Growing your business with email marketing is an excellent tactic, but creating a dynamic email marketing plan is crucial as new strategies and email marketing best practices emerge.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on email marketing, bolstering its effectiveness and proving that email is a valuable audience engagement channel. Businesses now allocate more of their marketing budgets to email, and there are no signs of this trend slowing down.
We’ll highlight current email marketing best practices and explore email marketing predictions as marketers take advantage of new trends, strategies and technology.
These eight email marketing best practices are long-standing strategies. If you haven’t been following them, make 2023 the year to start.
If you violate the regulations in the CAN-SPAM Act, you risk your domain name being banned, meaning you’d no longer be able to send emails from your domain. The Federal Trade Commission compiled a CAN-SPAM Act compliance guide that includes the following rules for businesses:
Although the CAN-SPAM Act was designed to regulate and curb email spam, marketers must also follow text message spam laws under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which governs messages sent to wireless phones.
For example, suppose your business provides dog training services and one of your target audiences is first-time owners of newly adopted puppies. In that case, your email marketing content may ask these questions:
Then, you might include the following:
A few tips on how to fix these problems (to help build trust and show your expertise).
This email marketing best practice is called “segmentation,” which involves separating various email subscriber groups into smaller lists broken down by buyer personas. Segmenting your email lists into targeted groups is more time-consuming than sending one email to everyone on your contact list, but this extra work can yield a higher email open rate, a better click-through rate (CTR) and, ultimately, more sales.
According to research from SparkPost, people open 42% to 60% of email campaigns on mobile devices, so optimizing emails for mobile devices is crucial. Your recipients view emails differently on smartphones than on desktop computers, often scrolling quickly and sometimes paying less attention than they would if they were looking at a computer screen.
Follow these best practices to optimize your emails for mobile devices:
Emails often look different on desktop screens than on mobile devices. Some email clients offer the option to preview desktop, mobile and inbox versions of your email. With this feature, you won’t have to jump from device to device to preview your emails (but it won’t hurt if you do).
After you build an email list, you must keep updating it. Although this is one of the oldest email marketing best practices, many marketers allow their lists to languish. Here are some risks you take by not keeping your email marketing lists up to date:
Take these actions to keep your list updated:
Your work isn’t done after you send emails. As a good rule of thumb, wait about a week (to give subscribers a chance to open your emails), and then analyze the email campaign’s performance to learn what worked well and where you can improve.
Depending on your email marketing strategy, your reporting key performance indicators may include the following:
Some email marketing tools allow you to reach people who didn’t sign up to receive your emails. However, most experts advise against this approach. Emailing people who did not opt in to your marketing campaign could be detrimental to your overall marketing efforts. Sending emails to purchased lists rarely works and wastes time and money while annoying people who aren’t interested in your products or services.
Further, email marketing must uphold digital privacy laws, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Take time to build your email list and market to people who have shown interest in your products and services.
Integrating timely email marketing into your strategy can help boost engagement and sales. For example, for a successful holiday marketing campaign, you might want to detail your discounts and promotions.
In 2021, many companies leveraged email marketing to describe changes in policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while others emphasized their commitment to social justice.
Remember that your contacts are moving through the world in real time and are affected by current events. Whenever possible, create that link between your brand and what your audience is experiencing in their personal lives.
Marketers are always taking advantage of new trends, strategies and technology. Here are some email marketing trends to watch for in 2023.
As the name suggests, an automated email sequence is deployed via triggers set forth by email marketers. For example, when prospects opt in to your e-commerce clothing business’s email list, you can create emails that go out automatically.
Here are three potential sequences for that scenario:
Without email automation, sending emails at the right times to the right people can be a time-consuming task with little room for error.
You need the right team to strategize email marketing correctly. Make 2023 the year you invest in qualified talent and the right tools to improve your email marketing campaigns and take them to the next level.
Overall, SparkPost found that marketing budgets have increased by 5% but that marketers are shifting their priorities from digital and social media marketing to branding, customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing.
If you don’t think you have the budget for email marketing, consider cutting expenses in other areas, because email marketing is essential to keeping your audience engaged and building brand loyalty.
Make your emails pop with animation. You don’t need a big budget for this. Instead, use a free design tool, like Canva, to incorporate an interactive element into your email campaigns.
Although you can’t rely on imagery to get your entire message across (images may be blocked or may not load correctly on mobile devices), try mixing animations with standard text.
Some iOS and Android mobile users view their devices in “dark mode,” meaning a dark background with light text. Dark mode is easier on the eyes and preserves mobile battery life. To accommodate, email marketers should design their emails in light and dark so they display correctly regardless of the user’s settings.
Emails cannot convey information and communicate with recipients if they find it difficult or impossible to get the message. That’s why it’s important to design emails that are accessible to all people, including those with disabilities.
Designing for accessibility includes using certain font sizes and text alignment, as well as incorporating HTML coding to ensure everyone can read or hear your content. Designing for accessibility is the right thing to do, and ignoring this best practice can hurt your brand’s reputation and reduce your campaign’s effectiveness.
It’s also crucial to design your website for accessibility. To create an accessible e-commerce website, consider the needs of people with hearing and visual challenges, and thoughtfully design elements such as usability, appearance and presentation.
Marketers are using emojis more in the email subject line, preheader text and body of the email. Incorporating emojis is an easy way to inject an element of fun without too much coding. But use emojis with caution; if a subscriber has images blocked, using too many emojis will turn your email into gibberish.
Personalization is a continuing trend in which companies use customer data to personalize emails. Personalization includes using the customer’s name and referring to their purchase history. The best CRM software lets you easily personalize email campaigns with valuable customer insights.
Email marketers can use feeds from their websites and social media accounts without adding information manually. This way, content stays up to date in emails even when it changes frequently. In addition to keeping content fresh, this method makes it easier to create the emails in the first place.
Studies have shown that email is one of the top forms of marketing. Consider the following statistics:
An effective email marketing strategy can help you accomplish the following goals:
An email marketing strategy in 2023 can help you meet your business goals for the year. Here are three major benefits of developing an email marketing strategy:
Building relationships to earn loyal customers can help keep your business afloat during tough economic times. One way to do this is to send emails to see how your customers are doing, how you can help them, or how everything went with their order.
This email from Stellar Villa, a wall art company, is an excellent example of how to build relationships with customers:
One reason this email is effective is that it shows that the company cares enough about its customers to ensure they received their order and that they’re satisfied, said Patrick Connelly, co-founder of Stellar Villa. Second, the email asks customers a question and prompts them to reply.
“This starts a conversation in which you not only further engage with your customer, but you create a memorable, positive experience for them,” Connelly said. “Also, in the rare event there is an issue with a customer’s order, they can let you know, which will give you the opportunity to fix it right away. This prevents negative experiences.”
Connelly added that because the email is not promotional and contains mostly text, it does not get caught in spam or promo folders.
The subject line reads, “Re: Your Order from Stellar Villa,” putting the brand front and center. In the email itself, the company also inserts the customer’s first name, when available, at the start of the email to personalize it.
With many people working at least part time from home, your prospects may not be in the office to receive your business-to-business company’s direct-mail piece. They may not be on the roads to see your billboard ads or reading the newspaper to look at your print ads.
They are, however, looking at their mobile devices wherever they go. As a result, your audience can access your email marketing content from anywhere, anytime.
Email marketing should fit within your comprehensive marketing strategy. Speak in your brand’s voice, and stay on track. But also find a way to take advantage of email’s personalization options.
When you reach someone’s inbox, you have direct contact with them. You can track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate and conversions to determine your audience’s engagement with your campaign. By identifying your target audience’s demographics, wants and needs, you can refine your email marketing content to relate better to your ideal customer.
How can you gauge the success of your efforts? Improved engagement rates suggest your content is hitting the mark.
To develop content that resonates with your ideal customers, consider building customer personas to represent the people purchasing your goods and services. How old are these customers? What is their employment status? What are their problems, concerns and goals?
Adjust your buyer personas as you get real-world feedback from your customers, and use your buyer personas to refine your marketing strategy.
Email marketing services give you a platform to segment, grow and maintain your email lists. You can also easily create attractive, responsive email designs and track your campaign results.
Here are a few of the best email marketing services to consider:
Marisa Sanfilippo contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.