Email Etiquette: Email Marketing Best Practices
The best marketing strategies will combine both inbound and outbound marketing channels. Inbound marketing continues to be critical to those companies looking to harvest demand and serve content. Outbound marketing however, is a way of creating demand. These two types of marketing can be used together in a well-rounded marketing strategy. And email marketing can combine the two – if done correctly.
A recent study, by MarkertingSherpa, found that 67% of organisations increased their budgets for email marketing last year, and a fifth of businesses are increasing their email marketing budget by more than 30%.
However, ploughing money into marketing doesn’t guarantee a return. Email marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years. Social media, mobile devices, privacy legislation and marketing automation are just some of the key items that are becoming more popular in the marketing world.
Here we will look at email marketing best practices for 2013, so that your business doesn’t miss a trick.
Volume 1: Getting your email opened
1. From Field
Send your email from a known individual if you can. An account manager or executive names work well, as the recipient will feel as though the email is personalised. For a newsletter, or company news, a company name can work well, as it’s generic and recognisable.
2. Subject line length
This should be less than 40 characters. Your words need to be impactful, especially if your email is being viewed on a mobile device where subject lines are often cut short.
3. Subject line copy
Focus on what the audience wants to know. It needs to tell them what’s in it for them. Use words that will drive action.
4. Segment your contacts
Sending ‘batch and blast’ emails don’t work anymore. Send personalised emails based on geo-location or different demographics, such as their gender or age.
5. Data law
Make sure you’re up to scratch with the latest marketing laws for your country. Here in the UK, data can be bought, but you must include an unsubscribe button so that your recipient can opt out at any time.
6. Time and day
A few years ago, there were set times and days where emails performed better. But now, as more people have mobile devices and check their emails on the go, there isn’t a magic time. Test timing to find out what works best for you.
Volume 2: Driving response
Many email campaigns look generic, and aren’t very inviting to the recipient. Here are 5 ways to make your emails more personal and relevant, to encourage a response:
1. Send it ‘from’ a person
People respond better to people they know. Sign your emails with a name, followed by their title, and the company name. Have the mail come from an account manager etc., if possible.
Use personalisation in your emails, for example, say ‘Hi Joe’ to make your introduction seem friendly, natural and current.
3. Make the copy inviting
Write as though you are having a conversation with your recipient, rather than talking down to them.
4. Tone down the graphics
Heavy imagery in an email campaign probably won’t pass through Internet Service Providers’ filters, as heavy imagery is associated with spam messages. It also appears very advertise-y to recipients.
5. Include a P.S.
Studies have found that once an email is opened, the reader will scan the subject line, from name, skim over the body of text, but stops to read the P.S. Include one and see how it affects your campaign.
Volume 3: Exploring the Mobile frontier
Optimising your emails for mobile devices is a ‘must have’. Here are some key actions you can take:
1. Design rich text emails
These emails are more personal and mobile friendly. Be sure to test the appearance on a mobile device.
2. Include a ‘view on mobile’ link
Not all mobiles will have the best download speeds, so if your email includes a lot of HTML and images, consider including a ‘view on mobile’ link at the top of your email to speed up load times.
3. Shorten subject lines
As mentioned previously, subject lines are often cut short on mobiles. Four or five words may be seen, with a preview of the first line of content.
4. Test, test, test
Test how your email renders in different mobile clients. iOS will render emails differently to Android, and Apple Mail renders differently to Gmail or Yahoo apps. You can never do too much testing.
Volume 4: Lead nurturing
We live in a fast paced world, and are obsessed with everything ‘new’. This has also been traditionally true for email campaigns – we want more campaigns and new campaigns. But remember, only 8% of B2B inquiries are sales ready, yet 80% will buy within the next 24 months. This is why lead nurturing is so important.
Ask your audience which types of things they wish to hear about from you; specific segments, industry related knowledge, newsletters etc.
Focus on using email to nurture prospects through the buy cycle, and even when you think you’ve lost the sales. This way, when the customer is ready to buy, they’ll remember you, and will already be familiar with your brand.
Use these email marketing best practices to get the most out of your time, effort and marketing strategy.