Email may seem like a thing of the past, but really, it’s present, past and future. It’s a powerful tool, accessible and ready to use. Did you know email marketing best practices are constantly adapting? Practices have changed plenty in these last 6 months than the last 6 years! Experts have been predicting the downfall of emails for a long time. But let me tell you. Emails are not dead. In fact, since January 2020, inbox activity is up to 20%.
In this post, we’re first going to discuss the basics, and then jump right into our list of 6 best practices in email marketing for you to start this year in 2021, and to take with you, beyond.
First and foremost, let’s understand email marketing and its purpose.
Email marketing is a strategy and action to target your audience (i.e your customers) through emails. Your customers and subscribers want something; they want to achieve a goal, so in these emails, you send them valuable information and assets to serve them, which in turn, helps increase communications and revenue. You want to know a secret about emailing? It’s about the customer.
The goal is to bring CX into email marketing. It’s all about the customer, not about you.
Now, what exactly is CX? CX stands for customer experience, and you may see this term accompanied by another term, UX. UX stands for the user experience. They are in the same family but not entirely the same. Think of CX as the experience customers have with your brand as a whole; it’s the bigger picture. CX includes things like customer service/support, advertising, social media and sales process. On the other hand, UX is the experience your customers have with your product and things like website, app and software as they are using, navigating it and getting information. This includes UX design, the design of the product and interface.
You want to understand the customers’ needs and become a bridge to help make their journey as smooth and easy as possible.
Let’s get into our 6 best practices in email marketing now.
1. Continue to Understand your Audience
It’s about them, your customer. You need to get to know your clientele and build these relationships in tandem to building your business. This means understanding their needs, wants, interests and online behavior patterns, so that you can keep your emails real and authentic. You’re a human connecting with other humans. What sets you a part is your unique brand voice, tone and image. The key here is to be relevant and personable. You can always have a conversation with them, set a time to meet over coffee or online, even send out a survey, or poll to get customer contributions (include their opinions). So determine, who is your audience? What are they looking for? What do they tend to respond to? It’s a true and sad fact that about 68% will automatically delete emails, so you also need to use email marketing tools to understand your audience.
2. Use Segmentation
Segmentation and Click-Segmentation in an email marketing platform will divide your customers, so they are receiving what is relevant and personable to them. Because not all your customers are the same. Some more personalization is simply needed to build subscribers and increase your open and click through rates. Think of segmentation like a magnet attracting those with a specific charge. If they’re an audience that tends to read more about on-going tech trends, put them on a Trends list, so they’ll actually have more of a chance and interest to click those emails. And you can set up emails so that when they click something like the CTA button, they’ll automatically be magnetized by the system and put into a new list. This is creating targeted emails.
Emails that speak to them may keep them clicking and engaged. So, look for the patterns. You have assets like Google Analytics and content management systems like Constant Contact to keep track of your customers data for patterns and behavior.
How to divide your customers? Divide your customers by—
- purchase history
- types of products
- (divide the) experts from the beginners
- their geographic location
- their interests
3. Have a CTA —CALL TO ACTION
You want your audience to take action, to interact with you and be engaged to continue to interact with you. Majority of emails need a call to action; this is crucial. It’s fine to omit a CTA in a thank you email. But almost always, you should have a CTA, and no more than 2 CTA’s in an email. What do I want my subscriber to do here? Call it out! Directly tell them with power words like, “Click now,” or “Read/Watch now.”
Make the CTA interactive. The call to action may be a button they click which leads them to the video or blog post, whatever asset it is that you want to give and that will provide value.
4. Improve Email Design – Less is More
The saying may be an old one, but it’s here to stay for 2021. Minimalism for websites, eBooks, templates, and emails will continue to soar. This is a clean, uncluttered, simplistic design that uses ‘less as more.’ What are some of your favorite minimalist designs? Take a look at your competitors to see how they’re designing and structuring their social spaces. And definitely use affordable assets like Creative Commons Flickr, Canva, iStock, and Pinterest to check out what’s hot, and what you can use to create a good-looking email campaign. You want the space to be clean and easy to read, and have some bright colors to stand out. Less is more doesn’t mean boring and impersonal. This is your chance to stay true to your brand voice and tone, and at the same time, look good and clean. A simple, clean design will also transfer easier to mobile devices. If you’re interested in studying more about this, check out this article from Canva on minimalist design examples and detailed tips.
5. Test Emails First, then Send
It’s always a good practice to be in the habit to double check your work, proofread and do a test run-through before you make an embarrassing mistake that hundreds will see. Proof-reading is a must before you press “send.” It just is.
6. Don’t Use No-Reply Email Address
A No-reply email address will be similar to – firstname.lastname@example.org. The sender sends the email to you and there is no way for the subscriber to respond back, which isn’t personal at all and just isn’t appropriate for email marketing. Because you want to interact with your customer and give them options.
We hope these 6 best email marketing practices will serve you well. See you next time!
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Virginia Weiskopf, Personal Technical Guide
Over 20 years of expertise providing technical solutions that let you focus on your business.