Email Marketing Best Practices

 
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Email marketing is a proven, highly valuable tool for communicating with both current and prospective customers.

There’s a lot that goes into email marketing, so we’ve assembled some email marketing best practices as a guide.

Getting started with email marketing

If you’re just starting up your email marketing, you should determine how you’ll send messages, track responses, and keep up with those who unsubscribe. Your options depend on your budget, the features you need and the size of your contact database.

Selecting an email service

There are many email service providers (ESPs) to choose from at different price points.  For small businesses on a tight budget, MailChimp is free (for up to 2,000 subscribers).  Constant Contact is robust, easy to use and starts at $20/month.  A free trial period is offered.  Here’s the most useful review of email services we’ve found.

Building your email marketing list

Once you’ve chosen how to send messages and manage responses, focus on building your email list.  Opt-n forms are a good way to grow your email marketing list. Keep your opt-in forms short and simple.  With privacy being more of a concern than ever, make sure the form links to a clearly worded privacy statement. Make your visitors feel comfortable about providing their information by assuring them you won’t send the unsolicited emails or sell their name to anyone.

Targeting your audience

The key to email marketing success is making sure the content is relevant to your readers – whether they are customers or not. This is how you’ll increase your conversion rates and decrease opt-outs.

Designing for today’s devices

As more and more prospects use smartphones and tablets, your email looks good on mobile devices is a must.  How your emails look is just as important as what you send.  You never get a second chance at that first impression – it’s all about the design.

Standing out in the crowd

Everyone you are trying to reach is busy and being constantly bombarded by email, most of which aren’t even relevant to them or their needs. So to capture their attention:

  • Personalize the email

  • Make it timely and relevant

  • Create compelling subject lines

  • Develop creative design elements

The “From” line             

Is your “from” name recognizable and trustworthy to your audiences? Since this field usually appears first in email clients, it is probably the first thing your subscribers see. Usually you’ll find the names of companies, brands, or individuals here. Keep in mind that if your subscriber doesn’t know who the email is from, the chances they’ll open it are slim.

The all-important subject line

There is no set formula for creating the perfect subject line. It’s a strictly trial and error thing. What works for someone else may not work for you.  A/B testing – sending the same email with different subject lines – makes good sense.  Keep in mind that many email clients only display a certain number of characters and may cut off a portion of your subject line if it’s too long. The rule of thumb is 50 characters or less.

Utilize analytics

Make good use of the detailed analytics built into most email marketing systems.

  • Review your open rates

  • Look at click-through rates

  • Track unsubscribe rates and bounce rates

If you have a question about email marketing or need help, just let us know.