9 ways to improve your email marketing

Posted by Saby Salvatierra on 16 Oct, 2014
View comments Marketing
9 useful tips to help prep your next email marketing campaign

Over the past couple of years, it seems like email marketing campaigns have become less popular due to social media. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They’re not dead, and if done correctly they are a vital tool to help your business grow!

It’s so easy to get complacent when it comes to the emails you’re sending. I’m not just talking about the same old content - I’m talking about your template, the design and your overall brand personality. There is a lot to consider with email marketing, whether you’re an email marketing newbie or you’ve been in the game for a while and are in need of a refresher then this article is for you.

I’m going to be giving you some useful tips to help prep your next email marketing campaign. Once you’ve ticked all of these off, you’ll be well on your way to sending emails your subscribers want to read.

1. Who is sending me this and who do I reply to?

Something as simple as who is sending an email is crucial when it comes to open rates. Most of us are likely to agree, that if we receive an email from noreply@xexamplecompany.com no one is going to want to read it. I want to know who is sending me this email, whether it’s a company name or a specific contact within the company. Identity is vital, so make sure that you are sending it from someone in your company and keeping the name consistent.

If you’re one of our newsletter readers, then you’ll know that our reply-to is “Wordtracker Team” and our email address is newsletter@wordtracker.com.

This is our way of humanizing our emails and keeping them valid. If we receive responses from our newsletter, then that reader will know that someone from the Wordtracker team will be replying back to them, therefore leading them to feel more comfortable about responding to us.

2. Lists, lists and more lists

This may sound obvious but it’s surprising how many businesses just keep the one big list to blast emails to.

If you’ve got a large list it’s important that you are segmenting it. No one wants to receive emails from lists they didn’t opt into. If I opted in for “offers only”, then I don’t want to receive company news emails on a weekly basis. By implementing a list segmentation, it will allow you to target your emails appropriately and not annoy your subscribers - meaning you’ll see improved open and click rates.

3. Design split testing

Here’s one we love to preach. Over the past couple of months you may have seen how our newsletter has slowly been evolving. That’s all down to testing. If you think about it, everyone has a different visual perspective and you’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s important to work with what you’ve got.

Get creative, start planning and begin testing, maybe start changing the format of your template, or the language you use on your CTA buttons. Segment your list and begin testing with a small sample group. Once you’ve began testing and you can see whether your changes have been a hit (or not) then you can slowly start developing your overall templates.

Even if you’ve got a pretty solid newsletter, if you’ve kept it the same for over a year then it may be about time you think about a redesign.

Remember, we are living in such a fast paced life, our goals should be to keep up in order to stay current to our users wants and needs.

4. Is my email template even working?

This one can easily be forgotten about - cross mail client compatibility. That means you need to keep on with the testing. Check and see whether your email template is functioning across various internet browsers. No one wants to realise when it’s too late that their emails aren’t working properly and they’ve been redirecting their users to no man’s land.

Start including little check ups now and then in your planners. You never know, your campaign could be falling apart without you even realising, leading to a negative impact on the success of your email marketing campaign. If you’ve worked hard for your template, work hard at maintaining it!

5. Mobile optimization

It’s a fact, we’re always checking our phones. One of the first things I do in the morning is check my emails on my phone and I’m not the only one - 47% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Therefore, it’s critical that you’re designing your email templates for mobile as well.

Don’t just think, “oh it’s too late” - always look back and assess your personal user experience. If you like emails from a certain company, ask yourself why? If it’s because they are easy to navigate on your phone, then your users are probably wanting the same experience from your emails.

Once you’ve made your emails phone-friendly, you’ll be working to a different criteria. A smaller platform means keeping your content short and sweet. Going back to the maintenance point before, ensure your testing your emails frequently so that your recipients can easily navigate on their device without any lingering bugs.

6. We’re all too busy

If you think you’re too busy to look through all of your emails, then your recipients will be dealing with the same problem. It actually takes up 28% of our time during the day to look through our emails. To combat this, don’t waste time with long winded emails. Start using attractive, compelling and actionable language. Let your subscribers know the reason behind the email and give them a direction.

With our newsletter we include 3 articles with a small description. By keeping it short and sweet it allows our readers to scan and decide whether they want to click and read more. It’s all down to our readers to decide whether to take action or not.

7. I don’t want no spam!

I personally seem to moan about this a lot. I’m talking about emails that aren’t spam but just look like it. It’s fundamental that you analyse your language. Think about what you would find compelling and what would make you scream “SPAM ALERT” avoid using trigger words like FREE, Important message, and hey (insert name here).

Always approach your subject lines like your blog titles, they should be brief, to the point, actionable and definitely not misleading!

8. Clean those hard bounces!

A hard bounce is a permanent failure to deliver an email normally caused by a non-existent, invalid or blocked email address. To keep your list spick-and-span make sure you are removing any hard bounces as they can be negatively impacting your deliverability and knocking down your successful deliveries score.

9. Connect with us

These days we’re all on social media, that means social sharing buttons are a must. By including them, you are giving your readers the opportunity to share your content on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Ensure you are making your icons visually appealing too, as once they start sharing, your brand awareness will increase, ultimately helping to build your followers.

Remember - making it easy and accessible for your subscribers is the way forward. Sure, they can tweet your content manually, but if you’ve got your buttons looking good and in the right place then it’s an extra nudge for them to share it.

Lastly…

Be open to feedback. I cannot stress this enough. After continuously looking at your email strategies it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not want to fiddle around with your campaigns.

Of course I’m not saying you should be updating designs on a weekly basis. But there is no harm in noting down your creative ideas, asking for feedback from your readers and finding out what they personally want to see. If your subscribers want bigger buttons or a different color font then that should be a priority - start testing and see whether it works for you. Your campaigns should be evolving and developing with the industry. Don’t be afraid of change, change will lead you along the path to a successful marketing campaign.

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