Top Ten Email Marketing Tips and Tricks
If you’re considering using email marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, you may think you need specialist knowledge, tonnes of money, and lots of time. But that isn’t the case.
Here are the top ten email marketing tips that you must remember, when crafting your email:
1. Include obvious links
First you will need to define the purpose of your email – will it drive traffic back to your site, are you looking for more Twitter followers, or just looking to nurture leads?
You’ll then need to place links in obvious places; for example, if you’re looking to drive traffic to your site, you’ll need an obvious call to action, with a specialist landing page on your website.
If you’re including a link within a piece of text, make sure it looks like a link. You could even use ‘Click here’ to tell your readers what you want them to do.
2. Don’t go image crazy
Many of your recipients will not see the images included in your email. This is due to restrictions put in place by the majority of email service providers. Images can carry spam through to an inbox, so are restricted at first glance. The recipient then needs to confirm that they are happy to see the images, by manually downloading them.
Keep your images to 60% of the content, and your text at 40%. Always include a plain text version of the email, so that if your recipient cannot see the HTML, they will still understand the bulk of the email. And never ever use one large image in your email, as this will get blocked by spam filters.
3. Include an unsubscribe button
It is illegal to send an email to a specified list without including an unsubscribe button. It may seem silly to include an unsubscribe link when you’re looking to keep your subscriber involved, but the alternative is much worse. Without an unsubscribe button, your recipient may be tempted to hit the spam button, or put your email in the junk folder. This tells the Internet Service Providers that the email is unwanted and counts against your sender reputation.
If you don’t want your recipient to completely unsubscribe, include a preference centre. The recipient can then choose if they want quarterly, monthly, weekly or no emails at all.
4. Check your email’s spam count
Get into a habit of checking your email campaign against a spam checker. You may not need to check every single campaign, but it’s worth doing when you’re new to the email marketing world. You will quickly learn what works, and what doesn’t in a campaign.
It can be tempting to go for the hard sell that goes against spam advice, but you risk your emails not being delivered, or you could even get blacklisted, which could see you out of actions for weeks, months or years.
5. Consider your email design
Most of your email recipients will see the email through a preview pane with the images turned off, until they choose the open the email in full.
Make your HTML template 600px by 100px to make the most of that preview pane. It may mean sacrificing the lovely banner that you imagined, but it will yield better results.
Include your call to action within this preview pane, or something that will encourage the users to open the email, and show the images.
6. Keep your text short
Most users won’t read the full text of your email. A study has found that recipients will read the subject line, scan the text, read the ‘from name’, and then go back and read the body of the text.
Keep your text short, and use bullet points to highlight words or phrases that will be of importance to your recipient. Just like images, too much text will create a problem for your email when passing through spam filters.
7. Clean your contact list
Take time and effort to make sure that you’re removing bad email addresses form your list. Some email marketing software will do this automatically for you, for example, if an email hard bounces once, the email address will be supressed, or if an email soft bounces more than four times, it will be supressed. If the system doesn’t do this automatically, you will need to manually check your bounces, and unsubscribe requests.
Again, if this is not done, it will affect your reputation, and may lead to you being blacklisted.
8. Hyperlink your images and don’t forget Alt Text
As mentioned, the majority of images won’t appear within your campaign as first glance. This is why you need to make sure your images include Alt Text, Title text and are linkable. Alt Text and Title text are the little messages that appear when an image cannot be displayed.
You need to include this so that the content makes sense, even without images, and you’re making the most of the white space that appears when an image does not.
Make this white space clickable, so that the potential dead space could still lead traffic to your preferred destination.
9. Test you emails before you send them
Before you send your email to your entire contact list, send a test version to a test account, or back to yourself. Try and send the test to each of the big email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Yahoo etc.) as each one will render the email differently.
There’s nothing worse than sending an email, and finding it went straight into the spam box. If there are any glaring problems you can change them now.
10. Include a plain text version
This point was previously mentioned in #2, but we’ll reiterate it again as it’s important. Always include a plain text version of your email with your HTML version. As more people read emails on mobile devices, they are choosing to view the text-based version rather than load the images, which can take time and cost money.
Even if they view your email through a desktop client, the images may be blocked, and the message of your email still needs to be portrayed.
These top ten email marketing tips might not make you the best marketer in the world, but they’ll certainly make sure you have the capability to become the best – one day!
Use these tips as checklist when you’re creating your campaign and you’ll be fine.
Have we missed anything? Are there any other tips you could share with us? Get involved in the comments section below.