The Ten Best Practices For Email Marketing Campaigns

The Ten Best Practices For Email Marketing Campaigns

Email is not dead.  Apparently, the average person receives 121 emails a day, so have we reached saturation point yet?  The answer is no, we have just learned how to manage it better.  But I am not here to talk about whether email is dead or not, I would just like to share with you some tips as to how you can cut through the noise. How do you keep out of junk folders?  How do you get people to click the link to buy your product or attend your event?  The following ten tips may help steer you in the right direction!

#1 – Use a “person” as the sender's email

Please avoid using email addresses such as info@ or sales@.  These are impersonal and will often end up in spam folders.  One of the worse sins of email marketing is to use no-reply@ email addresses.  This simply gives out the message “I am emailing you but please don't email me back” – no wonder people click the delete button!

#2 – Have a clear, attention-grabbing subject line

According to a MailChimp article, a subject line of 50 characters or less has the best open rates.  Make your subject line short and sweet and straight to the point.  At Green Umbrella we use a few tools to help us achieve good results for our clients' emails, and we use the same tools for blog headlines.

  • Book – Advertising Headlines To Make You Rich by David Garfinkle
  • Headlinr (here)– a Google Chrome extension

#3 – Is your brand consistent?

Have a look at your email design.  Are you using the right font?  The correct colour pallet? Do recipients know who the email is from just by seeing your brand?  Saying that, there is an awful lot to be said for plain text emails as well.  In fact, accordingly, to a survey conducted by Hubspot, the unbranded emails actually had an open rate of 35% more than the branded emails.  I suggest split testing and see what works best for your audience.

#4 – Personalise the content

Never start an email marketing campaign with the words Dear sir or madam.  It is impersonal and shouts to the world that you have sent the same email to a lot of people and that you are simply “blitzing” a database.  That's no way to sell nowadays.

Use merge tags and personalise the content.  Be warned, please do not go overboard with the personalisation.  Try sticking to the rule of using a merge tag in the opening field ie: Hi <first name>, and then if you feel the need then use a tag only once within the content of your email.  Recipients are not stupid and they know that it is an automated system, therefore overkill of personalisation will have the opposite effect.

#5 – Content – Value, Proposition and Context

Your email content should immediately address what your offer is.  Do not waffle on, just get right to the point in the opening paragraph.  Lists, numbers, and bullet points also work well as they are quick and easy to digest.  Try to keep the content clean and clutter free as much as possible and add links to your offer more than once in the email.

I am reminded of a story from the book “Insanely Simple”, which is the story of how Steve Jobs managed his marketing team.  They were all in a meeting talking about the various USPs of a particular product.  All of the team were trying to decipher how to get these messages into their marketing strategy.  Steve Jobs was sitting quietly in the corner rolling up paper into small balls.  He stood up, threw the balls in the air and shouted “catch” – the team tried catching the balls but only a few were caught.  Steve then said “this is your marketing USPs”.  If I just threw one ball at you, you would catch it and that is what we need to do with our strategy for this.  We just need to decide which message is the strongest.  (Great book if you have not read it!).

So keep your content clutter free and there should only be one sales link – but you can add it twice (once at the top and another at the bottom).

#6 – Use Images

The mind processes images 65 thousand times quicker than text, so use images or media as much as you can.  (But always click the “plain text” version as well before you press send).  In January 2014, we changed our strategy to include text within the images for our blogs, tips and email marketing campaigns.  We immediately saw an increase of click-throughs by 12% and I would never return to simple stock images.

Please note that adding GIFS to your email will decrease open rates by 37% (according to a report from Hubspot).  So use them sparingly and certainly not in email campaigns.

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#7 – Use social sharing tools

If you are sending any type of sales email, then please include social sharing tools.  If the option is there to share your email on Facebook, Twitter or even email to a friend then this gives your recipients the opportunity to share your content with a click of a button.  A no-brainer!

This is something that I am seeing more regularly on email campaigns now.  Gain credibility of your audience by adding a link to your privacy policy on your website.  People are very wary about their privacy nowadays, so keep ahead of the game and let your email recipients know that you care about their privacy and that their email or data will not be shared anywhere else.

#9 – Respect others' inboxes

Not only is it a legal requirement, but sending an unsolicited email can seriously damage your credibility as a business owner.  There is nothing worse than receiving an email that you can not unsubscribe from.  Don't be that person!  (Also, please don't use the cc option, to send bulk email – it's just wrong and you know it!).

#10 – Send an email more than once

A technique to master is by split testing the subject lines.  You may spend a lot of time crafting an email campaign.  Once it is done then you click the send button.  Perhaps only 30% of your email list actually saw the email, which means that 70% did not.  I would recommend sending the same email again one week later to the 70% that did not open the email, BUT this time, change the subject line.

Simple but very useful!

Summary

Email is probably the most effective form of online marketing solutions out there.  It is much more powerful than social media (yes, I said that out loud!).  In a future blog, I will talk about strategies to increase your email subscriptions numbers, but for now just remember that the key to success with any form of marketing is consistency.

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