Email Marketing Best Practices
So you are venturing into the world of email marketing. First, congratulations as many people still refuse to do email marketing even though it is one of the most effective ways of reaching your target audience. With that in mind, there are several things that you must always do with email marketing, as well as quite a few that you must not do. These are the best practices that will help build your list, keep your customers engaged, and lead to more conversions. This list of email marketing best practices is not inclusive, but does contain some of the most common rules in the industry.
Things you MUST do
- Create fresh content
- Keep it short
- Use professionals (software / marketing company)
- Test content before sending
- Track opens, clicks, and conversions
You must always keep your content fresh. People who open your email are not going to be persuaded simply because you reached out to them. You need to give them a reason to read the email and continuing opening them in the future. This is done only by providing them with valuable content. Do not simply email coupons or a regurgitation of something that is already on your website. Develop content that is engaging and that you would like to read yourself. The content you generate will depend on your target audience which is why getting professionals involved to help you is a smart idea.
People hate to read. In addition, they have dozens of emails to go through and have little time to read them all. Keep your message short and to the point. People will likely open your email if they know you have a brief message. They can open the email, get the point, and then move on or click further into your email. If you create a long message, not only are you likely to turn your readers away, but those opening it are unlikely to read the entire message anyway.
Speaking of professionals, do not go alone when it comes to email marketing best practices. If your content is not attractive, you could wind up with many who opt out of your emails. These could be the ones that would convert in the future, but now you don’t have that chance. Have a professional create the content and assist you with distribution. There are numerous laws that must be followed when sending emails to people. Unless you are an expert, only an email marketing company or email distribution service will be able to help you.
Make sure that any content you send in your email is tested prior to. This means that you need to click on ALL links in the email to ensure that they lead to the proper locations. It is embarrassing and counterproductive when you final get your readers’ attention, only to send them to the wrong landing page or a broken URL. This is something simple that you can take care of prior to sending and is all your fault if you don’t.
Tracking an email after it goes out is just as important as providing quality content. After all, you want to know what content is engaging so that you can plan for future emails. If no one opens the emails, this is a sign that your headline is not good enough. If people open the email but don’t click on the links inside, there is a good chance that your layout is not user friendly. If you do not track the interaction with your email, then you will have no clue on what is converting and what is not.
Email Marketing Best Practices – Things NOT To Do
- DON’T SPAM!
- Don’t use too much flash / graphics
- Don’t provide content you don’t trust
- Don’t share your email list
- Don’t purchase email lists
Keep in mind that people hate SPAM. In addition, you will unlikely convert anyone by spamming. You actually will wind up getting people complaining to your Internet Service Provider who can terminate your website agreement (taking it offline) or even worse, having a complaint filed against you by a state’s attorney general.
Don’t be too flashy when creating an email. People are not going to read your email just because you use flash design or icons that move, etc. Keep it simple and graphics to a minimum. If you put too many moving parts or graphics into the email, you could alienate yourself from those whose browsers will not display the content, as well as turn off those who simply want to read the information and not be entertained by graphics.
Do not put anything in your email that you don’t trust or have not personally verified. For instance, do not recommend a product or service to your readers unless you have actually used it and can vouch for it. The quickest way to lose the majority of your readers is to turn them onto something without first verifying it.
If you want to maintain trust and reduce the number of opt-outs you receive, then never share your email list with anyone. This is also why you need help from a professional marketing agency as they can secure your list and make sure that the contacts are not shared with 3rd parties.
Despite the temptation, do not purchase email lists. First, you cannot guarantee that anyone on the list is interested in what you have to say. Second, the list is likely collected from disreputable websites, where people give their fake email or emails where they only receive junk. This means that the quality of the list (no matter how much you pay) is not going to be that good. Among the most important email marketing best practices is to build your list organically and you will have readers for life.