23 Email Marketing Best Practices for 2020
Nowadays everyone is always talking about the best way to engage your potential customer on social media.
With the nuances of each platform. Trying to learn how to drive engagement on the “Big 4” of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can be a full time challenge. Add in YouTube, Pinterest and the new kid on the block, TikTok. You will never stop sharing content.
People say email is dead. I disagree, times have changed, and so have email marketing. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a roundup of tips on email Marketing in 2020 that you should be aware of heading into 2020.
1. Truly connect with your audience
We have all received unwanted emails selling viagra to dating for over 70’s. I bet your ‘persona’ didn’t fit these products. Far from it.
Today you need to create email marketing campaigns that truly connect with each recipients’ interest. You can do this by dividing your email list into more targeted groups – the Annual Email Optimizer Report by Lyris found numerous benefits of email list segmentation including increased open rates, greater email relevance, and lower opt-out or unsubscribe rates.
You may segment the readers based on age, gender, location, etc. This will help ensure that you’re sending the right communication to the right people. Ask yourself and try to address the following questions in as granular detail as possible:
- How and when do they prefer to be communicated to?
- Is there a specific vernacular, or slang even, that might resonate with them more than others (another great element to A/B test)?
- What types of actions or activities distinguish your audience from the general population?
2. Customize your blasts
Email marketing tools should speak directly to a specific recipient. There’s no better way of doing this than by personalizing the content of your emails.
After segmenting your email recipients, get to know them better. What appeals to them? What are they looking for when browsing for products and services? How do they define good customer service? What made them visit a website and subscribe?
By familiarizing yourself with your readers, it’ll be easier to customize your emails, follow-ups, and reminders.
For example, your Millennial recipients will likely be keen to receive informative yet concise messages with appealing images. A great way to do this is via infographics, which they can also easily share with their circle.
3. Grab your audience’s attention, and keep them interested
The competition for attention is greater than ever. People are scrolling their news feeds while watching video, and checking for work emails in between. .
You need to come up with creative ways to grab attention, and hold it until you’ve delivered your message. You can use witty headlines, visually-appealing images, and straightforward emails, please, please no click-bait links.
You can also build a sense of urgency, people have the fear of missing out, (I’m guilty more than more). Try using “You’re missing out on amazing rewards”, or “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to read this…”.
Using humour in emails is always a good way to get someones attentions. The Muse has used the subject, “We Like Being Used” while OpenTable had “Licking your phone never tasted so good” as the header of one of its email campaigns.
4. State a clear call-to-action
Your emails should have a clear purpose, which you can achieve with an effective call-to-action.
What do you want the recipent to do? Visit your website? Subscribe to your newsletter? Like your Facebook Page or make a purchase in your online shop? Lead them to these goals with an effective CTA.
Researchers at Marketing Experiments recommend offering your visitors value at low or no cost, in exchange for a click. You should also avoid asking for too much too soon.
The researchers found that tweaking commonly-used CTAs can have amazing benefits. For example, by changing “Find your solution” to “Learn More”, the clickthrough rate on one email rose by 77%. Using “Subscribe & Save” instead of “View Subscription Options” led to 181% clickthrough rate increase for another campaign.
5. Limit your email blasts
Do you know that an average office worker receives 121 emails per day? You don’t want your message to be sent to the spam folder because you’ve been a little too enthusiastic in contacting your subscribers.
People have signed up for your updates and newsletters because they”re interested in your brand, products or services, they want to stay connected. But this doesn’t give you permission to bombard them with emails. Consider limiting your messages once a week.
6. Craft catchy subject lines or headlines
Email subject lines are a great way to grab attentions. Recipients can easily ignore or delete your email with a boring or click bait headline.
MailChimp conducted an email marketing study, and they found that short, descriptive subject lines best entice readers.
You can include words that suggest urgency, ask a question or challenge a common notion. Use your segmented email list to craft direct and catchy headlines customized to your readers.
For example I wrote and blog about good email subjects for an introduction which should give you a good starting point
7. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly
A recent study suggests that the number of mobile Internet users will hit five billion in 2025.
More people are browsing the web, scrolling through social media pages and checking their emails using their devices compared to traditional desktop and laptops. You need to make sure that your email promotions are mobile-friendly.
To create a mobile-friendly digital asset, consider the length of texts and visuals. Some image files may not display on smartphones, and others may slow downloading time.
8. Build an inclusive community
The internet isn’t just a huge information hub anymore. People go online to feel part of a community.
Go the extra mile with your email marketing campaign by letting your readers into your unique community. You can share personal updates about your life that don’t necessarily relate to your usual promotions. Give your recipients a sneak peek into your workout routines or a photo of your puppy or cat?
Don’t go overboard and give them a minute by minute breakdown. A few tidbits along these lines can help to make your audience feel welcome.
9. Experiment to see what resonates
It’s important to A/B test every part of your email, from subject lines to your calls to action (CTAs). Some tips to keep in mind during your tests (checklist feature):
- Only test one element at a time (otherwise your results will be inconclusive)
- Make sure you have a significant sample size in your testing
- Once you find a winning element, move onto the next test!
As your product changes, and your recipients will too. You need to be constantly testing.
10. Follow a pre-send checklist
Don’t set yourself up for failure on your next email campaign. Create your own pre send checklist with all the important steps you need to consider before pressing “send.”
When you do make an inevitable mistake (nobody is perfect), it’s a good idea to have a plan for when things go wrong. An apology email may be an appropriate response and, when executed correctly, maintains trust with your users.
11. Choose meaningful metrics to track and measure against
Open rates, click-through, click-to-open, etc, etc. You can easily hit ‘analysis paralysis’. Keep it simple things don’t have to be complicated.
To determine what metrics are best to monitor, first determine the purpose of your email. For example:
- If you want recipients to read an important update to your terms of service (and the content is directly in your email), provide a compelling and urgent subject line and measure your opens.
- If you want to extend an offer or discount, clicks (and subsequent visits and conversions from your offer) are your main metric to watch.
12. Have a plan for the holidays
It’s the jolliest–and, unfortunately, spammiest–time of the year. Subscribers are already expecting increased promotion and deals leading up to the holiday season,
It’s still important to remain mindful and think how many emails you are going to be sending, so you don’t end up overwhelming your users.
13. Quality beats frequency
Email marketing can be a powerful tool for communicating with customers. However, that doesn’t mean bombarding people to make your message more effective.
Sending too many emails to your recipients can achieve the opposite result. Recipients may unsubscribe if they feel overwhelmed by your communication, or worse they may even decide to mark your email as spam.
14. It’s all about timing
Figuring out the perfect time to send your email can be a tough nut to crack.
After doing a bit of research to see how marketing agencies campaigns have performed. Tuesdays seem to be a good day fo recipients to engage. Test this and see what happens.
Also, consider sending your emails at odd times. For example, send your newsletters at 10:07 am instead of 10 am. Sending at the top of the hour increases the chance that your emails will be delayed and not reach your recipient when you originally intended.
15. Reward your VIPs
Your VIP recipients are your biggest brand ambassadors. Subscribers who always open and click (and maybe even share!) your email deserve a little extra attention for their loyalty and engagement.
Create a new email template or call to action you’d like to try. It’s a good idea to start with your VIP recipients first. Ask your VIPs to see how you can improve your email program. In return reward them with special offers and discounts. Reward and retain them and you’ll both notice the benefits.
16. Review your landing pages
Designing and writing copy for your email campaigns will require a good chunk of your time. But also consider where you are sending your recipients.
Send your recipients to landing pages that make sense based on your goals and email content to provide a seamless transition. For example, if you want to direct them to a certain product, send them to the landing page for that product, not your homepage or product line homepage.
17. Build your own email list
Never buy email addresses. Start from scratch. Seth Godin has grown his email list to an incredible number. He started from zero. It’s critical that every name on that list was added organically by the individual’s own choice and consent.
It may not be easy or quick to build a large email list. It is the way to curate an engaged recipient base and one that will keep your email delivery rates as high as possible.
18. Don’t take unsubscribes personally
It will happen, someone will unsubscribe at some point. Some recipients may not want to hear from you anymore. That’s fine, as long as you have a stable unsubscribe system in place for these users.
The ability to unsubscribe from your emails should never be straight forward. I always put a clear unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email and makes sure it only takes a click or two.
19. Clean your list on a regular basis
I quite good at removing myself from emails that I no longer want. That said many people will just ignore your emails indefinitely. This can be harmful for your delivery rates and also signals to ISPs that you may not be sending wanted email.
To address this, take some time now and again to remove unengaged subscribers from your email list. If they haven’t opened your email in a couple months, you can feel safe removing them.
20. Keep your email design consistent and on-brand
Whether you’re using a template, hiring a designer, or have a developer on hand to code your emails, your email design should align with your overall brand found on your website.
You don’t want your recipient to open your message and have no idea who it came from.
Clicking through from an email to your website should be a fluid experience so they know exactly how and where they can take the next step. Designing your templates with this in mind ensures that you provide just that.
21. Stop using no-reply from names
Curious about what to put as your from name? At the very least, remove the no-reply response (e.g. “firstname.lastname@example.org”). Sending an email with a no-reply stifles the impression of having a 1:1 conversation in your email messaging, and is just generally unfriendly.
You may or may not want to use a personal name or company, but the only way to know for sure what will work best for you is to test to see what segment receives the most opens.
22. Send a stellar welcome email
It may seem obvious, but give your new subscribers a warm welcome! Welcome emails give you an opportunity to say “hello,” re-introduce yourself, and set expectations for what kind of email your recipients will be receiving from you–and how often.
Welcome emails also provide the perfect opportunity to send subscribers to your preference center so they can adjust the frequency and type of email they’ll be receiving from you. Getting started on the right note can make a world of a difference in keeping your subscribers happy.
23. Send at a consistent cadence
Consistent sending volumes are crucial for maintaining a good reputation with ISPs. Sending 100 emails on Monday and then 100,000 on Tuesday sends a mixed signal. Was that 100,000 campaign just a massive spam send? ISPs probably think so.
Breaking up your sending volumes to a consistent level shows ISPs it’s just business as usual. If you do end up sending high volumes of mail, make sure you build up your amount gradually. Send too much email at one time and ISPs will likely throttle your emails which can delay delivery time, frustrate your users, and likely cause a decrease in engagement.
There you have it. Our 23 tips on email marketing for 2020. Let me know if you have any other tips that I can add to the list.
Thanks for reading.