Are you new to email marketing? Or do you know you’ve got a powerful tool with it if only you could use it better? If so, this article is for you. We focus on 10email marketing best practices all businesses should follow if they want to maximise their marketing bang.
Let’s start with the five most basic email marketing best practices which you should master first:
- Know your audience, build that list
Contrary to popular opinion, email marketing isn’t about whacking out the greatest number of emails to the greatest number of people. This isn’t a numbers game. This is even more important now we’re in the realm of GDPR (more on that in a moment).
When it comes to email marketing, you should always think quality over quantity. Therefore, profile your audience and work to build a list which is powerful, not simply vastly populated. This means build your own list, don’t buy one.
Do this by actively encouraging visitors to your website and social media to sign-up. This way engagement will be higher.
- Use personalisation
If you’ve taken the time to build a top-notch customer list, then you need to use the tech available to you to really target each person as an individual. This means, as a basic rule, doing things like getting the individual’s name into the subject line or salutation.
However, it goes much further than this. It’s also about thinking carefully about purchase history and their browsing behaviour. It’s about understanding what makes them tick and feeding into this.
Do this by sending out emails that are personalised based on information you gather.
- Never forget a call to action (CTA)
Email marketing is all about enticing the customer in. However, what you reallyneed is for them to act. Don’t miss a trick by failing to make this easy for them. The CTA is a critical part of the email, so spend some time structuring it carefully. All the content of the email should be leading to this one moment.
Do this by making clear, simple, easily actionable CTA’s. Make it meaningful.
- Manage the opt-in
For 2018, we’re putting this best practice right with the basics because of the impact of the GDPR. Find out more about this here.
No sneaky way of getting and using email addresses. It’s not just illegal thanks to the GDPR, it’s not a good practice and won’t deliver the best bang for your buck. You want genuine opt-in because these are most likely to become conversions.
For email marketing best practice to go one step further: be brutally honest with yourself. Have you made opt-in in such a way that truthfully these people are only giving you their permission for a freebie they get once and job over? If so, that’s engagement over.
Do this by always seeking permission for exactly what you want. That way you’re not wasting energy, effort or resources.
- Make it visual
Your email will be one of a bunch received in one day. Therefore, if you get over the first hurdle of it being opened, you need to capitalise on that achievement. You do this by making your readers actively want to delve into your newsletter with varied content, excellent graphics and interesting stuff.
Furthermore, this needs to be doing some hard work on your branding for you. It should clearly reflect who you are and what you’re about.
Do this by using customisable email newsletter templates.
Following these email marketing best practices should get you targeting the right people in the right way. You’re on your way. However, what if you want to go a step further and really reach for the email marketing stars?
Here are five more email marketing best practices you should now consider:
- Test, test and test again, then measure
You’re not going to get things right first time, every time. So build this into how you structure email campaigns.
Start off withA/B testing each element of an email from start to finish. Run one test at a time, discover what works, then move on. Then, get measuring. In real terms, what works and work doesn’t? You’re not going to know how successful you are, or importantly, how you can improve if you don’t measure your engagement.
Do this by completing A/B testing on all new campaigns and measuring the metrics such as click-throughs.
Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing (see ‘personalisation’ above). Your secret weapon here is segmentation. This is how you ensure that you’re sending the right email to the right person and not simply spamming them with a generic message which will end up…you guessed it…in their spam folder, bin or even worse – they click unsubscribe.
Engagement will be considerably higher if you take a good look at the individual in terms of various parameters such as their demographics, purchase behaviour, location and past engagement into account.
Do this by choosing email marketing software, such as Postman, which enables you to segment email lists easily.
- Give something
Never go into an email campaign thinking solely about what you want to gain without thinking about what you’re prepared to give. Therefore, tone down the promotion and turn up the volume on the value you’re offering. For example, offer them something they want before you expect them to give something to you.
Think of your emails as primarily being for the purpose of building relationships. This will be the springboard to engagement.
Do this by offering things such as discount codes occasionally or valuable information in the form of a link to a useful article or ‘how to’ guide.
- Keep it clean
Yes, people may have opted-in but have they proved valuable? If not, why are they still on your list? You won’t be doing yourself any favours by heading off to be ignored again.
This also isn’t good when it comes to algorithms in email providers who will learn to automatically flag you as ‘graymail’ or spam. Not a good place to be. Remember you want quality over quantity when it comes to who you are sending your emails to by heading to the inboxes of those who actually open your mail.
Do this by taking time to clean up your list from time to time. Remove the unengaged or move them over into a specific re-engagement segment.
- Don’t let it gather dust
It’s easy to leave your email campaigns to simply run with nothing more than the occasional nod to fresh content. This is poor form and bad practice and it harms your business.
Your email campaign should always be driven by your own active interest. Revisit your approach, keep testing, keep reviewing your lists, come up with fresh ideas, chop and change things around.
Do this by scheduling in periodic reviews of your email marketing strategy.
Email marketing best practice is considerably easier if you have the right tools for the job. Use email newsletter templates to help you with the legwork, backed up by integrated functions such as testing and engagement metrics.