Email marketing best practices to drive improved business results

email marketing best practices

Email marketing is one of the most valuable tools for building customer relationships used by small businesses and large enterprises alike. Not only does email communication enable the promotion of products and services, but it also helps businesses to educate consumers and create retention in the longer run. 

Studies show that 81% of SMBs still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% rely on the customer retention strategy of email communication. However, with meager or no engagement over time, the email marketing exercise falls flat as your business is unable to stay on top of the customer’s mind. 

While technology such as email automation continues to change the way businesses engage with customers, the following email marketing best practices can help you deliver highly engaging emails to your customers, build sustainable relationships and improve your marketing ROI.

Update, segment, and verify your database

For content to remain relevant, marketers must ensure that their database is up-to-date and accurate. Over time, your email lists will start to decay if it’s not updated regularly. Taking measures to maintain valid and regularly refreshed databases will ensure higher open and click-through rates, while minimizing delivery failures. How do you achieve that?

  • Eliminate incorrect/outdated email addresses. This prevents high bounce rates and keeps your domain from getting blocked. Periodically refreshing your database will minimize any inconsistencies.

  • Go beyond just name and email address. Comprehensive prospect data that goes beyond names and addresses to include the location, designation, and sector information will enable better efficiencies in creating more targeted and personalized emails. 

  • Segment your database based on their needs, designation, and sector to ensure that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. 

  • Create and run opt-in campaigns for old email lists. This will help you re-engage with interested prospects and disengage from non-responders promptly. Fewer active subscribers result in better email open and click rates compared to a large number of inactive subscribers. 

Focus on informative, personalized content

Email marketing works best if its content is tailored to the audience’s requirements through a mix of storytelling and selling. Check if your emails can hold the recipient’s attention within the first few seconds before they decide to scroll down or worse, delete it. This is where personalization plays a crucial role in delivering value.

Email personalization can be achieved by making optimum use of your database. Distinct segments help you define email objectives, identify the right pool of prospects, and address their needs effectively. For best results, consider enhancing the structure and design elements of your emails. 

Email personalization best practices

  • Even if your emails are automated, it’s best to let your recipients know that there’s a real person on the other end. For instance, use a human name instead of just a company/brand name in the Sender bar (either Robert or Robert from SaaS). This helps create a personal connection and also makes you as a sender seem more approachable. Furthermore, addressing subscribers by their names may engage them enough to at least begin reading what you have to offer.

  • Experiment with the length and wordiness in subject lines. According to Experian, personalized subject lines increase open rates by 26%. Keep them concise (not more than 6-8 words) and ensure that they create a sense of urgency for the subscriber to open the email. 

personalized email subject lines

  • Using design elements such as thumbnails and infographics in the email body can enhance email content’s appeal and increase brand retention. Including visually-appealing content such as a poll, a short survey, GIFs or even video stills will help increase engagement.

  • Introduce personalized CTAs for better click-throughs. Create a CTA copy relevant to your email theme, instead of a ‘Click here’. Powerful and actionable CTAs such as ‘get instant access’, ‘I’m in!’ or ‘explore more’ can help boost your CTR and conversion rates. 

  • Long emails are best avoided. Your readers have only so much time and they seek quick answers to business problems. Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa can now check and read emails out loud for subscribers. Hence, your email copy should be precise, thoughtful, and free of jargons to improve the recipient’s experience.  

  • Marketers must ensure that the emails don’t end up in the spam folders or the ‘Promotions tab’. Avoid using all capital letters or too many exclamation marks in your subject lines. Gmail filters emails with words such as “free”, “low risk”, “urgent”, and “winner”, in the subject line to sort promotional emails from regular ones. 

Test for responsiveness

Studies show that more than 70% of people read emails on mobile apps. Moreover, mobile users check their email three times more than desktop users and are more likely to convert. So taking care to ensure that your email renders well across different devices is crucial.

  • While most email marketing platforms can optimize emails for multiple screen sizes, it’s important to test it across devices for any glitches before you hit ‘Send.’  

  • Since mobile space takes a ‘less is more’ approach, implementing a concise, hard-hitting email copy is important. This increases the likelihood of customer engagement with your email.

  • Landing pages linked within emails should also be responsive to better click-throughs and conversions.

  • Mobile-ready emails, i.e. those with a single-column email layout, works best for mobile devices as it reduces sidebar distractions for subscribers.

  • Another actionable tip to create a mobile-friendly email is to place your CTA in the first half of the email. CTA buttons that are at least 44 x 44 pixels in size ensure higher clicks. 

Be consistent

Regular email marketing exercises can help customers get to know your brand. Whether they like you depends on how useful your emails are, but consistency can get them to trust you. With a consistent email schedule, you reach the right audience at the right time, as if you have anticipated their needs.

  • As for maintaining brand consistency, creating an email design that feels like an extension of the company can build great recognition among your audience. Customizing email templates that fit your branding with the help of a logo, compatible fonts, and colors can help customers distinguish your emails from others. Also, email subject lines with a consistent tonality will help readers know what to expect when they open the email. 
  • Consider reaching out to your active subscribers with follow-up emails. Requesting them to provide feedback on your email communication this far will help tailor your content to their needs. 

  • Based on your segmented email lists, consider scheduling emails to fit in the subscribers’ time zones. Digital marketing expert Paul Counts suggests that it’s best to schedule email such that the subscribers either wake up to your email or open it before calling it a day. Moreover, disseminating emails at set time intervals will prevent subscribers from forgetting about you. 

Monitor campaign results 

To find out whether your efforts have met the objectives you had in mind, consider measuring success using these metrics:

  • Delivery rates measure the health of your existing email list. You can increase delivery rates by expanding your database and implementing double opt-in.

  • Open rates tell you the impact of the subject line and the sender name used in your email campaign. As a sender, using a person’s name instead of your company name, and ensuring more than 25 characters in your subject line can help increase open rates.

  • Click-through rates tell you the relevancy of the email content. 

  • Last but not the least, conversion rates are key to measure the ROI of your email marketing campaign. This can be measured using Google URL builder. 

Regular assessment is essential for the continuous improvement of your email marketing efforts. Comparing these results over time and against industry benchmarks will help your business move the needle towards better marketing ROI.

For about two decades, global industry leaders have partnered with Netscribes to optimize their email marketing strategies. Our marketing data solutions help businesses increase customer retention and drive consistent customer engagement. To know how we can help your business, contact us.

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