Email marketing is Not Dead. 10 Best Practices you Need to Know

By Kirsten Oelrich 5 min read

Email marketing is Not Dead. 10 Best Practices You Need to Know

May 30, 2019

By Kirsten Oelrich

Despite the numerous obituaries on email marketing, it continues to be one of the most cost effective and impactful ways to drive sales and increase conversions.

Every day, billions of emails are sent by marketers across the world. For most brands, email marketing plays a key role in improving customer engagement, driving conversions, and growing revenue. The reasons are obvious. According to research, welcome emails have an 82% open rate, emails with personalized subject lines have 50% open rates, sending at least three abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email, and adding videos and images can increase click rates by 300%. Here are some practices you must follow to sharpen your email marketing sword:

Use compelling subject lines

The most common mistake people make while sending emails is focusing just on the email body and not the subject line. To ensure that your email doesn’t go unopened, the subject line must be clear, concise, and compelling. A vague headline with a little intrigue is fine if you ensure that your message is not misconstrued. Remember that subscribers may open their emails on their mobile devices, and a lengthy subject line may exceed the permissible character count and get cut off. Make it a point not to oversell your email content in the subject line. Another way to engage customers is by phrasing your subject line as a question. Lastly, you must run A/B tests on your subject lines, to understand what works for your audience.

Segment your emails

It is imperative to segment your email subscribers into smaller targeted groups. This enables you to send more personalized emails at the right time, to the right people. To segment your emails, there are several factors you can consider such as location, engagement level, customer type, and interest in certain products or topics. You can also create a segment for people who have not made purchases yet. You need to build trust and persuade them to subscribe or make a purchase. You can also include first-time discounts to these emails. For those customers who have subscribed and made multiple purchases, you can segment them for the long term or a customer loyalty program. Regular customers don’t need to be lured with discounts, in fact showcase your appreciation and promote products relevant to their previous purchases or shown an interest in.

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Send emails at the right time

It is very important to send email campaigns that are relevant and at the right time. You need to know your customer and test what works out best. Find the peak purchase hours of your customers by using Google Analytics. This way you can monitor their habits and schedule; and then send the emails accordingly.

There are certain types of emails that are to be sent at the right time — transactional emails should be sent as soon as a purchase is made, for instance the confirmation email should be sent instantly; lifecycle emails need to be tested frequently to get the right result, as it’s sent based on the customer’s behavior and abandoned cart emails can be sent according to your strategy for recovering orders.

Provide incentives

To increase your open rates by up to 50%, it is important to include incentives in your subject line; for instance, discounts, free shipping, free demos or freebies. While this may help increase your open rates, be very careful not to overwhelm the recipient with product or savings related emails.

Use content best practices

After sending the right email with an apt subject line at the right time to the right people, the content of the email must be in sync with the subject line. Personalize the greeting of your email with the contacts name, as it grabs the attention of the reader. Craft the email body in a way that it engages the audience. The content should be concise, compelling and relevant to the brand. Convince the subscribers to act promptly, by putting important information up front and the rest of the details later. Ensure that the paragraphs are short and concise with bullet points or headings. Use formatting options strategically to highlight text and bold phrases to draw attention. Incorporate images or videos to add value to your email, as it captures the reader’s attention much better than the text.

Position the logo correctly

According to research, email recipients instinctively look for brand logos in the upper left side of the email (as most sites place their logos there). It is also acceptable to put the brand logo at the center, right above the email content. Branding the header is essential, as it reminds readers that the email has come from you, and it’s authentic.

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Mobile optimization and responsive design

Mobile commerce is trending and according to a study, 49% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Shoppers enjoy browsing and purchasing products through their phones. It is imperative to optimize your email for a responsive email design so that customers can read the email without any problem. Also, keep your email 500-650 pixels wide, so that recipients can read your mail without any hassles. Most email marketing platforms make it easy to design responsive emails by selecting an option to automatically optimize for mobile or by selecting a responsive template.

Link emails to landing pages

It is very important for your landing page to match your headline, content, and copy. The look and feel of the email should be in sync with that of the landing site, to build the trust of the customer. Use a tracking tool to see which emails and landing pages have performed best and what will work for more emails in the future.

Use effective CTAs

After the customers read the email sent, the next thing you want them to do is to click on a button or link that takes them to your website. Call to action (CTA) is the driving goal of each campaign. Ensure that you focus on only one central action in every campaign, or else it will confuse or distract the reader. Use words that create a sense of urgency, like highlighting phrases like ‘Buy now’, ‘limited time’, ‘limited offers’, and many more. Your CTA should be noticeable and stand out in the email. Use button images instead of a text and use attractive colors to make them stand out. Ensure that it is in a white space, but not at the bottom of the email or else it will not be visible to the reader. Also, ensure that the CTA is repeated at least three times in the email in various formats and at strategic locations.

Measure email performance

One of the most important best practices is to measure your email performance. It is the best way to enhance your email marketing campaigns. It’s not at all complicated to track your email performance. One needs to monitor the right metrics and identify what it means for your emails. There is four primary email marketing analytics you should track: Bounce rate, open rate, click through rate and opt-out rate. This will help in understanding the performance of your ecommerce site and you can act immediately to make the requisite changes to improve it.

To improve your open rate, you must clean your mailing list as frequently as possible. At times contacts may not open your mail nor opt out of your email campaign. Keeping the least engaged recipients on your mailing list can ruin your open rate, as they make your campaign look worse, as you are not analyzing the quality of the campaign against your loyal recipients. Ensure you regularly remove those contacts who have not engaged with your emails for a certain period. This will help you make an accurate analysis.


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Kirsten Oelrich

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Kirsten Oelrich