We’ve all received spammy emails that turned us off to a company — and we’ve all received truly great ones that encouraged us to make a purchase. If you want to ensure that your company’s emails are the latter type, you’ll want to follow these email marketing best practices.
Build, Don’t Buy An Email List
Buying an email list is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First, you can’t guarantee that the addresses are good. Second, if you bought the list, it means other people bought the list, and that means that spam police are already on alert. If you send those recipients, you’re setting yourself up to be marked as spam. Third, you’re sending content to people who have never established any relationship with your company. They are much more likely to reject anything you have to offer.
Instead, build a list by distributing quality content in channels that already have good followings. For example, you can leverage your social media pages to encourage people to get exclusive content by following you, or you can collect people’s addresses in exchange for a download, such as a helpful PDF or ebook.
Create Simple, Attractive Emails
People spend less time than you think reading email, so make your emails easy to read and engage with. A good rule of thumb is to have one call-to-action (CTA) and a short amount of compelling copy that leads to that call-to-action. Don’t stuff your emails with content, images, or links. Your readers would rather receive several short, targeted emails than one long, bloated one.
Ensure that your emails feature a high-quality header image, lots of white space, and an engaging subject line. Make the images and CTA button link to the same place, and minimize secondary CTAs or other links that distract from your main goal. And of course, use a compelling subject line. No one will open an email with a subject line that reads “Get awesome deal NOW!”
Test, Test, Test
There is no shame in testing out subject lines that work, or evaluating how many images your audience wants. In fact, you can conduct A/B testing on any parameter, including subject line, length of copy, header design, the time it is sent, and the name in the Sender field. Make no mistake: they’re all factors in if and when people open your email and do anything with it.
Create a structured testing campaign, based on your market research, and test no more than two variables at a time. By evaluating what elements of your emails resonate with viewers, you can create future campaigns to keep them engaged and gain valuable insight into how your email marketing can align with your marketing goals. You might find that some goals are better pursued through other channels, such as social media.
Emails should be short, sweet, and to the point to have the best results. Most importantly, they should be sent to the right people. Creating catch-all campaigns that go to purchased lists is a surefire way to harm your company’s reputation. In contrast, sending specific emails that go to lists of people who are already interested in your company is a much better strategy. When in doubt, minimize the amount of content and fluff you put into your emails and design them with a simple, accessible approach. Remember: the wordier and more sales-y the email is, the more likely it is to be marked as spam! And you don’t want that.