E-mail marketing represents a powerful digital marketing strategy. According to a study by Campaign Monitor, e-mail marketing generates up to $44 for every $1 spent. This makes it the most effective digital marketing channel out there, so it’s no wonder that even in this age of tweets, videos, and memes, marketers continue to rely on e-mail as an essential way to reach leads and customers.
However, this is not to suggest that e-mail marketing looks the same as it did two decades ago. On the contrary, as other forms of digital marketing have evolved, so too has e-mail, as marketers have worked to develop appealing and informative campaigns that can hold their own against other digital heavyweights such as social media and apps. Here are some best practices followed in today’s most successful e-mail marketing campaigns:
Create a personal connection
Personalization is one of the most important watchwords in e-mail marketing. There’s so much digital noise out there that today’s consumers have virtually no time for content directed at a general audience: e-mails that aren’t relevant to their interests or tailored to their profile won’t warrant a second glance. In order to truly connect with your recipients and get granular with your messaging, you need to start by segmenting e-mail lists into more targeted groups. For instance, you might consider broadly grouping recipients according to age, gender, and location, then hone in on what else you know about them, such as their prior purchase history and browsing behavior.
Choose your subject line wisely
Did you know that, on average, an office worker receives 121 e-mails every day? To stand out in such a flood of messaging, it’s important to carefully craft your subject line, as this is usually the primary factor that will determine whether or not a recipient will open your e-mail. You should become creative with how you grab your audience’s attention. Humorous, witty headlines are usually a hit, as are those that create a sense of urgency, ask a question, or challenge a common idea. You can also try including an incentive in your subject line such as “free shipping with orders over $25.”
Include a clear call to action
The one thing that no marketing e-mail should be without is a clear call to action. A call to action is essentially the ultimate purpose of e-mail, so messages should always be created with that in mind. After the recipient has read your e-mail, what do you want them to do? Visit your website? Like your Facebook page? Subscribe to your newsletter? Make a purchase? Whatever it is, you should ensure that the call to action is visually highlighted in the e-mail and that you use clear, direct language for it.
Optimize for mobile devices
More people than ever before are checking e-mail on their smartphones and tablets, so it’s essential that marketing e-mails look great on mobile screens. In order to ensure that your e-mails are optimized for mobile devices, you should consider aspects such as the length and arrangement of the text, the number of images, and whether videos are included. In general, short, focused messages of up to three columns work best across all screens, with different types of content clearly defined through spacing. In addition, it’s best to avoid asymmetrical designs or overly long content that might take too much time to scroll through.
Keeping up with e-mail marketing can often prove to be a formidable task, which is why today’s marketers rely on automation. E-mail automation means that relevant e-mails are automatically sent to consumers based on their online behavior. For instance, a customer who makes a purchase could trigger an order confirmation e-mail, or someone signing up for your newsletter for the first time could receive a welcome e-mail. E-mail automation not only helps to ensure that you’re delivering relevant content to readers at the right time, but it can save you and your company a significant amount of work.
All the hard work that you’ve put in to following these best practices could prove fruitless if your e-mails aren’t getting through or displaying as you intended. In order to ensure that your e-mails are presenting properly across all devices and displays, you should undertake testing. You can send test e-mails to your colleagues using various devices, browsers, and e-mail service providers. It’s vital not to neglect this step: few things will make recipients lose interest more quickly than an e-mail that’s barely readable.