Email Marketing continues to evolve with the times and remains the workhorse of digital marketing. As one of the most direct routes to your target audience, email provides ample opportunity to enhance their experience with and opinion of your business. Harness the power of email to reach and retain your customers with these 14 email marketing campaign best practices.
Best Practices for Email Marketing Success
Have a Purpose…
Today, people are connecting more and more to brands by subscribing to newsletters and opting in to receive the latest information and offers. As such, their inbox is becoming more crowded than ever. It is important to have a purpose for your email marketing campaigns to ensure you retain subscribers and move your business forward.
…That is, a Specific Purpose
Having a specific purpose for your email marketing campaigns has two benefits. First, it ensures that your efforts are directly related to one or more of your business or marketing goals. Second, it provides your subscribers with a clear message. The more clear your message, the more successful your campaign (and most likely your open rate) will be.
The best way to achieve the purpose of your email marketing campaigns is through offering something of value to your recipients. Capturing their attention and getting them to open an email that doesn’t offer any benefit to them will generate unsubscribes, not leads.
What gets measured gets done as the saying goes. You need a way of measuring the specific objectives and desired outcomes for your email marketing campaigns. Maybe you are trying to drive more traffic to your company website or generate more engagement and followers on your Facebook page. Perhaps you want to increase awareness and sell more widgets made by a new brand you carry. These are specific purposes with tangible goals that can easily be measured.
Best Practices for the Email Recipient Experience
Optimize Emails for Mobile
Mobile-first optimization of your email campaign messages is critical as there are over 2 billion mobile devices in use compared to just under 1.7 billion desktops/laptops. This is a trend that will only continue to accelerate. Most email marketing platforms offer a wide range of templates optimized for smartphones and tablets. Always preview your messages on each type of device your recipients could be opening your email message.
Don’t Email Without Permission
Always make sure you have permission to email someone. Never add someone to your distribution lists who did not opt in or explicitly give you permission. It is extremely important to comply with all CAN-SPAM rules regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. You can quickly damage your reputation if you fail to follow these imperatives.
Get to the Point…Fast
Get to the point of your offer quickly and make it painfully obvious and simple what steps they should take to move forward. Attention spans are short (like, 8 seconds short), so provide the content that will help readers to quickly assess their interest and stay engaged.
Best Practices for Email Campaign Conversion
Call Readers to Action
Don’t forget that opening your email is only the first action you want your recipients to take. The email itself should prompt your recipient to perform one or more additional actions, such as to share a link from your Facebook page to be entered into a drawing, or to go to a landing page that provides more detail about the offer. Whatever those actions are, they should be made clear by a call to action button or phrase.
Limit The Options
Less is more. Do not give your recipients too many options and actions in your emails. If they get stuck deciding, they may abandon the email altogether. Or, in their attempt to complete all of the actions, they may end up not following through with any of them. Consider your audience and their interests and craft offers that will resonate with them and compel them to act.
Determine the Proper Frequency
It may take some time and experimentation, but it’s important to determine how often to send emails and how many emails to send per campaign. If your overdo it and show up in their inbox too often you run the risk of your messages becoming white noise, or worse—they unsubscribe. If you go off the radar for too long, you risk disrupting the momentum of your campaign and letting warm leads go cold.
Take some time and plan a content calendar for the month. Start by sorting out the monthly sends, like newsletters, and then overlay your other communications. This will help you to diversify your content to keep your email marketing fresh, and to spread things out in a fashion that will not overwhelm your recipients.
Best Practices for Email Optimization
Segment Your Audience
Segment your email distribution list by demographics and other parameters, so that you can send different offers to different parts of your customer base. You can even divide those segments and test out messaging through A/B testing.
Pick the Right Day
There are many opinions out there regarding the best time to send your marketing emails to your customers. There is no one specific time that is the hands-down answer to this question. This can vary widely depending on the type of content or the offer you are utilizing for your campaign, the industry you operate in, the targeted demographics and other variables. In general though, a comprehensive look at 10 significant studies found that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were the best days (in that order) to send marketing emails to customers.
Pick the Right Time
Just as with social media posting, the time your email message is delivered still makes a difference as well. According to the same study mentioned above, the most popular time to send emails is at 10am, 2pm, and 8pm. However, 50% of people start their day by checking email in bed. Think about when your target audience members are most likely to check their email. You may also want to experiment and compare metrics to identify optimal times.
Advances in technology like artificial intelligence and big data are making seismic changes in the effectiveness and impact of email marketing and continue to make it relevant and effective, but you do not have to be a genius at MIT like Roy to harness these email marketing best practices to take your business to the next level.