A wise man once said, “It doesn’t get more metal than email marketing,” he is still correct. While email marketing might not be winning the popularity contest like the flashy newbies, it’s your secret weapon to generate leads and turn them into your business’s biggest fans.
Think of email marketing as your budget-friendly wizard that adds serious magic to your marketing mix, boosting engagement and conversions. However, hold on tight because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You know you need to shoot those emails, but turning that thought into a rock-solid plan? That’s an entirely different game.
Ready to shine like a disco ball at a silent party? We’ve got your back as we guide you through 15 email marketing best practices, complete with real-life examples that will set the stage for kicking off your next campaign.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Here are 15 examples and email marketing best practices for your business:
- Set clear objectives
- Understand your audience
- Craft subject lines & preheaders that hook
- Say goodbye to the "no-reply" sender address
- Write clear, friendly, and engaging email copy
- Incorporate multimedia elements
- Amplify your customers’ voices
- Include an email signature
- Add a logo to your email
- Optimize for mobile
- Embrace double opt-in subscriptions
- Create a drip campaign
- Utilize personalization beyond the first name
- Track key email metrics
- Stir up success with A/B Testing
Setting clear objectives is like the North Star of email marketing. You’re setting the stage for success when you arm yourself with well-defined goals. No more wandering in the dark; you’ll know exactly what metrics to track: open, click-through, or conversion rates. Plus, your audience will appreciate the clarity – they’ll know exactly what to expect when they open your emails.
So, take a moment to ask yourself:
Are you aiming to boost sales, nurture leads, promote an event, or simply strengthen brand awareness?
Besides, let’s dig deeper into how primary and secondary objectives can vary for different campaigns. It’s all about clarity and purpose in email marketing.
For the welcome email series:
For a product launch email campaign:
When you align your primary and secondary goals with your email campaigns, your messages become spot-on and purposeful, hitting the right notes with your audience. Each campaign has a straightforward job, and every email plays its part in getting the job done. And guess what? It’s a domino effect - more people get hooked, and actions get taken, which means more connections with your incredible customers. So, don’t hold back – let your objectives guide you, and watch the magic happen in your email world.
Imagine you’re chatting with a friend over coffee. You wouldn’t dive into jargon or blabber about stuff they couldn’t care less about. You’d talk about what makes their heart skip a beat. It’s the same with your emails – you’re giving your audience exactly what they want right when they want it. So, roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in their world. The more you know, the more you can create content that feels like a warm hug, not an impersonal blast.
Explore their online behaviors, listen to their feedback, and get cozy with their interests.
Let me break it down and show you why understanding your audience is crucial with two real email examples.
In the first email, the brand keeps it honest and friendly, making you feel like you’re part of the party. They even address you by name, making it all personal and engaging. The best part is their focus on building a solid bond with you. They’re all ears for your feedback and desires, using them to guide their decisions. Moreover, they’re cooking new products based on your interests, making you feel valued and heard.
On the other hand, the second email gets a bit technical with all that jargon language. But here's the catch: it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Using specific music-related terms might make it harder for some recipients to fully understand the message. Additionally, words like "jubilation," "revel," and "awe-inspiring" might need some context to grasp their exact meaning accurately.
So, remember, keep it simple, genuine, and tailored to your audience. Speak their language, and they'll be all ears.
Once your message lands in the inbox, it’s showtime for your subject line and preheader. These bad boys have a single mission: to make your recipient go, "Whoa, gotta open this!". Let’s break it down further.
For your email subject line:
- Short & snappy: Most pros agree keeping those subject lines around 50 characters or 3–5 words max is like the secret sauce for that instant impact.
- Urgency & FOMO: Add a time frame to stir up a sense of urgency or the fear of missing out (FOMO). Let them know this is something they need to open immediately.
- Curiosity gap: Leave a little mystery hanging. Make readers curious enough to click and unveil the hidden gems within. You can drop a question that makes them go, "Wait, I need to know the answer to that!"
- Personalization perks: Drop in a touch of personalization – their name, location, or even past interactions – to make it feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
- Emoji magic: Use emojis to add a pop of color and personality. Just be sure to keep it relevant to your message.
- Timeliness: Looming calendar dates like holidays or events can inspire action. If you’re an accounting service, let subscribers know when tax day is coming; if you sell bespoke ornaments, let readers know about the Christmas delivery cut-off.
For more inspiration, here are some tips for writing the best subject lines for your email.
For your email preheaders:
- One-two punch: Make it a dynamic duo with your subject line. They should work together like a comedy duo – one sets up, the other delivers the punchline.
- Action-packed preview: Tease the action that awaits. Tell them what they’ll gain from opening that email. It’s like showing them a sneak peek of the adventure.
- Call-to-action tease: Sneak in a tiny CTA. It’s like a friendly nudge that says, "Hey, there’s more cool stuff inside – come check it out!"
- Stay snackable: Preheaders are like bite-sized bits of goodness. Aim for around 40-60 characters for that perfect bite.
Why bother fine-tuning your email content or subject line if they look like a robot pumped them out? You want to earn your audience’s trust, not make them skeptical. They’re much more likely to open your emails if they think a human writes them. Thus, skip the "no-reply@" sender address, opt for an email address that gives off a friendly vibe, and let people know a real person from your crew will be getting back to them.
Grab your virtual notepad, and let’s roll through some seriously excellent and incredibly effective email content practices that will make your readers’ hearts skip a beat.
- Email length limbo: According to the email gurus, the best email length is between 50 to 125 words. This range truly excels for sales-focused and transactional emails that must make an impactful impression on the recipient. However, if you’re sending out an educational email with valuable insights, let the word count breathe a bit. Just remember, keeping it concise and captivating is the secret ingredient—nobody wants their email to turn into a yawn-fest!
- The Above-the-Fold power: Place your main message and CTA above the fold. It’s the first thing your recipients will see once they open your email, increasing your conversion rate. So, make your big message bold and loud, and give the CTA a makeover with colored boxes and text that screams, "Hey, click me!"
- One idea, one paragraph: Keep it breezy and focused. Nobody’s got time for a marathon read.
- Bullet bliss: Lists are your BFFs. Break things down like a champ with bullet points – they’re the cool kids of skimmable content.
- Catchy headers: Toss in catchy headers to guide the way, like signposts on a road trip.
- Language lingo: Keep it simple, amigo - no need for those brain-bending words. Imagine yourself giving advice to a pal. Direct, honest, and a little light-hearted, not scribbling a thesis.
- Friendly contractions: Spice things up with contractions. "Who’s" instead of "who is," "there’s" instead of "there is -" adding a dash of casual cool to your email conversation.
- No mystery code: Drop those jargon words and spell out those acronyms. You’re here to connect, not leave anyone scratching their heads.
Incorporating multimedia elements is like adding a splash of color to your masterpiece. Here’s how to take your emails from static to stunning:
- Picture perfect: Whether it’s showcasing your latest product, sharing consumer-generated marketing content, or revealing a behind-the-scenes peek, images capture attention like nothing else.
- Video vibes: Want to stand out in a sea of text? Embed a video to your email, from product demos and tutorials to genuine customer reviews. Besides, many businesses display a TikTok video feed on websites and emails to increase engagement.
- GIF-tastic: GIFs are short, snappy, and instantly grab eyes. Use them to highlight key features, showcase a before-and-after, or make your email pop with some playful movement.
- Interactive delights: Increase engagement with interactive elements. Think image carousels, quizzes, polls, and even mini-games.
- Shoppable user-generated content (UGC): Make your products shine with shoppable UGC galleries. Let readers click on an image to explore, learn more, and even make a purchase without leaving the email.
- Embrace infographics: Complex data? Turn it into an eye-catching infographic. Visualize stats, trends, or step-by-step guides in a way that’s easy to digest and share.
- Social media snippets: Showcase your social media prowess by embedding live social feeds. It’s a neat way to keep your subscribers in the loop. With Flockler, many brands successfully collect social media content from TikTok, IG, YouTube, and more and embed social feeds in an email newsletter.
Give a shout-out to your awesome customers in your emails! Share their stories, reviews, and successes to connect with the folks who read your messages. This fantastic move strengthens your bond with your readers and adds a sense of social proof to what you say. Blending their voices into your emails makes everything feel more genuine and relatable – like you’re all in it together.
Besides asking for customer reviews via social media or email, you can gather customer feedback via an upload form. With Flockler’s Reviews feature, you create a custom upload form, allowing your audience to upload content directly on your website without using social media channels. No more hassle or long processes – it’s quick, convenient, and stress-free.
Many brands take it a step further by organizing a user-generated content campaign to ask their customers to show off how they use the products in real life. GoPro uses #GoProAwards to celebrate and highlight the most beautiful images and thrilling videos their customers share on social media. Furthermore, in addition to showcasing posts and videos made by customers and influencers in their email newsletter, they display them in a beautiful stream on the GoPro Awards page.
According to State of Business Email Marketing, 41% of marketers used email signatures for branding and visibility. But that’s not all – the second most remarkable thing they mentioned was how these signatures keep things sounding all smooth and professional, no matter which company they’re repping.
Another compelling reason to feature your email signature is the element of personal touch it adds. It’s a reminder that there’s a real person behind that screen, not just some faceless marketing machine. And guess what? When folks catch that vibe, they’re more likely to dive into your email and give it a read. Moreover, when your signature shows up, it’s a stamp of authenticity.
You need to have logos in your emails – they’re a game-changer. Red Sift and Entrust found that logos positively impact email engagement and brand recall. In fact, brand recall shot up by 18% after just five seconds of seeing a logo in an email. And hold onto your hats because the icing on the cake is that the chances of people hitting that "Buy Now" button soared by a massive 34% when logos were in the mix.
So, here's the deal: Your logo is like the superhero cape of your email design. Slap that bad boy on there, and you ensure your brand is front and center every time.
As marketing emails are usually crafted and polished on desktop computers, their appearance on mobile devices often gets overlooked. But here’s the thing – mobile clients are responsible for 41.6% of all email opens. The good news is you can tackle this challenge head-on without breaking a sweat.
Before you hit the send button, take a moment to give your email a test run on a mobile device and make sure it looks top-notch. Another handy tip is to go for a mobile-responsive email template. That way, your email will automatically adjust and look fantastic no matter what kind of device it’s being viewed on.
Let’s talk about this smart move called double opt-in email sign-up - the extra secure way to gather email addresses. This method prevents fake sign-ups and ensures you comply with anti-spam regulations and laws like GDPR.
Here’s what double opt-in looks like in action:
- A website visitor fills out a sign-up form on a landing page on your website.
- They receive an email confirming their sign-up for your mailing list.
- After confirmation, they are officially subscribers who have opted in to receive emails.
If you’re all about saving time and keeping your subscribers engaged, you definitely need a clever drip campaign. This superb method helps you nudge them in the right direction without bombarding them with spammy vibes.
Drip campaigns are a series of emails that you set up to go out automatically, especially for your fresh new subscribers who signed up through your newsletter forms.
And the superstar of drip campaigns is the welcome email series - where you can launch a sequence of emails with different incentives to onboard new customers.
Imagine this - I’m browsing Levi’s website, and suddenly, a pop-up appears, offering me 10% off and free shipping if I sign up for their email list. So, I signed up, and just like magic, a few seconds later, there it was – their first welcome email, titled “Nice to meet you. Here’s 10% off (+Free Shipping).” They’re giving me the same sweet deal in the subject line and the email copy. This tactic is known as scent marketing, where businesses keep the messaging consistent across different digital touchpoints.
If that welcome email came empty-handed with no voucher or free shipping – talk about a letdown. I’d be annoyed and not keen on shopping there anymore. Brands must deliver on their promises, and Levi’s nailed it.
Now, in their second email, they’re keeping the excitement going. The subject line says, "A million reasons to love Levi’s® (Well, almost)." They’re showing off new product categories and keeping that sweet offer from the first email. It’s like they’re saying, "Hey, we got you covered with more awesome stuff, and yep, we still got that deal for you!"
So, here’s the deal – when you’re doing this email stuff, always deliver on what you promised in the first email. Then, in the second email, you can repeat the offer or switch things up to showcase new products or deals. That way, you keep the party going and keep your audience hooked.
Email personalization is like the bread and butter of smart email marketing. You know how it feels when someone uses your name, right? It’s like a little spark that hits you subconsciously – you can’t help but respond.
However, personalization goes way beyond just dropping in a name. It’s about giving your customers what they’re craving – content that speaks to their interests. So, when folks sign up to hear from you, don’t hesitate to ask them what they’re after. Are they hunting for hot sales? Eager for restock info? Or maybe they’re all about those juicy newsletter updates. Once you know, you can set up different groups for each tactic and tailor your emails accordingly.
Here’s the magic trick: dynamic content - giving each customer their experience based on your gathered information.
Speaking of which, I recently got this email from Uber Eats that felt like a personalized treat. The subject line even had my name, offering $10 off on my next orders. It’s like they knew I needed a little nudge to indulge. They even had a unique promo code that felt like it was just for me.
Testing and monitoring the metrics that measure your success is a total must. It’s like having your coach helping you fine-tune your game and make each move count.
So, let’s dive into some trusty email marketing metrics that are like your loyal companions:
- Open Rate: It’s all about how many people click and open what you’ve sent. By keeping tabs on this, you can spot when an email has an unusually high or low number of opens. Then comes the fun part – you play detective and figure out why. Is it the timing, the subject line, or the topic? Armed with this info, you can rock your next email performance.
- Bounce Rate: It’s the percentage of emails that couldn’t be delivered, usually because the address is invalid or doesn’t exist. So, track those bounces, and kick them out whenever you come across stale addresses that won’t open the door. Keeping your list tidy boosts your open rates - quality over quantity.
- Click-through Rate: See how many people are taking the leap and clicking on those links you’ve sprinkled in your email. It’s like peeking into their minds and figuring out what they’re into. Plus, it’s a golden ticket to finding those super-engaged subscribers who might become your biggest fans.
- Revenue per Email (RPE): It tracks the average revenue generated per email sent. So you get a clear picture of the actual monetary value of your email campaigns. Higher RPE means your emails are making an impact on your bottom line.
- Return on Investment (ROI): This golden metric shows you the true impact of your email marketing efforts on your business. ROI measures the revenue generated compared to what you spent on your email campaigns. A positive ROI means you're getting more bang for your buck, and your conversion goals are on fire.
If your email’s open and click-through rates are stuck, your plan could have a couple of hitches. Are you reaching out to the right crowd? Or, it could be that your content needs a little boost, and here’s where the A/B test comes to the rescue.
Depending on your goals, you can test:
- Subject lines
- Preheader text (keep in mind your mobile device users)
- Content of your email: images and copy
- CTA boxes: colors, copy, placement)
- Your email campaign tone and length, etc.
Whatever you choose to test, don’t forget to check your metrics. Let’s say you switched your CTA color from red to green, and suddenly your click-through rate is dancing. Bingo! You’ve just discovered that green is your lucky color.
Remember, while A/B testing is like having a secret weapon, it can be a time crunch. Especially for smaller businesses, crafting multiple versions of emails might be unrealistic. Start small, like testing headlines and preview text. And as your email strategy blossoms, you can test other elements.
Pro Tip: For A/B Testing, focus on adjusting just one element at a time. This way, you can track down the real game-changer in engagement. Additionally, if you’re up for testing multiple elements at once, give multi-variate testing a shot. It helps you understand how different combinations impact results.
Besides, always, always remember to shoot yourself a test email. Trust me; you don’t want a half-baked campaign accidentally going out and messing up your whole setup. Take that extra moment to make sure everything’s looking just right before you hit that send button for real.