15 Email Marketing Tips - How many did you know?
Did you see our blog post, “Email Marketing Report - Is Email Marketing Really Dead in 2020?”. We received several interesting responses and questions from the community and as a result wrote a short guide with 15 indispensable email marketing tips for 2020. Enjoy our email marketing tips, which you can use in all email marketing platforms and suites, whether you are using Mailchimp, Activetrail, Klaviyo, Drip, Constant Contact or different email marketing platforms or services.
1. Beware of GDPR
In May 2018 the EU launched GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to make sure that businesses protect the privacy of EU citizens and their personal data. Sending mass emails to lists of Europeans who haven’t signed up through double opt-in can get you into serious legal trouble. Guidelines might get stricter in the US and additional countries as well down the road so the best bet is to be careful and apply the EU standards worldwide.
2. Don’t land in spam folders Just as important as GDPR are anti SPAM policies of ISPs (internet service providers) like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Walla (Israel), GMX (Germany, Switzerland) and the like. Breaking up your sending volumes to a consistent level shows ISPs that you’re not a phisher or spammer. If you do plan to send high volumes of emails, it’s a must to increase the amount gradually. This is called “warming up a new sending IP”. If you send out an email blasts to too many subscribers at one time the ISPs will likely throttle your emails. Our agency has helped in numerous cases where suddenly every email from the companies’ domain landed in spam folders or where engagement decreased dramatically. Avoid this by using double opt-in, utilizing a subdomain such as marketing.company.com for email marketing and avoiding spammy subject lines such as “Start making money and become rich without winning the lottery”.
3. Be clear and concise Be clear and concise. Use simple language. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and you only have a few seconds to grab your reader’s attention. A clear subject line, preview line and title determine whether someone reads or watches the content you send out. Super hot tip: Statistics show that most subscribers will open your newsletter on their mobile device. Make sure your emails are built for a mobile first world as approximately 66% of mobile users delete emails that are not mobile optimized, according to Uplers.
4. Know your audience Be aware of your audience and their perspective. Are you marketing to millennials with a small budget or are you trying to reach upper class baby boomers? Language, design and CTAs (Call to Action) need to be adopted accordingly. Maybe there is a specific vernacular or slang that might resonate with them or they might be characterized by specific actions or activities. Make sure to always be personal, use the subscribers’ first name if you know it and use direct expressions like “Josh, here is your unique coupon code”.
5. Segment your audience
Increase open and click rates, improve email relevance, and decrease opt-out/ unsubscribe rates when you segment your audience. This is especially important for ecommerce businesses where a slightly higher or lower conversion rate can have a significant impact on store revenue. We suggest to start segmenting by user behavior (active vs. passive subscribers, based for example on open rate), customers vs. prospects, amount of purchase, location etc.
6. Let your subscribers decide about periodicity Nobody likes to be bombarded with emails. Make sure to include the mandatory unsubscribe button in the footer of every email you send. If you send different emails to different segments, let subscribers choose in which segment they would like to be by letting them determine their preferences. Do they want to get 3 weekly product promotions or only the monthly newsletter with a summary about the latest trends? Remember this tip - if you don’t want to let the subscribers choose then as a thumb rule, one blast a week is a good frequency to send at first.
7. Get yourself noticed 293.6 billion emails were sent per day in 2019 according to Techjury. You need to stand out in order to get noticed and no one wants to open and read a boring email. Subject lines, preview lines, CTAs, personalization style (using their first or last name), images, email layout and design are all important factors, in addition to the content. Personalized subject lines provide a 26% boost in open rates according to Campaign Monitor and 56% of brands see higher open rates when they use emojis in their subject lines, according to Disruptive Advertising. Using different animated buttons and call-to-actions are additional ways to get noticed. Accordion features (items minimized that the user can “open” or maximize) are designed to make long-form emails more compact. When sending very long emails, accordion style is an option that email recipients might find appealing. Try to use a voice that's consistent with your brand - both in terms of text and design.
8. You have one shot Always prepare your messages thoroughly and have someone else review your campaign before you send it out. Email promotion is different from other online marketing campaigns because you have one shot. If your Facebook ad contains a typo or an invalid link you fix it and the problem is solved. But if that happens in your emails you might have to tell your boss that 10K users just clicked on an invalid link in the email in which you misspelled the name of your newly released product. Trust the experts - take the time to plan out and draft an outline, write a copy and proofread it several times.
9. Be smart about send times Figuring out the perfect time to send your email blast is a hot topic. And while there is no right and wrong, there are a couple of universal tips. Consider sending your emails on “off” times, not on the top of the hour. Distribute your newsletter for example at 11:09 am instead of 11.00 am sharp. The best days to get engagement are Tuesdays, followed by Wednesdays according to Wordstream. Weekends are not recommended for sending emails, with Sunday only slightly better than Saturday. Never send your newsletter in the middle of the night unless you have a pizza restaurant with 24/7 delivery and want to reach hungry night owls and make them purchase at 2am.
10. Keep your lists clean
Always build your own email lists using double-opt in. Although some people will take the time to unsubscribe themselves if they aren’t interested in your emails, many will just ignore your emails indefinitely or even get upset at some point and mark them as spam. This is likely to be harmful for your delivery rates and also signals to ISPs that you may not be sending wanted email. We recommend cleaning your list on a regular basis. If a subscriber hasn’t opened any email in the last 12 months you can remove them and therefore improve your open and click rates. Carve out a few minutes each quarter to remove unengaged subscribers from your lists.
11. Ask subscribers for their opinion and for help
If you want to conduct a survey or poll you can use a format where subscribers don’t have to leave their inboxes anymore to leave feedback. They simply write and click within the email which can help you to get more responses. The best group to survey are your VIPs, whether they are the top customers or the subscribers that open each and every email. Ask them how to improve your email program (or highlight what you’re doing well), and be sure to reward them with special offers, discounts or free merch.
12. Create a creative and fun content plan
If you are spending Monday nights worrying about what content to share in the weekly newsletter on Tuesday morning, the time has come to create a content plan. We recommend planning 4-12 weeks ahead and creating very diverse content: blog posts, Youtube videos, product and service promotions, customer reviews, customer success stories, surveys, happy holiday and happy birthday emails are some of the topics you can cover.
13. Choose a smart sender name and email address
What should be put as your “from” name? We don’t recommend using a no-reply response (e.g. “email@example.com”) as this stifles the impression of having a 1:1 conversation with your subscriber. Info@ or updates@ are some of the possibilities. You can also make it personal as people rather get an email from another human than from a company. Example: sending newsletters from firstname.lastname@example.org “Belinda from Company” is a good way to initiate a conversation with your stakeholders.
14. Grow your subscriber lists How do you grow your subscriber list? There are several options to do this including single opt-in, double, and pre-confirmed opt-in to name a few. We recommend only using the double opt-in method. What is double opt-in? Double opt-in requires recipients to not only click a box on your sign-up page, but also to follow a link in their email in order to double confirm that they really want to sign up.
15. Create email automation
According to HubSpot, mapping out the customer journey and using personalized content are the most effective ways to optimize marketing automation. In fact, custom automation workflows are known to have the highest open and click-through rates.
Learn more about email automation and about other 2020 trends in this recent blog post >>> Email Marketing Report - Is Email Marketing Really Dead in 2020?