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Best Practices For Email Campaigns

No matter what your email marketing goals are, you’re always going to need best practices as a guide. You should have clear objectives for each campaign you run. Best practices for email campaigns help you in achieving your goals by boosting the overall performance of your marketing initiatives. Growing your number of subscribers is the first step to a successful email campaign, but what he f you want to do once you have a list of prospects to send emails to? You must have some fantastic content to promote if you want your emails to be read by more than just a handful of people. And that’s where best practices come into play.

Email marketing best practices are critical to the success of any email marketing campaign. Most email marketing best practices revolve around how your email will be received by your target market. Implementing best practices from the onset has traditionally allowed for more effective results and overall customer satisfaction with your company’s services or products.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Urgency is a powerful motivator.

It’s why people who want to lose weight will sign up for an expensive gym membership and buy an expensive pair of running shoes, then never work out once. They tell themselves they’ll start working out on Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon, but by the time it gets there, they have a list of excuses as long as their arm about why they can’t get started right now (and yes, mornings are usually the worst time of day for me).

If you can create a sense of urgency around your email campaign, then chances are greater that people will take action while they still feel motivated—and that means less work down the road when you have to re-engage with them later!

Focus on the Subject Line

The subject line is one of the most important elements of any email campaign. In fact, it can make or break your success. A good subject line will entice readers to open your emails and read them entirely. A bad one will get you deleted before they’ve even been opened. Here are some best practices for creating effective subject lines:

  • Use strong verbs: The most effective subject lines use action words that suggest what they’re about (“Get a $10 discount on your next order”), rather than bland nouns (“New Product”).
  • Keep it simple: Don’t try to cram too much information into a single sentence—your readers won’t have time to read all of it! Instead, try using an introductory sentence like “here’s how” or “get this,” followed by what you’re offering in the body of the email (for example: “Get this $10 discount”).
  • Personalize as much as possible: Using someone’s name in the subject line can make them feel more appreciated by you, which could encourage them to open up your message when they see it in their inbox later on!

Use Personalization Tokens

Personalization tokens are a great way to add a personal touch to your email campaigns. They can be used in the subject line or body of an email and help make it more relevant for each recipient.

There are many different types of personalization tokens, including those that allow you to:

  • Replace generic text with specific information about the recipient, such as their name or location. For example, instead of writing “Dear Customer” at the start of an email, use something like “Hello [First Name],” which will make it feel more personal for them.
  • Include dynamic data from third-party services like Salesforce or MailChimp within your emails, so that they’re unique for every person who receives them.

Deliver a Consistent Experience

  • Deliver a consistent experience.
  • Use a consistent template for all emails.
  • Use a consistent voice for all emails.
  • All emails should be branded.
  • All emails should have a clear call to action.
  • All emails should follow the same format, from copy style to design elements, including colors and fonts that you’ve selected as part of your brand identity (or, if your email marketing software doesn’t allow for this level of customization, then choose one form they do offer).

Optimize Your Email for Mobile

One of the great things about email is that it’s mobile-friendly. So does that mean you can send an email campaign to your customers on their phones, and it will look just as good as it does on their computers? Well…no. While most email services provide responsive email templates that can scale to fit any device, you still need to make sure your emails render properly on every screen.

To do this, first check out what your current emails look like when viewed in different browsers and devices by using Litmus Email Inspector or Campaign Monitor’s Test Suite. You may be surprised at how different they appear! Then try resizing the window on each device so that it fits into view. If there are any issues with the text being cut off or images appearing cut off because of the size limitations set by mobile devices, now is a good time to fix them. Finally, once you’ve perfected your design across all platforms (and tested that functionality works as expected), start sending test campaigns out into the world!

Optimize the Unsubscribe Link

At the bottom of every email campaign, there should be an unsubscribe link. If you don’t want to continue receiving emails from someone, it should be easy for them to quit your list. The best way to do this is by making it clear and obvious how to unsubscribe from your mailing list.

This means that you should use a language that’s not too technical or complicated. And if possible, include some sort of graphic so that people who are visually impaired can still see where they need to click/tap in order to unsubscribe from your list.

Here are some examples:

H&M does a good job here by using words like “here” (which implies proximity) and “now,” which makes it seem like an easy step-by-step process without being overwhelming or confusing for the reader. It also doesn’t require any specific action other than clicking on one button—and even then that button is labeled clearly as “Unsubscribe.”

email marketing content best practices

Optimize your emails for mobile.

  • Use responsive design. Mobile devices make up more than half of all email opens, so you should optimize your emails for mobile.
  • Use a single column layout. This is the most effective way to keep users focused on what matters in your product or service: what you’re selling!
  • Avoid images and videos unless absolutely essential, since they can slow down load times and aren’t supported by some mobile devices (think older Android phones).
  • Keep subject lines short—about 6 words max—and use large fonts throughout your email body copy, because people will be reading these on their phones in small chunks at a time.

Include a pre-header.

You’ve probably seen the pre-header before, but you might not know what it is. The pre-header is the first line of text that appears after your subject line when an email is viewed in a mobile device or webmail client. It’s good practice to include a pre-header because it can be used to display a summary of your email’s content, which will help increase open rates.

Use relevant design.

  • Use a design that is consistent with your brand and website. This will help the recipient feel like they are interacting with you more seamlessly, making them more likely to trust you and engage.
  • Make sure your email looks good both on desktop and mobile devices, whether or not images are included. People use their phones for everything these days, so it’s important that people can read your emails from anywhere!
  • Be mindful of the different ways in which subject lines may be displayed across email clients (or if there are any limitations), as well as how other content might obscure some part of the text itself. If possible, avoid using text over photos (or vice versa), as this can make it difficult for some people to read their message.

Make sure your email looks great in different browsers and email clients.

Email clients vary in their support for HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Make sure your email looks great in all of them.

You can test your emails by sending them to yourself or an assistant and asking them to view it on different browsers (such as Chrome or Firefox) and on multiple devices (like a phone). You could even hire a professional testing service like Litmus which will provide you with real-time feedback as they review your email before you send it out.

Make sure your CTA stands out

Make sure your CTA stands out.

Your Call To Action (CTA) should be clear and concise, and placed above the fold in every email.

Make sure you’ve tested that CTA placement works for your audience by running A/B tests before sending to a large number of people.

Don’t use a different font or color than what you use for other content on your website; this will cause confusion and make it appear like something is broken in the email design, which could lead to unsubscribes.

Write your subject line last.

The subject line is the most critical part of your email campaign. It’s what gets people to open the message and read it. So spend time writing a great one!

Think about how you would feel if you saw this subject line: “Email Marketing: Tips and Tricks”

That may be relevant, but it’s not action-oriented enough. The reader knows they’ll get tips on email marketing, but she doesn’t really know what those tips are or why she should care about them—and if she doesn’t care, she won’t open the message or read it in full.

You can do better than that! Take a few extra minutes to write something more enticing like this instead: “10 Must-Know Email Marketing Tips That Will Boost Your Bottom Line (and They’re Free!)”

Send at the right time.

It’s also important to know your audience and how they respond to emails.

For example, if you send an email at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, it might get buried under the mountain of other emails that come in at around that time. This is because many of your recipients will be in meetings or working hard towards completing their work for the week.

On the other hand, if you send an email at 8am Monday morning when most people are checking their inboxes first thing after starting work and before they get busy with meetings or projects, then chances are they will read what you have to say.

Use personalization.

Personalization is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement. Make your message feel like it’s being sent directly to the recipient, and you’ll see a higher conversion rate for your emails.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate personalization into your email marketing:

  • Use the recipient’s name in the subject line, body copy and call-to-action button. This tactic is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement and clickthrough rates (CTR). It also helps establish rapport with a potential customer. If you don’t have their name, try using their location or company name instead—or even something more general that can be used across multiple recipients (like ‘customer’ or ‘reader’).
  • Tailor content based on what they bought before or abandoned carts after buying from you previously; this will allow you to send targeted content that appeals directly towards their interests/needs/wants etcetera

Make the most of plain text emails.

Plain text emails are the most direct and personal way to communicate with your subscribers.

They’re also easier to read, which makes them more likely to be opened by people who receive them. Plain text emails also take less time and effort to create than HTML emails, which means that you have more time for other marketing activities like creating content or running ads on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

You might think that plain text emails aren’t as attractive as HTML ones, but this isn’t necessarily true! With the right design elements like images and video clips (check out our blog post on how best practices in email design can help you create an effective newsletter), you can make plain text messages look just as good as their colorful counterparts.

Use dynamic content.

Dynamic content is a great way to keep your emails fresh. It can be as simple as changing the names of people who are receiving them, or it could be more involved and include personalized content based on the preferences and interests of each recipient.

It’s important that you take care when implementing dynamic content so that none of your subscribers feel like they’re being spammed or treated differently than others. Make sure all such changes are clearly marked so that readers know what is occurring in their inboxes. If there is any doubt about whether someone will find these automatic messages useful, consider adding an opt-out option at the top of every email using dynamic content or an unsubscribe link at the bottom (or both!).

Email marketing can be an effective tool, as long as you keep up with trends and alter your strategy as needed to take advantage of them

Email marketing can be an effective tool, as long as you keep up with trends and alter your strategy as needed to take advantage of them.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of email marketing is essential to any successful campaign. Email marketing has changed dramatically over the last decade and will continue to evolve in new ways. For example, email subscribers are becoming more selective about whom they choose to receive their messages from, so it’s important that campaigns not only offer something relevant but also have a personal touch that doesn’t come across as spammy (and gets deleted). This means having a keen understanding of what your audience wants from you, how they like receiving information and how best to communicate with them effectively.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that a “best practice” really only exists as long as it continues to prove effective in a niche. It’s a flexible concept, molded to fit the needs of the moment, eventually relegated to a relic of the past should it fail to prove itself relevant any longer. But for now, it’s important to consider this foundation principles that you can use to build and maintain your email marketing campaigns today and tomorrow. 

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