Email Marketing Best Practices
Over the past several years, countless businesses have incorporated email marketing into their online strategies. It’s more cost-effective than print marketing, it speeds up the buying cycle, and the recipients have shown themselves to be interested sales leads. However, just because email is an effective marketing tool doesn’t mean email marketing isn’t a strategic process.
Like other marketing strategies, email requires time and attention to detail, not to mention an understanding of how people communicate via email. The only way to generate value from your plan is to implement email marketing best practices every time you send a message. You can start to maximize the returns on every email you send with a few solid strategies.
1. Build a list of subscribers organically
Consumers generally don’t like unsolicited marketing pitches, and they’re especially turned off when they get one through email since it looks like spam. An email from an unfamiliar person feels more intrusive than a postcard in the mail, and it can turn people away from your organization for good. The first step to a successful email strategy is to build a list of volunteer email addresses of people who want to keep in touch with your business.
Your website is one of the most convenient places to build this list. Include an opt-in field, pop-up bar, or other eye-catching form on your site that asks for a visitor’s name and email address. You can also use your social media pages to sign up new subscribers, and in-person events like trade shows can drive extra interest too.
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2. Choose a platform that suits your needs
Sending an email to one or two people isn’t complicated — you write your message and hit the send button. But when you’re sending messages to hundreds or even thousands of people, it’s good to have some backup. Using the right platforms for your email marketing campaigns can make it easier for you to stay in contact with the people who want to hear from you.
There are lots of effective email automation programs available. Choose the one that enables a seamless email strategy, including personalization, segmentation, scheduling, and automatic sending. It’s also critical that the tool show you response metrics so you can see how well your emails work with your audience. The tool you use should make each email look as if you’d written it yourself.
3. Personalize every email
One of the benefits of email is the ability to foster more intimate communications with customers. This ability is hindered when you send emails that begin, “Dear Recipient.” When it comes to email marketing, best practices call for more one-on-one communication, and personalization goes a long way towards achieving that, even if it’s just greeting your customer by name.
The cardinal rule for every email, regardless of the rest of the content, is to address it to each person. Depending on the subject, you could personalize other elements, too. For example, if the recipient has purchased from your site in the past, highlight similar products or product categories in promotional emails. The more you tailor each email to each recipient, the more likely they are to go back to your site.
4. Include a call to action
The whole point of email marketing is to elicit a response from your subscribers. Media sites want readers to click news stories or videos, while ecommerce sites want them to click and buy merchandise. The only way they’re going to know what you want them to do is if you tell them in a clearly stated call to action.
Placing a colorful “Click Here” button in your email shows recipients exactly what to do for more information. Your links can lead to product pages, landing pages, or other pages that encourage conversions. You can also include a link right below your button in case something goes wrong — you don’t want to lose a potential sale because of a technicality.
5. Monitor and improve
Are your emails resonating with recipients? Are they responding the way you want them to? You want to make sure that your recipients are opening your emails, clicking the links inside, and coming back to your website. If any part of that plan doesn’t come together, you can rework your strategy for better results. But you can only do that if you know what’s going wrong.
Your metrics should show you who’s opening emails and who isn’t, which gives you a great opportunity to test different ideas and see which ones work best. By tracking your best-performing work, you can maximize the chance that customers will return to your site.
6. Give your subscribers options
An email opt-in is not a binding contract. People change their minds all the time about how often they want to hear from you — and sometimes they may not want to hear from you anymore at all. At the bottom of every email you send, include an option for changing their settings, including an unsubscribe link.
The amount of options you give your recipients is up to you, but more is generally better. While it may hurt when a user unsubscribes from your email list, it’s better to let them go than to send them emails that they no longer want. That can damage your reputation and your brand’s image.
Starting an email marketing campaign takes a lot of time. If you’re busy running your business, consider hiring an outside firm to take care of your marketing for you.
WebFX is an Internet marketing firm with over 150 years of collective experience among its employees. Our expert team of marketers, designers, copywriters, and developers knows how to create effective campaigns that follow email marketing best practices so you can get the results you want for your dollar. Contact us today and we’ll tailor an email marketing campaign specifically to your business for one-of-a-kind results.
Ready to start your email marketing campaign? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebFX can help.