What are your email marketing best practices?
My business is in the process of developing an email marketing strategy. There is a lot I don't know. What are some of the best practices you've in found effective in email marketing? What are the questions to ask?
My clients often ask me the same question.
There is no right or wrong answer here, it really depends on your client base. Are your messages trying to sell products, deliver important messages, or both?
One of the biggest mistakes my clients make before coming on board are earning bad sending reputations. You should never send bulk email to a list of purchased email addresses. They never opted in and you are bound to get a lot of spam complaints. Email services like Yahoo take a lot of notice to people marking your messages as spam.
If you're trying to sell your products, avoid using spam trigger words like FREE and GUARANTEED. These words trigger filters to junk your mail before anyone ever sees it.
Targeting your list is important! Collect as much data as you can on your recipients. (be careful not to require all of this info on your opt-in forms as they are likely to not fill anything out at all) You can use this data for targeted campaigns, personalization, and so much more.
Be a source of trusted knowledge! If your company specializes in something, become a subject matter expert and build trust with your recipients.
Add as many opt-in forms on your site as possible.
We have a white paper on perfecting your campaigns if you're interested: https://www.netatlantic.com/resources/whitepapers/wb-ww-wp-5practices.
Feel free to reach out to me personally!
Aweber has a great training section on email marketing with step by step instructions. There are other crms and I'm sure they provide the training as well.
Consistent contact is necessary, a weekly or monthly email. There are great marketers that contact their list daily.
Hi Charles, in addition to the good advice already provided:
1. Make sure your emails render nicely on mobile phones and tablets as well as on PCs/Macs. Just ask your web developer to implement an email design and an HTML coding standard that is "responsive". Then look at the email on a PC, a tablet and a mobile phone and make sure it looks great and all text is 100% clear and easy to read on all those devices.
2. Since many email platforms load emails with images turned off by default, use an email template that looks great and reads well even when displayed without images. Make sure all calls to action are 100% readable even with images turned off.
3. Since many email platforms truncate the email subject when showing arriving emails in list mode, try to keep subjects as short as possible and put the most important stuff at the beginning of the subject.
4. Always test to see what works best:
a. Do long or short emails drive the most opens, most clicks and most actions on the email landing pages?
b. Which types of calls to action in the email work best? Links? Buttons? Green buttons? Blue buttons?
c. Which email subjects give the best results?
Most of the leading email platforms like MailChimp have a split testing tool where you can send different versions of the same email to your database to see which gives the best results.
5. If relevant, consider offering more than one type of email for people to subscribe to. For example, you could have one email that covers nothing but promotions and special offers, another that covers news & trends in your industry, etc.
it was a good question to ask as per my experience you can do with social networking site because most of youth generation on this so they can help you.
The best thing to do is sign up with an e-mail marketing service such as Aweber, Mailchimp or Constant contact. Put a form on your website that integrates with one of those systems, and provide a valuable opt-in offer for visitor's e-mail addresses. When they opt-in to your mailing list, keep in touch with them by sending them weekly pieces of content so that you can stay top-of-mind.
I hope this helps!
One of the most important things is making sure you have permission to email users on your list. While it's easy to buy list or attempt to email to unsubscribed users, you'll see lower open rates and, with most email marketing providers, get "dinged" for sending to users who did not seek to be on your email list.
Mailchimp has this article about tips to build a list which I find helpful (scroll below the form creation info): http://kb.mailchimp.com/accounts/compliance-tips/best-practices-for-building-a-list
Depending on your list, segmentation can also be valuable. Are there certain offers that only make sense to a subset of your group? Categorize groups accordingly.
In terms of content, think of what your users will find valuable. Do you host events? Promote them! Do you have interesting tips/tricks for your industry on your blog? Link back to it! Consider that most people now access emails on their mobile device- keep content quick, useful and do the point. Make it well organized and visually appealing as well. Make sure your email marketing (template, etc) follow your brand guidelines.
Open rates tend to be higher when the email is from an individual vs. the company. Send it directly from you or another member of the team.
Lastly, when and how often to email can really vary depending on how much content you have, how you're segmenting your groups and your audience.
I find this blog post from Constant Contact informative: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/best-time-to-send-email/
MailChimp and other email vendors also have a variety of best practice content on their blogs.
Place an opt-out link at the bottom of each and every communication, and respect the recipient's wishes in regard to that...
Hi Charles, I think it all depends on the type of email marketing that you would like to do. I consider 2 and the approach is different for each of them:
1. Mass emails - Lets say you have thousands of email addresses (due to newsletter sign up or similar). Then most of what people are saying here is already very valuable. I think I would stay away from the actual selling part and try to provide value, so a link to a website might work. Just keep in mind that if you put any links, documents, graphics in your email that a lot of them will most likely end in spam folders and never be read. And even if they are not landing in there, the likelihood that somebody reads it is very low. You would need tens of thousands of email addresses in order to get a decent return rate. 1 - 2% is usually a good return on mass email marketing campaigns.
2. If you want to make a difference, I would consider a more customised approach. Even in email marketing you can customise your message to the client. It requires research and may even take a few days to get a proper list together but it works all the time. Here is what I do (and just to let you know, the conversion rate in letter marketing is a bit higher than with email marketing campaigns):
- Research 100 potential customers that you would like to work with
- Find out contact details such as decision maker name/ email address/ contact number etc.
- Find out about their target market - who is their customer and what solutions do they provide to their clients.
- What type of problems could they face with their customers that you can help with
- Customise and create a short but professional email (don't forget to put in a little bit of fun as well. Unless it's inappropriate and depends of course on your target audience)
- Put in an in-active call to action and a pro-active call to action (In-active means you ask the customer to call you/ sign up here etc./ Pro-active puts you in the drivers seat and you let your client know that you appreciate that he/ she might be busy and you will give them a call in a few days (or be specific if you want to put yourself a bit under pressure and provide a specific date that you will call them. This will instantly build trust as you keep your promise to call on date x.)
- Send the email and within 48 hours call to make sure they received your email.
- If you get a response, great. If not, make sure you follow up on the email with a phone call. This is the most important part of the message. Under no circumstance follow up an email with a follow up email unless you already talked to the prospect personally or by phone and they advised you to send a quick email.
- Every time you send an email to a prospect make sure you fill the pipeline again with at least 1 or 2 new prospects. This will ensure that you will always have work and a nice filled up pipeline.
- Make sure your core message is in the first 2 lines of your email. People remember within 48 hours the first 2 lines of an email but not necessarily afterwards. That's why it's important to call the prospect within 48 hours to see if they received your email.
The conversion rate if you follow these few steps is in email marketing between 15 - 18%.
If you send a similar designed message by letter/ post, put a nice picture of yourself on the letter and follow the same rules (only change the time frame of calling the prospect from 48 hours to 3 - 5 days depending on how quick the letter arrives) you will achieve much higher results that could be anywhere from 25 - 35%.
This is for a targeted approach, with lots of research. The research can take you anything from 2 - 10 days depending on how extensive you search, if you already know the prospects, if you have to find everything from scratch etc. It took me 9 days to compile a list of 100 companies and it takes me every day at least half an hour to research 3 - 5 additional companies and contacts.
I only send 5 emails per day as you will notice that once you do the follow up calls, people are not always answering the phone, are in meetings or simply try to avoid you. Persistence is key but as you can imagine if you do this for 5 days, sending 5 emails per day and say you only get through to 1 or 2 contacts, you suddenly have to make 23 phone calls on one day. It may take a few days until you finally reach them, just don't give up, it will be worth it in the end. :-)
(We found that many people actually expected our call. They usually don't call back, so don't bother leaving a message for them. You can but if somebody really wants to avoid you, it will be more difficult to get through to them. Try to send 3 - 5 emails per day or every 2 days depending on your own workload. Being consistent is important with this kind of project (no matter if it's email or letter marketing).
I hope this is a bit helpful. A slightly different approach (and a long read, I know) but hope you find it useful.
If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with me on linkedin.
Wishing you all the success with your campaign.
I practice this simple yet effective email marketing strategy:
1- Make your opt-in form beautiful and visible at prominent locations on your blog/website. Don't just limit it to the sidebars. Put them below posts or inline articles.
2- Offer something valuable in return of the subscriber's email. It can be a simple pdf report, video, podcast or anything etc. Always keep this in mind - "Why would anyone want to share his email for nothing in return?"
3- Start with a drip/automated welcome or thank you email. Broadcast fresh emails from then on wards. Be personal and treat your subscribers as friends. Relation building is the most important factor people neglect. In reality, it is the actual key to generate more sales. DON'T IGNORE THIS ONE!
4- Focus on small things as well. It's better to use less images in the emails as it loads slowly or improperly. Use bullet points and lists where possible. Keep everything sweet and simple. Check for cross-browser and responsiveness compatibility. Also look out for any broken links as well.
5- Send out improvement or feedback surveys from time to time so that you can collect valuable information directly from your customers.
6- Begin your email marketing with sending content-rich emails along with soft-selling of your products. Twice or thrice emails a week are enough. Once you've built up relation with your subscribers, start sending them quick fire promotional emails. But wait...Don't send them too much. They'll unsubscribe if they're annoyed.
I can assure if you implement these tactics in your email marketing strategy, you too can grow your mailing list and sell more. Best of luck!
I always recommend a give away inside the body of the email, that has universal value, such as a gift card (can be a proprietary gift card), that will cause email recipients to want to open up the email. Allow random "winners" of the prize. You may want to give away more than one prize. Train the recipients to understand that there are winner(s) in every email and encourage them to check each email to see if they have won. If the prize is relevant to the recipient, they will open the email just to see if they win. Then, of course, there will be many that will read more just because they are there.
This may seem kind of cheesy and carnival-like. However, it can be very effective at increasing open rates and promoting your brand as well as generating return traffic, especially if the gift card or prize is something that will bring them back into your retail/online store or business.