, found this to be a helpful method for his clients, as it allowed them to switch up their strategies according to generational marketing preferences.
“Our learnings thus far have concluded that millennials react positively to campaigns that contain infographics,” said Veta, whereas “Gen X and baby boomers readers tend to click on action buttons to read more about a certain topic.”
For transregional campaigns, Josh Ogle, co-founder of The Original Agency, suggests his clients segment by time zone.
“We send an email at 10 a.m., for example, but always 10 a.m. in the locale where the user resides,” Ogle said, thus ending the problem of their European customers receiving “good morning!” emails at 4 p.m. For one client, this yielded a 29% improvement in open rates in the first 24 hours.
You can even segment in several layers.
“Break lists up depending on where your contacts are in the buyer’s journey, and segment based on what you know about them,” said Maria Mora, vice president of creative and content strategy at Big Sea. “Then tailor messages that are appropriate to those contacts at the right time.”
Additional segmentation criteria could include geographic location, age, education level, job function, industry, customer persona and interactions with past campaigns. How you segment your email list will depend on the needs of your business and customers, but here are some ideas to collect data for your segments.
- Subscriber quizzes: Quizzes are a great interactive lead generation tool. They’re also an easy way for your subscribers to identify what they are most interested in, so you can easily tailor what you send to them based on their interests.
- Behavioral segmentation: When you first meet someone you find interesting, you take the time to get to know more about them. Behavioral segmentation works in much the same way, but in a way that is scalable and valuable for your business. First, you identify the behaviors you want to pay attention to. For most online businesses, this will include new leads, cart abandoners and inactive subscribers. To do this effectively, you will need to integrate your email marketing service with your website or e-commerce platform. Then, you will need to create automated nurture sequences that target the identified behaviors.
- Opt-in surveys: Do you want to know what your email subscribers are passionate or curious about? Just ask them. When you offer an opt-in gift, it’s easy to add a short survey that allows the subscriber to tell you a little more about themselves. Even a simple question such as “What are you most passionate about?” can yield a wealth of information.
Editor’s note: Looking for the email marketing service that’s right for you? Use the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.https://app.buyerzone.com/10123/widget/neptune/?pubId=36189&pubtype=3051&widgetColorPaletteName=neptune&widgetHostPage=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessnewsdaily.com%2F6887-tips-for-email-marketing.html&widgetSessionId=67e98cb8-3a6d-4a0c-985c-06d70de10433-widget1
2. Make it personable.
The more personalized an email, the less likely it is to get lost in an inbox of spam. There’s an easy way to make an email more personable – have it literally come from a person.
“One thing we saw an instant bump in open rates from was when we put the email coming from the owner’s name instead of the company name,” said Jeff Moriarty, who runs the marketing and web development for Moriarty’s Gem Art.
As a side benefit, this helps differentiate your company as a small business.
“Customers appreciate not being hit by just sales emails and find the ones we send much more valuable than most other retailers,” Moriarty said.
Some email marketing software even allows senders to include the recipient’s name in the salutation. (This will depend on the level of friendliness you’re going for.)
Crafting your email message
3. Play with your subject lines.
Once you’ve got your campaign strategy down, focus on the subtleties of messaging. This starts with the first thing your customers will see: the subject line. If it doesn’t pique their curiosity among the other emails in their inbox, they’ll likely delete it.
If you want customers to open your emails, you need to play around with your subject lines and figure out what catches their attention. Try out different subject lines by asking questions or teasing content. Avoid potentially off-putting words, like “donate,” which can reduce your open rate by 50% or more.
4. Name benefits, not features.
To create an attractive subject, Ryan Gould, vice president of strategy and marketing services at Elevation Marketing, advises getting personal with customers by being upfront about who you are and what you can do for them.
“Customers really don’t care about what your email is offering – they just want to know how it’s going to benefit them,” he said. “If that is coming across clearly in the subject line and it’s paired with a sense of urgency, such as a time limit, odds are they will want to read more. Using questions … and mentioning current (and relevant) events are also excellent ways to pique readers’ curiosity.”
Even better would be to personalize these benefits with subject lines such as “X helps influencers like you get paid by doing Y,” according to Quincy Smith, SEO and content manager at Ampjar. After applying targeted benefits marketing to his own campaigns, Smith increased open rates from 8% to 17%.
5. Be concise.
Don’t complicate your emails. Say exactly what you want to say in a way that will interest readers. You don’t have to type paragraphs of content that no one will read. Think press release, not manifesto.
“Instead of including several long articles that will take readers a long time to scroll through, keep it brief and include a link to your blog where they can read more,” said Emily Sidley, senior director of marketing and PR at Three Girls Media Inc. “This is especially important because the majority of consumers check email on their phones. If the email is too long, they won’t spend time scrolling through on their tiny handheld screen.”
A rule of thumb is that if your emails take longer than two to three minutes to read, they’re likely to be ignored, added Mora.
One way to decrease word count is to cut out all the waffling – which customers will appreciate anyway. For example, Kyle Turk, vice president of marketing at Keynote Search, found that greater transparency in subject lines increased open rates from 21% to 30%.
“There is so much noise in inboxes nowadays that if you aren’t clear in your messaging, it will simply get looked over,” he said.
6. Include a call to action.
With all this focus on getting the customer’s attention, it’s easy to forget the initial intention of the email. Are you reminding them that they have an item in their cart? Alerting them of a sale? Promoting new products? A clever subject line may improve your open rate, but to increase engagement, you have to increase your click-through rate, or the percentage of subscribers following email links to your webpage. This is where you’ll need a call to action.
A call to action can be as simple as a direct request. “You can’t expect your audience to guess what you want them to do next,” said Kendra Jones, a PR and marketing strategist specializing in influencer marketing. “Placing concise calls to action, such as ‘Click here to download your free guide,’ that are hyperlinked to the opt-in increased my click-through rate by 18%.”
Email marketing is a critical aspect of any business plan. Whether you are a retailer, CPG or service provider, investing in email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and increase sales. In order to create an email campaign that is successful, you have to know how to use email marketing best practices to keep your customers engaged and interested.