Email Marketing Best Practices: 10 Tips For Great Emails
Now that instant messaging platforms and social media networks have deep-rooted our day-to-day lives, it doesn’t mean emails are dead. Recent study reports from both B2C & B2B markets have shown the value and power of emails.
You will be fascinated to read the fact that about 205 billion emails are sent every day. And this number is anticipated to reach 246 billion at the end of 2019. So, if an email is impressive enough, people are going to read it. But to ensure that your emails have higher “open rates” and your potential leads convert to sales, it is important to adhere to the email marketing best practices.
10 Email Marketing Best Practices You Must Follow
From coming up with ideas to write killer sales emails to determining how often and when to send emails, the best practices listed here can give you a better direction in coming up with an email marketing strategy for your business.
1. Create an email marketing plan that sustains
Here is a bitter truth about developing and executing an email marketing strategy plan: there are two important aspects involved before you could get down to the nitty-gritty of creating and supporting tactics:
- Deep research
Moreover, managing an email marketing campaign isn’t simple either – especially if you have various email initiatives running at once.
If you are going to put forth the efforts in creating emails for your business, you certainly want them to look perfect to ensure that your brand is expressed beautifully.
This job can only be simplified or fuss-free if you have an organized plan to start with. The extra efforts that you take while creating a plan are truly worth because you can use it over and over again to give a reliable experience both for — the email creator (you) — and your readers.
Think of it as your “planning to plan” stage. But before you do this, you need to understand how your strategies will express your company operations and be different from other roadmaps.
- Develop a branded, unique, and branded template
- Write the plan down
- Aim for consistency
- Focus on the things that matter the most
- Stick to the plan
- Execute and deliver them as per the schedule
2. Build an email list
Did you know that 90% of the consumers like it when they get promotional e-mails from companies they deal with? (Source) The reason many businesses find it difficult to obtain more people into their email list is that they do not have an appropriate plan to assist them to execute it.
From gathering email addresses at events and in-store to growing the email list online — via social media channels, website, and blog — there are various ways to create an email list. Remember, it all comes down to how creative you are with your content.
- Use a paper sign-up sheet
- Add an attractive sign-up button to your email
- Include a neat sign-up form on your website
- Collect email IDs when users sign-up for events
- Include a sign-up form on your social media page
- Try running a Facebook Ad
- Experiment with some pop-ups
- Try hosting a podcast
- Take online surveys
- Invest in online advertising
3. Give a subject line that attracts
Good subject lines have a huge impact on the reader and determine whether the efforts you have taken for writing that email will pay off or not.
So, before sending an email, ask yourself: Is this email good enough to get the recipient to take an action that I intend to?
This action will not always have an instant impact on your business but it will certainly be the first big step towards driving results from your email campaign.
Remember that your email subject line is the first thing that a reader sees – unless, this isn’t impressive, he or she is not going to open it.
- Keep the email subject line precise
- Use at least 41 characters (or 7-8 words)
- Do not use multiple exclamation points
- Do not use capital letters
- Never use a subject line that misleads
- Use numbers or stats because people respond to them better
- Do not use too many promotional words (example: “Free,” “Buy Now”)
- Come up with a line that will connect your readers with it and grab their attention
4. Focus on the “sender” name
The next important factor after your email’s subject line is the “sender/from” name. This section can either make or break the entire email.
Sender names happen to perform the best when they are personalized. Rather than just including your brand name, try to add an individual’s name. For example, “your name + company name.”
Never use that typical “No-Reply” option – it makes it impersonal and frustrating. Include a real name and have a team member who could reply to those emails.
Besides this, pay attention to your pre-header too because this is the preview text, which is displayed right after your subject line. If this isn’t set properly, the client previews something else from your emails, which can appear unprofessional and messy.
- Keep your sender names recognizable
- If you have lots of important content to be shared, divide them into multiple groups and pick a specific sender name either according to the value each type of your messages brings to the audience or based on its frequency.
5. Come up with an engaging email content
Let’s understand this with a scenario. Assume that you have received two emails in your inbox now. One, from your close friend and the other, from a big corporation.
Now, which email will you be happy or excited about receiving? And which email will you prefer to read first? The answer is easy, isn’t it?
So, when you send emails to a bulk list, what do you actually do?
Do you write it as if you are addressing a big, faceless group of people or write it like the way any marketing department would?
Now, if you want your subscribers to be excited about receiving your emails, behave like a friend and show that you care.
This is the best way to build trust. Try to tone down that business look, and come up with minimalist email content. Keep the voice conversational and respectful.
- Do not write as if you are addressing a crowd. Email as if you are writing to that person only
- Send emails only when you have something valuable to say. It isn’t a good idea to waste people’s time
- Show them that you care
- Use real name while sending emails
- Make sure that the content builds trust
- Keep the content precise and short
- Give a personal touch
- Use the word “you”
- Do not write boring content
6. Include pictures and video
Images and videos are one of the best ways to bring your email content to life. They grab a reader’s attention and help you connect in a way that your text cannot.
It’s not that your email content is bad or you haven’t written a killer content but its just that including a video or an image creates an impact.
It helps to personalize your email message and convey your story in a completely new way. But don’t overdo it with too many videos and images. Use it appropriately.
- Avoid using images that have a larger size
- Keep the media content relevant
- Do not include any other image file other than .PNG & .JPEG
- Some email programs will block your images automatically. So, use an email template instead
- Emails with 3 or less than 3 images and about 20 lines of text have higher click-through rates
- Think of the call-to-action that you want your audience to take with the image.
7. Add “Alt Text” to the images & buttons
Alt (Alternative) text is not just for website images. They apply to emails as well. Adding relevant alt text helps readers to have an idea what the images are about when the HTML fails to render properly, crashes, or their client email server blocks pictures by default.
Without an alt text, a reader will only see blank spaces wherever there is an image or a button. This doesn’t give any clue what the image is about even if it crashes.
- Add alt text to every CTA button and link them to the landing pages
- Keep your alt texts artistic
- Add attractive font style and colors but try to play around system fonts
8. Merge emails and social media
Email & social media work hand-in-hand. They have restructured the marketing landscape for businesses.
Emails are the most effective marketing channels for small businesses, as they communicate with the target audience directly. Social media, on the other hand, builds customer relationships via the conversations you make and the content that you share.
Study reports say that a small business that uses multiple channels such as social media in their email reports tend to have 73% more customer engagement, 57% new customers, 54% greater website traffic, 40% more revenue, and 39% increase in referrals.
- Make sure to include social buttons into tour emails
- Run a promotion or contest to promote your email campaign
- Utilize the Facebook’s CTA (call-to-action) button
- Keep your content creative
- Share all your newsletters
9. Optimize the email for mobile
When it comes to “email open rate,” mobile has a massive share in it. According to a recent paper published in Litmus, about half of the emails are opened on mobiles.
The trend continues to grow and hence, optimizing the email marketing campaign for mobile devices isn’t an option anymore. It has become mandatory.
Mobile has allowed for “always-on inbox” and no wonder people keep checking their emails every now and then no matter where they are. Therefore, unless the email that you sent is mobile-friendly, people are only going to close it or spam it.
According to a study conducted by Adestra, if an email is not mobile-friendly, irrespective of how great the content is, a user is more likely to delete it in less than 3 seconds. In addition, nearly 15% of the users will completely unsubscribe rather than just deleting it.
- Use a scalable or responsive mobile template
- Keep the email precise, short, and sweet
- Keep the call-to-action buttons clear and finger-friendly
- Be choosy with images
- Test on a mobile device before sending in real-time
10. Send a test email to your inbox
As a marketer, time can be demanding, and testing your email campaigns may frequently end up demoted to the bottom of your to-do list.
However, testing isn’t going to take time and the loopholes you can uncover to enhance your outcomes can be priceless.
Start by proofreading your email and when you feel everything is all good to go, send a test mail to yourself. Recheck it to see if it is perfect enough for potential prospects to take an action that you intend to.
- Make sure that there aren’t any typos
- Ensure that the links you have included work
- Double-check the plain-text and HTML versions
- Check if the images you have included show up
- See if the mail is optimized for both desktop and smartphone
What will email marketing look like in 5 years?
The buzz words or the keywords that will be a trend in the future will be AI (Artificial Intelligence), Automation, Personalization, Data, Content, and GDPR.
- With AI, campaign planning and decision making will become automated.
- Email will turn out to be a “luxury” channel – customers’ email addresses will be reserved for highly relevant and highly personalized content. Brands that do not deliver will get another chance in rare cases.
- Email will be one of the prominent channels with the fastest and highest growing ROI.
- Emails will have voice-based interactions in the future.
- There will be web-like experience within the email (purchasing, shopping, etc.) without the need to launch a browser.
Besides testing your email, it is also a good idea to send a copy of it to one of your colleagues or friends to see how they grasp your email content after they open and read it.
Can they instantly tell what your CTA (call-to-action) is? If yes, then your email will work. If no, keep working.