Most of the groundwork for establishing an awesome email marketing campaign begins even before you write a single word.
A solid structure is extremely important to the overall success of your campaign. In fact, it makes your overall marketing strategy stronger and more effective.
We're going to tackle best practices for email marketing that includes how to maintain your subscriber list and what you can do within your company to support your newsletters.
- Place a large, attention-grabbing signup form opt-in widget on your home page
- Ensure that each interior page on your site includes an opt-in form
- Spell-out benefits for signing up
- Include an option to opt-in for your email newsletters on every form
- Capture just the basic information, name and email address
- Change up your opt-in widget to read something other than "sign-up!" to something like "Get the inside scoop" or "Sign Up for a Free Webinar"
- Send a welcome / introduction email after each sign up that includes a promotional code or free sample with purchase
- Send an additional autoresponders a week or two after opt-in that reminds your subscribers that they can set-up a profile and change email preferences
- Set up a series of additional "welcome" autoresponders that include an ebook, webinar, whitepaper and archived articles
- Send autoresponders highlighting the benefits of your other email newsletters
• Ensure that every employee includes a push for or a link to your email marketing campaign in their email signatures
• All materials – online, digital and hardcopy – must include an email sign up option along with benefits
• Cross-promote your email marketing campaign across other marketing channels – social media, SMS, fax, affiliate
• If you have a in-person point-of-sales place, encourage your sales team to ask customers if they'd like to receive your emails and collect their addresses
• Include a postage-paid postcard in catalogues, invoices and shipped goods for customers to sign-up for your email newsletter
- Always, always, include an unsubscribe option in each email
- Always, always, include a "Refer a Friend" or a recommend button for your subscribers to share your email easily with others
- Link to your subscribers' email preference page so that they can make changes and update their accounts
- Include an option for subscribers to view your email in HTML or web
- Design with HTML or web in mind as well – make it easy to read with an with a to readership
- Include links to your YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social media accounts
- Design your email marketing campaign so its easily viewable in any program
- Be stingy on the amount of graphics and images you include – stick to small, easily viewable and downloadable design
- Always include your logo and tagline
- Don't copy your website design – including navigation bars – into your emails; it makes it difficult to read and download, and wastes valuable space
- Send a special deal or gift to inactive subscribers
- Purge your list of bad email addresses, bounces and unsubscribes
- Always include a "Please add us to your address book" in each email to ensure deliverability (also known as "whitelisting")
- Avoid buying lists, but if you must, ensure you do your homework and work with a reputable service
- Focus content on a single "push" and have supporting material along with it
- Don't overload your email with content; make it as easy to skim as possible
- For long blogs or articles, include a title, introduction and link for subscribers to continue to read on your website or directed landing page
- Never neglect your data – it's the platform from which you improve your email
- Look at your data immediately after your email is sent and the days following it to see what's working and what isn't
- Analyze your deliverability through bounce rates, opens and bad addresses
- Look to your click-thru rate to see how effective your articles, promotions and social media pushes are
- Determine which landing page is the best or worst, then make changes
- Send your emails everywhere before you send it publicly – send it internally to your staff, send it to test email accounts at Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL
- Double-check to see whether your ISP is blacklisted
- Test and test again, each every aspect of your email, from how it looks, its download time, whether the outbound links are working – everything!
Other Great Tips
- Recycle your very best articles (look to your rankings for this one)
- Recycle your very best promotions (look to your sales)
- Ensure your "Sender" is either your business name or a person within your company; it reinforces your reputation
- Write "Subject Lines" that have a clear call-to-action
- If your "Reply-To" address is different than your sender, ensure that its also a person or something easy like "firstname.lastname@example.org"
- If your email needs a "To" place within its content, make sure its personal, like "Dear Mike" instead of "Dear Subscriber"
- Make sure that each of your emails is available online in archives and link to relevant ones in each email
To truly have a continuously successful email marketing campaign, revisit these tips often, especially after making series updates and changes.