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Email Marketing Best Practices

By David Allred

Email Marketing Best Practices

We’ve executed numerous email campaigns and have learned what works when it comes to engaging with readers on a regular basis. Here we share some best practices for email marketing. Read time: six minutes

Over the last few years, we’ve executed numerous email campaigns and along the way have learned a thing or two about what works when it comes to engaging with readers on a regular basis.

Begin with your frequency commitment.

The only thing worse than not taking advantage of the power of email marketing is sending sporadic emails to your database or not following through on the schedule you’ve produced. So before sending your first email, commit to a realistic schedule that works best for your organization - whether that be once a month, twice a month or weekly. What matters is that you adhere to the schedule you’ve created. Doing so will prime your readers for what to expect and how often to expect it - helping establish your brand as reliable and consistent.

Create an engaging subject line.

Writing an engaging subject line is a lot more work than most people realize. How do you effectively convey your message with just a few words? Will it encourage your readers to open the email? Below are some tried-and-true parameters to help draw in readers from the get-go:

  • Keep it short and sweet. 75% of email is viewed on mobile devices, and you don’t want your subject line to be cut off mid-thought. Marketo analyzed nearly 2 million emails and found that 4 words garner the most opens, and 7 words garner the most clicks. So, try to keep your subject lines within that range.
  • Don’t give it all away. You want to captivate your audience’s attention and entice them to read further. But there’s a fine line between piquing interest and being click-bait. Stay away from spammy subject lines and really put some thought into your message. Try using a question or call to action that will make your audience want to know more.
  • Experiment with personalization. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than their generic counterparts. In a world where consumers are subjected to information overload, personalization can give you an edge.

Communicate using your brand voice.
Your audience expects a consistent experience regardless of how they interact with your brand, and a well-developed brand voice can help make your brand instantly recognizable and build trust and loyalty among your readers. So, when you’re designing your email template and developing the content to populate it, the language and tone of voice used should be consistent with the feel of your website, blog and other marketing materials. Cohesiveness is your best friend.

Provide clear Calls To Action (CTAs).

Offering readers a clear Call To Action is the surest way to drive them to your website, bettering your chances of conversion. But not all CTAs are created equal, and there are some basic rules to follow to increase the probability of engagement:

  • Avoid ambiguity. Your CTA should be clear, concise and prepare the user for what they are going to experience next.
  • Make it visible. Your CTA should stand apart from the rest of your content to ensure it gets noticed. Using a button rather than a link and strategically utilizing white space can help ensure that your CTA doesn’t get lost among other design elements.
  • Bigger isn’t always better. While you may be tempted to make your CTA larger than life, doing so may result in lower conversion rates. Your audience doesn’t want to feel shouted at or pressured into action. There’s a delicate balance between inviting and obtrusive design, and it’s important to ensure that your CTA doesn’t distract readers or drive them away from your message.

Design a template that is visually appealing.

Aesthetics are a big deal and can heavily impact the success of your campaign. Balancing your email’s visual appeal with your message and brand identity takes work. Don’t overwhelm your subscribers by cramming in as much information and imagery into each email as possible. The overall design should enhance your message, support your brand and evoke positive feelings. Be intentional with your color scheme and layout, and aim to strike a healthy balance between your branding and your message. Once you establish this "look", strongly resist the urge to update or change it. It can be helpful to virtually all of your marketing efforts to subscribe to the rule that: as soon as you start getting tired of your marketing, your target audience is just beginning to notice it.

Develop content strategically.

If you are going to be emailing someone on a regular basis, they expect thought leadership - high quality, relevant content that is educational or makes their life easier by addressing pain points and offering solutions. They don’t want to feel marketed to. The content you share should be relevant to their interests with the end goals of driving website traffic, encouraging transactions and fostering brand loyalty.

Evaluate your efforts.

Commit to evaluating this data on a quarterly basis and use it to inform your editorial calendar planning efforts for the next quarter based on the performance of prior email efforts. It is helpful to track this data in a spreadsheet. Set up columns that include the below headings adding a row for each email and record the below data points approximately 7 days after each send:

  • Date of the send
  • Day of the week of the send
  • Time of day of the send
  • The subject line
  • The total size of the database for that send
  • % of email opens
  • % of clicks
  • Number of new subscribers
  • Number of unsubscribes

Once you have enough data to begin identifying trends, leverage that information into all of your digital and social content to speak more effectively to your target audiences, and provide a more relevant brand experience.

When done consistently and correctly, email marketing can be an effective marketing tool. Decide, commit, and stick to it. Your numbers, your competence, and your confidence will grow through the action of hitting send on a consistent basis. Believe us, it does get easier over time. However, if it is something you know your team needs to implement but can’t add to the internal to-do list, it is something you can outsource. Contact us if you’d like Stamp to assist your content development and distribution program.