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12 Best Practices for Better Email Marketing

Email marketing...when you think of it, you might think of spam and offers of riches from far away countries. Although this does happen too much, email marketing, when done right, is the most effective way to nurture existing relationships and bring more customers to your business.

Email marketing well takes time and effort. Many think they can just write-up a quick 5-minute email from their desktop then expect it to return hundreds of leads within minutes.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Email Marketing Tips for Better Results

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices and how they will help you do email right!

1. Tell the Reader What to Do

You’ve sent an awesome email to your list, but few are opening it and even fewer are clicking through.

What happened?

Did you tell your reader what to do after reading?

Without a solid Call-to-Action (CTA), your reader will most likely read your email and then go about their business. Having a compelling call to a certain action is what nurtures leads further down the sales funnel.

For a compelling CTA, offer something your readers will want and have them click on a link to get it. That link should take them to a dedicated landing page with compelling copy and an easy way to achieve the objective of the call to action.

Whether that’s filling out a form to download a free ebook, or tweeting to get access to an amazing infographic, it’s the CTA and Landing Page in partnership that drive conversion rates.

2. Segment your Audience

Have you ever received an email that wasn’t relevant to you at all?

Chances are, the sender of that email is failing to segment their list. This  means they send out the same emails to too broad of an audience. If you join a list for sunglasses information, then receive emails about TVs, office chairs, as well as sunglasses, you might get frustrated and unsubscribe to that list.

You don’t want your prospects and customers to feel the same way. Instead, segment your email lists. You can break them up by reader interests, demographics, shopping behavior, status (prospect or customer) and give them personalized offers that are relevant to their interests, as well as where they are in the buyers’ journey.

Tools like HubSpot allow you to segment your lists in just about any way imaginable.

3. Personalize Your Emails

Getting an email personalized to you gives you an instant emotional connection to the sender. You may not feel all fuzzy inside, but you cognitively feel like the sender cares about you enough to send a message just for you.

For you, the sender, consider adding personalization to your email broadcasts. Add in their first name, craft content specific to their persona or even address their specific needs.  For instance, if you know they want information on sunglasses, send them content only about sunglasses and how your product can meet their sunglasses needs.

4. Be a Real Person

A lot of companies are making the mistake of sending their marketing emails from some random email address. The totally clueless send their marketing emails from NoReply@somecompany.com. What about when the reply address is from a robotic x44920x@skynet.net email address?

No one connects emotionally with robots that we know of. Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the terminator knows nothing about email marketing.

Make sure you keep your “from” names and email addresses consistent and from “real” people. That way they look forward to that email from “Tom” and not from a robot that just spits out emails to whomever.

5. Use Actionable Language

When you get an email with a CTA that doesn’t use actionable words, it’s the same as having a personal trainer who says, “Do you want to workout?” Instead, wouldn’t you want a trainer that says, “Get up and go do bench presses, right now!”

If you don’t give readers a clear course of action, they probably won’t click on your link or read all of your email.

Which of these phrases are more actionable?

“I’d like to share this information with you.”

Or

“Get  your free report.”

If you said the second one, you’re right! Be sure to use actionable wording in your emails.

6. Keep the Message Clear

When an email talks about more than one subject at a time, most often it’s the readers that end up confused and disconnected. If your email’s purpose isn’t clear, no one is going to take the time to read it or take action.

Along with a clear message, you must make the email compelling. Make your reader want to read more.

What’s the purpose of the first sentence of your email? To get your reader to read the next line.  That means you want to keep your reader on the edge of their seat until the end, then grab them with a CTA they’ll be compelled to click on.

7. Be Personable

Just like a good conversation, an email to your reader should read like a conversation with a friend. Don’t make it sound like a robot or that monotone professor from your Physics class in college. Readers want to feel like you’re talking to them when they read your email.

This means you need to use the word “you.”

8. Benefits Over Features

How does your email help your reader? Does it solve a problem they have or make them feel like you have the answer to their questions? Well, it should!

Keeping an emphasis on the benefits of your message vs. features compels readers to connect with your message.

Which sounds more attractive to you?

“The X2 blender offers a 4 inch blade, with a 5hp motor and a stainless steel case.”

Or

“The X2’s 4 inch blade and powerful 5hp motor blends just about anything in seconds flat. The stainless steel case makes cleaning easy and fast!”

The second one, of course!

Remember, benefits, or how you can better your reader’s life, will get them to keep reading and want to know more about your offer!

9. Keep it Brief

Everyone is busy.

People don’t read long emails. They scan them, or close them.

That’s why you need to keep your emails clear, concise, and to the point. Anything more than a few seconds could cost you business. Many readers view your email on a mobile device and don’t want to scroll all over creation to see what you’re talking about!

10. Keep Your Ending Concise

Just like your CTA, be sure your footer and signatures are concise. If you don’t give your reader a clean ending to close the deal, you could wind up with a reader who gets turned off by your email; even if everything else speaks to them.

An annoying list of junk at the end of an email is a good reason to unsubscribe. So, keep it clean.

11. Test and Iterate

After you write an email, don’t just send it to your list. Do a test run first.

Send out a test email to yourself to see how it looks, reads, and functions on multiple platforms. This includes tablets, phones, computers, etc. It’s also a good practice to send test emails to others for their feedback.

Make the necessary adjustments, fix those typos and grammatical errors, and tweak the CTA to make it more compelling to your audience.

12. Analyze and Learn

Email marketing is more than just writing and sending; it’s also about finding out what happens after you click send.

Many email marketing providers include metrics to measure statistics like opens, clicks, and other important statistics. With this information, you can see if the email did its job or if the next one needs improved.

Be sure to always keep an eye on your analytics and see how this email helps your overall marketing plan.

Putting it All Together

Remember, email marketing done right is still hands-down, the most effective way to nurture leads and turn them into customers. Just make sure to keep the above practices in mind and you’ll be on your way to a much more effective email marketing strategy.

 

Written by Jason Thomas / July 8, 2014

Jason Thomas has been helping launch and develop start ups for 10 years. Jason's passion is working with motivated entrepreneurs to validate and implement ideas that grow their business.

Jason is a husband, father, and homesteader in training. In his spare time he's generally outside working with his hands and getting dirty.

Articles by Jason Thomas