Oh, Hello Branding Group
While there’s constantly new marketing strategies and channels that are being utilized, email marketing is one of the original strategies, and it’s still incredibly effective. However, there’s still some tips that you can use to level up your email marketing strategy to generate more leads and convert more prospects. Here are 17 tips for your email marketing strategy:
1. Don’t buy contact lists
In 2021, this tip should be common knowledge. However, it’s a big enough offense that it needs to be repeated. Successful email campaigns are dependent on a good open rate, and if you are sending your emails to people who did not opt to receive them, your performance will drop no matter how great your email is. The GDPR regulations require recipient’s consent before you contact them, and purchased email lists violate that rule.
2. Avoid using ‘No-Reply’ in the sender’s email address
Another email regulation is the CAN-SPAN Act. This is a piece of regulation that has been around since 2003. One of the biggest rules of this act is to not use the words “no reply” or any similar phrase, in your email sender’s phrase. You may have seen email addresses such as email@example.com, this is an example of what not to do.
Why is this such a big deal? Using “No reply” in an email prevents recipients from responding and even opting out of further email communication, which the CAN-SPAN Act protects their right to do so at any given time. You can easily comply with this rule by sending your automated emails from an email with a first name, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, and this will even make your recipients more likely to open your email at all.
3. Stick to less than 3 typefaces
While it’s tempting to get “font-happy” in your emails, stick to 3 maximum in your emails. The cleaner and easier to read your email is, the better. If possible, stick to just 2 fonts.
4. Optimize the email’s preview text
If you’ve ever gotten a marketing email, you may have seen a link similar to the one below.
This is a helpful warning, but if you keep it in the preview text of your email will drastically reduce its performance. The issue with leaving this in the preview text is that you are basically telling your recipients, “this email may not work”.
As a default, preview text pulls in the first several words of the email body and displays it next to the subject line before the recipient opens it. However, custom email templates often throw in conditional statements such as “can’t see these images?” or “not displaying correctly?” near the top banner, which allows it to show in the preview text when it is sent out.
If you’re a HubSpot user, you can easily fix this issue by customizing the preview text itself in your email marketing newsletter.
5. Include an email signature
Even if you are sending a newsletter on behalf of your entire company, it should include an email signature from a specific person. People are naturally more inclined to open, read, and interact with an email coming from a real human being than an entire company. An email signature is a great way to get their attention.
6. Check and clean your mailing list regularly
Have you ever deleted email newsletters that you never open, but you just never click “unsubscribe”? It’s a very common situation. These are the types of contacts that you need to clean out of your email list, because keeping contacts that never engage with you will negatively affect your open rate. These contacts make your email newsletters analytics look like they are doing worse because you are not analyzing your most loyal audience.
Go through your email reporting tool and flag the contacts that haven’t engaged with your emails for a long time, and remove them. You’ll get a more accurate open rate and stop sending newsletters to people who aren’t engaging or interested in hearing from you.
7. Keep the main message and call-to-action above the fold
If you’ve ever read a newspaper, “above the fold” is above the newspaper fold, where the most attention-grabbing headlines live. If you’ve got a breaking story, you don’t want to make your reader unfold their paper and scan down to see it, you want it to be right in front of them. The same rule applies for the main message of your email and your call-to-action, because if it’s not above the fold, up to 70% of your recipients will never see it. Another thing to note is that your CTA should be repeated at least 3 times throughout your email in different places and formats.
8. Personalize the email greeting
Everyone loves to get an email personalized to them specifically. Not “Dear Member” or “Dear Subscriber”, it should be “Dear [first name]”, which can easily be achieved with an email marketing tool such as HubSpot, MailChimp, or Klaiyvo. Personalizing your email newsletters catches your recipient’s attention right away and gets them curious to open and read the rest of your email. And you don’t have to worry about manually entering 50 names off of your email list, you can easily automate your email campaigns to send the same message to 50 people with each individual’s name, it’s incredibly easy for you to set up.
9. Keep your email to 500-600 pixels wide
The reason it’s best to keep your email from 500-600 pixels wide, is because anything wider than that will cause your users to have to scroll horizontally to read the entire email. On a mobile device, this is very off putting for users and is only asking them to do more work on their part to read your message. Your email pixel width is very important to its ability to capture and eventually convert leads.
10. Use an A/B test to try different subject lines and call-to-action
Have you ever spent hours making the perfect email, packed full of valuable content, with cohesive fonts, and an irresistible CTA, only to have abysmal open and click-through rates? Unfortunately, it happens all the time. There could be a couple of reasons why this is occurring. You may be sending your message to the wrong contacts, or sending content that is not valuable to the people you’ve selected. In order to find the cause of this issue and fix it, you can conduct an A/B test.
A/B tests, also known as “split tests”, are used to improve any kind of digital marketing content. When you conduct one of these tests, it essentially “splits” your recipients into two different groups, Group A and Group B. Group A receives the normal newsletter you created, while Group B will receive a version of the newsletter with a slight variation. The variation will test to see if your audience is more or less likely to open or click-through your email if there was a variation to your newsletter. These tests are extremely helpful to get to know your audience better, and create content that they enjoy and are responsive to.
11. Put your logo in the upper left side of the email
There have been eye-tracking studies that have found that people look for logos in the upper left-hand side of the emails, instinctively. This is because that is usually where it’s found on most websites. However, you can also put your logo in the center to align it with the content of your newsletter. Whether you place your logo in the left-hand side or center of your email, branding your email with your logo will remind your recipients that the email is coming from your company and it’s part of a campaign or series.
12. Use incentives to increase your open rates
Including an incentive in your subject line can increase your open rate by as much as 50%! Some examples of this could be “Free shipping when you leave us a review” or “Free gift with purchase”. However, don’t go overboard with these incentives or product related emails, it can get overwhelming to the recipient and they may unsubscribe altogether.
13. Allow your audience to subscribe to your newsletter
While adding a “Subscribe” button doesn’t really help those who are already receiving your emails, it’s important to include a subscribe button so that if your recipients share your content, other people can subscribe to your newsletter. Or, your recipients may be forwarding your newsletter to their friends and network, and this button can allow them to subscribe to.
Add a small but visible CTA that allows the email viewer to subscribe to the newsletter if they received the email from someone else. However, this is not your only CTA in the email. Your newsletter should be driving another action, like contacting you, downloading an eBook, or following you on social media. Make sure your “Subscribe” button doesn’t distract or confuse your recipients from your main CTA.
14. Write compelling and concise subject lines
A good subject line is between 30-50 characters, including spaces. Mobile devices often cut off subject lines that are longer than this length. You should also try to incorporate a sense of urgency in your subject line, so your readers are inclined to find out what’s in the rest of the email. Give your readers some context of what to expect in the body of the email, without giving it all away.
15. Use auto-responders for opt-ins
Auto-responders are great to remind your readers that they opted in, as many often forget. You can set up an auto-responder to remind people that they have signed up to be in your email database and to receive your newsletter. It should be sent out 1 day, 5 days, and 10 days after the person has signed up. Each auto-responder should include valuable content or another bonus offering to reward your contact for opting into your newsletter, or they may feel like they haven’t gotten any incentive.
16. Link emails to landing pages
For each newsletter you send out, you should link back to a landing page that closely matches the email regarding the headline, copy, style, and content. They should both look and feel the same, so everything you are sending out is consistent and you can build trust within your contacts that they know what they are getting from you.
Also be sure to use tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages are performing well and which ones aren’t, so you can improve your content and strategy.
17. Conduct a 5 second test
The 5 second test is when you send a “test” email to someone on your team, a friend, or family member, and ask them to look at it for 5 seconds, and ask them what the email was about. Can they quickly identify what your call-to-action is and repeat it back to you? If so, your email is ready to go, and if not, keep working at it.
There are many channels and strategies that are becoming more and more prevalent in the marketing world, however, email marketing is an amazing tool to rely on in your marketing plan. While it’s not the most exciting marketing trend or up and coming app, it’s a reliable method of marketing that has already stood the test of time. It’s one of the easiest ways you can build your contact list and engage with your audience.
If you’d like to learn more about marketing channels to focus on in 2021, check out our blog here.