Top 50 Email Marketing Tips
Jason VandeBoom, founder of ActiveCampaign, posted an amazing 128 effective ways to optimize your email marketing campaign. We were impressed and asked Jason if he might want to pick the top 50 tips from that post for us to share. So, here they are! Thanks Jason!
Starting out in email marketing can be a huge task, especially for those without much experience in traditional marketing techniques. A successful campaign must incorporate good design, usability principles, sound use of technology, and persuasive content. By following these 50 top guidelines for email marketing, you’ll be sure to launch an email campaign that is both effective and well-received.
- Make it easy to sign up. Put a signup form on every page of your site and don’t ask for too much information.
- Include an opt-in checkbox on every form of your site.
- Clearly describe the benefits of being a part of your list. Offer your readers a concrete value.
- Use language and interface elements that focus on those benefits. For example: “Yes, I want to hear about the latest exclusive discounts” versus “Click here to join the mailing list.”
- Offer rewards for opting in. Many list-builders provide free reports, tools, or coupons in exchange for becoming a member of their mailing lists.
- When a new subscriber signs up, use the confirmation page to remind them to add your newsletter address to their email whitelist.
- Never rent or buy email lists. There is too much risk of hurting your reputation and your deliverability rates.
- Enable double opt-in. This means that a new subscriber must first click a link in a confirmation email before they are fully subscribed to your list. This helps to reduce the number of people who mark your messages as spam.
- Send welcome letters to new subscribers in order to establish the relationship and get them accustomed to receiving messages from you.
- Consider starting out new subscriptions with an autoresponder series that provides value and builds a positive impression of your mailings.
- Promote your mailing list offline. Don’t forget to ask customers, associates, or attendees at trade shows and conferences to sign up for your mailings.
- Invite readers to share your messages by including a “Forward to Friend” link and a straightforward call to action.
- Make sure your from address & sender name are recognizable and consistent.
- Also consider including a consistent and recognizable prefix in your subject lines.
- Test a few variations on your title to see which is more compelling to your readers.
- Split-test other parts of your messages as well. Email marketing software allows you to do this very easily, and taking advantage of this feature is well worth the time and effort because it tells you what your readers do and don’t respond well to.
- Segment your lists. The more targeted your email campaigns are the better they will convert.
- Use conditional content within messages for even more personalization and specificity. Readers will appreciate your messages more if they only see the parts that apply to them.
- Provide value. Period. Readers need to have a reason to stay subscribed to your mailing list, or they won’t.
- Don’t forget about preheader snippets. The first line of your messages is displayed under the title in most modern email clients. This gives you a chance to show that the contents of the message will be compelling.
- Make sure your messages are readable in a small preview pane, because this is the way that most readers will see them.
- Encourage click-through by moving longer sections of content to separate pages on your web site. This also makes your email messages easier to digest.
- For longer messages, include a table of contents. The less irrelevant content your readers have to skim through to get at what they want, the better.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe. If your readers can’t find an unsubscribe link, they’ll simply mark your messages as spam.
- Include a plain text version so that your message can be easily read on older email clients and mobile devices.
- Include a link to a web version of your message.
- Use a professionally designed template that has been tested across many different email clients. Because every email client renders formatting different (often very differently,) it is well worth the small upfront cost for a good template.
- If you want to include video, simply include a still frame with a play button overlay similar to what your readers are used to seeing on Youtube. Clicking the frame should take them to a page where they can watch your video.
- Focus on persuasive textual content. You can include some images to make your message visually interesting and to enhance your branding, but solid text is the core of any good email message.
- Avoid high bounce rates, as this can damage your sender reputation.
- Make sure your IP doesn’t get blacklisted.
- Don’t send large attachments to your list. If you have files to share with your list, it is often better to simply include a link for subscribers to download the file from your web site.
- Use a sender reputation service that can help make sure your messages get through to users of the largest email providers.
- Set up a sender policy framework (SPF) to specify which computers are allowed to send emails from your domain. This helps deter the use of your domain by spammers.
- Rather than spending your time worrying about these technical issues, consider using an external SMTP provider instead of your own server.
- Run your messages through spam filters before you send them, so that you can correct any potential problems that would get your message flagged as spam.
- Use a sending frequency that makes sense for your business and for the information you have to provide. If you send too often and readers will be annoyed, and if you send to infrequently your readers will forget they have subscribed.
- Use a valid reply-to address (and check your email!)
- Include a street address. This is required by law in the US, and helps to establish your business’ legitimacy.
- Use a dedicated newsletter management solution, not the BCC field. Including too many BCCs can get your message flagged as spam. A good email marketing package will send out a separate message to each subscriber.
- Experiment with sending at different times of day and days of the week. The best time will vary depending on your audience and your industry.
- Write with a purpose in mind. Each message should have a specific goal that you hope for it to accomplish.
- Give a clear call to action. Don’t make your readers figure out what you want them to do: spell it out in detail.
- Design your landing pages carefully. If your landing page doesn’t convert, no amount of email marketing is going to help you.
- Make sure the landing page lives up to the expectations you set up in your message.
- Make sure it is easy to tell that your landing page is a part of the same campaign as the email. Use similar designs and consider repeating the headline of your email message at the top of the landing page.
- When a reader clicks through from your message, fill in any form fields on the landing page for them.
- A/B test different versions of your landing pages as well, using tools like Google Optimizer.
- Keep detailed statistics and analyze your results regularly to improve the performance of your email campaigns.
Takeaway: These 50 tips are a good place to get started with your email marketing strategy. Looking for more? Don’t forget to see ActiveCampaign’s original post: 128 effective ways to optimize your email marketing campaign!
About the author:
Jason VandeBoom is the founder of ActiveCampaign, a leading developer of enterprise web software including email marketing and survey software solutions that have become industry standards for their power and ease of use.