October 23, 2015
18 Ways to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level
For businesses that want to reach their customers easily and affordably, email marketing is a go-to option. The benefits of email marketing are numerous: the ability to tailor your message to specific segments, have immediate reach, and monitor customer behavior (just to name a few). The trick is finding ways to cut through the competition for eyeballs and successfully leading your audience out of the inbox and toward a conversion.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled the best of the best practices for email marketing. As you begin constructing your next email campaign, use this guide to enhance your business's marketing efforts each step of the way.
- Identify your audience. You may be reaching out to a wide range of people, and the same messaging won’t appeal or relate to everyone. Figure out the sweet spot between who you want to talk to, what their needs are, and what you can offer them.
- Know the law of the (email) land. Before you get started creating your email marketing campaign, double-check that your efforts will be in line with the FTC’s business email compliance guide.
- Spread the word. Social media is a great way to encourage people to sign up. Whether it’s insightful industry advice, a reward, or company updates, let them know what’s in it for them-- and make sure to say thank you.
Writing the Email
- Make them glad they clicked. Aim for emails to be both relevant and compelling to your reader. Avoid email predictability with these 25 content ideas.
- Robots in movies are great—not so much in emails. Your emails may be automated, but they don’t have to sound that way. Using a personal tone in your writing, along with words like “you” and “your,” go a long way in making an email feel customized.
- Your writing should be scannable. Simplify your reader’s experience by breaking up long chunks of text, highlighting the best points, and providing “read more” buttons. (Hello, website traffic!)
- Images are your friend. Make your text come alive by using linked imagery in your emails. Just remember that many email platforms turn off pictures, so make sure your key points are in the text too.
- Dodge the spam filter. Avoid spammy words (“free,” “buy now,” etc.), caps lock, and attachments to keep your messages safely en route to your reader’s inbox and out of the dreaded spam filter.
- Finish strong. Whether the goal is following a link, filling out a form, sharing the email, or another prompt, engage your readers with a strong call-to-action in your email.
- Make it something you would want to open. Avoid those terrible subject lines we’ve all encountered by keeping yours concise (around 50 characters), customer-focused, and applicable to the content inside.
- Don’t use these words. Trust us—just don’t.
- Hit it out of the park. The subject line may just be the most important part of your email. Be confident that you’ll nail it with these handy quick tips.
Before You Hit Send Button
- Optimize, optimize, optimize. Email opens on mobile have grown 180% in the past three years. Optimizing your email for mobile means you’ll reach your audience where they already are.
- Branding goes a long way. Even if you use an email template, your company’s name, logo, colors, and social media buttons should all be on-brand and make you easily identifiable.
- Try a test-run. Create a tester email address to see what your message will look like from the reader’s point of view. This also gives you an opportunity to make sure your images appear and the links go to the right location.
After It’s Sent
- Keep an eye on the stats. Open rates, click rates, hard bounce rates (which might indicate a stale list, and other metrics will help you better segment and communicate with your audience.
- Consider testing. You can hone in on the best tactics for your emails by A/B testing delivery day/times, content angles, subject lines, and images to see what your readers are most receptive to.
- Stay in touch. Create an email publishing calendar to ensure you’re reaching your audience at an ideal rate. Too often and they might be deleted, too little and they risk being marked as spam.
If you haven’t bookmarked this page yet— what are you waiting for? With these best practices in your marketing toolkit, your business’s next email campaign will stand out from the crowd and lead to engagement and conversions from your customers. With a little luck, it might even end up on a list like this one.