Leveraging email marketing to scale your business is a superb strategy, yet crafting a dynamic email marketing blueprint becomes imperative in light of emerging strategies and best practices.
The COVID-19 pandemic left an indelible imprint on email marketing, enhancing its efficacy and reinforcing the importance of email as a powerful channel for engaging audiences. Nowadays, businesses are devoting larger portions of their marketing budgets to email campaigns, and this pattern shows no signs of abating.
In this piece, we’ll outline prevailing email marketing best practices and delve into predictions for future trends as marketers capitalize on novel strategies, trends, and technology.
The following eight best practices for email marketing are long-established strategies. If you’ve yet to implement these, let 2023 be the year you begin.
Adherence to the CAN-SPAM Act
Non-compliance with the stipulations of the CAN-SPAM Act may lead to the banning of your domain name, thus inhibiting your ability to send emails from your domain. The Federal Trade Commission has assembled a compliance guide for the CAN-SPAM Act, which enumerates the following directives for businesses:
- Avoid using false or misleading header information.
- Refrain from using deceptive subject lines.
- Inform recipients of your location.
- Provide recipients with a method to opt out of future emails.
- Promptly heed opt-out requests.
- Keep tabs on activities conducted by third parties (such as marketing firms you engage) on your behalf.
Tailor Your Emails to Your Audience
To enhance your marketing ROI, it’s essential to identify and comprehend your target demographic. Develop a buyer persona to truly understand your customers’ needs and communicate effectively with them.
For instance, let’s assume your business offers dog training services, and one segment of your target audience is first-time puppy owners. Your email marketing content might address these questions:
- Is your puppy barking excessively at other dogs?
- Does your puppy ignore your call to return?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about your training approach?
- Is your puppy having accidents inside the house?
Subsequently, you might include:
- Some tips to address these issues (this showcases your expertise and fosters trust)
- A testimonial from a satisfied client
- A clear call to action, demonstrating empathy for their issues and your capability to assist
- Adorable puppy images
This email marketing best practice is known as “segmentation”, which involves dividing your email subscriber base into smaller groups based on buyer personas. While segmenting your email lists into specific groups requires more effort than dispatching a single email to your entire contact list, this additional work can result in higher email open rates, improved click-through rates (CTR), and ultimately, increased sales.
Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly
Research from SparkPost indicates that 42% to 60% of email campaigns are opened on mobile devices, making it critical to optimize emails for mobile viewing. Recipients interact with emails differently on smartphones compared to desktops, often scrolling rapidly and potentially dedicating less attention than when viewing on a computer screen.
To optimize your emails for mobile devices, consider the following best practices:
- Place your most important content at the beginning of your subject line to ensure it doesn’t get overlooked (An email client may truncate part of the subject line)
- Limit your subject lines to under 30 characters
- Include preheader text to give readers a clearer idea of the email content and entice them to open it
- Adopt a font size of at least 12 points to ensure your content is easily readable on smaller screens
- Use large images, but don’t solely rely on them, as they may not load correctly on all mobile devices
- Position your calls to action at the top (before readers need to scroll) to ensure they are not missed
- Test your emails on different screen types
Assess Your Emails on Multiple Screen Formats
Emails frequently appear differently on desktop screens compared to mobile devices. Some email clients provide a feature allowing you to preview desktop, mobile, and inbox renditions of your email. This facility ensures you don’t need to alternate between devices to preview your emails—though conducting actual device checks can still be beneficial. Preview your emails across desktop, mobile, and inbox formats to ensure a consistent appearance across different screens.
Maintain Your Email List
Once you’ve established an email list, it’s critical to continually update it. Despite being one of the oldest email marketing best practices, many marketers neglect their lists over time. Here are some potential hazards you expose yourself to by not keeping your email marketing lists current:
- Experiencing high email bounce rates, preventing your content from reaching your audience
- Being labelled as a spammer by your email software, which could result in a ban on sending future emails from your domain
- Delivering content that no longer aligns with subscribers’ interests
Implement the following measures to maintain an updated list:
- Document your most recent lists of unsubscribers
- Avoid deploying old email lists for new campaigns. Instead, target those who have subscribed within the past few months. For instance, if you obtained a list of conference attendees two years prior, refrain from including them in a current email campaign.
- Regularly execute campaigns to attract new email subscribers
- Exclude subscribers who have shown no engagement with your emails over the past year
Evaluate Outcomes and Modify Campaigns as Needed
Your task doesn’t conclude once the emails are dispatched. A prudent practice is to wait roughly a week (allowing subscribers time to open your emails), then assess the campaign’s effectiveness to determine what was successful and where enhancements can be made.
Your specific email marketing strategy will dictate the key performance indicators for your reporting, which may comprise:
- Click-through rate
- Open rate
- Bounce rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Spam reports
- Lead conversions
Focus Your Marketing on Subscribers Who Have Opted-In
Certain email marketing tools permit you to engage with individuals who didn’t voluntarily subscribe to your emails. Nonetheless, most experts discourage this tactic. Marketing to individuals who did not willingly opt into your campaign could prove counterproductive to your overall marketing initiatives. Directing emails to bought lists is often unproductive and squanders both time and resources, while also irking individuals who lack interest in your offerings.
Moreover, email marketing must adhere to digital privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Invest effort in cultivating your email list and focus your marketing on individuals who have demonstrated interest in your goods or services.
Incorporate Timeliness in Email Marketing
Incorporating timely elements in your email marketing strategy can stimulate engagement and elevate sales. For instance, detailing your discounts and promotions can be beneficial for a thriving holiday marketing campaign.
In 2021, several businesses harnessed email marketing to communicate changes in policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, while others underscored their dedication to social justice.
Bear in mind that your contacts are navigating the world in real-time and are influenced by ongoing events. Whenever feasible, forge a connection between your brand and what your audience is encountering in their daily lives.