The final step in the email marketing series; email marketing best practices. This post discusses overall best practices, leaving you with open and honest advice that have helped us create successful campaigns.
Make it easy for people to subscribe. Add a signup form on your website, social media pages, blog, etc. Collect relevant information (name, birthday, company, interests, etc.) so your campaigns are as targeted as possible. Also, it's always a good idea to send a welcome email reassuring them they made a good choice in subscribing.
Make it just as easy for people to unsubscribe. Believe it or not, but making it easy for people to unsubscribe from your emails is extremely important. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that at some point a subscriber is going to want to opt-out of your emails. Providing a simple unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter lets people know that you respect them and their inboxes. Most email services come with an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their templates, like MailChimp. If they don't, use the screen shot of Igniting Businesses newsletter footer as a great example of an easy and simple option.
Brand your emails. Keep a consistent image throughout your emails so readers remember your brand and know you are a trusted source. Email marketing is one of the easiest ways to get in front of consumers, so staying consistent with your brand imagery and personality is a great way to be instantly recognized.
Use a recognizable "from" name. The "from" or sender name is the area that tells your recipient who sent the email. Using a consistent company or brand name prevents any and all confusion. For you adventurous folk, this is a time to play it safe and stick with the rules.
Maintain a regular schedule. Sending newsletters regularly ensures that your subscribers won't forget about you, or worse, stop reading emails and unsubscribing or marking as spam. Consistency represents credibility and fulfills expectations, but that doesn't mean you should be sending too many emails since that is what leads to unsubscribers. Do a little research to find the best time for your industry to send emails. Check out MailChimps findings on the optimal days and times to send emails (note that no single day wins hands-down).
Write content that can be skimmed through. Let's be realistic, we don't all have 30 minutes to carefully read emails. Use headings, clear images, small paragraphs and links to steer your readers through your emails; giving people the option to click and read more instead of forcing them.
Provide subscribers with relevant, engaging content. Luckily we live in an established world providing us the features to segment emails making our content relevant to the people reading it. Keeping your subscribers engaged means they'll look forward to receiving your next email.
Optimize your campaigns for mobile devices. Sounds like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many businesses haven't made this critical step yet. In the 2015 State of Marketing survey, markets stated how critical email marketing is to the success of their business, showing us how important it is for emails to be mobile friendly:
- 20% said it indirectly impacts their business performance. - 60% said it's a critical enabler of their products and services. - 20% said their primary revenue source is directly linked to their email campaigns.
Build automated workflows, especially for post-purchase or post-subscription messages. Reaching out after a customer or client has either made a purchase, or signed up for your newsletter is a great investment in your customers' experience. I also recommend scheduling content to be delivered over the course of several months building a strong relationship.
Test, test, test! Testing email campaigns before sending is crucial to the success of the campaign for a few reasons:
- Different subscribers use different email platforms and devices, and you want to make sure your emails look good throughout those different programs. - Typos are everyone's worst nightmare, but we're all human and we all make mistakes. Rereading helps, but the best solution is for multiple people to look through the email and make sure it makes sense to everybody.
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