51 Essential Email Marketing Tips to Help Marketing Automation
November 22, 2016 | Jessica Mehring
Marketing automation tools save marketers a lot of time – but there are so many more benefits beyond that. These tools also let us gather insights about how our subscribers are consuming and interacting with our messages.
Marketing automation tools also allow us to better serve our customers by sending meaningful, targeted content that really makes a difference in their lives.
Use the following 51 tips to get better results from your marketing emails – and make an impact with your subscribers and customers.
1. Segment, Segment, Segment
Use segments to organize your subscribers so you can send them more targeted, relevant content.
2. Consider a Master List, Too
Segments are powerful engagement tools – but consider also having a single, master list of subscribers to send broad updates to.
3. Automate What You Can
Automate as many email marketing activities as possible, from campaigns to follow-ups, to save you time for other marketing tasks.
4. Welcome Subscribers to Your List
Create a welcome series for new subscribers, and an onboarding series for new customers.
5. Keep Email Content Useful
Make sure your marketing emails give subscribers information they don’t already have, or solve a problem for them in some way. Don’t just talk about your company or products.
6. Mix Up Your Style
To keep readers interested, think about mixing up your campaign design styles, delivery days. Just make sure you’re tracking the results to uncover what your subscribers prefer.
7. Get the Message Right
Your marketing emails are not just “newsletters,” they’re messages. Tailor those messages to your prospects, and consider sending different messages to different segments.
8. Include a CTA
Don’t leave your readers hanging. Give them a next step. Include a CTA (call to action) in every email.
9. Solve a Problem
Your customers are looking for answers to their problems. Give them some of those answers in your marketing emails and you’ll grow the relationship exponentially.
10. Grow Your List With Social Media
Add signup forms to your social media profiles to turn followers into subscribers.
11. Engage Your Followers
Create a contest or sweepstakes for your social media followers to encourage social engagement and gather email addresses.
12. Include Share Buttons
Include social share buttons on your emails so you readers can continue the conversation with their friends and colleagues.
13. Keep Emails Short
Everyone gets flooded with emails every day – so keep yours concise and quickly consumable. If you want to share a large piece of content, add a link so your subscribers can read it online.
14. Go Easy on the HTML
To make your emails appear more personal, use plain text. If you need to use HTML, use it sparingly.
15. Treat Your Subscribers Like Celebrities
Your subscribers have given you permission to enter their inboxes. Treat them like VIPs and give them special benefits such as advanced access to new products or sales.
16. Announce Your Upcoming Events
Holding a sale? Got a big event coming up? Let your customers know, and they may help you spread the word.
17. Inject Your Personality
Corporate speak doesn’t belong in your marketing emails. Let your brand personality shine through and connect with your readers as people.
18. Keep the Inspiration Alive
Choose a tool like Evernote, Instapaper, or Pocket to collect, save, organize and access content you come across in your day-to-day life. This content can serve to inspire you when it comes time to write your marketing emails and design your campaigns.
19. Show Your Appreciation to Loyal Customers
Reward your best customers with special discounts, first looks at new products, and early access to sales and promotions.
20. Personalize Your Messages
Use the merge tags built into your mailing list provider to create a more personalized experience for your subscribers. Welcome them by name in the introduction, and when appropriate, even in the subject line.
21. Let Your Goals Determine Your Sending Frequency
Determine how frequently you’ll send emails to subscribers based on your specific business goals. Would once a week get you to your goal more efficiently, or would emailing every day work better?
22. Create a Schedule
Timelines can help your entire marketing team do a better job. Determine how often you’re going to send emails to your customers, then put those send dates on a calendar so your strategists, writers, designers, and developers can row in the same direction.
23. Keep the Layout Neat
An ideal email layout should stay around 600 pixels wide. Any wider, and the reading experience may be impacted on mobile devices.
24. Test Your Emails in Various Email Clients
All email tools are unique and can render email content differently. Test your marketing emails in different email clients to ensure all of your customers are getting the best reading experience possible.
25. Send Test Emails
For a quick and easy way to test your emails before you send them to customers, send them first to yourself and your colleagues. Then you can catch glitches like broken images and typos before they reach customers.
26. Use Inbox Preview, if Available
Many marketing automation tools offer inbox preview options to view your emails before you send them. If you have this option, it can be a nice alternative to sending test emails to yourself.
27. Time it right
Pay attention to your open rates at different times on different days of the week. Your readers might have a preference about when they receive emails from you – and sending emails within that window can guarantee better results, and a better relationship with your customers.
28. Avoid Spam Filters
Sending unsolicited emails to a list of people is against the law, and will likely get trapped in spam filters. But even emails sent to people who have given permission may end up in junk folders. Take the time to understand how spam filters work so you can create email campaigns that have a higher likelihood of reaching recipients.
29. Proof Your Message for Deliverability
As you’re proofing your email for grammar, spelling and readability, don’t forget to proof for spam-triggers, too. Avoid common trigger words like free, offer, and click here.
30. Measure Clicks
Track how many subscribers clicked the links in each email you send out. This will help you determine their areas of interest and help you create more successful campaigns in the future. Don’t just track clicks the day after you send the email, though. Look at them a week or two in the future, as well. This will tell you a lot about your subscribers’ reading habits.
31. Measure Bounces
Pay attention to your email bounce rate after each campaign. Soft bounces mean the email address was legitimate, but for some reason your email couldn’t be delivered to it. Hard bounces mean that the email address might not exist anymore. Clean your email list of the hard-bounce addresses right away, but keep an eye on those soft bounces over time, too.
32. Measure Unsubscribe rate
Also pay attention to your unsubscribe rates. Do certain types of campaigns spur more unsubscribes than others? Do you get more unsubscribes when you send more frequently or less frequently? Use this information to serve your subscribers better.
33. Measure Website traffic
Check your website analytics after each email goes out, and make a note of which emails cause traffic spikes.
34. Leverage Dashboards
Most email marketing automation tools have easy-to-use dashboards you can use to understand your email performance and subscriber interactions.
35. Split Test Your Campaigns
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is when you send two different email versions to two different groups of subscribers. The results of split testing will help you determine what subject lines, offers, email designs, and content work best with your unique audience.
36. Showcase Your Most Popular Products
Highlight your best-sellers with gift-guide or special-collection email campaigns. These work particularly well around holidays.
37. Send a Holiday Greeting
Get into the spirit of the season and thank your loyal customers during the holidays by sending them a thoughtful email greeting.
38. Maintain Permissions
Remember, sending unsolicited emails to lists of people is not only annoying, it’s illegal. Keep on the right side of the law – and the good side of your customers – by reconfirming subscribers’ permission if you haven’t sent any emails to them in the last 6 months.
39. Re-engage Customers
A customer re-engagement campaign can reinvigorate subscribers who haven’t made a purchase from you in a while.
40. Use a Drip Sequence to Stay in Touch With Cold Leads
As a marketer, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Use drip email nurturing to take the task of staying in touch with cold leads off your plate. Then you can focus your time on pursuing warmer leads.
41. Develop a Promotion Schedule
Map out all of your sales and promotions throughout the year so you can better plan your email campaigns to support them.
42. Use Data to Personalize Messages
Many marketing automation tools have social-profile lookup features built-in. Even if yours doesn’t, spending some time getting to know who your subscribers are by looking at their social media profiles and posts can help you create a more personalized email experience for them.
43. Make Use of Behavioral Triggers
Behavioral triggers are the actions or behaviors of your subscribers that reveal information about where they’re at in the buying process. For example, if a reader clicks on a link to a sales page from your email, you can know that they are interested in learning more about that product or service. Then you can create follow-up campaigns that give them the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
44. Send a Special Offer
Repeat customers deserve special treatment. Use segmentation and behavioral triggers to send a targeted promotion to those customers.
45. Recommend Products
Suggest products your customers will love by including recommendations based on their purchase history.
46. Nurture Leads
Using email automation to nurture leads who aren’t yet ready to buy can help build a strong relationship and build trust even before a purchase has been made.
47. Use Concise Language in Your Subject Line
With all the emails we receive every day, we scan our inboxes quickly. The more concise your email subject line is, the better chance it will get read and opened.
48. Start Subject Lines With Action Words
Like a CTA, a subject line should move subscribers to click. Action verbs can be very effective at getting readers to take action and open your email.
49. Up the urgency
Sometimes you need a little stress to get people to act. Subject lines that create a sense of urgency – when used sparingly – can increase your open rate.
50. Pose a Question
Ask a question in your subject line or body content to prompt readers to open and click through your email to get the answer.
51. Don’t Forget the Preview Text
If your marketing automation tool allows for it, customize the preview text that appears in your subscribers’ inboxes right below the subject line. This is like a sneak preview of the content of your email, and can help entice subscribers to open your message.
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