How to ensure that you send successful campaigns and haven’t missed any details?
You might have thought “Geez…If only there were a complete list of good practices in email marketing, I wouldn’t forget anything!”.
Good news is that Mailify has gathered them in one article, all the essential information you need to know to create a professional newsletter. Take this as an opportunity to discover all the subtleties of email marketing and understand why this marketing tool is probably the most complete and adaptable of all.
We have gathered 101 good practices that are unique and truly effective, sorted according to 5 main categories: database, email design, content and speech, subject and header, and techniques and strategies.
Database: the foundation of your email marketing
Here you will find our 18 tips for building, nourishing, optimizing and exploiting your recipient database.
1. Get your contacts through opt-in or double opt-in
Get exact email addresses with the consent of your contacts. This should be your priority number one to build a profitable email database.
2. Optimize the signup form on your website
Create a signup form that is short and concise. Only ask for information that you need. And place it in a way that it is visible from any page of your website.
3. Offer a gift to every subscriber
Provide special offers like a free white paper, a promo code etc. This will capture and hold your visitors’ attention and turn them into new subscribers.
4. Create a contest to collect contacts
Launching a contest and offering a nice gift to the winner is a great way to get visibility plus opt-in email addresses!
5. Collect addresses at events
The most valid contacts you can get are those you meet in person! Meet your future customers at trade fairs or events and get their emails addresses.
Social networks and email marketing are not enemies! Add buttons and links on your social pages and encourage your fans to receive your emails. If you wish to know more about managing your social media properly for more results, feel free to check out this digital strategist and contact her for further guidance and expertise.
Use your emails to bring more subscribers onboard. Include the link “Sign up for our newsletter” in your email signature.
Professional networks like LinkedIn are a great way to develop your B2B email contact list. Export your contacts and offer your services.
9. Don’t buy online email databases
Remember our first tip? Never buy online email databases because they are not opt-ins. These contacts don’t know you and they didn’t give you permission to send emails. Most often, marketers fall for their attractive price but that’s the risky part – when it’s cheap, it’s often a low quality email list.
10. Send only to opt-in email databases in the B2C sector
You can possibly prospect with leased email database in B2B, but don’t forget that using opt-in email addresses is a MUST in B2C and will improve your sender reputation.
11. Segment and sort your contacts out
Segment your contacts, sort them based on both specific criteria (name, age, etc.) and subjective ones (areas of interest, preferences, etc.) and send out tailored content. By doing so, you will engage them and will therefore increase your open rate.
12. Target each of your campaigns
The more accurate you are, the more efficient and cost-effective your email campaign will be. Each campaign must have a specific goal and must be well targeted, otherwise you’re shooting in the dark!
13. Delete bounces from your database
Clean your email database up on a regular basis and remove bounce email addresses. With Mailify, there is no need to worry, your contact list will be scanned automatically and bounce emails will be set apart.
14. Fix misspelled domain names
Mailify fixes all duplicates, misspelled domain names and syntaxes and provides a clean contact list. For example, an email address registered as @gmial will be spotted and changed to @gmail.
15. Keep in touch with your inactive and former clients
If your contacts neither read your emails nor buy from you anymore, don’t give up! Send them campaigns regularly, one of you emails might bring them around.
16. Remove inactive users if they don’t respond
If they are still unresponsive to your campaigns, delete their email addresses and only keep active contact lists.
17. Remove unsubscribed contacts
You must include an unsubscribe link to all of your campaigns to abide by spam laws. If your contacts unsubscribe from your email list, remove them automatically and never send them more emails.
With Mailify, contacts who unsubscribe from your newsletter will be automatically deleted from your email database, no need to worry about it!
18. Create different blacklists for different campaigns
Don’t collect your unsubscribes in one big blacklist. Set multiple lists so that you don’t lose a contact who just wanted to unsubscribe from one particular type of campaign.
Email marketing design
Find 20 relevant tips on the design and the structure of a campaign:
19. Place the most important information first
Your contacts should be able to grasp the main subject of your email at the first glance. Also, place a CTA button on top of your campaign to push your contacts to act.
20. Don’t create long emails
An endless email is an email that won’t be read untill the end. Get to the point and make it as simple as possible.
21. Don’t overload your email
You’ll risk losing recipients if your emails are cramped with too much text and information. Be concise and allow some space in your design!
22. Balance your content
An email is composed of blocks of images and texts. Avoid too many images or cramped content, balance the density of blocks. A ratio of 60% text and 40% image is ideal.
23. Play on symmetry
Bring harmony to your content by aligning your content to the left, right or center depending the density of your content.
24. Focus on simplicity
Don’t put pressure on yourself regarding the need to make an incredibly creative campaign. Keep it simple and easy to read!
25. Check if your campaign is responsive on mobiles
When you create your campaign, always keep in mind that a large part of your audience might read it on a phone. Design your campaign according to the device your audience uses!
26. Update your design each year
Fashion is always evolving, even webdesign-wise! Remember to update your newsletter design every year.
27. Adapt design to your industry and audience
Know your contacts’ preferences, as your contacts may judge your campaign based on the design. Adjust it according to the industry you work in and to the expectations your market has.
28. Use your website’s graphics in your campaign
Consistency is critical in marketing. Make sure your email marketing campaigns follow the same graphic characteristics as your website so that your contacts can easily recognize you and feel reassured.
29. Be recognizable
Impose your identity! Your contacts should recognize you at a first glance. Place your logo, colors, image etc. at the top of your email.
30. Do not justify your text
In email marketing, privilege the alignment of texts to the left or right, but never justify your text. This may cause problems with the page layout from one inbox to another and looks particularly bad on mobile screens.
31. Never send image-only emails
This is a widespread mistake marketers do when they create a perfect image-only email. But, in reality, it’s not as perfect as they expect it to be. An image-only can be caught in spam filter, be displayed improperly in various email providers or it can take too long to download leading your contacts to unsubscribe and block you.
It is extremely important to create your campaigns in HTML/CSS containing plain text.
32. Choose an appropriate fonts
Pick a font that will best fit your message with or without serif, based on your needs, and stick to 2 fonts maximum.
33. Avoid light font on dark background
Choose a dark font on a light background and not the other way around, because the latter can distract your reader from the content and be harsh to the eyes.
Make your CTA buttons stand out with a sharp color, different size and style. The more prominent your action buttons is, the more more important it will look.
35. Use high-quality photos
It’s okay if you don’t have high quality photos, there are numerous free stock photo websites to get attractive visuals.
Your recipients will always try to click your images. Think of assigning a link to your site to optimize the conversion.
37. Play with animated GIFs
GIFs allow you not only to convey messages but also to add humor or even show products. Don’t miss to add animated GIFs in your email to attract your reader’s attention.
38. Incorporate a “fake” video player
Integrating a video into an email can be complicated. But you can simply add an image from your video, add a “play” button and assign a link to your video. This is an easy way to attract readers and multiply your clicks!
Content and speech of your email marketing campaigns
Below are 21 tips to work on your speech and create meaningful and concise content:
39. News can help you find a topic
Are you running out of inspiration? The best way to get fresh ideas is news, keep an eye on local or international news, maybe you can find ideas for your newsletters!
40. Mention the highlights of the year
Celebrations, retreats, holidays …Talk to your contacts about what is of interest to them from a personal point of view to strengthen your relationship with them.
41. Prepare a calendar for the campaigns of the year
In email marketing, it is important to prepare the topics you will communicate like the special offers to come, sales operations, etc. Plan ahead and have plenty of time to prepare your campaigns!
42. Keep your contacts engaged
A newsletter’s main purpose is to inform. Of course, it’s a way to advertise your business, but keep in mind that your goal is: 80% interesting content and 20% promotion.
43. Create a number list
Just like this article, actually! Use similar email subjects to increase your open rate.
44. Talk about your company and not always your products
Don’t burden your recipients with your products or your latest offers. Share information on your company’s values and ethics. They will be interested!
45. Adapt your speech based on the profile of your contact
Define an editorial charter that suits your target. E.g. use their first name or last name.
46. Answer politely to negative feedback
If you receive insulting replies to your emails, don’t take it personal and respond politely. Keep your cool if you don’t want to worsen the situation.
47. Humanize your content
An email relationship can be dehumanizing. Your contacts should feel as if there was a person behind the email, so introduce yourself and make your emails as natural as possible.
48. Make your signature personal
Avoid generic signatures like team signatures, they dehumanize your entire speech. Instead, sign with your sender name.
49. In B2B, prefer to send plain text emails
Rich and highly formatted campaigns are not a must in the B2B sector. Take a more personal approach by writing a plain text email in the same tone you would from your business email.
50. Create a sense of urgency
When you prospect through email, don’t hesitate to highlight your offer’s expiry date, either by an eye-catching text at the top of your email or in the content in bold font.
51. Be concise on your offer
Go straight to the point and state your offer right away instead of beating around the bush. Keep you email short and precise!
52. Provide full contact information (B2B)
Don’t forget that when prospecting leads, the goal is to create a contact. Please specify your telephone and email details, and let the recipient choose the mode of response.
53. Customize the signature depending on the sales agent (B2B)
If you send an email to your customers, consider customizing the signature according to the salesperson assigned to them, so that they don’t feel like they are talking to a different person every time.
54. Customize your content to the maximum
Customizing in email marketing is the best road to high conversion rates. Personalize your speech depending on who you’re getting in touch with: name, surname, civility, city, preferences… Show your recipients that you really know them.
55. Match the ideal balance between text and images
The perfect text-to-image ratio of a campaign is about 60% of text to 40% of images. This balance is important to match so that you don’t end up in SPAM.
As the name suggests, the “action” buttons should prompt the reader to take an action. Use imperative verbs either in the present (1st person of the singular), or in the imperative (2nd person of the plural).
In your marketing emails, consider doubling your action button and place it also at the end of your post as a reminder.
58. Specify the reason the recipient receives the email
In the footer of your newsletter or email marketing, indicate by a sentence why the recipient is receiving your email (because they have subscribed to your email list for example).
59. Read again and again
Try to avoid spelling or grammar mistakes at all costs . To do so, ask your colleagues to proofread your email.
Subject and header: key factors in email marketing
The subject being the gateway to your email, it is important to think it over. The email header is also vital to attract the readers from the start and convince them to read the rest. Here are 21 tips to help you :
60. Take your time to find the right subject
Do not write your subject at the last moment right before hitting Send. Take your time, write down several ideas on a paper and choose the one that would make you want to open it.
61. Limit the subject to 50 words
A subject that is too long may not be displayed in the recipient’s inbox. Make it short, simple and explicit.
62. Choose an original subject that stands out
It’s the most complicated task. Your contacts receive a lot of emails every day. It’s up to you to be original and to convince them to open yours rather than others.
63. Place the important words in the subject
It is important to put the keywords of your subject at the very beginning, because on mobile, only the first characters will display for most recipients.
64. Customize the subject
Personalizing the subject is probably the most effective best practice. A customized subject with the name of the recipient will increase your open rate.
65. Using emoticons in the subject
Emojis and emoticons are good ways to stand out in an inbox. They capture the attention and can easily match the topic of an email!
66. Entice the recipient with a question
To ask a question is to speak directly to the reader. This way, you can retain your recipient’s attention and make him want to open your message.
67. Use the word “video” in the subject
Placing the term “video” in a subject increases clicks by 7 to 19%. Think of it when you share your next video!
68. Do not write in capital letters
If your email is entirely in capital letters, your email will be more likely to be pushed to… the SPAM box. This kind of behaviour will alert the spam filters of any email services.
69. Limit the number of special characters / punctuation
Same as capital letters, abusive punctuation can push your email directly to junk mail.
70. Don’t add tons of emoticons and superlatives
No need to overload your subject with emoticons and superlatives to be visible inbox.
71. Do not “deceive” your recipients
For example, by starting with “RE:” or “Following your request” in your first email, it is easy to see your attempt to trap the reader. Your reputation could take a hit!
72. Avoid using unclear subjects
Trying to be mysterious and intriguing – why not. But if the recipients don’t know what to expect, they won’t open. Find the right balance!
73. Think about removing the word “Test” from your subject
When you test your campaign before sending it to everyone, sometimes you place “Test” at the beginning of the subject. Don’t forget to remove it!
74. Don’t reverse campaign name and subject
We do receive, from time to time, emails entitled “Marketing campaign of XX / YY / ZZ”. Don’t make this mistake!
75. Always respect what your subject promises
Your subject is what motivates your contacts to open your email. Don’t disappoint them with content that has nothing to do with the subject.
76. Complete the subject with the pre-header
The pre-header is like a second subject. It’s always displayed on mobile, don’t forget to exploit it to optimize your open rates.
77. Don’t forget the webcopy
If you forget it, some recipients will not be able to view your email correctly and you will lose your audience.
78. Show your company’s logo
The logo or the name of your company must appear at the top of your emails to let your recipients know you’re sending the message.
This is where your readers will look for a button to get in touch with you. After all, emailing is all about liaising with contacts!
80. Recall the type of email in the header
Remind your recipients of the type of email you send. For example: “Newsletter # 23”.
Techniques and strategies in email marketing
To close this long list, here are our last 20 email marketing tricks dedicated to improve your email marketing strategy and techniques and make the most of the tool:
81. Define an email sending frequency
To get your recipients accustomed to receiving your newsletter, find a frequency you can stick to.
82. Don’t send too few or too many emails
If you overload your email contacts, they will consider you are a spammer. On the other end, they will forget about you if you send few emails. Find the right balance!
83. Avoid spam words
Spam words are terms that alert spam filters. The more in your email, the more likely you are to be pushed to the junk mail box.
It is important to link your email marketing and social media strategies. You can add links to your social networks directly in your email so that your recipients share your articles.
85. Don’t forget the ALT attributes on the images
ALT attributes replace images with text, as images are sometimes not showed in specific mailboxes. Don’t forget to add ALT tags so that your message can be read whatever the email service used.
86. Think about the text version
The text version is the non-HTML version of an email. In some cases, it may happen that inboxes don’t read the email correctly. The text version makes it possible to be read in such cases.
87. Preview your campaign before sending it
If your email marketing solution allows it, think about checking the display of your email in different mailboxes to be sure that everything is perfect.
88. Test emails in multiple mailboxes
Remember to send your email to yourself and your coworkers to be sure that there is no problem with the display, layout or color.
Don’t forget to test all the links contained in your message. If an important link doesn’t work, your email will be useless.
It is mandatory and necessary to comply with the law and be able to clean up your contacts. Don’t forget it!
Don’t try to fool your recipients by hiding this link. Not only would your reputation take a hit, but it is also an illegal practice.
92. Choose a sender address that has a reply option
Change the noreply@ … response addresses. By doing this, you block communication with your recipients. The purpose of email marketing is to be able to communicate.
93. Answer recipient questions
If you receive questions or comments about a newsletter, please consider replying to them. There is nothing worse than being ignored!
94. Use a reassuring sender name
In most email marketing solutions, you can choose the name of the sender that will be displayed in an inbox. Use your first name, for example!
95. Using a custom domain name
A custom domain name helps reassure anti-spam filters and recipients who will consider you have been authenticated.
96. Perform split-tests
The split-tests or A/B tests are a great way to test two versions of a subject, different content, etc., to find out what works best.
97. Think multichannel by combining email marketing and SMS
SMS is a very good complement to email. It allows to send notifications to the client’s account and doesn’t necessarily require an email, but can also be used in marketing or to carry out dynamic surveys.
98. Use a professional email marketing tool
Most importantly, do not send marketing campaigns with Outlook, Gmail or other email services. Use a solution dedicated to mass emails and equipped with all the necessary features to set up effective email campaigns.
99. Track your statistics over time
You need to take into account the evolution of your performance in terms of open rates, clicks, reactivity, etc. so that you can improve and understand where you went wrong.
100. Work with landing pages to optimize conversion
When your recipients click your links, you must make sure that they will land on the correct page, and that it has been optimized to convert them. Work on the landing pages, or you will ruin your work !
If you have a Google Analytics account, consider tracking your links to find out how many visits your campaigns earned and if they are profitable.
You can easily link your Google Analytics account with Sarbacane with its free extension.
Here is where this (long) list ends! If you apply these 101 tips correctly, you can be sure that your email campaigns will be optimized to the maximum and will be (cost-)effective and useful.
Do you think there are tips missing ? Don’t hesitate to write us in the comment box!
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