10 email marketing best practices you need to know

10 email marketing best practices you need to know

As the primary tool for communicating with customers and prospects, be it B2B or B2C audiences, email marketing drives the marketing/sales channel for any business. To get the best results, staying tuned into the latest trends and email marketing best practices helps tremendously.

There is a lot that goes into planning a well-executed email marketing campaign: audience segmentation, upgrading transactional emails, setting your cadence, choosing the right tone for your audience, etc. This post shares the 10 most important email marketing best practices for growing your subscriber base by enhancing email deliverability and the responsiveness of your emails.

1. Stop buying email lists

A big ‘NO’ to buying email lists-01

As rightly said by Suzy Kassem, “In life, most shortcuts end up taking longer than taking the longer route.” Buying email lists will actually kill your email marketing initiatives. Marketers are tempted to buy email lists. However, they come with the risk of unknown subscribers, and marketing to “cold” contacts will result in lower conversion rates, higher unsubscribe rates, and increased bounce rates as email servers may view your mail as spam. It is also well-known that 90% of decision-makers don’t respond to cold calls or cold emails.

Building your own list will involve time and resources – but it will be well invested. You will gain more benefits from this process than buying an email list where you have no clue of the prospects and their interests. Custom built lists will keep you on top of your email campaigns because you know the audience, you understand their needs and interests, or sometimes their budget.

How do you build your own list? There are multiple ways to build and add to your email list. Promote email sign-ups on your website, via pop-ups, blogs, landing pages, and social media pages. The list goes on. It’s important to communicate with subscribers once they leave their email addresses with you. Building a subscriber list improves your chances of whitelisting and reduces spam. 

2. Audience preferred frequency

Frequency that’s preferred by the audience-01

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to communicate with the audience once they sign up. This helps them clearly understand what to expect and how often to expect it. Most businesses opt for quantity over quality, their thinking is that by sending more emails they will reach and convert more prospects.

However, it’s highly important to focus on quality, because if they receive an email that doesn’t engage them, you will have lost an important opportunity to move them along the sales cycle. Find a balance between quantity and quality.

How often should you email? That’s a tough question to answer because overdoing it can lead to high unsubscribe rates and under-doing it can decrease brand awareness and reduce sales opportunities. To answer this, consider engagement metrics that showcase how often a recipient would like to be contacted. A much better method is allowing them to answer themselves.

An example: How much *brand name* do you want?

  • New arrivals!

  • 2-3 emails a week

  • I need a month break

  • Unsubscribe

Marketing automation tools allow users to set their preferences during the subscription process. Preferences could be based on time, content, or both. Time-based emails allow audiences to choose their preferred cadence. The content-based method allows them to pick the type of content they want to see in their emails. You can also use a combination of both in your subscription forms.

3. Optimize your calls-to-action (CTAs)

Optimize your calls-to-action (CTAs)-01

Now that you have subscribers, know what they want, and how often they want it – what’s the next step? It is to get these subscribers to click and perform a certain action. Enter – CTAs. I cannot stress enough how important calls-to-action are in emails; without them, there’s no point in email marketing in the first place. Including a call-to-action button in place of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%. CTA conversion rates indicate the success of email marketing campaigns.

How do I optimize CTAs? Creating an actionable, inspiring and persuading call to action button is a high click opportunity in the email. Start with creating contextual content around the CTA. As you may already know – “Shop Now” is more effective than “Click Here.” Test some keywords for the business, offer, and the type of audience. 

To optimize your CTA, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Design the email copy based on the CTA.
  • Make it obvious/prominent in the email.
  • Don’t clutter the space around your CTA.
  • Don’t include too many CTAs so that it’s clear which action you want readers to take.

4. Offer something valuable

Offer something valuable-01

Any marketer’s quick answer to increasing their subscriber list is to offer informative content. When you offer something valuable to subscribers, you build a mailing list of genuinely interested leads that results in a lower unsubscribe rate. Your emails will be perceived as spam or promotional when they do not offer value.

When asking people to subscribe to your mailing list, you cannot ask for too much information from your audience. Keep the questions limited – an email address alone would suffice in many cases, or alternatively, ask for only name and email address.

What to offer ? This depends on the niche and how you want customers to perceive your brand. It could be a free download of a white paper or a case study. Also, offering a free trial of your product can encourage the audience to use it and understand it. Plus, it results in increased brand recognition.

If you include a sense of urgency around your valuable content, chances of new leads opting for the offer increase. Grammarly uses this in their email content by offering 50% off on taking a premium account.

5. Provide exclusive offers to your loyal customers

Provide exclusive offers to your loyal customers

Now that you have a list of subscribers, it’s important to differentiate loyal email readers from those who occasionally do or do not open them at all (there’s another approach to such subscribers – learn more about that below). Making your readers consistently feel special is a great way to increase the excitement and trust factor. It will also encourage them to check for brand updates in their inboxes. This is the way to go to build a niche community.  

6. Unique subject lines with interesting email content

Unique subject lines with interesting email content

Email recipients look at the sender name and subject line before they decide to open. Most email service providers show 40-60 characters of subject lines along with the opening line of the email message. It’s good to include compelling and clear subject lines. Gmail displays close to 120 characters, which include subject line as well as the first line of your email. This is your chance to intrigue the reader with a question or interesting fact related to the industry in the subject line.

Neil Patel works very well on his subject lines – which are thought-provoking and compelling. He includes questions based on the content – “Why ranking #1 on Google is bad?” or “How many backlinks do you really need?”

7. Include “unsubscribe” or “manage subscription” options in emails

Include ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘manage subscriptions’ in emails-01

Though you can create emails with highly interactive content, some subscribers won’t engage with them as often as you would like. Then, out of nowhere, they choose to unsubscribe from the mailing list. It is quite common to come across such unsubscribes. Ideally, you should look forward to a 0% unsubscribe rate, but it is mandatory to include the “unsubscribe” button in emails. Make the unsubscribe process as easy as possible for email recipients.

Or, you can even divert them to other options. “Marketing Sherpa” does this well in their emails. There may be various reasons behind someone’s decision to opt-out, so Marketing Sherpa includes buttons for:

  • Manage subscriptions
  • Unsubscribe from pro/lead-generation-tips-and-tricks
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters
  • And so on

Clicking their “manage subscription” link allows email subscribers to choose the content they would like to receive and opt-out of the content that’s not relevant to them. This further builds trust with your audience. 

8. Having a dedicated IP address

Having a dedicated IP address

When your marketing team starts leaning more about email marketing, they should start learning about dedicated internet protocols (IPs). Let’s understand email deliverability before digging deep into IPs.

Did you know that the email deliverability depends highly on the IP’s reputation? It does. The higher the number of emails that get flagged as spam, the lower your IP reputation will be. And vice-versa.

So, when you increase your email marketing efforts and do that typically through a single IP, you run the risk of your emails never arriving in their intended inboxes. Most email service providers use a collection of IP addresses to send emails, which are shared by various companies. This means your email deliverability depends on other companies’ email deliverability scores. But, with a dedicated IP, you alone have control over the deliverability of emails and your reputation is not determined by third parties.

When do you need a dedicated IP address? Let’s say you consistently send a high volume of emails with high email engagement rates. Perhaps you’re sending around 100,000 emails per week. Since you are the only influence on the IP’s reputation, it’s your responsibility to ensure your email list consists of authentic email addresses. Email service providers monitor the reputation of dedicated IPs to ensure that emails have high deliverability scores.

9. Disclose your location

Disclose your location

When your business is in a different country, make sure that you are compliant with each country’s email legislation before planning your marketing campaign.

If you have the USA and Canada geographies in the business plan, read the CAN-SPAM and the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) carefully. They require you to include the physical business address in the footer of all the emails. If you are email marketing in Europe, you will need to be compliant with GDPR regulations that will come into force on 25th May 2018.

10. Get your old subscribers back

Get back your old subscribers

With the advent of email marketing, direct postal mail has become obsolete. And the same was thought about email when social media came into vogue. But email marketing has survived the scare and is here to stay. Today, it remains the most effective marketing tool in use. Even though it’s powerful, the main risk is that you have no control over unresponsiveness – while you can try and reduce unresponsiveness, you cannot totally eliminate it.

Let’s look on the bright side, what can you do to increase the engagement of non-engaged users? Number one, religiously engage with them over emails. If you see them for the first time in a month or two, send an email reading, “Nice to see you, it’s your first time in awhile, we’re glad you’re back” – LinkedIn does this effectively.

I hope you include the above best practices in your email marketing efforts. If you are already using some, or leverage additional best practices, please let us know in the comments below.

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Greg Arthur

Greg Arthur has a deep understanding of marketing and sales and has been an advisor to software start-ups in the mobile and SaaS areas. Specialties: Digital Marketing, Building, and Growing companies, Marketing, Business Development, M&A.

32 Comments

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about 8 months ago

What's up it's me, I am also visiting this site daily, this web page is genuinely pleasant and the people are in fact sharing nice thoughts.

Reply

Sapan Gupta

about 7 months ago

One of the most important aspects of email marketing is definitely NOT buying email lists. Buying email lists will just give you a bunch of people who are probably not least bit interested in what you have to offer. This is why it is very important to build a mailing list organically. Offering something valuable to your potential clients to get their email addresses may be a good way of doing so. These are definitely some great tips - thanks for this post!

Reply

Aol support

about 7 months ago

I earn money to email marketing, so this is the perfect article for me.i search this kind of content since a long time.But this 10 email marketing tricks is very useful to me.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 6 months ago

Great! Always looking to provide some value to help propel you further towards success. Cheers!

Reply

Garena Free fire

about 7 months ago

Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 3 months ago

Hi there. Thanks for the feedback. I will shoot you an email and we can discuss. Cheers!

Reply

Geek Squad Support

about 6 months ago

nice article about email marketing loved your information keep up the good work

Reply

Geek Squad Support

about 6 months ago

nice and brief article about email marketing it is totally worth reading keep up the good work i have also subscribed to your news letter

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 6 months ago

It's great to know that we're providing some value! Thanks for the props :-)

Reply

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about 6 months ago

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Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 6 months ago

Thanks so much for this feedback. I'll pass it to the author. He'll very much appreciate that he was able to help you out. Take care!

Reply

newborn photography Berkshire

about 5 months ago

I drop a leave a response whenever I like a post on a website or if Ihave something to add to the discussion. It's a result of tthe passion displayed in the article I lookd at. And after thiss post 10 Best Email Marketin Best Practices You Need to Knoww - June 2018. I was excited enough to drop a thought. And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I would like to follow anything new you have to post. Would you make a list the complete urls of all your shared pages ike your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 5 months ago

Thanks for the feedback! Absolutely, we post on social sites every day. Here is a list of our social pages: https://twitter.com/agilecrm https://www.facebook.com/CRM.Agile/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/agile-crm/ Go ahead and follow us and you'll get updates every day on what's new... Cheers!

Reply

Faizan Ali

about 5 months ago

All the tips shared here are awesome specially your suggestion of using dedicated IP's. ButI consider owning a dedicated IP is more costly, which is a panic thing for newbies or small businesses. Thereare some tips you've shared that I used to grab more subscribers i.e. maybe 500/mo Unlikely all have their opiniones. Any way Good stuff shared. Thank you.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 5 months ago

Thanks for the positive feedback, Faizan. Always so pleased to help in any way! Cheers

Reply

banu

about 5 months ago

thnks

Reply

Edkent Media

about 3 months ago

How about putting remarketing pixel on the email?

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 3 months ago

You're absolutely right, Edkent. That would be number 11 on the list. Thanks for that comment--I love when our readers provide insight that helps the rest of our audience. Props.

Reply

Unbound B2B

about 3 months ago

Interactive emails are the best way to engage with our target audience. We used to build our email list by interacting with the audience. If we offer something valuable then our audience will be connected with us.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 3 months ago

I totally agree! Interactive emails are gaining popularity rapidly--particularly video emails. Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Hannah

about 3 months ago

These are some great tips, is easier for people new to the business to get caught in growing fast by taking the easy way instead of putting in the hard work. Awesome post!

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 3 months ago

Thanks, Hannah! I'm glad you found this post helpful. Indeed, it's tempting to cut corners when you are trying to grow with limited resources. But investing in the right technology and hiring top talent in the beginning will be well worth the investment. Thanks so much for your feedback :-) Best of luck!

Reply

Kevin

about 2 months ago

Flipbooks can be personalized based on requirement.

Reply

Binary Clues

about 2 months ago

You put you best and this is really nice

Reply

Udit Khanna

about 2 months ago

Such a great article about email marketing. Lots of facts and figures included about email marketing

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 2 months ago

Thanks so much for the encouraging article. Comments like this make our job worthwhile :-)

Reply

Henry @ Tribe

about 2 months ago

I really thought GDPR had put an end to the market for email lists. As someone who works a lot with occasional email marketers - companies who only use this type of marketing 1-3 times a year, I see much better results from smaller, genuine lists than anything traded. Therefore, I'd urge everyone to discard the old ways, start over with real people who really signed up to receive your emails, ideally from one of your blog posts, landing pages or elsewhere on your site. Just keep it real. Over time this works.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 2 months ago

You hit the nail on the head, Henry. It's pointless to market to "leads" who come in a bought list who likely have no interest in your product. For B2B especially, I think account based marketing is the way of the future. For B2C, like you said, focus on engaging the right leads so they sign up out of a true desire to know more. Then your reps won't waste time on the garbage that normally comes in huge bought lists. It comes down to quantity vs. quality, and for me, quality always wins. Thanks for the comment and good luck!

Reply

Geek Squad Protection

about 2 months ago

Thanks for your post! I believe there are many who feel the same satisfaction as I read this article! I hope you will continue to have such articles to share with everyone!

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 2 months ago

Thanks so much for the comment! Our goal is to provide the informative content you need to work smarter and more effectively. We certainly plan to continue publishing content each week so keep on reading! Thanks again for your encouraging feedback!

Reply

Donnie Murillo

about 3 weeks ago

A very thorough and well-written post. I enjoyed reading it and learning one thing or two too. I especially agree with "Unique Subject Lines with interesting content" since those are the very things that catch the eye of the consumer.

Reply

Gabriel Swain

about 3 weeks ago

Agreed, subject lines are critically important. If you want to read more on that subject check out this article: https://www.agilecrm.com/blog/best-practices-for-effective-email-subject-lines/. Thanks for the comment and the feedback--very helpful! Cheers :-)

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