Email marketing is one of the best-known forms of marketing, but it’s also one of the most effective.
Did you know that over four billion people use email every single day? If you’re anything like us, you’ll likely check your emails several times a day, and we’re definitely not alone in this habit. The number of emails sent and received daily is a whopping 306 billion – that figure is rising all the time.
Marketers know the power of email marketing, with over a third sending emails to customers weekly and 26% sending emails multiple times a month. And they’re sending these emails so often because they really do work. Email marketing brings an estimated ROI of $36 for every $1 spent. So it’s well worth spending time and money on.
If you’re interested in hearing more about what goes into a successful email marketing campaign, or you’re looking for a few tips and tricks to optimise your next campaign, we’re here to help. Take a look at our top 28 email marketing tips, and you’ll soon have a highly effective campaign ready to send.
1. Define your audience
All great marketing campaigns start with a period of analysis where teams define their audience clearly and concisely. So, we always recommend you begin mapping out your email marketing strategy by doing precisely this.
Think about who your audience is and what appeals to them, bearing in mind that you will have different customer groups amongst your primary audience. Then, think about how you’ll design an email campaign that this audience will find irresistible.
2. Use buyer personas to create emails specifically for your audience
Buyer personas are used in many marketing strategies and work well for email marketing campaigns.
If you create many different personas designed to explain who your typical customers are and what they like, you’ll have a real person in mind when designing your email campaigns. This lets the whole team visualise the email’s intent, creating something powerful and engaging.
3. Segment your data
Once you’ve defined your audience and created your personas, it’s time to go one step further, and this leads us to one of our other top email best practices.
Think about segmenting your audience into smaller groups based on their preferences, pain points, likes and dislikes. The more you know about your audience groups, the more you can customise your email campaigns to maximise their appeal.
You can use list segmentation to split data in numerous ways for the most effective email marketing campaigns.
4. Create a content strategy
The success of your email marketing campaign is largely dependent on the content that goes into it, so your next step is creating a content marketing strategy.
You can use content to create emails that hold real appeal for audiences, so think about what your audience would like to see in terms of blog posts and content. Then start creating the content they crave. Remember, the best content is entertaining or informative (and, of course, it can be both!)
5. Think about sending frequency
Think about how often you receive emails from your favourite brands. You’ll undoubtedly have some who seem to drop messages into your inbox frequently and others you hear from far less often.
Finding the correct sending frequency for your audience is an art form, as it will vary considerably depending on your audience and what you’re selling. Think about how often your audience would like to see emails from your brand, bearing in mind that a sending frequency that’s too high will ultimately lead to unsubscribes.
6. Schedule campaigns regularly
Now you have a good idea of how often you’d like to send your emails out, you can start to think about scheduling. While it’s entirely possible to run your email marketing on an ad-hoc basis, sending emails as and when you decide to, it’s not something we’d recommend.
For best results, schedule emails several weeks in advance. That way, you’ll never find yourself battling deadlines while trying to get a vital email campaign out, and you won’t miss out on any golden opportunities to follow-up on any interest expressed in previous campaigns.
7. Create clear, engaging designs
There are so many options for email design, so there’s no single right answer to email marketing best practices here. Take the time to consider how you’d like your emails to look, and design something that suits your brand – and your customers.
Often brands choose to create emails with similar designs, using their colourways, logos and typography. This is a good idea as it ensures your emails are always recognisable, and customers won’t be in any doubt as to which company has sent them – even at first glance.
8. Code your own email templates
If you, or anyone in your team, can write code, then your design options are even wider. Most email platforms offer the chance to code your emails, meaning you won’t be limited by the drag-and-drop templates provided.
Code your emails to create genuinely bespoke designs according to your exact requirements. Keep an eye on your latest email statistics to see which designs hold the most appeal to your audience, and you’ll be able to learn and improve as you go.
9. Run tests using different email clients
If you’ve designed an email and tested it by sending it to yourself, you might think it’s ready. But this can sometimes lead to embarrassing mistakes because an email might appear differently on different email clients.
To avoid any errors, we always recommend that marketers test emails on several different email clients before hitting that send button. Stick to the most commonly used clients and check for any problems in the test emails before you send your campaign out.
10. Use A/B testing to identify user preferences
A/B testing is your friend when creating a great email marketing campaign – so use it. If you’re wondering which subject line would be most engaging or unsure about the best time to send your campaign, you’ll get your answer through a simple A/B test.
Email platforms provide plenty of A/B testing options, and it’s straightforward to set a test like this up. Make sure you test a few different variables to get a good idea of what your customers like before you start sending to your whole database.
11. Send emails to colleagues for feedback
If you’ve been staring at an email design for weeks, it’s easy to miss a glaring mistake in the first line. So get feedback from others in your team before you send it out. Send a test email to a friend or colleague and ask them to take a look. Not only does this allow you to test how the campaign appears in their email client, but it’ll also give them a chance to spot any typos or broken links and report back to you.
12. Use email analytics to check campaign performance
All good email platforms will give you easy access to a number of different statistics that will help you measure performance. Don’t forget to check back and keep a note of these figures; they’ll help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
You should analyse all emails a few days after they’re sent because there’s always something new to learn. These figures will teach you all you need to know about your audiences’ preferences, so you can keep designing emails they’ll love.
13. Research typical open and click-through rates for your industry
Once you send your email out, you’ll have access to endless statistics on its performance, from open and bounce rates to click-through rates, but these numbers won’t mean that much if you’ve not been sending many emails.
Start researching typical open and click-through rates for your industry to understand better how your email has performed in relation to your competitors.
14. Keep an eye on website traffic after you send
Click-through rates will show how many users have clicked on your email, but website traffic will also allow you to track the performance of a recent send.
Shortly after you send an email, keep an eye on traffic to your website. Your website analytics should show you an uptick in traffic after the email goes out and account for where these users have come from.
15. Link emails to e-commerce data to measure effectiveness
If you’re running an e-commerce business, you can link your email platform to your e-commerce data for even more valuable insights.
E-commerce data will show increases in customer interest, allowing you to track any purchases right back to the link that brought a customer to your site. So you’ll have a great idea of the ROI of your email campaigns.
16. Write a subject line that won’t go unnoticed
The subject line is the first thing a potential customer sees when you send them an email, so the words you use matter.
Look into tips on writing a great subject line and exploring particular forms that work well for your industry. Don’t be afraid to look at the lines commonly used by your competitors, and remember, you can also take inspiration from other brands who might not be in your industry.
17. Use preview text to pique interest
Preview text appears just below the subject line, so you can also use it to entice customers and get them to open an email.
Look at how competitors have used preview text recently, and think about how you could give your campaign the edge. Write a line that customers won’t be able to resist, and you’ll soon have eyes on your email.
18. Write email copy like web copy
Email copy works just like web copy. Write it just like a webpage, and it’ll read well.
Keep copy clear and concise, writing in short paragraphs to hold a user’s attention. Remember that your reader is probably strapped for time, so if you want to get your message across, you’ll need to do so quickly, in as few words as possible.
19. Avoid spammy writing styles
One of the pitfalls of email campaign writing is appearing too spammy. This is a trap that’s easier to fall into than you might think.
Avoid any typical spammy words and phrases. Don’t write chunks of text in capital letters; use exclamation marks sparingly. Not only will spammy content turn readers off, but it can also sometimes even be flagged by spam filters meaning your audience will never receive it.
20. Choose your words carefully
The tone of your email is essential because it will determine how a customer feels when they receive it.
Try to create an emotional connection as you write your email content, bearing in mind that you’re talking to a real person. Use conversational language, and avoid being too formal. This will encourage customers to engage with your messaging and build trust and loyalty with your brand.
21. Explore the tricks of psychology
Psychology has a lot to teach us as marketers. It’s worth brushing up on the basics if you’re designing a new email campaign.
Did you know that different colours evoke different reactions in readers? Photographs of team members’ faces can also help to give your message a more personal feel and draw eyes towards a call to action. And, of course, there are certain psychological tricks like FOMO that can be put to great use by marketers.
22. Use targeted campaigns to ensure relevancy
Relevancy is vital in any email marketing campaign, but ensuring that every message is relevant to every customer can be tricky.
Careful targeting is your friend here. If you target emails to specific customer groups, using their past actions to determine which follow-ups they will receive, you can ensure every message they get is relevant to them.
23. Have a single goal in mind when you design an email
Some brands are guilty of sending emails that try to do too much, ultimately falling flat. Avoid such a fate by creating every email with a single goal in mind.
If your email is always intended to do one thing, it will be more concise, more engaging and ultimately more effective. A simple call to action is always more likely to get noticed than many different options that leave users feeling confused.
24. Use personalisation to appeal to your customers
Personalisation is your friend when it comes to creating engaging email campaigns. If you’ve been collecting data on your customers for some time, you’ll likely have their first names and know a few things about them. Marketing automation provides endless options to personalise your communications with information you’ll already have to hand.
Personalise emails using your customers’ names, and you’re far more likely to get noticed. And you can take it one step further by sending personalised emails at times when specific customers are more likely to respond and then offering them certain products they have expressed an interest in.
25. Inject your own personality into the communication
Customers like to get to know their favourite brands, but they can only do so if you inject some personality into the conversation.
Add personal touches throughout your email campaigns to give customers a glimpse behind the scenes. Use interviews with leaders in your company, offer customers a sneak peek at what goes on in your HQ and show off the people behind the brand.
26. Offer subscribers a thank you gift
Many brands choose to offer new subscribers a thank you gift. Doing so will encourage users to hand over their email addresses and subscribe to your mailing list. Secondly, it might entice them to go on to make a purchase using a discount code that you’ve provided.
Add a pop-up or banner on your homepage asking users to sign up, then set up an automated email with a promo code for all new sign-ups. You’ll be able to monitor the use of this promo code to analyse its effectiveness over time.
27. Keep an eye on the competition
There’s no shame in keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, including email marketing. Sign up for a number of your competitors’ email lists to keep yourself in the loop.
We’d never advise that you copy what any competitor is doing, but competitors’ campaigns can be a good source of inspiration. Use brands you admire to inspire your next campaign, and you’ll have no trouble coming up with fresh, new ideas every time.
28. Speak directly to your customers with targeted emails
Email marketing is an enormously powerful tool because it allows brands to speak directly to their customers in ways few forms of marketing can. And its capabilities start to skyrocket when email marketing is used to its full potential.
A campaign that’s carefully targeted with specific customer groups in mind, then sent at the optimal times using the most intriguing subject lines and preview texts, can do truly amazing things. Follow our tips, and you’ll soon have an unstoppable email marketing campaign in your hands.
Position Digital Can Help You Run Successful Email Marketing Campaigns
If you’re interested in finding out more about what goes into the most successful email marketing campaigns, get in touch.
Our team specialises in digital marketing for ambitious and growing brands, and we’re always on hand to help companies create unstoppable email marketing campaigns that smash every target. If you’d like to hear more about what we can do for your company, say hello.