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Email Best Practices

Email Best Practices – The Importance of Engagement

go After researching email best practices on the web, I came to a quick conclusion. Engagement rules. Email is less about content and more about action. It’s about motivating people to do something. Opens, clicks, forwards, social media shares, website visits, retail traffic, and purchases are the currency of a successful email marketing campaign. The strategy for every email campaign should start with at least one of these ends.

buy propecia paypal You’ll find numerous so called lists of “email best practices” on the web. Most of them boil down to engagement. The reason is simple. Engagement is a key driver of email deliverability. It’s also an important part of building an email list and the key component of measuring campaign success. Without engagement, email doesn’t click.

Email Best Practices – How Engagement Affects Deliverability

Email InboxEmail success starts with deliverability. If your message never reaches a subscriber’s inbox, you can’t succeed. Aside from good list hygiene, email deliverability is driven by engagement.

Mailbox providers like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and AOL track the positive and negative interactions subscribers have with email messages to determine where to place incoming messages. Future success begins with the past. When previous email campaigns fail to motivate action, your ability to reach the inbox in successive campaigns declines.

Equally important, emails that don’t prompt action often trigger an adverse reaction. Opt-outs and SPAM complaints increase when subscribers don’t see a clear purpose for your email or one that isn’t in line with their interests. When mailbox providers see an increase in SPAM complaints and opt-outs, emails get blocked or sent to SPAM folders.

When people read your email, the next step must be overtly obvious. They can’t waste their time wondering what you want them to do. You must point them in the desired direction. Tell readers what to do next. Use simple tactics that motivate users to engage. These may include:

  • Multiple Calls to Action
  • Media Links
  • A Forwarding Link
  • Recommended Resources

Email Best Practices – How Engagement Influences List Building

Organically grown foods are healthier than processed foods. So are organically grown email lists. You may think a purchased list will fill your sales pipeline like a hormone-infused steak fills your stomach, but it’s the fastest way to the emergency room.

Email Opt-InEmail is not a numbers game. Size doesn’t matter. A bigger list doesn’t translate to more sales if that list is composed of people who’ve never heard of your company or expressed interest in it. A non-engaged list leads to lower email engagement and higher opt-out rates. And negative engagement metrics will decrease inbox placement.

Focus on sending your messages to people who truly like your content, and show they like it through opens and clicks. Remember, positive engagement increases deliverability rates.

Use social media to drive email opt-ins. If you don’t have an extensive social media circle, you can employ paid strategies like search or highly targeted display advertising to build your email list. It may seem like the long road to success, but engaged subscribers breed more engaged subscribers.

Email Best Practices: How Engagement Increases Opens

Once an email enters the inbox, engagement begins with a subject line. A well-crafted subject line to the right audience creates relevance. Relevance boosts opens, a key indicator of engagement.

Opening an email sends a strong message to mailbox providers. It’s the equivalent of a “like” in social media and demonstrates recipients find your message interesting. A relevant subject line that references a common interest among subscribers increases engagement. That interest earns you a place in the inbox.

Email Best Practices: How An Engaging CTA Increases Clicks

If you’ve worked hard to craft an engaging email, don’t ruin it with an unimaginative call to action. Words like “download” and “learn more” are not exciting. You might as well say “get more boring content here.” Be creative. Use words that convey the end benefit of clicking like “Create Powerful Emails That Drive Sales” or “Drive More Traffic With These Simple Strategies.” Make your CTA irresistible.

Email Best Practices: How Segmentation Increases Engagement

Email SegmentationSplitting your email list into subscribers with similar demographics, interests, behaviors, beliefs, or purchase patterns allows you to create more relevant messaging. Research shows that segmented email campaigns have an 14.3 percent higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns.[1]

Email Best Practices: How Content Influences Engagement

If your goal is to produce engaging emails, make sure your content is of interest to your audience. A small amount of advance research has a huge impact on engagement.

  • Search topic ideas on discussion groups like Quora.
  • Use Google Trends to identify top trending keywords.
  • Survey your audience for content ideas.
  • Analyze your best performing content and replicate it.

But be careful to avoid trigger words associated with SPAM, or your emails could get blocked. You get zero engagement if people don’t see your emails.

Email Best Practices: How Format Influences Engagement

Mobile-First DesignEmails must be responsive. Research shows that 54 percent of people open their emails on a mobile device and most will do it on an iPhone.[2]  If you’re not using a responsive email template that adapts to mobile devices, you will alienate subscribers.  To avoid this:

  • Adopt a mobile-first strategy. Build your message based on mobile formats and then adapt them to other devices.
  • Make sure images and text are readable on mobile devices – particularly if your audience is composed of older adults. Use 14 points for regular text and 22 points for headlines.
  • Buttons should be at least 44 by 44 pixels to accommodate big fingers on a mobile device.
  • Take time to review your emails on different devices before hitting the send button.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources to improve your email marketing efforts:

References

[1] Effects of List Segmentation on Email Marketing Stats, MailChimp, February 2017

[2] Email Client Market Share Trends for 2017, Litmus, July 2017

 


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