10 best practices to improve your email marketing

As email marketers, we often ask ourselves the question “how can we improve our marketing campaigns?” What are some of the ways in which we can increase customer engagement and what strategies should we employ to improve campaign performance? We want to know all the best practices, that’s why we believe, that to assure the great results in email marketing, marketers should have a meticulous approach in every stage of their strategy, from subscriber acquisition to ongoing data analysis.

Here are 10 best practices you should apply in your marketing game if you want to assure customer satisfaction and see your revenue grow.

1. Ask for the double opt-in

Double opt-in is a confirmed subscription. The email address provided by a potential user is added to the list of subscribers only after they have clicked on a unique confirmation link sent to them by email. This additional confirmation verifies that it was the actual email address owner who subscribed to the newsletter.

By creating a list of subscribers that are interested in receiving your communications, you can assure greater engagement.

64% of B2B and 76% of B2C marketers judge engagement as one of the top 3 objectives of their email marketing campaigns, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s Marketer email tracker 2017 study.

2. Focus on deliverability

If you want to see a high ROI, then you should focus on the deliverability of your email marketing campaigns. Avoid having your emails labeled as spam. Don’t buy email lists. You can never be sure of the quality of the list. They can be outdated, and the email addresses could have been illegally harvested from the web.

Avoid using common spam words such as “free money” or “get paid”. Don’t use “noreply” emails.

69% of people mark an email as spam, even before they open it, so you want to make sure that you’re a reputable source and your subscribers feel safe opening your emails.

The way your subscriber interacts with your email can also influence deliverability.

The deliverability of your emails can be improved if:

  • your emails are being opened
  • users save your emails by putting them into subfolders
  • users forward your messages
  • your email address is added to an address book
  • your email is moved from the junk box to the inbox

Deliverability of your emails can take a hit if:

  • your email is marked as spam
  • your email is deleted without being opened first

3. Send relevant messages

You shouldn’t send too many emails to your subscribers, so only send them relevant emails. Get to know your audience as much as possible. For example, you don’t want to send gender-based promotions to people that the said promotion doesn’t apply to. Adding value your customer actually seeks will boost your open and click-through rates. This is where segmentation comes in handy.

You can divide your list of subscribers based on the metrics that are relevant to your business: age, gender, interests, and shopping history. The most amazing part of segmentation is that it works both for you and your customers. You make more sales, and they get messages based on their needs.

4. Write subject lines that are to the point

Keep it short, clear and concise. Strive for a length that’s under 50 characters. Focus only on one idea.

A good understanding of your audience will also help you with crafting the perfect subject line. Are they busy professionals looking for very specific products or services? Or maybe they would enjoy something a little more fun and cheeky?

Often subject lines are “make it or break it” when it comes to a campaign’s success, so make sure they’re aligned with your brand’s voice as well as with your goals.

5. Optimize your pre-header text

The pre-header is a summary text that follows the subject line in the inbox display. You can use your pre-header as a short summary or as an extension of the subject line. It’s another chance for you to convince a customer to open your email.

6. Make it text-based

In our industry, there’s a debate over the deliverability of plain-text and HTML emails. HTML emails won’t hurt your campaign if you remember to also include a plain-text version. What’s more important though, is that this is viewed favorably by spam filters.

Beautiful design is only the cherry on top of your cake and you must ensure that the most important information will be available no matter what. It is critical that no key information is hidden in images, as they may not be displayed properly every time.

7. Make it mobile friendly

More and more people read emails on mobile devices every day. Industry research shows that mobile activity reaches more than 50% of users, and even as high as 66%, according to some studies. It’s important to consider the variety of devices your email will be displayed on.

Use a responsive email design to make sure your emails will be displayed properly on every screen, regardless of its size.

8. Clear CTA

The importance of a call to action in every email should be understood by almost every savvy marketer.

Firstly, ask yourself:

  • Is your call to action clear?
    For example: Read more button linking to the whole article.
  • Is it concise and does it create a state of urgency?
    For example: download your free eBook now.
  • Is the action that you’re calling for, customer-orientated?
    For example: learn more instead of buy now.

In order to boost your click-through rate (CTR), make sure that the CTA grabs the user’s attention.

You can also use multiple CTAs in one email, making it the customers’ choice on what they wish to see. Emails containing multiple CTAs can lift click-through rates up as high as 30%.

9. Allow the opt-down

Allow customers to manage their email subscription. You don’t want to lose the ability to reach subscribers if they decide to unsubscribe. It would be a good idea to investigate the real reason why they might be unhappy.

Ask your customers if they wish to receive a smaller amount of messages from you. This option is called opt-down. If possible, the user should be able to choose topics of interest and the frequency of emails. You can even offer to send them a monthly or weekly digest of your content.

10. Test all the best practices!

We live in an ever-changing world, so probably the most important of all email marketing best practices is to never stop testing. Test what works the best in your field, with your audience. Use A/B testing to see which subject lines and pre-headers work the best. See which email design has the best engagement and check if the color of CTA button affects your click-through rate.

Track your emails and listen to what the data you collected has to tell you. Every audience requires their own best practices, so learn what they are by testing what really works.

According to a Direct Marketing Association study, 43% of B2B marketers and 38% of B2C marketers test less than 25% of the emails they send. What’s worth one of the biggest concerns for marketers in 2017 was a ‘lack of strategy’ at 28%, an increase of 5%   YOY, followed by a ‘lack of data’ at 27%.

We believe testing could fill the data gap.

Want to learn more about the best practices in email marketing?

Download our free 2018 Trendbook and discover 10 email marketing trends you need to know to outpace your competition in 2018.

Email Marketing Trends 2018
Written by
Alicja Ptak
See it in action
Find out how you can boost your revenue with ExpertSender’s Multichannel Marketing Automation.
Ask an expert
Demo ExpertSender