Make it exclusive
Limiting an offer to a specific group of people can suggest that a product or service is valuable and in short supply. Studies, by psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, show that people tend to desire and place more value on things that are scarce.
Using this principle of scarcity through exclusive offers is an email marketing best practice used to help increase customer engagement and conversion.
Harvey Nichols uses exclusivity in their Black Friday email by only offering the sale preview to Reward members. This provides Reward members with early access to sale items that might later be sold out when the sale is open to everyone. Making something exclusive can create a sense of scarcity that entices customers to engage with your email and take action quickly.
Offer something extra
Your email subscribers are getting dozens, if not hundreds, of other emails every day. They are constantly being asked to start a free trial, download an e-book or follow someone on Twitter. There’s an overwhelming amount of noise in the inbox.
Giving your users something extra goes a long way towards earning their trust. Squarespace acknowledges the reality of our busy lives and offers a chance for an extended trial.
Everyone gets busy and you may not have had enough time to evaluate Squarespace. For this reason the subject line: Your trial has expired. Need more time? Sounds helpful and mindful.
Use social proof
Social proof, such as customer reviews, ratings, and user-generated content can help build credibility and bring your customers closer to a buying decision. According to YouGov, 78% of consumers in the U.S. read reviews before making a purchase.
Pipedrive uses this email marketing best practice in their welcome email.
Many forums and communities take full advantage of social proof. Because they have active users, they can parlay engagement into more engagement.
Quora emails include relevant, user-generated stories along with authors’ names. The recommended stories are based on a user’s individual activity on the forum, this way they can get back to topics that raised their interest and resume the reading.
Never buy email lists
Building an email list can be slow, especially when you’re just starting out. Buying a list might seem like a tempting shortcut but trust us, it’s a terrible idea.
Buying a list will put your business at serious risk because:
- In many jurisdictions around the world, sending unsolicited emails and storing people’s data in your crm without consent is illegal (think GDPR and CAN-SPAM act).
- People are more likely to mark unsolicited emails as spam, damaging your email sender reputation and potentially ending up on an email blocklist.
- Most email marketing services will refuse to work with you because purchased lists can harm the deliverability of other users on shared IP addresses.
And that’s not all. Many email addresses on purchased lists are actually spam traps. A spam trap is an inactive email address that’s purposely left out in the open to attract spammers.
Because the email address doesn’t belong to anyone, it’s impossible that it opted-in to any email lists. That way, the ISP knows that whoever contacts this address is a spammer.
In short, don’t buy email lists. Build your list organically — however slowly — and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
Use double opt-in
As already mentioned, the term ‘opt-in’ refers to the signup process. There are two different types of opt-in for email marketing:
- Single opt-in is when the subscriber is added to the email list once the signup form is submitted.
- Double opt-in is when you send a confirmation email with a link to each new subscriber. The subscriber must click the link to complete the subscription. Without this verification, they won’t receive emails from you.
Sure, double opt-in adds an extra step between the potential subscriber and your list. But far from being an obstacle, this process is important — especially for email deliverability.
Double opt-in eliminates any misspelled email addresses (which would otherwise generate a hard bounce). It also rules out spam traps and acts as proof of subscriber consent — a GDPR requirement.
For better email marketing, double opt-in is the way to go.
Segment your mailing list
As your email list expands, it’s likely to contain diverse buyer profiles.
List Segmentation is the process of dividing your list into smaller sub-lists of subscribers who have something in common. The idea behind this technique is to engage subscribers with more relevant, targeted emails.
Among the many different possibilities for segmentation, examples include demographic information such as age and location, lead score, and purchase history.
You can already segment subscribers into separate lists during signup by asking preferences in terms of content, email frequency, etc.
Who doesn’t like to feel noticed?
People generally appreciate when brands add personal touches and pay attention to small details. When it comes to making us feel valued and understood as a customer, a little effort goes a long way.
This also rings true for email marketing.
Personalizing emails is essential to building trusting relationships with prospects and customers.
Here are some simple email personalization ideas that’ll positively impact your opens, clicks, and conversion rate.
Simple email personalization to get started
- Use the subscriber’s first name in the email subject line and content (“Hey Tom!”)
- Where are the bulk of your subscribers located? Consider time-zones when scheduling campaigns to maximize the chances of the email being read.
- Segment contacts so that messaging is targeted and relevant
- Use behavior-triggered emails based on how customers interact with your product/service
Optimize for mobile
61.9% of all emails are opened and read on mobile.
For best results, make sure your emails display correctly on mobile devices.
Depending on the email design capabilities of your ESP, it’s likely that mobile-responsiveness is an already built-in feature.
All emails designed in Sendinblue are automatically programmed to fit mobile devices and you can double check this using the mobile preview functionality.
Optimize email deliverability
Email marketing success depends massively on email deliverability.
An important concept for email marketers, email deliverability refers to the ability to deliver an email to the inbox.
When all’s well, the email makes it past the spam filters and arrives at its destination. When deliverability is compromised, the email lands in the spam folder or, worse, your sender IP is blocklisted by the ISP.
While deliverability often depends on technical factors, there are plenty of non-technical ways to help your email newsletters reach the inbox.
Here are some easy-to-follow deliverability best practices:
- Make sure the email content doesn’t come across as spammy. Did you know that certain words and phrases trigger spam filters? Have a look at this list of words to avoid.
- Keep your subscriber database up to date by removing unengaged users and inactive addresses.
- Only send to opt-in subscribers. Send emails to someone who’s never heard of you and it’s likely they’ll report you as spam. This’ll harm your future deliverability.
- Always include an unsubscribe link. Under the GDPR (Europe’s data protection regulation), an individual has the right to dictate how their data is being used. The act of unsubscribing falls fully within those rights so this option should always be available.
More tips to improve email deliverability (and a free ebook) available here.
Choose an engaging email newsletter design
When it comes to email marketing, design is just as important as the content. The look and feel of your email is going to communicate a message about your company and its values. Spend some time getting it right.
Ideally, you want to capture attention with an on-brand email design that highlights your main message and CTA in the best way possible.
Great email design supports email content by making it clear, legible, and structured. A structure that naturally draws the reader to your call-to-action will drive up your click-through rate.
If intend to add images to your email content, keep in mind best practices for newsletter images:
- Don’t clutter the email with too many images (this could harm your deliverability)
- Avoid images that are either too large or too small
- Add ALT text for each image in case it doesn’t show — this’ll also make it more accessible to people using screen readers.
- Only use high quality images that serve a purpose. Avoid generic stock photos that don’t add value.
Clean your email list regularly
Keep your database up to date for optimal email deliverability and higher engagement rates.
Got subscribers who’ve disappeared off the radar? If someone hasn’t engaged with your emails in at least six months, send a reactivation campaign or even ask for a second opt-in. See if you can get them interested again.
If there’s still no engagement, delete the subscribers from your list.
Sure, it’ll be sad to see them go but better for your deliverability in the long term.
Another important point: Make it easy to unsubscribe with a clearly visible unsubscribe button. If people can’t find the way out, they’re more likely to mark you as spam.
For reference, a good unsubscribe rate is 0.5 or less.
A/B test your email subject line and content
Hesitating between two subject lines? Not sure what content your audience will react best to? A/B testing is one way to find out — and a great way to optimize your campaigns.
Test different email subject line formulas, content formats and CTAs. See which ones get the best engagement and stick with the approach.
Keep testing until you find your secret sauce!