12 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the oldest and most reliable marketing tactics out there. Unlike ads or cold marketing, people who have opted-in to hear from you are interested in your products and services.

Done well, email marketing is a cost-effective way to build on existing customer relationships and promote your products and services. However, it’s not as simple as sending email blasts and hoping for the best.

If you don’t follow some email best practices, your messages could be chronically ignored or, even worse, cause people to unsubscribe. To make the most of your hard-earned email list, here are some of email marketing’s do’s and don’ts.

Email Marketing Do’s

  • Offer something valuable.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe.
  • Make subscription easy.
  • Optimize subject lines and preview text.
  • Write emails that are easy to scan.
  • Personalize your messages.
  • Include clear calls to action.

1. Offer Something Valuable

Give your customers a reason to open your emails by offering something that is interesting or valuable to them. This can be anything from relevant news, helpful tips related to your products or services, or an exclusive discount.

Most of your emails need to deliver value to your customer. By doing that, you increase your open rate and build trust. Then, when you promote a new product at the end of an email or send out a promotional sales announcement, your audience doesn’t feel overly sold to it and is open to receiving.

If you’re not sure where to start, think about your customer’s pain points. What motivates someone to need your product or service? Email content that freely provides support and information they need to alleviate their pain points is usually very well received.

2. Make It Effortless To Unsubscribe

Making it easy for people to unsubscribe may seem counterintuitive, but it helps keep your list healthy and your delivery rate high. You want the biggest list you can possibly have. But if a significant number of recipients ignore, delete, or mark your emails as spam, it will dramatically impact your delivery rates over time.

After all, your marketing team works hard on each email, and you want as many customers to see them as possible. Poor delivery rates can result in your marketing emails going straight into the spam folder, even for interested customers.

There are many reasons a person might unsubscribe. They may have moved to a new area or experienced a life change. If your content is no longer valuable to them, give them an easy and painless way to let you know.

The top email platforms, like Mailchimp, HubSpot, or ActiveCampaign, include an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.

Your unsubscribe rate should be below .5%. If it’s higher than that or spikes, you know you’ve either got out-of-date contacts or have gone in the wrong direction with your campaigns.

3. Make Subscription Easy

Have you ever forwarded an email to a friend or family member? You may assume that everyone who gets your emails is on your list, but that’s not always the case.

Include a subscribe button in your emails that encourages people to sign up. It is usually below the other content but above the footer section that includes the unsubscribe link.

If someone receives your content and likes it, make it easy for them to stay in touch.

4. Optimize Subject Lines and Preview Text

The subject line and preview text will either compel someone to open the email or not. Make sure they are interesting and relevant.

While you want to pique their curiosity or create a sense of mystery, keep the subject line preview text accurate to what the email delivers. Big, false promises only work once or twice before people catch on and stop opening your emails.

If your email platform allows for A/B testing, you can dramatically increase your open and click-through rates by testing different subject lines and preview text options with small segments first. Then, use the winning combination to send to the rest of your list.

5. Write Emails That Are Easy To Scan

Many consumers check their emails on mobile phones. Long, undifferentiated text can be hard to follow.

Instead, divide your email into clear and discrete sections with headers. If you want to share longer text, like an article or a blog, put a link in the email for people who are interested in reading more.

As you write your email, think about the key points you want your customers to understand. Staying focused on these essentials will make your emails easier to read and increase your click-through rates.

6. Personalize Your Messages

Great email marketing includes a personal touch. This may include segmenting your audience so that each group only receives the most relevant emails, but it can be as simple as using your customer’s name.

Here are four ways to personalize your emails:

  • Use the customer’s first name in the subject line or greeting.
  • Use personal pronouns like “you” and “your.”
  • Where appropriate, refer to your business as “we” and “us.” For example: “We’re happy that we can help keep costs down while still providing award-winning service!”

7. Include Clear Calls To Action

What do you want your customers to do? Make the action you want them to take clear and easy to do.

If you’re asking them to opt in, make sure they know exactly what they’re opting in to. If you’re asking them to buy something, make sure it’s easy for them to complete their purchase. And if you’re asking them to sign up for a newsletter, give them a link that takes them directly there.

Email Marketing Don’ts

  • Don’t forget to optimize your content for mobile users.
  • Don’t make new subscribers wait before they hear from you.
  • Don’t be overly promotional in your emails.
  • Don’t buy an email list.
  • Don’t bombard your customers.

1. Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Content for Mobile Users

Make sure each email looks good on a small screen. If it doesn’t, your mobile users will either delete it or unsubscribe.

Here are four important tips for mobile optimization:

  • Use short paragraphs and sentences with headers to make your content easy to read on a small screen.
  • Make sure all your links and buttons work and are clickable from a small screen.
  • Keep your image use to a minimum. Some images are great and make your emails more interesting. However, some users turn off images on their mobiles, so they’ll miss out. Also, too many large images can slow your load time.
  • If you include your phone number, use a click-to-call link, so mobile users don’t have to copy and paste the phone number. Instead, they can just click the number to call you.

2. Don’t Make New Subscribers Wait

Set up an automated confirmation email for new subscribers that is sent immediately after someone subscribes. Confirm that they’ve signed up successfully, welcome them, and deliver anything you promised.

You can also use the confirmation email to invite your new subscriber to learn about something or shop with an exclusive discount.

3. Don’t Be Overly Promotional in Your Emails

Don’t be too promotional in your emails. If you’re not providing any valuable information, people will stop reading and unsubscribe from your list.

Successful email marketing builds on your existing customer relationships. Good relationships always have both give and take. If your audience feels like it’s all about you all the time, you’ll lose them.

4. Don’t Buy an Email List

You may be tempted to purchase a list of emails rather than building your own, but it often causes more trouble than it’s worth. If you buy a list of email addresses from someone else, you have no idea how the seller obtained them or if the people opted in for email marketing.

Without consent from your recipients, it is against the law in most countries to send unsolicited commercial email messages. Your delivery rates will likely plummet, and you could be labeled a spammer by Google and other email delivery services.

Email marketing is most effective when you build trust and rapport first, which means creating an opt-in list yourself.

5. Don’t Bombard Your Customers

Have you ever signed up with a business and received 5-8 emails the first week? It seems like they are harassing you, doesn’t it?

Depending on your business, monthly or weekly emails are more than enough to stay top of mind with your customers. Emailing too frequently will decrease your open rates and increase how many people unsubscribe.

We’re all busy, which is why delivering relevant, personalized content into your customers’ inboxes is the winning strategy. When they see a topic that is interesting and valuable to them, they have a reason to click on your email and become more willing to take any actions you recommend.

Build a Community of Raving Fans

When email marketing is done well, you can steadily build a community of people who like and trust your company. Today’s consumers are smart and savvy. They are sold to through every device and on every format, but if your audience feels like you’re giving them something of value, they’ll open your emails.

Email marketing can be one of the most powerful tools for building relationships with new customers and keeping existing ones happy. Use these tips to keep your audience engaged and get more sales from each new customer. If you have questions about how to build your email list or would like help with an email campaign, reach out to our experts today.

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