Email is still one of my favorite channels to distribute content and engage my audience. It’s effective, it’s personal, it’s non-intrusive, and it’s easy to measure return on investment. In fact, a lot of marketers feel the same about this marketing channel. An Ignite Visibility study found that email was the second biggest channel that drove conversions after social media. It also had the second-highest ROI, also after social media.
With that said, email marketing can be a bit tricky. Twenty-six percent of marketers in the study said that it was the most challenging channel to manage.
If you’re facing some challenges with your email marketing campaigns, let me share a few best practices that will help you amplify your campaign results.
1. Personalize Your Sender Name
The initial goal of every email marketing effort is to get people to open their emails. While your email may contain a very enticing offer with the perfect copy, that won’t matter much unless the recipient first opens the email. That’s where your sender or “from” name plays a crucial role.
Forty-two percent of people in a joint Litmus and Fluent survey said they first look at the sender name to decide whether or not the email is worth opening. This makes it the most important factor that influences people’s decision to open an email.
You might feel more compelled to open an email coming from another person rather than a company email. So I would suggest using the name of a real person in your sender name to make it more personalized. This means instead of using something like firstname.lastname@example.org I would use email@example.com to send out an email.
2. Test Your Subject Line
Your email subject line is the second most important factor that influences people’s decision to open the email. In the above survey, 34% of people said that it was the first thing they looked at before opening an email. This makes it crucial to test and optimize your email subject lines to get more opens.
But that doesn’t mean you should create misleading, clickbait-y subject lines just to get a few opens. Fifty-four percent of people in the survey said that they felt tricked or cheated into opening emails with deceptive subject lines. So make sure your email subject lines are relevant to the content of your email.
Further, you can create more compelling subject lines by creating different versions and testing them out. I use either the CoSchedule Email Subject Line Tester or the Email Subject Line Tester from Send Check It to check the potential of my subject lines.
3. Make It Relevant
Once a recipient opens your email, the content should be able to captivate and engage them. That’s why it should be relevant to them. You want to make sure that the content of your email addresses the needs or interests of the recipient.
Consider segmenting your list for more relevance. You could segment them based on their job function, industry, behavior, or any other relevant characteristic.
For instance, your thought leadership newsletters would appeal to managers and C-suite executives as well as solo entrepreneurs. But entry-level employees or freelance contractors may not necessarily find them relevant.
4. Keep It Simple
Simplicity is crucial if you want to get your message across. Avoid overcrowding the email with design elements and information that aren’t directly relevant to the purpose of the email. Otherwise, the recipient may get distracted or find it difficult to read the content. They may fail to understand the purpose of the email, and this would result in fewer click-throughs.
Make sure you include the most important elements and information toward the top of the email. If you wish to add other elements like social media buttons, those should be at the bottom. Similarly, avoid being too wordy if you’re sending text-based emails. Get straight to the point and prioritize readability.
5. Test Frequency And Timing
The frequency and timing of your emails also play a huge role in their effectiveness. Send them too often and you could end up annoying your recipients. But if you don’t send them often enough, they could easily forget about you.
So, try testing out different sending frequencies and see how your emails perform under each frequency. Are you getting more opens when you send emails twice a week? Or is there an increase in your unsubscribe rate when you do that?
Similarly, you should send out your emails at a time when your recipients are more likely to open them. A CoSchedule analysis of 14 studies found that the best days to send emails were Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesday. The best times were 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., and 12 p.m. But ideally, you should run your own A/B test to see when your recipients are most responsive.
6. Measure Your Results
The most important step in email marketing is to measure the results of your strategy. This is the best way to find out what’s working and what isn’t so you can optimize your efforts and maximize your returns. It’s especially important when you’re testing different designs, copy, and offers under a single campaign.
You can assign campaign parameters or UTM codes to each variation to see just how well they’re driving click-throughs to your landing page. But make sure you keep everything organized so you know which parameters belong to which variation.
You could use an Excel sheet to record all of your UTM-tagged links. If you want an even more organized solution, you could also use UTM.io, which neatly records every URL created along with the dates of creation and who created them.
All of these best practices can help you develop effective email marketing strategies that deliver a huge impact. Testing and measuring are the most crucial steps because you never know what works for your audience. So make sure you keep testing every element of your emails to optimize results.