If you’re trying to get an email marketing program off the ground, you have your work cut out for you. Here are some email marketing best practices to keep in mind as you get started or as you try to overhaul your current program.
Aim for double-opt-in
Marketing best practices indicate that you should only email customers who have confirmed they want to receive marketing communications from you. A traditional, single-opt-in option means that the person would have filled in their contact information on a form on your site.
A double-opt-in option is considered to be an even better standard. This involves the user putting their information in, receiving an automated email, and then clicking on a link in that email to confirm that the email address is in fact an active one.
Do A/B testing
Mass email systems come with a handy feature for marketers that makes it very easy to test different versions of your emails. You can test subject lines, or even entirely different messages. Usually, the way it works is that a small number of messages (10% of your total mailing) go out with the different versions. Then, you can send the remaining 90% of the messages with the version that had the highest open and click through rates.
Always follow anti-SPAM guidelines
Every marketing email you send should have the name and address of your company somewhere (many companies opt for the footer). It should also have an opt-out link clearly visible, so that people can choose to stop receiving messages. If you’re using any of the popular mass email platforms, the opt-out link will be automatically added to your messages. These platforms also ensure that once a person has opted out, it’s actually impossible to send them more messages. This will save you some work, as you don’t have to always be careful to exclude these people.
Be regular about when you send your emails
The people who have gone out of their way to sign up for your email list obviously want to hear from you. But when it comes to keeping email open rates high, it helps if the customer can anticipate your emails. Whether you’re sending out a monthly newsletter, a weekly blog post, or something more irregular, try to build a schedule in the customer’s mind, so they know when they’re going to receive their next message from you and can look forward to it.
But don’t send out too many messages
We’ve all had the experience of signing up for an email list, only to start getting way more messages than we were expecting. That’s usually the fastest way to get people to hit the Opt-Out button. Think carefully about what the optimal sending schedule would be and stick to it. The good news is that your customer will let you know when you’re emailing them too much. But it would be ideal to avoid getting to that stage in the first place.
Add appropriate Alt Text to images and buttons
There are two reasons you want to do this. The first reason is accessibility — if anyone with visual difficulties receives your messages, you want their screen reader to be able to easily parse the message. The other reason is that many people read email on their mobile phones, and if the connection is slow, elements like images and buttons may be slow to load. If the person sees the alt text and knows what goes in that empty space, they can still process your email without having to wait in frustration for these elements to load.
Add in automation and DRIP campaigns
When it comes to email marketing, you want to work smart, not hard. All the popular mass email platforms allow you to set message templates that actually get sent out automatically when a certain criteria is met. So, you can do things like:
- Thank someone for a purchase they just made
- Ask someone to review a product they bought a while ago
- Welcome a new subscriber to your newsletter
- Send users a special coupon after a certain amount of inactivity
- Remind customers about items they may have left in their shopping cart.
The key with these automated messages is to give them a little personality. Nobody wants to feel like they’re getting emailed by a robot, so give these messages a personal tone and some unique flair.
We hope these tips will help you get your email marketing off the ground!