Amid the rise of social media and other channels, email has proven to be evergreen. The number of emails sent and received worldwide has grown steadily since 2017 and is expected to increase to 376.4 billion daily emails by 2025. In the face of a rapidly evolving strategy, adopting the latest email marketing best practices are crucial for e-commerce businesses. Our guide offers vital tips while tackling the method from the ground up, from writing better emails for converting your recipients to optimizing your send-outs and tracking your metrics.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing involves using email to promote your products or services, express your value, and encourage customer loyalty. It was Gary Thuerk from the Digital Equipment Corporation who first attempted email marketing by sending a bulk email to 400 potential clients over the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network in 1978. Since then, email marketing has blossomed to be one of the most vital marketing strategies of e-commerce businesses.
When done correctly, the practice can activate non-buyers and keep audiences engaged between purchases. Here are the two main types of emails involved in an email campaign:
- Promotional emails: These emails offer valuable information for free, allowing readers to identify you as an expert. Value emails often come in e-books, blog posts, free PDFs, infographics, case studies, or short educational videos. Learn how to develop the best promotional emails.
- Value emails: These emails encourage customers to convert into recent buyers. They usually offer prospects information about exclusive products or services that fulfills their needs. Includes a solid call to action.
Regardless of the email type, it’s essential to keep a few tips in mind when launching an email campaign, so you don’t mistake sending ineffective emails to the wrong people. Here’s a list of updated email marketing best practices in every step of the campaign journey.
Before your email is opened
Exerting all your effort into email content without paying attention to your database, timing, segmentation, and subject lines is an easy way to ruin your email campaign. Heed these tips to ensure your email gets opened.
Avoid purchasing contact lists
Be wary of purchasing contact lists, especially amid the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Remember, audiences in purchased email lists did not personally opt-in to your email database, so you’re bound to see a considerable performance drop in your open rate.
Pay attention to your subject line
Your subject line is crucial in ensuring that your audience opens your email, so make sure it includes your offer clearly, concisely, and compellingly without going overboard on being witty. Most subject lines are cut off on mobile after 55-77 characters, so try to stay under that count.
Here, BeautyMnl offers a simple yet effective subject line that easily captures the attention of Laneige consumers.
Know the best time to send emails
Study your customer’s habits and schedules to determine the best time to send an email. Your peak purchase times (available through Google Analytics) indicate when your customers will be most receptive to your emails.
Email automation works wonders for achieving the perfect timing, allowing you to effectively send abandoned cart emails, order confirmations, and emails triggered by specific customer actions.
Split test your subject lines
Email A/B tests allow you to send two different emails to two various sample groups in your email database. This will enable you to determine the email that receives the most opens and clicks, which will then be sent out to the rest of your database. Most email service providers offer A/B testing as part of their suite of features.
Segment your audience
Your audience isn’t all the same – each is in various parts of the buyer’s journey. Email segmentation allows you to send tailored and personalized emails to a group of people with proper timing for a better chance of a conversion. You may segment your customers according to location, engagement, or interests, among others.
Composing the body
After ensuring that your email is sent to the right audience on the best time, you’ll want to focus on how you’ll convey your message and the format it appears in. Consider these tips when composing your email.
Mind your design
While written content is essential, your email’s design can make or break your marketing efforts. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Put the main elements above the fold. Place your core offer and call-to-action above the fold or the top half of the page where it is visible without having to scroll further down.
- Use only two typefaces. Too many typefaces run the risk of distracting readers. We also recommend using only web-safe fonts with sizes between 10 – 12 points to ensure easy reading on all devices.
- Add only images that add value. Images may prolong load times or mess up formatting on mobile phones. Be sure to add images (preferably less than 1 MB) only if they are valuable to your message.
- Add useful alt text to images. Add useful alt text to ensure your audience knows what’s in your image should it fail to display.
- Pay attention to email width. Avoid using email templates wider than 650 pixels, as recipients will have to scroll horizontally to read your message. This increases bounce rates and hurt your conversions.
Foodpanda’s email blasts do a brilliant job of staying on brand while keeping in mind the elements of good design. There’s a clear hierarchy of information with the offer displayed above the fold. Only a few typefaces are used, and the image utilized brings value to the offer.
Add compelling copy
The body of your email should be compelling enough to keep the reader engaged while still being concise and aligned with your branding. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Personalize the email greeting. Most of today’s email marketing tools allow you to personalize your email greeting with your subscribers’ first names. Utilize this to capture their attention immediately.
- Follow the hierarchy of information. Begin with your core offer and call to action, then go into detail about your offer using short paragraphs, bullet points, and headings.
Add a striking call-to-action
An email without a compelling call to action will fail to deliver the results you’re looking for. Your call to action is what you want to your subscribers to do after reading your email – and it must be carefully premeditated to ensure that your readers are driven to move. Put these tips into mind:
- Use buzzwords. Buzzwords that spur readers into action or create a sense of urgency (e.g., Buy now, Subscribe now, Get my free sample today) make great CTAs.
- Focus on one CTA per campaign. An email with plenty of calls to action will confuse your subscriber. Try to use only one CTA per email.
Here, Nintendo’s offer is clear: a free 7-day trial of their Nintendo Switch Online Individual membership. The call to action to “Try it free for 7 days” pushes readers forward and incites them to take action.
You can’t get better in email marketing if you don’t track your performance. Fortunately, plenty of email marketing tools allow you to take a deep dive into your email metrics, giving you insights on what works and what needs to improve. Keep your eyes on these four important metrics:
- Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that your campaign can’t be delivered to because the recipients’ mail servers returned them. This may be caused by a spam filter, a technical error, or an inactive email.
- Open rate: The percentage of subscribers out of your total list who open a specific email.
- Opt-out rate: The number of people who unsubscribed to your email list divided by the number of emails delivered.
- Click-through rate: The percentage of subscribers who click on at least one link in your email marketing campaign.
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Email marketing can be a complicated task, especially if you have zero knowledge about what makes email campaigns successful. Iceberg Builder can help you build the perfect email campaign with step-by-step instructions and comprehensive tutorials so you can build a system that generates leads and revenue. Get started with our 14-day free trial today.