What Are the Best Practices for Email Marketing?

Man looking at email marketing campaign on an iphoneThe Digital Marketing industry often seems split when it comes to email marketing, and clients are often even more split on the issue. Some love email marketing and swear by its ROI, while others think it is annoying, spammy, or interruptive.

So, which side is right? Who is the winner and loser of this time-worn debate?

Just like in many areas of life, the truth is not nearly as black and white as you might think. Some email marketing is amazing and can have a high ROI, whereas other email marketing schemes are just that – schemes, and are therefore annoying, spammy, or interruptive.

The best way to tell the difference between good email marketing and bad email marketing is by using the golden rule.

Not the golden rule of marketing or sales or algebra – the original golden rule. Treating others how you would like to be treated.

Would you like to be getting the emails you’re sending? Would you like to be bombarded daily or would you prefer to receive emails of quality that offer value instead of sales pitches? That answer is easy.

Now that we’ve laid that argument to rest, let’s look at some best practices for email marketing – the good kind, of course.

Best Practices for (the Good Kind of) Email Marketing

Don’t Know What to Do? Test it!

Split testing can be your best friend when you aren’t sure which CTA, subject lines, times or segmentation will work best.

Instead of guessing and wondering – make your emails compete against each other in a battle to the death! Or, more accurately, a battle for which gets more opens, more clicks, and more engagement.

Split testing might seem like it involves a lot of statistics and math, but really, it’s simply changing one thing in a particular email, sending it out to half your email list, and sending the original (unchanged) email out to the other half. Then you just sit back and compare the open rates, engagement rates, and click-through rates.

Simple and effective, a digital marketers’ favorite words.

CTAs Aren’t the Enemy

CTAs are actually helpful – just make sure you’re keeping that golden rule in mind. What would make you click something? What would seem natural? What would seem spammy?

This will greatly vary due to your industry, customer profiles, and services, but let’s use an example we can all agree on.

You are a holistic health expert and you want to have people contact you for online mindfulness and meditation sessions through your email marketing strategy. You could use a CTA that says, ‘Try my services now!’ or you could use something like, ‘Let’s journey together’.

Which anchor text or button would you click?

Of course, you could use a split test to find out, but using some common sense and deduction skills about the expected customer profiles, I bet we would be correct in choosing the second option as the successful CTA.

Create a Story, Not a Sale

Creating a story and inviting your customers to view that story with you has been proven to get higher engagement rates than sending sales pitch after sales pitch.

In fact, because we are constantly inundated with marketing strategies from commercials to billboards, radio ads to print ads, it’s pretty common for all ‘pitches’ to be sent right to the trash unless there is a huge sale or incentive.

So, what do people open? What do people actually read in their inbox?

Value, quality, and creativity.

If you tell a story, give useful information, or give value in other ways through your emails, then your audience will see them as an equal price for their time. But if your emails aren’t being opened, then it’s likely that the value you think you’re giving, isn’t enough to buy the time of your email recipients.

If that’s the case, it’s probably time for a split test or a bolstered content plan.

Segment Your Lists – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Segmentation sounds scary, but it is truly key when creating a solid, successful email marketing strategy. You don’t want to be sending the same email to your loyal customer as you are to a new potential lead, or vice versa.

A.K.A. Sending your ‘exclusive member sale’ to the person that signed up for more information two days ago or sending your welcome email to someone who’s been with you for the past six months.

You also don’t want to send everyone everything either, because again, spammy. Instead, you need to use email marketing software (like Constant Contact or Mailchimp) to segment your email lists into relevant categories with relevant strategies.

Email Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be a Fight

If the good kind of email marketing sounds like something your company (or customers) would want, then contact JSL Marketing & Web Design by phone or email or form.

We’d love to work with you to set up the perfect strategy and get your ROI rolling!

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