6 Best Practices for Email Marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool – but just like any tool, it can be made useless through improper use. If your approach to email marketing is more spray-and-pray than targeted focus, you are probably wasting valuable resources. Many businesses have been burned on bad email marketing, and now they’ve given up on the medium. But a properly structured email campaign will deliver value to your customers and revenue to your business. Today we look at six best practices for successful email marketing:
1. Keep it Short
Time is one of our most valuable resources – so don’t insult your customers by taking their time with long-winded email messages. When sending out messages to your subscriber list, just include a teaser and link them to your content. If they want to read more, they can. But they’re not left scanning through paragraphs of text to figure out what you’re saying. Keep it short!
2. Provide Real Value
This practice is closely related to the first. You customers’ time is valuable and you shouldn’t waste it with emails that offer no real value. Every business wants to increase sales, but if your email marketing should be more than a glorified sales pitch. Customers are won by proving your value – not with unsolicited sales pitches. Going sales heavy in your mail is a great way to end up in the trash folder. Instead, consider providing real value in your email.
3. Have a Goal
Sending emails just because they’re on your calendar is a great way to waste resources. Every email that gets sent should have a clear goal. Depending on your business, those goals might verily greatly – but they should all have a goal. Whether that is collecting customer data, driving sales, or boosting engagement; every message should be crafted with your goals in mind. If you want to get results, you need to have a goal!
4. Don’t Buy Email Lists
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: purchased emails lists suck. It might seem like a great way to expand your reach, but there are several reasons to avoid purchasing an email list:
- The addresses are saturated. You and a thousand other business all bought the same list – so don’t expect to stand out.
- They don’t know you. How often do you open emails from someone you don’t know? I never do – they go straight to trash, do not pass go, and do not collect two hundred dollars.
- They can harm your deliverability. This is a topic worthy of its own article, but I’ll mention it here. Sending messages that do not get opened, or get marked as spam, will lower your domain reputation and you’re more likely to end up in the junk folder – even in accounts that have opted into your email list.
I know it’s tempting, but buying email lists will do you more harm than good. Don’t do it!
5. Suppress Unengaged Subscribers
We start getting a bit more technical here, but this is an essential email marketing best practice. As you track your email results, stop sending emails to customers that never open them. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it is something all the best email marketers recommend. Not only does sending unopened email damage your domain reputation, it also turns off customers. I’m not saying to never email them again – but unengaged subscribers should be placed on a different track than your regulars. Work to get them re-engaged then put them back on your list.
6. Find What Works for You
There’s a hard truth when it comes to email marketing: there is no easy, cookie-cutter approach. If you want to get the most out of email, you’ll need to test and refine until you find what works for you. There are a thousand variables when your testing email campaigns, but at least consider a few of the big ones to test:
- Text-only vs. HTML
- Subject lines
- Calls to Action
Email Marketing Best Practices
Email marketing is a powerful tool – when it is properly utilized. If you’re not following these six best practices, don’t despair! It’s never too late to turn your ship around and start using email the right way. If you’re going down the wrong path, consider hiring an email marketing professional to help you get things right.