Over the past few years, marketing automation, or email marketing, has been given a bad rap. The tactic, which uses email to reach large audiences directly, is often flagged by recipients as spam, making it challenging for marketing experts to convey important messaging. However, despite the war on spam, email marketing remains an integral part of marketing strategy because when executed correctly, it drives major results with a high return-on-investment. If working with a marketing automation agency isn’t in the cards, you can improve the success of your marketing efforts by following these 15 best practices for email marketing.
1. Desktops are dead—in terms of email.
More than half of all emails are opened on a smartphone. Since 2011, this number has increased by a whopping 500 percent, making responsiveness an indispensable feature for every email (Litmus). When crafting emails, it’s essential to design with mobile in mind. This will ultimately result in higher open rates, click-through rates and better overall user experience.
2. Track, analyze and market.
Once an email is sent, your job isn’t over. In order to measure the success of your campaign, you must monitor email activity through tracking. You can do this by using tracking features in your email marketing provider’s system or through using Google Analytics UTM codes. By adding these codes to URL it enables tracking in Google. These tools are essential for workflow campaigns, retargeting campaigns, and overall email optimization.
3. Be a social butterfly.
Adding social sharing buttons to your company’s social platforms helps increase website traffic, engagement and overall online presence. This is a great, easy way to not only share your business’s message but also to increase reach and visibility. Additionally, social buttons allow recipients the opportunity to learn more about a company’s mission and values, which ultimately improves company credibility.
4. Get close and get personal.
Don’t be afraid to address your customers directly. According to CMO.com, personalized emails, or emails tailored specifically to users, merit transaction rates six times higher than non-personalized emails. However, about 70% of brands fail to use this strategy. When developing your email marketing strategy, be sure to incorporate this tactic, which also sets your brand apart from your competitors. The results will speak for itself.
5. Pronouns are your friends.
Direct your email to your reader. Instead of using terms such as “valued customer” or “potential member,” use pronouns such as “you” and “yours” to ensure you’re connecting with the reader. After all, a person is opening your email.
6. Don’t be a phony.
No one likes to feel as if they’re being marketed to. Personalizing the email sender helps humanize a brand. Change your company’s generic send address to a person or employee within your organization. This allows recipients to feel connected to a person instead of an automated robot. I can guarantee you an email from an actual person, will garner better open rates than an email from a general email address like email@example.com.
7. Divide and conquer.
Every prospect has a different background, need, pain point and / or language. Buyer personas or fictional representations of a business’s ideal client should be used in order to segment marketing initiatives, ensuring the right message is being delivered. Creating homogeneous target groups through lists will drive open rates and click through rates.
8. One email, one goal.
Every piece of content should have one primary goal. Too many options will be confusing to the reader, which won’t help you achieve your business objectives. Therefore, it’s important to create one call to action (CTA) and list it two places: once above the fold and once at the bottom of the page. Not every visitor will make it through an entire page, so be sure to place the CTAs where users will users will see it.
9. K.I.S.S = Keep It Simple, Seriously.
Shakespeare said it best: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” No one has time to grapple with lengthy copy, which means less is more when it comes to email content. Your message needs to be brief and to the point, addressing the most important action you brand wants to achieve.
10. Lead the way.
Every email must have a defined conversion path set up for email recipients. Create a clear, action-oriented CTA in the email that sends visitors to a landing page, pricing page or free demo. Also, keep the CTA above the fold of the email, as this will boost engagement, click-through rates and the overall success of your email marketing campaign.
11. Keep your business, your business.
Keep your visitor’s eyes on your company’s content. Avoid directing viewers to any other domain except the one your link lives on. Using external links encourages visitors to leave your website or landing page, which hurts click through rates and could drive users to alternative sources.
12. Take advantage of all white space.
Pre-header text, or the snippet of content that appears after the subject line of an email, should be incorporated in every email your company sends—period. This text allows email users to get a sense of the email’s context before opening – while they are viewing it in their inbox. Well-executed pre-header text has the ability to increase open rates, especially in emails that are viewed on mobile devices.
13. Be in the business of helping.
Do not be in the business to sell—be in the business to help. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona. What problem are they looking to solve? What can your product / service do to alleviate their problems? Make sure your solutions help them get there.
14. Inbound link persuasively.
Adding inbound links that take visitors to other relevant content on your website is the key to building an effective conversion path. It’s important to link to applicable words that support the overall goal of your content. Hyperlinking URLs to relevant, helpful content is efficient and makes web pages look more visually appealing.
15. Give them a visual.
Images help our brains process information more quickly and effectively than text. Be sure to give recipients a visual representation of what your email is offering or explaining. For example, if an email is offering a free guide, include a 3D cover of the guide being offered.
It’s important to tie all images back to your website’s domain. A best practice is to link the image to the same landing page that houses your email’s CTA. Header images should also be linked back to the website or landing page contained in the email.
Your Next Steps.
Email marketing is not dead; however, there is a new set of best practices you need to implement to make sure your marketing automation campaign is successful. By implementing these 15 crucial elements in every email your company sends, you’ll be able to increase web traffic, generate leads and win sales.