In case you haven’t heard, email marketing is not only alive and well, it has evolved. Email marketing is still one of the most direct and personal ways to get in touch with your website’s visitors.
When implementing an email newsletter, the first thing you want to consider is which email newsletter service is best for your needs. Here at WPsite.net, we use MailChimp because they have a well designed and easy to use website, and are quite reasonably priced.
If you are just starting to build an email subscriber list, be sure to pick a service that is intuitive and doesn’t require technical skills to implement. MailChimp is perfect for beginners.
I’ve used some convoluted newsletter services, and believe me, this will make your job 100 times harder. You should also pick a service that is robust enough to meet the needs of your list as it grows substantially.
In this round-up, I’d like to present 20 email marketing tips to live by. Though most important is to to abide by what should be every email marketer’s mantra: Thou shalt not be a spammer (reputation is king!).
1. Create An Easy Subscription Process
Don’t push it, let your visitors decide if they want to subscribe or not. But in case if they decide to do so, make it easy for them to sign up. Place an easy to access form on your homepage, and tell your subscribers what to expect.
2. Subscription Information
In order to subscribe, your form will require various bits of information such as email, name, address or phone number. However, in most cases, you will not need all of this information so only ask for what is absolutely necessary. The less fields you have, the more subscribers you will get.
3. Offer an Incentive
If someone is willing to give their personal information to you, reward them with something valuable. You may offer entrance to a members-only area, a free seminar or e-book. Why would I personally want to follow an email campaign? I’m looking for valuable content or a special incentive.
5. Make Sure Your Unsubscribe Button is Visible
Relationships change, and sometimes people don’t want to receive your newsletter anymore. That happens and it’s nothing personal, so make this process as easy as possible. Ideally, with one-click!
Most newsletter services will actually require an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails per company policy or other mandated regulations.
If you don’t include your unsubscribe link in an area where people can see it, they will flag you for spam. This can get you banned from your newsletter service due to their strict anti-spam policies.
6. Organize Your List
As you builid your list, try to stay organized by segmenting the list. Depending on your needs, segmentation can be done by referral source, interests, geography, etc.
This will help you keep track of who you’re actually emailing. You want to make sure that your emails and tailored for each segment.
What may seem appropriate for one segment may not be suitable for another segment. Also, you always want to keep track of email addresses that are being bounced back (those emails are pretty much dead to your campaign) and who is unsubscribing.
7. Craft A Welcome Email
Don’t miss your first opportunity to engage with your subscriber!
Sending a welcome email allows you to let subscribers know what to expect while things are still fresh in their minds. Send them a welcome email, and surprise them with an unexpected offer or valuable content.
Make your subscribers feel like they’ve done the best thing in their entire day by subscribing to your newsletter. Also, you would be surprised how many people don’t feel they have fully subscribed to your list unless you send them a confirmation email.
8. Show Your Human Side
Don’t make your messages look like they’re generated by some robots.
Build and nurture real connections with your subscribers. They’ll be more engaged and less likely to unsubscribe if you seem like a real human being. This means you probably should avoid using generic catch-all email addresses such as – firstname.lastname@example.org. The FROM address should always be personal.
Don’t forget to give your message a voice. This goes without saying and really makes your message more personal. Readers will respond much better if they feel like they are really connecting with you.
9. Create a Community
Encourage engagement in your emails – just let them know that you’re an email away. Be proactive and initiate discussion – and make sure you respond to everyone that sends you a message.
10. Design Matters
Design is very important as you want the email to convey your company’s brand accurately. Your newsletter is an extension of your website and other assets, so be consistent. Pay attention to the colors being used, the placement of actionable content, and the size.
Many services offer both free and premium newsletter templates so take advantage of these. Additionally, be sure to test various designs to assess which works best.
11. Optimize for Mobile Devices
When you’re testing your email, make you see it looks great on a mobile device! It is very likely that your subscribers will view your emails on their mobile devices. Therefore, mobile optimization is absolutely necessary for a good email marketing campaign.
12. Don’t Be Boring
Be memorable. Or at least, try adding a clever soundbite or take-away in each newsletter.
We are all short on time nowadays. To understand the right balance for your audience, subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters and pay close attention to the tone and verbiage within their newsletters. Then, do that better but using your brand’s personality.
13. Agonize Over That Subject Header
I get a couple hundred emails each day for my work and I would say that probably 20% are newsletters. That 20% (assume 40 emails per day) are all vying for my attention. However, I don’t actually open most of them. That’s why you need a well crafted subject line that will attract attention and click-throughs. Avoid generic subject headings completely as those are destined for the Trash. Also, keep your subject as captivating as possible without being too verbose; nobody cares for long subject lines.
Just as you should add sharing options to your website, make it easy to share your newsletter.
Think about what you share with your friends. And what do your friends share with you? That will help determine good fodder for your email content. In short, make it shareable!
15. Content Length
The length of your email content is very important. Scale it to be short, but effective. Nobody wants a mile long daily newsletter unless that’s what they truly signed up for (usually automated listings / feeds).
16. Content Quality
This one is obvious, but quality trumps quantity. Offer valuable content that leaves readers informed and eagerly expecting for your next email.
17. Avoid CAPS
IT’S LIKE I’M YELLING AT YOU. Don’t do that. For some reason, marketers thought using all CAPS commanded more attention.
They would capitalize keywords or full sentences, and even subject lines; “FREE”, “ONLY FOR..” etc. Unfortunately, it’s a bad idea since most people do not like being yelled at in their inbox. Additionally, most email providers may even flag such text and send the email to the spam folder (the email world’s trash can).
You’ll find hundreds of articles providing best practices (like this one), but some go as far as to specify the exact layout or word count to use.
None of that really matters since you should be experimenting on your own and determining what works best for your audience. Explore all the possibilities and always A/B test your campaigns. Data doesn’t lie… well, unless you misinterpret that data.
19. Table of Contents
If you do choose to write a long message, create a table of contents or sectional dividers.
Readers always want to know what they’re getting into. If you’re going to use links for your table of contents, just make sure you don’t have too many. Too many links in an email is a red flag and can lead your email directly to the spam folder.
20. Test. Don’t leave anything to chance
How does your email look on Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer? How about your phone or tablet? Most newsletter services offer you to send out a test email for your campaign. You should also consider testing your email out on all of the mainstream email clients to see if everything looks as it should.
That’s twenty tips to get you started with email marketing! I can come up with at least a few dozen more but won’t overwhelm you all at once. I’ll do a follow-up post tailored for more advanced marketers. Let me know if you have any suggestions on specific email marketing topics in the comments!