Email is the most used service on the Internet and, doubtless, most useful. Many people use the Internet only for checking their emails. Email marketing can be useful only if done right. Otherwise, it can get you more harm that benefits. However, there are things you can do in order to ensure that your email marketing campaign is going to be successful. In this article we provide you with 7 email marketing best practices.
Deliverability is probably the most important issue in today’s email marketing business. There are many spam emails and many legitimate emails are flagged as spam so they are not delivered. They are not getting thru ISP spam filters. Good deliverability ratio is the first step in successful email campaign because if your emails aren’t delivered then you don’t even have an email campaign!
In order to ensure that your emails will have good deliverability you have to choose your email marketing vendors wisely. You have to check if they are on “Blacklist” or “Whitelist”. There are different organizations like Spamhaus project and SpamAssasin that have their own lists which are used by ISP. If your email service provider is blacklisted your emails won’t be delivered! Also, you have to ensure that your domain name isn’t blacklisted. In order to maximize your deliverability it is recommended that your email service provider offers Habeas Sender Warranty Email Header.
Using our award-winning Group Mail product, whether it is Personal Edition or Business Edition you can be sure that your emails will be delivered because we have a constant cooperation with ISP.
Your email newsletter should be CAN-SPAM Compliant. It is recommended that you require double opt-in subscription so that your subscribers have to confirm their request to be part of your email newsletter. Don’t add your subscribers without their permission and you should avoid adding them manually even if you have their permission. It is good that they do it using double opt-in method. Also, avoid using pre-checked subscription boxes. One of the products in the Group Metrics software called Opt-In manager will help you to do this easily.
It is essential that you provide your subscribers with an easy way to unsubscribe from your email newsletter at any time, when they want. It is good that you offer one-click unsubscription process with an unique address. This way there will be much less requests from your subscribers that you remove them.
CAN-SPAM Law also requires from email publishers that they include their physical postal address so you should include it, too. Your have to show your subscribers that you are legitimate company which have a presence in “offline” world, too.
HTML and plain-text versions
It is essential to offer your visitors to choose if they want to receive your email newsletter in HTML or plain-text format. It means that you should regularly send both types. Sending HTML newsletters have more benefits than plain-text email newsletters. You can use email tracking only in HTML newsletter with image embedding, HTML newsletters have better click-thru ratio because they look like the real web sites. You can hide long URLs so that they will look professional.
However, some people prefer plain-text versions and reasons are different. They use email clients that don’t support HTML emails. Another thing is that HTML newsletter types are larger than plain-text newsletters. Also, one of the reasons why some people don’t receive HTML emails is security. In HTML newsletters some people can embed malicious scripts or use them for phishing (when they pretend that they are representatives of one company and when people click on a certain link they are taken to their web site that is designed almost identically like original). It is mostly used in financial fraud attempts.
From and Subject fields
Your From and Subject fields are very important for getting better open ratio and therefore to have successful email campaign. You have to remember several simple rules.
It is important that your From field be consistent. You have to choose one name, whether it will be a company name or personal name and use it constantly. Once you change your From field it is most likely that your open rates will decline.
Speaking about Subject field, it has to be short and catchy, to grab attention of your subscribers. Your email has to stand out in usually overloaded inboxes. It is important that you don’t shout so instead of
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH…
Exclusive Interview with…
It is very good that you make your subject field standardized and that the title be something related from the content of that current issue.
For example, if you have a newsletter called Email Articles your subject line can be something like this:
[Email Articles] How to Improve Your Open Rates, Issue#10, August 29th, 2005
If your email newsletter has a longer title, for example, Email Marketing Articles you can use this:
[EMA] How to Improve Your Open Rates, Issue #10, August 29th, 2005
Personalization & Segmentation
Personalization is connected with Subject fields, too. Some people like to include first names of their subscribers in subject lines in order to have better open ratio. Personalization is also very effective when it is used in editor’s welcome message or in articles.
Dear !*First_Name*!, welcome to the 10th issue of Email Marketing Articles.
Powerful email marketing software like Group Mail, beside standard personalization also has “if-then” personalization for more advanced users.
Segmentation is the most important part in marketing. “What am I selling and to whom?” It is not the same to sell your software to novice users (newbies) or to seasoned users (knowbies). Also, it is not the same to market your software to small business companies and corporation. It is good that you make a good segmentation of your email newsletter. Best way to do that is to include several additional fields at sign-up process. Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to ask 15 questions from your new subscriber because many people leave when they see that there are many fields to fill. After that, you will make several email newsletters for each membership type.
With Group Mail 5 (Personal and Business Edition) you can make unlimited number of lists with unlimited recipients in each.
Timing is everything
Another very important thing in creating successful email campaign is timing. In almost every email marketing statistics you will find information about when to email your subscribers. So studies show that the best time for sending email campaigns are days from Tuesday to Thursday. However, it doesn’t mean that someone can’t have successful email campaign sent on Sunday. If you send your emails in days that are not “prime time” you can have a chance to avoid competition that will mail their campaign in prime time. Tuesday-Thursday are generally best days for mailing because, as you probably know yourself, too, not many people like Monday (remember that song?). After a good weekend, Monday is usually reserved for some consultation with the management about weekly plans and task. Friday is, on the contrary, favourite day for many people, because they are planning their weekend. People often come home earlier on Friday so your email can be buried in their inbox until Monday. And in Monday, to be deleted with many others (we have already wrote about Monday). On the weekend people usually don’t work but many will still check their emails.
Also, you have to decide how often you want to send your email newsletters. It will depend on your content. If your email newsletter about latest industry news you can send your newsletter once a month, because then it won’t be latest news anymore. If you send a corporate email newsletter with news about company and useful articles from your area of expertise, monthly frequency is usually the best one.
You have to make several email campaigns and see which ones get you best results.
And when we talk about best results the next logical step is tracking.
How do you know if your email marketing campaign was successful? You have to know how many people opened your emails, what was your click-thru ratio, your subscribers’ behaviour on your web site after they had clicked and finally – how many subscribers purchased your product.