8 Email Marketing and Automation Best Practices

April 19, 2019 by in category Online Marketing tagged as , with 0 and 0
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With an impeccable ROI, email is definitely one of the most effective marketing channels today. And with at least 3.7 billion email users worldwide, email becomes a must-have for marketers.

As straightforward as it sounds, if you want to take full advantage of email marketing’s efficacy, you need to follow these eight best practices.

8 Email Marketing and Automation Best Practices

 

1. Use the right email service.

Email marketing services are generally affordable, but it’s still prudent to choose the one that’s best for your organization. Regardless of which email service provider (ESP) you choose, here are five features it needs to have.

  • Email templates. It’s essential that your ESP has a wide selection of email templates you can use to easily craft a variety of emails in no time.
  • Automation. Your ESP should also have robust automation functions and workflows. These will help you simplify your email marketing process.
  • Mobile-responsiveness. More than half of all email opens occur on mobile, so it’s crucial that your campaigns are optimized to render on all devices.
  • Analytics. In order to measure the performance of your campaigns, pick an ESP that enables you to track opens, clicks, bounces, and other email metrics.
  • Scalability. Your ESP needs to be able to scale with your brand so that you don’t have to switch providers every few years.

You should also consider your budget when choosing an ESP, so you get the right features for the right pricing.

 

2. Build a healthy list.

Avoid email list decay by building a healthy email list from the start. One method for a solid foundation is to use the confirmed opt-in (also called double opt-in) method when adding subscribers to your mailing list.

The confirmed opt-in method means you send an email to new subscribers asking them to confirm their subscription. This stops invalid emails, allowing you to maintain a healthy list and reduce your bounce rates.

When building your email list, you should also make sure you gather as much information about your subscribers as possible. In addition to names and email addresses, you can ask for other subscriber information such as age (or age range), occupation, job level, or interests.

 

3. Segment your list

It’s much easier to segment your list if you have a wealth of subscriber data to inform your segments. Using subscriber data at your disposal, you can create segments based on the following information:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geographical location
  • Engagement activity (emails opened, links clicked, etc.)
  • Past purchases
  • And other data points that may be unique to your brand

By creating a wide range of segments, you’re able to send relevant and personalized emails to each of your subscriber segments. This is much better than sending the same generic email to all your subscribers.

 

4. Write subject lines and preheader text that encourage engagement and conversion

Crafting subject lines and preheader text that boost open rates and conversion rates is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to email marketing. This is due to two reasons:

  1. Every email contains a subject line and preheader text. Optimizing emails and preheader texts is a strategy you can apply to all your campaigns.
  2. Writing better subject lines and preheader text gives you the opportunity to make an excellent impression on your subscribers even before they read your email message.

To attract your subscriber’s attention and entice them to open your email, include words that are proven to boost open rates in your subject lines. Use incentivizing language like X percent off, 24-hour giveaway, get this now, great deals, or limited time.

You should also make it a point to include numbers in your subject line whenever possible. Research suggests it can improve click-through rates by 206%.

Be mindful of the length of your subject lines as well. Try to keep subject lines between three to five words and 17 to 24 characters in length. This way, all your subscribers can read them in their entirety regardless of the device they’re using.

Meanwhile, your preheader text serves as a short summary of your email. The ideal length of a preheader text is 40 to 50 characters. This ensures that it displays in full across all devices while still allowing you to craft a summary that compels subscribers to open the email.

 

5. Embrace the power of personalization

Personalizing your emails not just separates you from the competition, but also facilitates much more human connections with your audience. You should personalize various aspects of your email including:

  • From name. Change the from name when appropriate, or keep it consistent to build trust. For example, if you’re sending an email response to a customer service inquiry, you can change the from name so that it reflects the name of the specific representative the customer is dealing with. But if you have a weekly newsletter, keep that set to a consistent name to create familiarity.
  • Subject line. Include your customer’s first name in the subject line to stand out in the inbox.
  • Copy. In the main body of the email, include a greeting with your customer’s first name.
  • Images. Use different images for different segments on your list.
  • Content. Use dynamic content when sending offers. For instance, you can personalize a product recommendation email based on a customer’s recent purchase.

Through these personalization techniques, you’re able to keep your content fresh. This prevents subscribers from becoming disinterested with your campaigns.

 

6. Automate your customer’s journeys

With email automation, you can dramatically reduce your email workload and increase the effectivity of your campaigns. In fact, studies show that automating can increase open rates by up to 70%.

Set up email workflows in advance so that your ESP sends automatic responses to subscribers without you needing to do anything. Leverage automation and set up workflows for the following emails:

  • Welcome series. New subscribers receive a welcome email with an exclusive offer within 24 hours of them opting in.
  • Product recommendations. Send automatic product recommendations based on recent purchases.
  • Feedback emails. Send automatic feedback emails after customers receive what they purchased.

 

7. A/B test your emails

A/B testing is key to your success in email marketing. Here are a few simple yet effective A/B tests you can perform.

  • Subject line. Test short subject lines versus lengthy subject lines. You can also test two offers to see which would result in more conversions (e.g. discount vs. free additional item)
  • Content. Test short, focused content against longform content.
  • Call to action. Test including either a button or a link on the same exact email to see which gets more clicks.
  • Time of send. Test different times of sending to find out when your emails are most opened, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or night time. You can also test the day of the send (e.g. weekday vs. weekend).

Get the basics of A/B testing down first. Once you become a master, feel free to experiment with your own types of A/B testing.

 

8. Monitor your email performance

In order to gauge the performance of your emails, you need to track and analyze your email data. Review the data on your ESP’s analytics dashboard.

Metrics that you absolutely need to keep an eye out for:

  • Open rate. The number of subscribers who opened your emails.
  • Click-through rate). The number of subscribers who clicked on a link within the email.
  • Bounce rate. The number of emails that were not sent successfully.
  • Unsubscribe rate. The number of subscribers who unsubscribed after receiving an email.
  • Return on investment. The revenue earned from a campaign compared to how much the campaign cost.

Wrap up

Following these best practices will allow you to maximize your email marketing strategy. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll see a marked improvement in your open rates, click-throughs, and conversions. But more importantly, you’ll be able to foster much deeper and better connections with your customers, which will be more beneficial for you in the long run.

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