Are you doing email marketing all wrong? If you’re doing it right, your main focus should be on building relationships and winning people over. And how do you do just that? Well it’s actually simple. You just follow a few simple key email marketing best practices.
Mind you, there are people who have been doing email marketing for years, and are still missing at least one of these pieces. In fact, when I help businesses improve their email marketing, I often find I have to show them a few simple tweaks to help skyrocket their results with email.
And chances are, this is you as well. Luckily for you, we’ve just distilled all of the current email marketing best practices in a very lean and straight-to-the point guide. It doesn’t have to be so complicated that you have to put it off.
All of the best practices are things you can start implementing today, and that’s what this guide sets out to help you with.
Engaging Email Content
If there is one thing that guarantees high conversion with email marketing, it is email engagement. In fact, if you asked me to pick just one thing to ensure your success, I would tell you to focus on engagement.
And do you know why? Because literally everything else comes back to engagement. The number one way to make more sales? Boost your email engagement. Want to reduce un-subscription rates and improve your reputation with the email providers? The number one way to do it is, you guessed it, increasing subscriber engagement.
And this is actually a good thing, because it allows you to cut through the seeming complexity of email marketing. For example, if you want to make tracking performance really easy, just focus on your open and click through rates (engagement metrics). But more on that later.
So how do you create and deliver engaging experiences?
It’s all about sending personalized, valuable and relevant content. It also helps if you’re good at copywriting, and can write said content and subject lines in an enticing and engaging manner. But that’s a skill you can develop over time.
The one thing you can’t and shouldn’t postpone is making a commitment to delivering value from day one. Your emails should be so valuable that people are saying “Wow, I would have paid money for this information, this is some really good information right here”.
And you also need to commit to leveraging basic personalization from day one. This means utilizing merge tags and their modern upgrade: smart personalization.
Segmentation and Targeting
There’s no two ways about it: segmentation is a must if you’re going to be an email marketer. And this comes down to the main reason why email marketing works so well in the first place.
In essence, it’s all about creating the sense that you’re talking to the subscriber directly. This is what builds a sense of trust, loyalty and is at the core of the relationship building process.
So how do you get started? Well, at the most foundational level, you will want to first differentiate the types of subscribers on your list. You can base this on a variety of factors. You can differentiate them based on the specific sub-topics they care most about, their engagement levels, demographic or other relevant data.
And how do you learn this information? Well, it depends, and it’s different for every business. In some industries it makes sense to be asking a lot of questions up front. For example, if you’re in the insurance industry, you can ask a bunch of questions right on the form where they request a quote.
You can then store all of that data in either tags or custom fields, and then build different segments for the different types of leads. In turn, this will allow you to create very targeted campaigns where you approach the different segments with different offers and angles.
But what if asking a bunch of questions upfront doesn’t make sense? Well, in this case, you can learn this information after they join. You can do this based on which emails they open, what links they click on, what pages they visit on your site, and a lot more.
This is segmentation in a nutshell, but if you want a more specific in-depth guide check out: How To Utilize Market Segmentation for Maximum Profitability
The fact is that most of your subscribers will be opening your emails from their mobile devices. And if you fail to utilize mobile-friendly designs, your engagement rates will drop.
It won’t matter how great your subject line is if the email looks wonky on their mobile device. They’re likely to think “I’ll read it on my computer later”, and just forget all about you and your great valuable email.
So, what should you do to make sure you’re not losing your mobile readers? Well, this is kind of technical, but you’ll want to learn about “responsive design”. Alternatively, you can hire an email designer, and have them create those designs for you. And then, you will have to spend some time testing to make sure those designs look good on all devices.
Or, better yet: let us make this easy for you. As an Emercury user you get access to template designs which are mobile-friendly out of the box. All you have to do is pick a template, and rest assured that it will look great on mobile.
And if you want something a bit more custom, our team can hand-craft professional email designs for any of your campaigns.
Automation for Efficiency and Productivity
The main issue with automation is that it can do so much, that it can be a little overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, I can’t blame you. When you have access to a platform like Emercury that also adds page and event tracking as well as incoming and outgoing webhooks, the possibilities are literally endless.
So with that said, realize that you can take it simple and easy. There are only a few things you will want to leverage starting from day one. And whilst the fancier use cases sound nice, focusing on these basics first is a much better idea.
Set up an automated welcome series
Having a welcome series will literally double the value of each lead on your list, and it’s something you have to do from day one. Simply adding subscribers on your list, and not having a welcoming sequence is kind of like shooting yourself in the foot.
The good news is that a welcome series has two other benefits. It allows you to get comfortable with the basics of automation, and start gathering some data about your subscribers. Remember, this is what we mentioned in the section about segmentation and targeting.
So how do you go about this? Well, the first step is to just create a “drip-style sequence”. This means adding a series of emails, with a “delay” step in between. This is to ensure they’re sent a certain amount of days apart from each other.
After you’re satisfied with the welcome series, you can start leveraging it to gather data. Tag people differently based on which emails they do and do not open, or what links they click on.
If you want to learn more about automation, check out: The Email Automation Guide for Intelligent Marketers.
Monitoring and Analyzing Performance
You’ve probably heard that a lot of email marketers are switching to Emercury these days. And while there are other reasons, one I hear quite often is that they love our reporting system. They just find it super convenient and easy to (at a glance) check out how their campaigns are doing.
And that’s something we strive for at Emercury in general. We find that most platforms overwhelm marketers and make it really hard to get the basics right. And here’s the thing, even when you’re a super-advanced marketer, most of your work will still revolve around the basics.
The good news is that the basics of tracking and analyzing your performance are easy with email. All you have to do is look at your open rates and click through rates. These are your two main engagement metrics, but they also tell you how you’re doing.
As you implement the different strategies and tactics from our blog, you will find that you improve and get better. You will learn from your experiments and the ideas that you test, and make progress.
However, all of that is based on having hard-data to actually measure progress or compare outcomes with. Going off of your intuition instead of data is not a good idea. But neither is overcomplicating your “Data analysis”. Keep it simple and reap the benefits.
Establishing a Good Reputation
Email marketing is known as the channel that works because you can really build meaningful relationships with your leads, customers and fans. However, to succeed at email marketing, you need to get good at building relationships with someone else as well. And I’m referring to the inbox providers here.
Your relationship with the inbox providers can make or break your entire business. And no, this is not an exaggeration. When you have a bad reputation, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, because most people won’t get your emails. And this is something that a lot of people miss. Sending an email isn’t the same thing as getting an email delivered.
The good news is that there’s a big overlap between the things that improve engagement and what works to build up your reputation with the inbox providers. If you focus on providing value, personalizing and better targeting your emails, you’re halfway there.
However, you do also want to get some of the other foundations in order. That includes engaging in list hygiene, setting up your SPF and DKIM and a few other things that Emercury makes really easy. To learn more, check out Your Email Sender Reputation: Will It Make or Break You?
As a bonus tip, be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you’re up to date on all things deliverability. We send valuable guides just like this one with all the latest and up-to-date best practices to help you stay effective. Or even better yet, get yourself a forever-free account whilst we still offer this overly generous free plan. Get it now, and lock it in for life.
Building Long-Term Relationships
The really great part about email marketing is that relationship-building is at its core. As a medium, email just feels more personal than any other channel. In fact, nothing comes close. There is just nothing that you can do to make a YouTube video or social media post feel like a one-to-one conversation. Email however feels like that by default.
And if you apply the best practices laid out in this guide, you’re covering most of the factors necessary to build relationships with your subscribers. This includes targeting, personalization, delivering value and a focus on engagement.
However, there is one additional factor to all of this. And this is the one factor that a lot of people mess up. That is consistency and frequency. Just like with real world relationships, you can mess up by doing too much, or too little. If you smother someone with over-communication, this is going to annoy them. And if you don’t communicate enough and often disappear for weeks or months on end, this is unlikely to be good for building a relationship either.
The email equivalent relates to understanding email sending frequency and volume. And to help you with that, we have a guide right here: Email Frequency: Don’t Get It Wrong, Follow These Best Practices
Get A Strategic Partner On Your Side
There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.
If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.
I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about email marketing strategies. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.
Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.
Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Note that we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.