In this post I have shared my 101 timeless email marketing tips for people who are new to the email marketing scene. I have tried to make the list as comprehensive as I can and I’m sure you’ll get some really good tips to improve your email marketing campaigns.
Whatever maybe your reason for using emails, as a marketing medium – to drive traffic to your website/blog, to make sales pitches or even to provide pure value content to your subscribers – these tips will help you get the most of what you do with your email marketing efforts.
Just one thing before we start, if there’s any post on my blog you should bookmark the first for future reference, then it should be this one. So I highly recommend you bookmark it before going further. So here I go with 101 ultimate tips to Email Marketing.
Tip #1: Have obvious links in Email
One of the primary targets of email marketing is driving traffic to your website/blog. The purpose of email needs to be simple in order to drive clicks and converting the subscribers into customers. You have to capitalize each and every moment to compel users for clicking. Using messages like “click here” and giving links in each paragraph helps you to achieve your target. A good landing page also does the work for the same and helps to keep the visitor away from unsubscribing.
Tip #2: Make Unsubscribing Easy
It might seem a little awkward but it’s important and is required legally too (see CAN-SPAM act) to add an option to unsubscribe from your list in your emails. It may happen that people don’t like what you’re sending to them and they may want to unsubscribe. But when they do not find the option unsubscribe, they get frustrated and mark your email as spam. This affects your email deliver-ability big time as the email providers then flag you as a spammer and your emails land to the junk/spam folder of your recipients. And due to this you also loose the deliver-ability to the genuine people how really want to hear from you.
Tip #3: Take care of your spam score
It is crucial to take care of the spam score of each email you send, to prevent your emails landing to the spam folder. Spam score is the measure of how spammy your email looks like to the bots of the email clients. Most of the email service providers provide this feature of checking the spam score in their softwares. So always remember to keep your spam scores less (or even zero) so that your emails land to the inbox and not to the junk folders.
Tip #4: Use less images
Keep in mind that email is not a printed mail and most people can not see images in your email unless they enable the view image option. So its always better to use less images in your emails so that it can be read and understood even without images.
Tip #5: Brand your emails
Don’t just send simple text emails to your subscribers – 95% of other marketers are already doing it that way. Use custom made email templates that speaks for your brand, that sets you apart from your competitors. A well designed email template can help you in improving your open and click-through rates. Use beautiful looking fonts and colors and if possible even add your blog’s logo in each email you send for better readability and branding. Here’s how Corbett Bar from Think Traffic is doing it:
Tip #6: Make your emails skimmer friendly
People do not have time to read long texts and they generally skim through when they see long emails. So, if you need to send emails that must contain a lot of information use font Bold/Italics or color highlighting to make their job easier. Use triggering words in those highlights so that you can the get your point clear for the people who just skim through.
Tip #7: Keep your mailing list clean
Make sure to remove unnecessary or bad emails from your list. If you do not use double option to get emails then your email list may contain a lot of improper email address. Cleaning your list may take some time if its big but it’s worth your effort. Also, if you do not use double option, make a system to reject every wrong formatted emails, so people can’t sign up with those improper emails.
Tip #8: Send test emails before sending out to your list
Your effort will go to vain if you find out that the email you sent had a broken call to action link or the formatting was not accurate or epic – there’s a typo in your brand name (man this may happen too!). So, before sending out your email to your list, send test emails to your own email Ids and check if there’s any problem with it and then only proceed with sending to your list. Another good idea is to check your email in various browsers (both desktop and mobile) and with various major email clients to find if there is any formatting issue with your HTML/CSS.
Tip #9: Use alt text with your images
Usage of images in email may create dead space when images are not enabled by your subscribers. So having an Alt-text to the images will be useful so that your subscribers can know what the images were about.
Tip #10: Piggyback a text version of your mail
Piggyback a text-only version of your email as some people may prefer that over the HTML version of your email. This will also be helpful for the readers who read emails using old mobile phones or stone age computers. Now a days most of the email marketing service providers have this functionality of creating a separate text-only version inbuilt so you don’t need to worry about this.
Tip #11: Ask your subscribers for adding you to their contact list
Being in the contact list of your subscribers will not get you more open and click-through rates but it’ll also keep you out of the spam box.
Tip #12: Try to take advantage of mobile
Now a days, more people access their emails using mobile phones or tablets and email is no longer in the boundary of PCs and laptops. So, try to take this as an advantage and target the people using these devices and make your emails responsive and mobile friendly.
Tip #13: Mutli-column websites – Good. 🙂 Multi-column emails – Bad. 🙁
Multi column emails have their advantages on laptops and desktops for providing more information and better design but when it comes to mobiles it’s not a good idea to have multi-column emails as mobile screens are smaller and your text may get difficult to read. So keep this in mind and make formats which are easy for all devices.See the following screenshot of a mail I got from Jeremy Schoemoney on my Android phone:
Tip #14: Use email to increase your fans and followers
With so many channels of social media it is almost impossible to build and specially maintain your facebook fan base, your twitter follower list, your Google+ circle and your email list at the same time to stay ahead. So my recommendation – screw evething else and focus on building your subsriber list. Firsty, emails are the highest converting medium as compared to the social networks and secondly, when you have a list of people eagerly waiting to hear from you, you can easily guide them to become your fan, follower or whatever you want.
Tip #15: Provide value before pitching them
Provide as much value as you can to your email subscribers before pitching them with your “it-will-change-your-life” products. They already have a lot of people sending them new offer everyday. So be different and write a value packed email without any sales pitches and keep doing this for long enough until you earn their trust and them gently pitch them.
Tip #16: Move from mass to segment mailing
Don’t make one huge list of all subscribers and make segments of your list according to the demographics/context/source of visitor etc. This will help you to deliver right information to the right person and will result in higher conversion rates.
Tip #17: Spread your opt-in boxes everywhere
I hope you have your opt-in boxes installed in your sidebar and below each post on your blog but that’s not enough. Put your opt-in boxes in as many places as you can like resource pages, your About-Us page, between the posts with high traffic, pop-ups (or even double pop-ups like Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout), etc to increase your chances of converting your random visitors into subscribers.
Tip #18: Do not underestimate ‘permission marketing’
Try and get permission of one of the good companies for contacting customers. Please don’t abuse this as it ensures quality content coming from you. Definitely a good thing to pursue.
Tip #19: Capturing emails with Double Opt-in Confirmation
It simply means verifying your users by making them click the verification mail which will come from you after signing up. This ensures that they are the owners of that address and they want to subscribe or signup.
Tip #20: Researching about Consumers’ Interests
Like many men-many minds , consumers want to connect with you through their favourite media and for their favourite things. This asks for more expansion of network. You have to reach to every medium to satisfy your customer needs and get them the most appropriate thing.
Tip #21: Getting the actual thing
Think quick, think smart and think accurate and this will bring success to your business. If you can dig more with your subscriber’s email then why hassle them with filling-in additional information. You can get all additional information later on when you need it most.
Tip #22: Keep the emails short and upto the point
Avoid writing big emails and always try to keep the thing short, attractive and precise.
Tip #23: Write For a Human
Many people write marketing emails as if they were for robots. But always remember your target is a human and so, write like one. Write in a flow (casual flow). Add testimonials and this will help you pitch subscribers in a way to convert into sales and customers.
Tip #24: Branding with Clear Action
Use your Brand name in your subject line and it will give the customers a overlook about your brand. Keep your brand name bold so its eye catching and easy to spot.
Tip #25: Sending the correct message to the correct person
It is always good to analyse that which segment of your email subscribers list will actually like your new newsletter. Sending the email to non-interested group of subscribers may result in spamming their inbox and this may result in a disaster.
Tip #26: Send Emails To Them When They Need One
You should have a feedback-collection interface so that you can gather data about when your customers’ interest and when they want an email. This will help you build good relations and will not irritate the customers.
Tip #27: Using Polls
Previously I talked about gathering data and creating polls for the same is an excellent idea. Add these polls in every page of you site and also try these on social medias. If you get good response you can measure your success and also segment email subscribers’ list.
Tip #28: Do not try to spray and pray
If you are using this method then let me tell you that this is an old method and people are falling for it. Try to be more active with those who are regular. For those who are not you can try the big discount trick. 😉
Tip #29: Try enriching data
Some people want more data/information about your product and lesser of marketing stuff. So keeping them in mind you should enrich data of your product and at the same time highlight information in key points for those who don’t have time.
Tip #30: Manage your Database
Your client should be the most valuable to you and your business. As an email marketer this is the most powerful tool. Classify and segregate your database according to your needs and subscribers’ vitals. This will help you manage your business easily. Also stay up to date and always keep backups as you never know when you will need it.
Tip #31: Using event driven Emails
Using this type of email for marketing is more successful than bulk emailing. A study shows that this type of mails have success rate of 55%.
Tip #32: Win back Campaigns
This is used specially for those customers who have been inactive for a long time or have been with you for a long time. If you send information about these type of campaigns they will surely be interested in shopping or checking out the data/products. (Refer Tip #35 for more.)
Tip #33: Using Reminders
When your sold product is about to expire you can use reminder emails to gently inform your customers that they need to renew it. Or you can give them offers in exchanging old ones and getting new ones.
Tip #34: Happy Birthday Emails
You can wish your customers birthday to build a strong relationship. And also send discount coupons or codes to greet them.
Tip #35: Deciding campaigns’ target
First you should decide what will be the main target of your campaign. Note that you cannot cover all the audience in one campaign and it is easier to complete targets one by one. Thus, it is important to decide that your campaign is to attract new customers or build valueable relationship or finding business.
Tip #36: Using Campaigns often
Excess of a thing is never good and so, keeping this in mind try one campaign in a month or four to six in an year. Excessive campaign can really annoy people which is obviously undesirable.
Tip #37: Collecting Email Address
At times you’ll move to buying a list of email addresses. Before this, you need to see that the email addresses you are purchasing is legal or not. You can also compile it from online sites but the question of legality goes to these too. If you are collecting from other sources try to check the email owners wish if they want your newsletters or not. This can be done by giving subscription options to the email owners.
Tip #38: Deciding the right software for bulk-mailing
Normally people use outlook or outlook express for email marketing. You may test it for sending a small bunch of mails. Go for bigger projects only if you like it. Else there are a lot of bulk-mail softwares and services available online. (See #Tip 41)
Tip #39: Pay attention to the software limitations
Research about any software/service before you buy any. There might be some limitations like it might be difficult to manage the option for unsubscribing or absence of different statistics management of users.
Tip #40: Making sure of email privacy
It is important to maintain privacy of a user. You have to make sure that individuals do not get email addresses of others.
Tip #41: Using software
There are several companies who provide software packages for email marketing. If you find one suitable enough for yourself then buy it. But first take the software for a trial run and buy it only if you are satisfied.
Tip #42: Deciding your first ever message
First impression is always the biggest impression and so you have to pick up the right words to start email marketing.
Tip #43: Use something dynamic
Use a dynamic offer to kick start your email marketing. But make sure that you can complete the target if you get enormous amount of order. Because you never know when uncertainty is going to hit you, so its better to stay prepared!
Tip #44: Spend time about deciding the title of your first email
The title of a mail is of utmost importance. So think a lot before you get to any title. Make sure that the title is creative, compelling and up to the mark.
Tip #45: Giving visual impact
I have talked about using less images but you can give visual impact in some way that they look nice. You can do it by creating HTML emails but try to keep simple text format with your creativeness and imagination.
Tip #46: Do add necessary image
If image is a must for your product then keep the image resolution to a minimum size so that your work is done and email size is minimal.
Tip #47: Measuring your success
You have to put a way to measure your marketing success. Because if you don’t do so your confidence will become low and your work will have no value. You can also see where you went wrong and try to fix it.
Tip #48: Keep an eye on unsubscribing number
You need to keep a track on how many people are unsubscribing every day. If the number becomes more than unexpected, then you have to see what is the reason behind it and take steps for the same.
Tip #49: Taking feedback from people who unsubscribe
It is a good idea to take the feedback of people who are unsubscribing. This way you can see why they are leaving and how to stop this.
Tip #50: Take feedback from happy people
Try to take feedbacks from people who brought your product. Ask customers what they liked about the product the most. But keep it optional as many find this unwanted.
Tip #51: Addressing recipients
Greeting the members individually is a good idea to address recipients.
Tip #52: Avoiding Dollar signs
Avoid this sign ‘$’ because it is strictly marked as spammed content. You can use it in prices but using twice and thrice together is forbidden.
Tip #53: Don’t try to market during holidays
It is a good idea not to do email marketing during holiday periods as people do not check their mails during this period.
Tip #54: Keep an auto system to check mistyped address
You should keep a system for the case when anybody enters address like @gmai.com or @yahoo.com or @gmail.co etc. In that situation, the system should raise an error and make the user enter the email again.
Tip #55: Don’t fix mistyped ones
If anyone enters his email with mistyping and if you don’t have a system to fix it prior to entering in your list then do not try to fix it. Because some people do not want to give correct email for many reasons. Just delete that address if mail bounces back.
Tip #56: Keep clear Idea about opt in mail
If someone requests something specific and nothing else then one should only give them the specific thing and should not be forcing to enter the email in any way. It is opt in mail. Do not bother its recipients with your other emails.
Tip #57: Always Preview pane
You should preview pane your campaign to see what looks better. You can try out moving sentences or headings up or down to select the best position.
Tip #58: Reflect your corporate design
Your email marketing should possess some reflection of your website or working area. It is good for you and your company’s image. This helps in Brand Building.
Tip #59: Emphasize on words
You should use less exclamations and put more emphasize on your words. This way customer will understand more and spamming will be minimal.
Tip #60: Experiment with link placements
You have to put right links in the right places so try placing them in different places and analyse and experiment to get the best place to add them.
Tip #61: Get benefit from cooperation
You can try and cooperate with some websites and get their users to subscribe with you. Surely they will not do it for free so try giving some advantages/baits to them so that you both end up being mutually benefited.
Tip #62: Get name of Users
Suppose you have many users who don’t use their names and use anonymous or any random name instead. In that case, it would be great to know their names so that you can address them correctly. Also this will show your interest toward the anonymous users.
Tip #63: Use all the power
Make the best use of emails and do not leave anything unused. The usage of email are like increasing revenue, generating leads, building awareness, increasing traffic and strengthening relationship.
Tip #64: Get Subscribers with Sweepstakes
You can get huge benefits from sweepstakes. Though you need to be sure that you are getting quality subscribers from them.
Tip #65: Interpret email newsletters opening rate
Open rate relies on html mail, downloading mail, preview email etc. Opening rate statistics can show us many things like the way the trend is going.
Tip #66: Let recipients decide
You have to let your recipients decide what format of email they like- plain text or html. If you have option for both that would be great.
Tip #67: Add Apology Mails
Send to all the users who unsubscribe- apology mails, mentioning the guilt for anything that made them unsubscribe. Try to pitch in a way that they subscribe again. Also add an OPTIONAL feedback form with the mail asking about their issue.
Tip #68: Informing ISP
You can inform your ISP for being on the safer side as you are sending bulk mails. So, they don’t terminate your connection.
Tip #69: Discovering instruments
The success of email marketing does not always depend on a simple email rather it depends on the multiple usage of that mail and types of tools you are using to trigger your marketing. So know your instruments before using any.
Tip #70: Make content with both html and plain text
If you are able to make a newsletter containing both plain text and html then it will be hard for the spam filter to find your mail. And remember that since it is a tough job, everybody won’t do it.
Tip #71: Changing Emails
Make the email changing option easy for the subscribers. Some get frustrated finding this option and so make it easy for them.
Tip #72: Making a fit landing page
Imagine yourself in a situation where you have created a marvelous email marketing newsletter. But the landing page is not what it should have been. It is not synchronous with the email. This will lead to a break in the communication and attraction. So, a good landing page is definitely needed.
Tip #73: Give Bonus
Try to give bonus to people who sign up to your newsletter. This really works as people are more likely to signup seeing that bonus.
Tip #74: Newsletter Content Idea
The content of the newsletter has to be really very informative, interesting and creative. Ask questions from the subscribers and then when that curious feeling arouses in them w.r.e.f to the mail, answer as in you are unleashing the truth and opening some cards.
Tip #75: Newsletter Content of Press Summary
If you consolidate news then it shows your expertise in the field you are working and people like it too.
Tip #76: Newsletter about Holidays or Calendar
If you are running out of ideas about what to write in newsletter then you can write about the upcoming holidays this year and also about the important calendar days.
Tip #77: Prefilling forms
Making customers’ job easy creates a good impression. You can do this by prefilling forms. Suppose they come from a product newsletter called “X”, so if you prefill the description like their name, address and product name, it would be easy to buy things just by going to next stage.
Tip #78: Get back to the customers soon
Customers might have questions/doubts about your product or they might not have understood any discount offer clearly. In that case the user may drop a mail at your place. Do reply to the mail with all the required solutions as soon as possible. Nobody like late responses.
Tip #79: Don’t make it too long
Always remember that writing a long description is not the way to go all times. Try to keep it short to the point. That way its less time consuming to read the letter.
Tip #80: Interval between newsletter
Sending the newsletters too often will be hectic for you as well as the readers and one day they might get bored as well. So it is always good to experiment and find a frequency at which the newsletters should be sent. It can be one in a week.
Tip #81: Perfect Time
Lookout and experiment with finding the best time to pitch a particular segment of subscribers. The newsletters should be sent at the most appropriate time.
Tip #82: At least once a month
Try sending newsletter at least once a month because if unable to do so, you will be treated as inactive and you’ll end up losing customers big time.
Tip #83: Send mail On time
Once you decide a frequency to send mails, always try to maintain the rhythm. Also try sending the mail at exactly the same time at the repeating interval.
Tip #84: 1 to 1 marketing
You have to set this vision that every customer is special.
Tip #85: Test links
Make sure all the links are up and working before sending the emails out.
Tip #86: Using your name
Use your name in the ‘From:’ section because people do not like to read emails from strangers and definitely not from robots.
Tip #87: Surprise the Customers
You can surprise your customers with discount offers or exclusive items in various occasions. This way you can maintain good relation and also stay in touch with your customers.
Tip #88: Inform the subscribers about the upcoming events
Write in the newsletter about any upcoming event and that may even be a giveaway. Also you can mention tags as “Something Coming Soon” to hold the interest of the reader.
Tip #89: Sending Thanking mails
Try to send ‘thank you’ mails when they buy any product from you or asks for any query. If someone buys anything tell them to come again later for other interesting products.
Tip #90: Tell them they are special
Send your subscriber special mails to make them feel they are special and that you really feel obliged being into a relation with them.
Tip #91: Keep Calendar
People are most likely to delete their previous emails but some people might want to read that newsletter again after deleting it. So it’s better to keep a system in your site to keep previous newsletters.
Tip #92: Make newsletter sharable
Keep buttons or links in your newsletter for sharing it to the social-networking sites like Facebook, twitter ,Digg etc. This way you can bring more users and engage more audience.
Tip #93: Make future newsletter
Prepare future newsletters keeping in mind the condition of previous ones. Try to analyze the faults and then fix it to make it better.
Tip #94: Be friendly
Be as friendly as you can in the newsletters as an unfriendly tone will offend the readers and you tend to lose subscribers. Always showcase a helping attitude and never lose calm.
Tip #95: Send emails with meaning
Do not just send mails if you need to do so. If it’s useless or doesn’t contain any meaning then it is a negative fact for your email and your future necessary ones. If you don’t have any reason then don’t send any.
Tip #96: Encouraging replies
Always encourage people to give replies. That way communication would be better and business with your customers will go further. Many people do email marketing without any reply mailing option but you don’t do so. Remember, email is a two way communication not only one way.
Tip #97: Check spam folder
Sometimes customers’ emails might land in spam folder. So do check the spam folder as well and make sure you reply them really fast.
Tip #98: Keep a checklist
Keeping a checklist for creating and sending emails is a genuine friend. It will help you go through all the process correctly.
Tip #99: Offer free things
You can offer free things in a definite time of year. Free things attract customers and if they are happy some of them will definitely buy products from you in future.
Tip #100: Rival signup
You need to sign up yourself in your rivals’ newsletters. By this way you can manage your offers and see what they are doing and you are not. It will also enable you to compare yourself with you rival. Remember, you can learn several things from your rival.
Tip #101: Respect your customer
If you read each one of the above tips, pat yourself for it. If you didn’t, I can understand, I also skim through most of the content I read on the internet. But I suggest that you bookmark this for you future reference as not all of us are super humans and remembering 101 tips in one go is something that needs psychic powers.
If you think there’s something missing in the above list, just drop a comment below to let me know and I’ll add it to the list. And yes, don’t forget to tweet about this to your friends! Keep sharing 😉