The world of email marketing can take years of trial and error to fully master. But that doesn’t mean you need to start out blindly. Instead, learn from the trials and errors of those who have already embarked on their email marketing journey.
Below, we’ve collected eighteen great tips to get you started with email marketing. Even if you’ve been in the game for awhile, you’ll likely find at least a few tips you might not already know about. This is a great starting point for your email marketing education.
1. Make sure it’s easy to subscribe.
Visitors to your website or social media accounts should find it very easy to find where they can subscribe to your email list. It should also be able to sign up. That means no multi-part forms and no complicated signups. SumoMe and Drip both offer clean, easy-to-add email capture forms to your website
All you need from a subscriber is an email address, and though it will slightly decrease opt-in rates, it’s typically a good idea to ask for a name for improved personalization.
Make sure it’s easy for users to subscribe when they set up an account on your website, too. It should be as simple as ticking a checkbox on the account signup form.
2. Encourage subscribers to reply.
This is a little-known secret that virtually all marketers, particularly those from large companies, do not adhere to. How many email newsletters do you get on a regular basis that come from a “no-reply” email address? Probably most of them.
Think about this for a moment. You’re contacting people who have actively told you that they’re interested in what you have to say or sell (because they’ve subscribed to your newsletter). And then you’re telling them not to contact you back? How does that make any sense?
You want these people to reply. You want them to engage with you and your company. So make sure that they can do so!
3. Make your content scannable.
We all know that web content should be scannable. So why wouldn’t we apply this to email content, too? After all, it’s read on the same devices as any other web content.
So make sure that your emails are scannable: they use headlines, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and other similar techniques that make your content easy to read quickly.
4. Include both the company name and a person’s name in your “from” line.
We get tons of emails every day that are from just a company name. While this is acceptable, it’s not very personal. It immediately jumps out as a marketing email.
On the opposite end are marketing emails that are sent from a person, with no company name specified. These come across as dishonest, as someone might easily mistake it for a personal email and open it under false pretenses.
What you need is a happy medium. Include a person’s name, as well as the company name, in your “from” line. This way it’s identifiable as a business email, while also coming across as personal.
5. Send segmented, targeted mailings.
Most email newsletters are static and one-to-many. This means that everyone on your list receives the same, boring email.
But if you know that a certain subset of your list is really interested in SEO tactics and another subset is interested in making AdWords work, why would you send them both the same information?
Using events and tags you can easily determine which of your subscribers are interested in which topics and this is incredibly powerful when it comes time to create new content and keep your subscribers engaged with your emails. Use this information to better target your emails.
6. Test your emails.
Don’t ever send out an email that you haven’t at least tested by sending it to yourself. Better yet, use Litmus’ free email tester that shows you screen shots in 30+ email clients, including mobile devices.
Check that not only is the layout and content appearing as it should, but also that all of your links are working.
In fact, you should be regularly testing your emails more in depth than simply sending them to yourself. A/B and multivariate testing can lead to significantly better results from your email marketing efforts.
7. Proofread! Proofraed! Proofread!
It’s so easy for a typo or incorrect information to slip through the cracks in an email. Make sure that all of your emails are proofread by at least one other person besides whoever wrote it.
While typos and mistakes will inevitably creep through in at least some of your communications if you keep at this long enough, minimizing them is vital. A handful of subscribers may be instantly turned off by a typo, but that number increases greatly if there are multiple typos or they’re present in every single communication you send.
8. Dispense with formality.
Email, by its very nature, is at least a somewhat informal means of communication. Don’t treat it like a formal business letter. While you don’t want to be too casual, you do want to approach it more like a friendly note or memo. That means eliminating formal language and keeping it light.
9. Don’t forget about mobile.
A lot of people access their email at least some of the time on their mobile device. That means that your beautifully designed email needs to be responsive, and scale well on a smaller screen. Make sure that when your subscribers open your email on their phone, they’re getting just as good an experience as they would opening it on their desktop.
10. Send both transactional and direct emails.
You should be sending both transactional emails (those emails sent when a subscriber or customer does something specific, like make a purchase or abandon their shopping cart) and direct emails (emails sent out without a specific trigger on the part of the subscriber).
Each serves its own purpose, but too many email marketers overlook the overwhelming effectiveness of transactional emails that arrive in a subscriber’s inbox while they are still thinking about an action they’ve taken.
11. Link to social media.
We’ve already mentioned that you should include links to share your email content on social media, but it’s a good idea to include links to your social media accounts, too.
In each email you send, consider including a link to one of the following in a P.S.: your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your G+ account, etc..
The more avenues of engagement you have with your subscribers, the better off you are.
12. Send a welcome email to every new subscriber.
Every time someone subscribes, an auto-generated email welcoming them should be sent out. This email should remind them of why they subscribed and knock their socks off with some immediate value.
13. Measure results
Email provides you with the potential to measure all sorts of things: open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates (to purchase) being the most common.
By measuring these, you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t (using split testing, of course, something we offer in Drip), and then you can create better emails in the future. Over time, you can greatly improve your response rates.
14. Look at long-term results.
Look at email marketing as more of a marathon than a sprint. The goal is to build long-term relationships with your potential and existing customers, not to get spectacular immediate results (not that immediate results are bad).
That means you need to measure your results and look for trends over weeks and months, not just on an email-by-email basis.
15. Send on a regular schedule.
A regular schedule can help you plan your email marketing better. That means sending out at optimal times of day, as well as on the best days of the week.
A regular schedule is especially important with things like newsletters. Pick one day a week, and make sure an goes out on that day, and preferably at approximately the same time each day. Consistency gives your subscribers something to look forward to.
16. Make sure your links work on your mobile site
Make sure that whatever links you include in your marketing emails will work on the mobile version of your website. We’ve already discussed that your emails themselves need to work well on mobile devices, but too many senders overlook the fact that any links also need to work properly.
Since some mobile sites are essentially simplified versions of full websites and missing some content, this can be a big issue. The point of sending out these emails is to get the recipient to click through to your website. If the link they click on doesn’t work, then you’ve wasted your (and your subscriber’s) time.
17. Offer something in exchange for subscribing.
Offering something exclusive in exchange for subscribing can greatly increase your opt-in numbers. A short ebook, a 5-day email mini-course, or a “top 10 critical tools for doing X” all work great as opt-in rewards.
We all like to get things for free, and signing up for a newsletter seems like a small price to pay for something we feel is valuable.
18. Use goofs to your advantage.
Have you ever sent out an email with the wrong date, the wrong price, or some other major screw-up? Maybe even sent out an email to the wrong list, or in the wrong language? When it happens, use it to your advantage!
Send a follow-up email with any necessary corrections, and be light-hearted about it. See how you can turn it into an advantage for your subscribers, giving them a special deal, for example. This shows that you recognize your mistake, that you’re not freaking out about it, and that you are willing to take the extra steps necessary to make things right.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in the email marketing game, there’s always more to learn. Hopefully these tips improve the results of your email marketing efforts.
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