Best Practices for Email Marketing

Email marketing is more than just a function of marketing – we think of it as a science, and as with all serious subjects, there are practices that should be followed to ensure you’re getting the most from your campaigns. Oxford Languages defines best practice as “commercial or professional procedures accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective”. So, when we talk about best practices for email marketing, what do we mean? Let’s look at our top 15.

  1. Use a dedicated email marketing platform rather than an email system like Outlook or Gmail. Email platforms have a whole range of tools and analytics that will allow you to maximise your campaign. It will also protect your domain reputation: sending bulk emails through something like Gmail will very quickly get your emails marked as spam, and in turn, your sending address will be marked as a spammer.
  2. Set up opt-ins so you know you’re sending emails to people who want to hear from you. There’s no point sending messages to people for whom that message is irrelevant: you’ll end up irritating many people, contravening GDPR, and it’ll crucify your hit rate if most people don’t open your email!
  3. Offer incentives to capture data – reports, discounts, downloadable templates, or checklists – it’s a great way to build your audience.
  4. Use auto-tags so you can send better emails. i.e., if someone opted-in to emails at the checkout, tag them as ‘customer’. If they signed up from another email or on the website, mark them as a prospect. You can also set auto-tags for details such as what they buy and when, which calls-to-action they click on the most, etc. Learn about their behaviours, which will inform later emails so you can send what they want to see and buy.
  5. Use segmentation to categorise your audience by various demographics, including location, age range, and other relevant characteristics.
  6. Write a compelling subject line – not just the content of the line but also the language you use will influence the receiver’s inclination to open the email – or not. Keep it short, and don’t use UPPER CASE or exclamation points – it makes it look spammy!
  7. Create a template and stick to it – this keeps consistency for the brand. Ensure the template is optimised for mobile, as around 46% of all emails are viewed on a mobile device.
  8. Set up different senders for different types of emails. For example, a seasonal email might come from The Team, whereas a special offer might come from the founder. And don’t use ‘no-reply’; it’s unfriendly and gives the impression you want communication only to be one-way. That doesn’t invite engagement.
  9. Integrate with other software as appropriate; for example, if you use a ticket-selling site for an event or webinar software – these all require people to give you their email addresses. Be sure you’ve set auto-tags to know how people came to you and what they were interested in when they did.
  10. Keep your email short and easy for people to skim read. If you have something that reads like War & Peace, make it a blog, and use a CTA to direct people interested to click through from the email to your site to find out more.
  11. Always use the preview feature to see exactly what your email looks like, whether it’s viewed on desktop or mobile.
  12. Split-test your subject line AND your emails with a smaller audience before doing the main send. That way, you can judge which is the most effective and be more likely to gain the most interaction.
  13. Use the Footer – it’s a great piece of real estate for branding!
  14. Clean your data! Check for hard bounces every time you send an email, and remove that data from your list. Hard bounces affect your hit rate, and many email marketing platforms charge for the number of contacts. Hard bounces will never be delivered, so there’s no point keeping them on the list and paying for them. It’s also a GDPR requirement to ensure your list is current and relevant.
  15. Analyse the results of the campaign – see what’s working and what’s not so you know what to do more of for increasingly better results each time!

We have more tips on email marketing to share, and if you would like more help with any aspects of email marketing, Email-Postman is here to help.

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Shaun Reynolds has been specialising in email marketing since 2005 and, in February 2019, launched Email-Postman. Since then, we’ve helped over 100 clients across a range of industries and sectors build successful email marketing campaigns across various email marketing platforms. For further information or to discuss getting help with your email marketing, you can arrange a free call-back today by clicking here!