As an outreach channel, email marketing offers a great opportunity to connect with your audience, nurture leads and meet prospects at a critical point in the buyer’s journey.
A few email marketing best practices can help not only improve that interaction, but propel your email marketing performance and ROI to an all-new level.
Here are a few tips to optimize your email marketing strategy and build a campaign that gets results.
7 Email Marketing Best Practices that Will Increase Your ROI
- Segment your email lists
- Personalize each message
- Choose the right time to send
- Optimize email loading times
- Engage customers with visuals
- Maintain suppression lists
Don’t waste subject lines
1. Segment your email lists
People do their buying in stages. And if your email marketing strategy isn’t delivering the info prospects need when they need it (at the right stage), you’re unlikely to get the results or ROI you need to justify your email budget.
By segmenting your email list into groups, you’re better equipped to tailor your message to customers at different stages in the sales funnel, creating content that’s both relevant to each group’s needs and more likely to inspire engagement. For small businesses, this email marketing best practice is a powerful alternative to the “casting a broad net” approach that, though it has the widest appeal, fails to capture genuine interest or persuade customers to take the next step.
How do I segment my email list?
Here’s a look at effective ways to segment your emails and customize your email marketing campaign:
- Narrow your targets by asking readers about their interests in the introductory email
- Create groups based on past purchases (returning customers vs. new customers)
- Segment groups by location to optimize engagement
- Divide lists by relationship or customer status (special event attendees, partners, etc.)
2. Personalize each message
Want people to open your emails? Meeting consumers where they’re at is important, but taking the time to personalize your email messaging strategy is essential to stimulating interaction and pulling customers one step closer to your business.
People are 26% more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines than those that say “Check out this offer. ” And messages with personalized imagery (based on customer data and location) experience a nearly 30% uptick in clickthrough rate than those without, while emails containing personalized offers improve conversion rates by an average of 10%–a marked increase demonstrating the potential of personalization on email marketing ROI.
One of the more effective email marketing best practices out there, personalizing emails allows you to speak to subscribers on a truly individual level, grabbing their attention with relevant, impactful messaging and communicating solutions that address their unique pain points.
3. Choose the right time to send
As we touched on earlier, grouping emails by location is one way to customize your campaign and connect with different portions of your target audience. But why? Simply put, people are more likely to open and engage with emails at certain times of day, making each customer’s time zone a crucial consideration when developing a performance-based email marketing strategy.
A recent study found that consumers are most likely to open emails on Tuesday, with Monday and Friday rounding out the top three. Further research has shown the best time to send marketing emails and ensure they’re read is either 10am (shortly after they’ve arrived at work) or 1pm (when they’re sorting through messages after lunch)—and that nearly a quarter of emails will be open within an hour after being sent (email open rates fall below 1% after 24 hours from delivery).
With so much competing for your customers’ attention throughout the course of a day—and an average global email open rate of just over 22%–choosing the right time to automate your email sends is one of those email marketing best practices you just can’t ignore.
What to know: Thursday is shown to have the worst email open rate during the week, with weekend days experiencing the worse rates overall.
4. Optimize email loading times
Timing and personalization are great email marketing best practices and key to optimizing email open rates. But just like your website, if your emails don’t open and load fast, you can count on losing your customer’s attention and valuable marketing ROI.
Slow load times, especially on mobile, can have a dramatic effect on email deletion and subscription rates, as messages that take 3 seconds or more to load are likely to be deleted (with 15% of users unsubscribing altogether).
It’s therefore imperative to understand what impacts email performance and how to improve load speeds wherever possible.
Major factors affecting email load speed (and deliverability)
- Too many images. Each image you include in your emails requires an additional request to the server, hurting download speed in the process.
- Print optimized images. Print optimized images tend to be sizable (some as large as 10MB), which burden load speeds.
- Unnecessary white space. Too much white space with images may slow down message loads significantly.
- Extensive messaging. Large chunks of content/information can negatively affect load time and subscriber interest.
File size is the main culprit behind slow email load times, making it important to rein in file and image size when crafting your emails. Your email marketing engagement and ROI depend on it.
5. Engage customers with visuals
More than ever, content is visual. Creative use of images, graphics and other visual elements is not only key to injecting a bit of personality into your messaging, but an absolutely essential best email marketing practice that grabs attention, drives engagement and enhances campaign ROI.
When choosing images to create a more performance-based email marketing strategy, be sure each one is clear, inviting, relevant to your message and representative of your brand identity. Note that many email marketing services will resize your images to improve visibility, and that the proper adjustments are made before they make it to subscribers.
To reiterate, overuse of graphics and images can delay load times—not to mention overwhelm readers with too much information at once—so be sure to select what you use carefully.
6. Maintain suppression lists
Holding on to your nonmailable contacts lists not only helps ensure your email marketing campaigns are compliant with current CAN-SPAM requirements, but may also help when it comes to identifying and creating outreach opportunities down the road.
With suppression lists at the ready, your email marketing pros can quickly eliminate and exclude those who wouldn’t find your current email focus relevant, and identify candidates for any re-engagement campaigns currently on the table. Profile information and past email engagement gleaned from suppression lists can help determine any prospects who may still have interest in a certain product or service you offer—and who may be receptive to a more targeted approach in the future.
People are typically added to suppression lists when:
- They mark one of your emails as spam
- They unsubscribe from your mailing list
- A hard bounce has taken place
7. Don’t waste subject lines
Any email marketing best practices list wouldn’t be complete without talking about subject lines. With tens or hundreds of emails coming through a person’s inbox every day, a catchy subject line is what helps your emails stick out, avoid deletion and compel clicks, making their development a crucial piece of the email marketing puzzle.
That said, never overlook subject lines when drafting or changing your drip email marketing campaign. The benefits of a good subject line strategy are nearly endless, particularly when it comes to email marketing ROI.
How to create the perfect email subject line
- Keep it short. No more than 50 characters or between 4-6 words is a good rule of thumb
- Keep it personal. People respond to messages that address them as individuals
- Be urgent. Creative calls-to-action must be genuine and strategic
- Be clear. Tell them upfront what they’ll find inside your email
- Be mysterious. Improve your open rates by appealing to their curiosity
- Be relevant. Capitalize on timely topics or and trends whenever possible
- Make an offer. Highlighting an offer is a good way to get your emails noticed
Email marketing best practices can help sharpen your messaging and improve your email marketing ROI. And with the right outsourced digital marketing team at your side, you can build an online presence that not only supplements your existing email marketing strategy, but ensures your dominating your market and your competition.
From business intelligence services to comprehensive digital solutions, Marca Global® provides the expert outsourced marketing you need to grow your business. Call (720) 378-5024 today to schedule your consultation.