If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times: the rumours of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Email marketing is alive and well, and the digital marketing gurus are coming up with ingenious methods to leverage its power, whether it’s for B2C or B2B. The main idea behind this digital venture, like every other medium used by brands worldwide, is to improve performance and pad your bottom line.
Email marketing achieves the goal of promoting your company. Don’t believe it? Consider this statistic: 38% of US consumers are driven to action due to email through engagement. This is a huge number, and you can experience comparable figures by expanding on what works and improving where you’re witnessing hiccups.
To help you succeed, we’ve compiled a list of the best 20 email marketing tips to boost your sales.
1. Follow a Pre-Send Checklist
When you start your email marketing campaign, it’s important to produce a pre-send checklist. This is essentially a list of all the things you should do and need to follow before you send an email to your 10,000 subscribers. This could range from ensuring the copy has been proofread to making sure the link to your landing page is correct.
It might be tedious and require an additional step, but it’s critical if you wish to produce quality emails.
2. Know Your Audience
Because companies can become so immense, it can be difficult for them to determine who their customers are. For smaller firms, they have a bit more of an intimate relationship that can foster better engagement, tailored content and brand loyalty. Indeed, there can be a disconnection between a shopper and a large corporation, making you feel like another cog in the wheel.
Whether you have 100 or 10,000 subscribers, it’s important to have a general idea of who your audience is. This is important because you don’t want to design content that is completely strange for 80% of your customers.
3. Produce Quality Copy
A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking quantity supersedes quality. This means they think sending out three emails per day and producing a lot of content will boost leads, generate sales and increase brand satisfaction. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: you may lose customers because they are annoyed and frustrated after being inundated with a constant and never-ending stream of emails.
Your focus should be on producing quality copy, not churning out dozens of emails in a single week. Indeed, it’s the quality that matters most, and your audience will notice if you’re skimping out on proofreading, fact-checking or editing. Since emails are forever, getting the little details correct makes the biggest of differences.
4. Focus on Subject Lines
How can focusing on five words be an email marketing tip?
Believe it or not, composing subject lines has become an art form in digital marketing. On the one hand, you need to draft an appealing subject line that will encourage recipients to click on the email. On the other, you need to abide by the rules of email service providers.
So, how can you compose the right subject line without getting sent to the spam folder? Here are a few suggestions:
- Personalise your email by adding the recipient’s name to the beginning.
- Be simple and get straight to the point in your subject line.
- Refrain from misleading your audiences by using things ‘Re:’, ‘account status’ or ‘you missed it’.
- Avoid typing in spam trigger words, including ‘click here’, ‘take action’ and ‘sent in compliance’.
- Stick to a character limit; research suggests 41 characters is the ideal length.
If you home in on subject lines, then the rest comes easy.
5. Interact with Subscribers
While email marketing is one of the most successful endeavours in digital marketing today, it can still make customers feel like they’re nothing more than a target to sell to. Put simply, your company is treating the individual as a dollar sign and nothing more. You want to remove this illusion.
How so? Well, the crucial thing is to interact with your subscribers. You might be thinking that this is impossible since you have hundreds or thousands of customers or that engagement is hard because everything is being done online. But the level of interaction can be ever so slight that it can make an enormous difference to your project.
Need some ideas? Here are several tips to consider:
- Send a welcome email to new subscribers.
- Produce informative content in your email newsletters that goes beyond selling something.
- Encourage the customer to participate in a hashtag on Twitter.
- Social-proof your emails by sharing user-generated content.
- Show off your personality by including a GIF or random clip from time to time.
Consumers are already bombarded with scores of emails. What makes you so special? It is your job to stand out from the crowd and try to forge a bond with your customers.
6. Be Mobile-Friendly
Despite mobile traffic rivalling that of desktop traffic, there are still plenty of companies that fail to optimise their emails to be mobile-friendly. Whether it’s the multimedia content inside the email or a link to a landing page that isn’t made with mobile in mind, digital marketers are risking quite a bit by not crafting their emails with iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Blackberry users in mind. And that is a problem, especially in 2020.
The easy solution to this is to think about mobile when writing content or designing a newsletter template:
- Be concise and straight to the point in both copy and design.
- Use a single and clear CTA.
- Refrain from using a small font.
- Limit your image additions to just one or two.
- Don’t forget to use a single-column template.
7. Personalise Your Blasts
It might be quicker and easier to send a one-size-fits-all email blast that is meant to cater to every single characteristic and buying habit of your clients. At a time when your customers are likely receiving several other bland and unoriginal emails, this is your opportunity to take it the extra mile: personalise.
There’s nothing better when you just add the person’s name to the email, even if it’s done through software and not inserted manually. The simple gesture conveys an effective message that you’re acknowledged as a person, not just a shopper.
Don’t think it will work? Here’s a statistic: personalisation delivers six times higher transaction rates.
8. Ditch the No-Reply Address
Let’s be honest: there’s nothing more impersonal than seeing a no-reply email address from the sender ([email protected]). What’s up with that? It would be a good idea to ditch that type of email address and use a regular email address.
If you don’t want to be inundated with emails (how ironic!), then you could always have a note on the bottom of your email that says: ‘This account is not monitored.’.
Whatever you do, though, always try to slap a name in place of ‘no-reply’.
9. Segment Your Email List
Remember when we mentioned the one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing? Yeah, that doesn’t work. What does work, however, is segmenting your email list. This consists of slicing your emails in all kinds of different ways, which is what smart marketers do, mainly because it leads to 14% higher open rates, 65% greater clicks and 9% fewer unsubscribes.
If you need some suggestions on how to segment, here are some tips:
- Ask your customers about their preferences (how often they would prefer to receive emails or what type of content they would prefer).
- Create profiles of your subscribers by enquiring about their interests.
- Segment by location.
- Contact subscribers based on their shopping behaviours (did they abandon their cart or form?).
- Categorise shoppers by how much they spend, what they buy and their purchasing frequency.
Not everyone is the same, so it’s important to try to customise your blasts as much as possible.
10. Integrate Social Media with Campaigns
Are you making a big push into the realm of social media? If so, you can always leverage your email marketing to build your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest following. It would be preferable to refrain from begging subscribers to follow you on a social network, but you can make references in your messages that can encourage them to hit the ‘Follow’ button.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Share some images or videos you’ve posted on social media.
- Insert a testimonial from a loyal follower of yours.
- Push them to your accounts by noting followers receive special discounts.
- List the interesting content you publish.
- Make passing requests, such as ‘Be sure to follow us on Twitter for even more savings!’.
Social media is still a key digital marketing tactic that should be exploited as much as possible.
11. Update Landing Pages When Necessary
Unfortunately, whether it’s because you’re too busy or you don’t have enough personnel, landing pages may be old and outdated. This is embarrassing if you’re sharing a link to the landing page in your emails. When you get the opportunity, always check your landing pages and make sure that they’ve been updated.
12. Send During Primetime
Should you send an email at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Monday? What about 4pm on a Friday?
Data scientists have compiled interesting insights into the best times to send out emails. And the results are a bit eye-opening. One study found that the best times and days for higher open rates are Tuesdays between 10am and 3pm and between 8pm and midnight, and on Thursdays between 9am and noon. Another pinpointed the exact time of email opens: 11am, except Sundays when it’s 9am.
Of course, you might have a different clientele altogether, and your data may suggest something else. Whatever the case, be sure to monitor the times with the most amount of success.
There are also some tricks to consider incorporating:
- Maximise the time it takes to read your emails to three minutes.
- Craft the first words to the best of your ability.
- Think mobile when putting together your emails.
13. Perform an Inventory of Your List
Every quarter, it’s important to go through your subscribers list. By doing inventory, you can weed out emails that no longer exist or accounts that continually delete your messages every time. These types of actions will only harm your data, so be sure to remove them every so often.
Of course, at the same time, it would be best if you added three new subscribers for every one account you eliminate.
14. Reward Your Loyal Brand Ambassadors
How do you enable shoppers to click on your emails? Rewards!
This is where segmentation comes into play again. Some customers are more loyal than others. They are routinely clicking on your emails, buying stuff, sharing their purchases on social media and showering your company with praise online. These are people who should be celebrated, and there are a few ways you can do this:
- Extend a discount on purchases over $25.
- Offer them sneak peeks into future releases.
- Thank them in emails or in special blog posts.
All you need to do is just spotlight their contributions to your success. They’ve certainly earned it.
15. Make it Easy to Unsubscribe
At the bottom of every email, you should have options for recipients to unsubscribe or revise their preferences. Moreover, when a customer hits the ‘Unsubscribe’ button, it should automatically remove them from your list and not require you to go through multiple steps (hit the button, verify and click on a link in another email).
It may seem counterintuitive when you’ve just started a business and desperate for an audience. Still, every marketing guru recommends making it as easy as possible to unsubscribe from future marketing materials.
16. Prepare for the Holidays or Seasons
Sure, many retailers will invest heavily in a marketing campaign during the Christmas season. But what about all the other holidays throughout the year? From Halloween to Valentine’s Day, you should take full advantage of these events and try to grab the attention of consumers who want to spend on these days.
And don’t forget about the seasons, too! Consumers are also willing to spend their hard-earned money on summer stuff or lift their spirits in the middle of the cold, dreary and miserable winter.
17. Learn the Signs of Email Fatigue
Have you ever heard of email fatigue? This is when subscribers are tired of facing a barrage of emails all day long. In fact, a recent survey discovered that 74% of Americans are fatigued from the abundance of emails they receive.
Of course, you can’t blame marketers because they’re concentrating on click-through rates, A/B testing and copywriting. But you might need to also concentrate on the various signs of email fatigue:
- fewer open and click-through rates
- greater number of customers who unsubscribe
- overall disengagement on the part of subscribers
These are usually the result of irrelevant content being emailed or emails that are blasted too frequently.
18. Select Relevant KPIs
Not all key performance indicators (KPIs) will be relevant to your email marketing strategy. Some are more important than others, and certain metrics are crucial to what you’re trying to achieve. Therefore, it’s a good idea to select the relevant KPIs that can help you gauge the efficacy of your initiative.
The primary KPIs are:
- open rates (number of emails opened)
- click-through rates (number of people who clicked on a link in the email)
- click-to-open rates (compares the number of unique clicks and unique opens)
- bounce rates (percentage of visitors who abandon the business website after viewing just one page)
- unsubscribe rate (subscribers who unsubscribe from your mailing list)
You may choose to home in on a particular KPI or many different ones.
19. Embrace Automation
Automation is one of the many tools that can be of tremendous assistance in the world of email marketing. You can get a lot of the tedious and mundane tasks completed by taking advantage of software that’s designed to complete these items on your daily to-do list.
Everything from nurturing lead generation to workflow assignments (welcomes, birthdays, cart recoveries and targeted signup forms), your small business can use automation as you focus on delivering the best goods or services.
20. Never Spam
Finally, you should never spam your audience. If you do, they will be sent straight to the spam folder – and that is the result you want to avoid. Now, the definition of spamming may vary from marketer to marketer, but there are various signs that your email marketing campaign messages may be spam disguised in well-crafted digital marketing techniques.
Unsure of the signs? Here are just a few of them:
- sending several emails per day
- buying or renting email lists from other companies
- ignoring spam complaints from your subscribers
- too many of your emails are going into the spam folder
- falsifying your subject lines or the content inside your emails
Put simply, never spam. Only fools spam! You may think this is the way to market your small business, but it will do irreparable harm.
Email marketing is not dead. The statistics tell a unique story of just how important email is to an overall digital marketing campaign. To entrepreneurs just starting out, it may seem like a tactic from the 1990s, especially when you have all these other advertising avenues to explore, like social media or mobile search engine optimisation. But we all still depend on email even in 2020, so why not leverage its power?
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Join the conversation down below and let us know.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 15 August 2017.