With everyone hopping on the social media train, you might think that email marketing is dead. Far from it. In fact, research shows that a majority of people prefer to interact with businesses via email than any other form of communication. So it’s definitely not dead, it’s just getting harder to do right.
Here are 13 email marketing tips to help you improve your campaigns this year:
- Only send to those who want to receive your emails.
Every email marketing service (Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.) allows people to easily opt out of receiving messages. Their dashboards also tell you how people are engaging with your emails. If you have lists with low engagement rates, then stop sending to them. We all get emails we’re not interested in and find it annoying to have to keep deleting them. Don’t annoy people; if they have not shown any interest in your emails in the past year, cull them from your list.
- Have a goal for every email you send.
Every email you send should have a goal, whether it’s to get people to sign up for your newsletter, redeem the offer of a free ebook, attend a lecture, etc. Make sure your emails are clear about the goal you want to achieve — i.e., the action you want your recipients to take — or it serves little purpose for your marketing program.
- Personalize your emails.
It’s been said that the sweetest sound is the sound of our own name. Perhaps this is why personalizing emails with a recipient’s first name consistently delivers higher click-through rates.
- Personalize your sender email.
Make sure the emails you are sending are coming from a real person, not a “noreply@yourcompany” address.
- Test sending emails on different days.
Everyone thinks Mondays, Fridays and the weekend are the worst days to send email. Again, wrong. Because everyone thinks this, the other three days — Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — are the days with the highest volume of emails. Don’t get lost in the crowd! Experiment with sending your emails on these lesser trafficked days.
- Engage with people who have already interacted with you.
Don’t buy email lists. You will only be spending money on totally unqualified leads that you will probably annoy by emailing to them. If they haven’t interacted with you on some level or didn’t ask to be put on your list, just don’t. On the other hand, you can feel free to ramp up your engagement with those who have filled out a form because they have specifically asked you for something. These are the people you should be spending your time and money on.
- Avoid graymail.
No, graymail isn’t sending email to old people. Graymail is bulk email messages that you keep sending to people who have shown no interest in any of your emails, and it can be considered spam. Create a suppression list in your email marketing program and park the email addresses of those unengaged people there. You can always go back and try to re-engage them later.
- Don’t freak over unsubscribes.
Sometimes unsubscribes can seem like a personal rejection. It’s not. There are many reasons someone unsubscribes — they moved, changed jobs, solved their legal matter, etc. Be happy they don’t mark your emails as spam. However, if you start to see more and more people unsubscribing, take this as a sign that your content is not engaging them and fix it.
- Check your email open rates.
You should check your email open rates after every email campaign you send and watch for negative trends. This could signal that you are not fulfilling the expectations of your subscribers and their next step may be to report your emails as spam. If your open rates are falling, ramp up your testing to see if you can improve.
- Respond immediately to spam complaints.
If your emails are being marked as spam, you are risking your domain reputation and could be blacklisted by email providers. Stop sending emails until you can identify the source of the problem — bad forms, missed expectations, etc.
- Create great subject lines.
While you want to steer clear of clickbait subject lines (“Kim Kardashian Would Pay $10 Million to Know This”), you do want to grab attention from the get-go. Just make sure your content aligns with and pays off your subject line or your recipients will bounce, taking your clickthrough rates down with them.
- Use great images.
There are so many good free stock photo sites out there that you can’t get by anymore with boring (or worse, no) images. Since people process images much faster than text, compelling imagery can drive home your points and get them to take action.
- Optimize for mobile.
Today, more people open their email on their smartphones than their desktops. If your email is not optimized for mobile, they will not pinch and stretch your message to get to the content. All the major email marketing services do this for you automatically but you still need to review your message in your service’s mobile viewer before you send to be sure you haven’t buried your call-to-action too far down in the email.