12 Email Marketing Best Practices You Must Know

Email is the most powerful tool you can use to talk to visitors, customers and prospects.   Below are 12 best practices that you can use everyday in your email marketing campaigns for maximum success. Use them and you’ll experience an increased response from your subscribers and likely – increased sales!

1. Keep it Simple

Graphical emails can contain a lot of text and graphics, and this can make it harder to get subscribers to click on links in your email to take action if your email doesn’t load or its hard to find link.  Research shows that the majority of Internet users respond better to a plain, bold, blue text link as opposed to a banner or button.   So, if you’re going to include links in your emails, make sure they are bold, blue and underlined.   This means that more subscribers will see it and click through.

2. Personalize

The power of personalization can and should be used as much as possible in email campaigns.   In fact, by simply starting your email with “Hi [subscriber name]”, you can greatly increase your click-thru rates. It’s power comes from your subscribers feeling they have a relationship with you.

3. Avoid Spam Filters

The majority of Email  service providers (ESPs) use rigorous spam filters to trap unsolicited email before it lands into their customers’ in boxes.    Spam filters generally “rank” each email by a number of different criteria, and, if that email rates above a certain level (such as 10 spam points), then it is flagged as spam and blocked.   To ensure your emails don’t get blocked, avoid words such as ‘Free’, ‘Save’, ‘Discount’, etc in both the subject line and the content of your email.

4. Mail out on Tuesday or Wednesday

Many studies conducted by analysts have shown that the best days to perform a mailing to your list are Tuesday and Wednesday, as this is when people are more receptive to communication and thus more likely to read your content and click on links.  If you are sending a link to a video,  its  known that sending video emails in the evening will get watched more then during the day.

5. Confirm Opt-ins

Don’t get accused of spamming.   Always use an opt-in confirmation process if and when possible.   Confirmed opt-in means that after your visitor enters their email address to subscribe to your list, you should then send them a “confirmation” email.   This email should contain a special link back to your email-marketing program, which will then verify that this visitor did indeed sign-up to your mailing list.  This helps keep only the people that are truly interested to be on your list and the tire kickers off.

6. Use Autoresponders

An autoresponder is an email that is scheduled to be sent at a certain time interval after someone subscribes to your mailing list. Autoresponders are a great way to automatically follow up with your subscribers or provide them with more information on your products/services.

For example, if you provide a free newsletter, you could set-up 2 autoresponders for new subscribers: the first is sent 1 hour after they subscribe.   It contains a thank you message and a link to get 10% off your product.   The second is sent 2 days later, telling them about your upcoming events or new content, etc.   Autoresponders help subscribers build trust in both your company and your brand while helping you save time.

7. Make it Consistent

If you’re running a newsletter or frequent email promos, make sure you keep the look and feel consistent from issue to issue.   By keeping the look and feel consistent, you help to maintain and strengthen your brand and your image to your subscribers, which again will make it easier for them to feel comfortable to click on your links and  take action.

8. Use a Quick-to-Read Subject Line

When your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox, you generally have about half a second to catch their attention with the subject line of your email.   After this, they will either delete your email or ignore it.   In your subject line, try and specify a benefit that the subscriber can expect by reading your email like “free report” or “Exclusive News for You”.  Also, adding their name increase subject lines. (IE) Phil, here is your free report to download.

9. Hook Them In

Free is overused nowadays, especially on the Internet.   However, if you’re looking to grow your email list, then create or source a product of value to your visitors (such as a coupon, free report or eBook or videos, etc) and offer it to them for free to entice them to opt-in.   To make sure they don’t simply type a fake email address into your opt-in  form, set-up  the confirm email list email and then an autoresponder to send them the free opt-in offer content right after they confirm their opt-in.

10. Have Interesting Content at the Top

Popular email clients such as MS Outlook, Gmail, AOL will show a preview of an email when it’s selected from the inbox.   Always have interesting content at the very top of the email, as this is the part that will show in the preview window of the subscribers email program.   If it’s interesting enough, then the subscriber will open your email and continue on reading.

11. Make it on Time, Every Time

When sending ongoing emails, always make sure that it’s sent on the same day, month or at the same time as best as possible.   Your subscribers will come to expect your emails to arrive in their inbox at the same times, meaning you will train them to look for your emails which makes them generally more responsive on your email list.

12. Preform a Link-Click Test

Try using different text for both content and links.   Also try re-positioning images such as logos and buttons for better click-thrus.   After sending about 3 different emails, compare the click-thru stats and see which one worked best.   For your next marketing email, you will be sending the optimal mix of content and images that will generate the most click-thrus, and ultimately the most sales.

Author:  Chris Swemba  Learn more here on how our proven email marketing campaigns can enhance customer loyalty and increase repeat business.

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