Amidst videos, tweets, memes, and many more, there’s one marketing tool that has never lost its demand and its email marketing. It’s because emails are the most direct and effective ways of reaching out to your customers and potential prospects.
Considering the dynamic and competitive 2021 landscape, what might be a sound email marketing practice in 2019 wouldn’t be that powerful nowadays. Also, now coping up in an era where 3.8 billion people use these platforms and mobile apps identifying the most relevant email marketing strategies has become even necessary.
Planning for a robust email marketing strategy is like managing a consistent sleep schedule. It’s a lot about setting a discipline in order to stay productive so you can not only convert prospects into one-time buyers but into loyal customers as well.
What Should Be Your Starting Point When It Comes To Identifying A Holistic Email Marketing Strategy?
Rather than starting randomly, it’s better to first get somethings straight before moving ahead:
- Identify what are your email marketing goals, or what are you trying to achieve by sending emails?
- Promoting one’s products and services is the ultimate goal, but having an entire email marketing strategy focused solely on self-promotion wouldn’t be a great idea because 45% of people unfollow a brand if they do too much of it self-advertising.
- Keep building and fostering relationships with prospects in mind while chalking out an email marketing plan as it will make selling easy.
- Please pay attention to potential buyers’ journeys and craft a customized email marketing strategy to cater to prospects according to their specific stage in the funnel.
- Follow a work breakdown structure to break down broader email marketing milestones into smaller achievable objectives, which will help in planning, scheduling, and budgeting for different components, keeping everything under check, tracking progress, and efficiently communicating needs.
Coming up with a comprehensive email marketing game plan aligned with specific business goals can help in identifying the best practices aimed at increasing conversions and boosting organic website traffic.
15 Email Marketing Best Practices That Can Boost Sales And Website Traffic In 2021:
Every prospect has different needs, so sending similar emails can’t be a good strategy, and hence personalizing emails is essential. Keeping that in mind, let’s explore X email marketing practices that can boost website traffic and conversions:
1. Get Your Email Marketing Goals Straight Before Start Sending Emails
Without determining the purpose of your email campaigns driving conversions and traffic would be a dream. Hence, after building a loyal email list which is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques nowadays, the next step should be identifying what the email marketing objectives are.
Setting goals for email marketing campaigns helps in:
- Guiding the email campaign in the right direction.
- It helps in measuring the success and progress of the efforts.
Before kicking-off any email marketing campaign asking the following questions is significant:
- What actions do subscribers should take?
- What are the incentives for potential subscribers?
- How will success be measured?
The objectives of any email marketing campaign could be anything, such as:
- Promote products or services
- Building relationships with the audience
- Nurturing the existing customers
- Boosting engagement for the brand
- Re-engaging with the lost prospects
- A mix of any of the above
Irrespective of the email marketing objectives for grabbing quality leads, there’s a need to understand the customers’ journey, which leads to the next step explained below!
2. Identify The Target Audience & Empathize With Their Journey To Get A Clear Idea Of The Best-Suited Email Types For Different Categories
Identifying the target audience is extremely important for keeping the email campaign on track. There’s a need to understand the buyer persona, representing the ideal customer profile comprising details such as their:
- Demographic details
- Professional niche
- Buying habits, interests, preferences, pain points, etc.
Identifying the buyer persona helps in personalizing and customizing email campaigns that turn subscribers into customers. Also, personalized emails help in grabbing the attention of subscribers, making it even more important to create a campaign by keeping the buyer persona in mind.
Along with understanding the buyer persona, it’s equally important to get an idea of the buyers’ journey through the sales funnel right from the top stage of exploration to the bottom one of purchasing.
Let’s divide the prospects based on different stages and segment them to identify what could be the most relevant emails that can cater to each of these stages:
1. In the earliest stage of your buyers’ journey, there’s a need to build trust with the audience by showcasing the brand as effectively as possible with the help of the best introduction email templates and email series:
2. Welcome emails work wonders at this stage, help connect with the new prospects, or reassure that the sign-up worked with the new email subscribers.
Make sure to use the best welcome email practices to make a good first impression on the reader. It helps in building a personal touch as well.
1. Promotional emails are the most common email type that marketers are investing in because such emails grab the attention of new subscribers with the help of engaging content such as:
2. New product announcements or newsletter joining proposals can also work well as the prospects are still at the stage of exploring the products and services and might get attracted by subtle promotions.
3. A lead nurturing email series for new prospects comprising emails with customer testimonials, industry news or trends, FAQs, or an email course that they might need to sign-up for a demo or a free trial of a product would be a great idea.
4. An onboarding email series specifically for the subscribers who are moving from the free trial to the paid version, including emails that cover all the steps that these leads should be familiar with to make the most of products and services.
2. In the second stage, where the subscriber becomes a customer, emails to keep in touch with them and get them involved by providing relevant content is most important.
Nurturing the current customers is more comfortable than acquiring the new ones because grabbing new customers could be a little time-consuming and hence to the existing ones in the email list, there are some other options as well:
A) Sending email roundups or periodic emails by curating news and content from varied sources that could be valuable to the current subscribers and customers.
B) Blog updates after every new blog’s arrival for notifying the subscribers.
C) Keeping self-promotion minimum by sharing emails comprising news and announcements about the industry.
D) Product update emails for keeping existing customers and subscribers informed about the developments in the company’s portfolio.
E) Survey emails to keep a tab on what the current leads are up to, but make sure to follow the questions relevant and limited.
D) Check-in emails to get an idea of how the purchasing experience was for the customer that lets them share the entire feeling in a more personalized way.
E) Such emails should be sent approximately after three days of the purchase.
F) Transactional emails such as the ones asking a product review should be sent after 5-6 days of the purchase to get honest feedback from the customers’ end about the features and functionality of the product.
G) After a customer buys a specific product email to highlight a similar one along with an exclusive discount, also, emails comprising items and accessories related to the recently bought products or a dress that complement a clothing item the customer has purchased are a great idea.
H) Back-in-stock emails to notify the customers when the products that were earlier sold-out are available.
I) Give rewards to existing subscribers by offering exclusive access to the newest products, free subscription to newsletters, special discounts, freebies, etc.
3. Once you learn how to keep your current customers engaged with relevant email campaigns paying attention to those who have bounced without completing the purchase process should be the next step.
Spotting such leads and discovering how to earn them back by sending lifecycle emails such as an engaging abandon cart email:
4. Along with attracting the ones who explored but didn’t purchase, it’s equally important to grab the attention of the inactive subscribers by sending them something they can’t ignore.
A) To do this creating a specific segment list of prospects who haven’t engaged with the brand’s email for an extended period should be the first step.
B) Initially, sending emails providing exclusive discounts to such subscribers should be smart to earn their attention.
C) Next should be sending an email to them to check whether they will still be interested in receiving updates and asking them if they want to “Unsubscribe.”
D) Lastly, when a subscriber “Unsubscribe” a brand, an email can be sent, such as “sad to see you go” to convey the feeling that they were special, and if they decide to come back, there will be a warm welcome.
3. Without An Email List, There’s No Email Marketing
After identifying the objectives of email marketing and segmenting the target audience before starting an email marketing campaign, there’s a need to grow the email list. Here are some of the most effective methods for building an email list:
Adding a sign-up form on the website is the most common way of grabbing email leads and connecting with the website visitors to collect their email addresses.
Remember a couple of things while creating an email sign-up form for the website:
- Keep it minimal and clutter-free with four or fewer fields.
- Add a relevant and clear CTA to guide the visitors with clear instructions on what exactly they should do.
- Avoid the use of CAPTCHA.
- Allow visitors to sign-up via social media.
- Never forget to offer an incentive to the visitors for signing-up.
Here’s an excellent example of website sign-up form by MailChimp, which is neat, clear, and guides visitors on the next steps in the best possible manner:
Fostering personal relationships and expanding reach with the target audience by joining niche LinkedIn groups and creating engaging Facebook communities for grabbing the quality leads to be included in the email list.
Facebook carries a lot of power when it comes to building relationships with potential customers by fostering personal engagement and interaction via dedicated groups.
After creating a loyal Facebook group, it becomes easier to monitor the prospects and keep the ones interested in radars to add to the email list.
On the one hand, Facebook is more casual and appropriate for the businesses functioning in the B2C niche; on the other, LinkedIn is more of a professional platform. Here, one can find many relevant groups with similar interests aligned with their specific business objectives and join them to initiate interactions with the prospects and build relationships for growing the email list.
Incorporating a CTA such as an opt-in button or sign-up button on the business Facebook page can help in grabbing the attention of prospects for subscribing to the mailing list or reaching out to those who want to explore more about products and services.
Using double opt-ins could be a good idea as it signifies a higher level of user interest and filters the passive prospects by asking them to confirm their email addresses and benefit both.
Including social sharing buttons in emails allow existing and prospective email subscribers to share content easily in their social network, which will garner more exposure for the business.
Social sharing buttons in emails help in:
- Making it easier for the current email subscribers to share the content on their social profiles and circulate it within their peer network for driving quality traffic to the website and achieving higher rankings for streamlining SEO efforts.
- Many prospects from the network of such subscribers might start following the brand, which paves the way for increased exposure and new email leads.
- Creating any form of gated content such as infographics, webinars, video tutorials, online courses, ebooks, free templates, etc. isn’t accessible to the visitors until they feed their email addresses to grab more prospects for the emailing list.
Copybloggers replaced standard eBooks with a premium content library named “MyCopyBlogger” comprising an extensive email course and 15 eBooks, which increased their email sign-ups by 400% and landed them $300,000 in sales.
Engaging Facebook ads or Twitter chats can help get more email subscribers specifically targeted to attract the audience interested in knowing more about the brand.
Nowadays, social media marketers leverage paid Facebook ads primarily because while designing a Facebook ad, there is an option to customize the target audience based on their:
- Professional niche
Such detailed customization makes these ads even more relevant and specific to cater to a particular group of prospects.
Hosting contests and giveaways on social media platforms is one of the most effective ways of growing the email list.
The key to a successful Facebook contest or giveaway lies in starting with a simple idea and visually pleasing images and lucrative rewards to lure more prospects for getting subscribed to the email list.
Instagram and Snapchat are also effective social channels for growing the email list. Here are some of the tricks to attract email subscribers on both of these channels:
I. Linking newsletters in Instagram or Snapchat stories along with showcasing interesting stuff like behind the scene glimpses can land many subscribers for the mailing list.
II. Creating engaging Insta stories with the help of one of the best social media creation tools that come preloaded with visually appealing story templates for boosting engagement.
III. Organizing live chat sessions for your followers on Instagram to deliver expert tips on a particular topic and asking the audience to provide their email addresses for downloading the handout of the course could be a smart trick to grow the email subscriber base.
For example, sharing PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare can land many leads for the email list as there is an option to ask for the email address of the visitors who would want to download the slides.
V. YouTube users love to watch a tutorial rather than reading instructions, which makes creating a YouTube tutorial with a relevant Call-to-action button is another effective way of growing the email list.
Before making a video tutorial on YouTube, make sure to identify the “how-to” keywords that prospects are using to look for relevant information and create a video based on the ones that are trending.
Once the tutorial gets created, adding a precise summary is even essential to describe the content in an appealing manner and attract more viewers.
4. Never Start Sending Emails To Prospects Just Like That
Nobody would like to annoy the prospects, so before starting to send emails, the first step should be to send a test email to make sure that there is:
- No typo or grammatical errors in the email.
- The email is showing up correctly both on desktop and mobile devices.
- All the links are displaying correctly, and there are no broken, untracked, incorrect, or misleading links in the email body.
- The form name, Reply-to Address, and subject line are relevant and free of any spelling mistakes.
- In case there are emojis in the email, they must be displayed seamlessly across all devices.
- There’s no issue in the font type, size, and color throughout the email.
5. Watch Out The Deliverability Rate & Don’t Ever Spam The Email Subscribers
Advertising related spam is one of the critical concerns for marketers as it includes sending promotional emails to subscribers who haven’t opted-in for receiving those updates.
Here comes the importance of understanding the deliverability rate and avoiding getting spammed by email subscribers. Getting an idea of the email deliverability helps in knowing how many messages landed in recipients’ inbox and how many to other folders like spam pr got bounced.
Some of the key factors that hurt deliverability rates are:
- Sending emails without custom authentication.
- Leveraging spammy subject lines.
- Making it hard for the prospects to unsubscribe.
- Using URL shorteners, single opt-ins, or too many images.
- Sending emails from a flashy or free domain email address.
However, keeping the following things in mind can optimize the email deliverability:
- Start sending emails only after the prospect has opted-in and always use a double opt-in option so that the subscribers can confirm their interest in receiving the business update emails.
- Always ask subscribers to whitelist the email after sending them a welcome email.
- Refrain from using spam filters triggered keywords such as “Free,” “Apply Now,” “Cheap,” “Incredible Deal,” “No Investment Deal,” “Guarantee,” “Affordable,” “Free Offer,” etc.
- Make sure to use a professional email address to establish credibility and make subscribers feel confident about connecting with the brand. Specifically, request Gmail users to drag the emails from other folders and keep them in the primary tab.
5. Instruct subscribers to keep emails organized by:
A) Creating a particular folder where the read emails can be archived.
B) Refrain from setting-up filters that automatically direct emails to these folders; otherwise, something important gets skipped.
C) Moving the emails that are read manually to the concerned folder.
D) Use email lead generation tools to get an idea of who opens the email and send tailored responses accordingly.
E) Add an easy-to-find unsubscribe link in the header or footer section of the email so that the recipient can choose the option as and when they want to.
F) GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) compliance focuses on the personal data protection of subscribers as well as the legal collection and usage of email addresses.
Is There A Way To Measure Email Deliverability?
It’s not that tough to gather all the data from the email marketing campaign, but understanding the key metrics to interpret the findings and draw insights isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Here are a couple of key metrics to keep in mind when understanding email deliverability for a particular email marketing campaign:
- Deliverability rate, which represents the percentage of emails landed on the recipients’ inbox vs. the total number of emails sent.
- Bounce or rejected rate signifies the total number of emails marked as spam or complaints.
- The click-to-open rate compares the number of prospects who opened the emails vs. those who just clicked on them. It helps in getting an idea of the effectiveness of the email campaign’s content, design, and message.
6. Work On Optimizing The Subject Lines & Personalizing The Email Body
Prospects want to be treated as individuals and not as a part of a crowd, which has made email personalization even more critical than ever. Tailor-made and 1-1 email content is the key to grabbing the attention of quality leads.
How To Add A Personalized Touch To Emails?
- Optimize the subject lines and add a personal touch by doing things such as including a recipient’s name.
- Craft an email copy with quality content that is worth opening by leveraging dynamic content and creating multiple versions of the same emails tailored to suit different segments of prospects.
- Start the email with the best possible greeting for making a good first impression on the reader.
- Write crisp and avoid clutter by using shorter paragraphs and a lot of whitespace as well as bullet points.
- Make text scannable and refrain from using jargon or complex sentences.
- FOMO drives people to make purchases, and hence creating a sense of urgency amongst readers is a great idea to trigger their curiosity by asking them a common question or challenging a notion.
- One of the most effective ways to create FOMO is to leverage the user-generated content (UGC) such as customer testimonials for making other prospects understand that it’s a safe deal and think of making a purchasing decision themselves.
- Keep the content hierarchy clear and use formatting options strategically, such as bold phrases and highlighted text, to grab the readers’ attention to essential keywords.
- One of the best ways of creating a personalized touch with the subscribers can be following the best practices during a crises by responding, quickly, showing compassion, and keeping the consistency intact.
- Leverage personalization tags by keeping an eye on prospects’ details when collecting information from an opt-in form and send personalized emails based on their usernames, last purchase histories, cart preferences, demographics, etc.
Based on the audiences’ geographic, demographic, behavioral, and psychographic data, micro-segmentation of email lists based on the audiences’ ability to send tailored emails to suit the specific interests of different groups.
Sending segmented emails to help marketers target specific audience groups and deliver a personalized vibe to subscribers to foster a healthy relationship and excellent customer service.
Besides, maintaining touch with subscribers via personalized emails takes some load-off the customer support team as well, and they can focus on solving other essential issues of the customers.
7. Streamline The Sending & Follow-Up Schedule
While sending emails, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is the frequency because blasting subscribers with too many emails isn’t a good idea. For example, you wouldn’t want to catch them in a bad mood and blow up their inbox when they’re having morning blues. So, how to understand how many emails are too many?
There are a couple of other email frequency best practices to focus on, such as:
- Send a minimum one email every week; otherwise, there is a risk of the subscribers getting disengaged.
- As far as bulk emails are concerned, sending one or two such emails every week would be a good move.
- When a subscriber doesn’t reply, sending 1-4 follow-up emails is considered ideal based on the campaign’s specific objectives and the target audience. Also, it’s better to explore a couple of relevant follow-up email examples before finalizing the body to get the best results.
- Sending emails every day isn’t a good idea as certain days are the best to receive responses.
- Keep the time zone of your target audience in mind when sending emails.
- Leverage, a relevant team communication solution, organize the entire email sending and follow-up process, and save time.
- Make sure to use the right Gmail extension that can help you save time and achieve maximum productivity and keep the email campaign well-organized.
- Set-up automated responses in Gmail or Outlook to refrain from following-up on any subscriber.
8. Make Sure That The Emails Mobile-Optimized
Optimizing emails for smartphones isn’t an option nowadays but a necessity. Mobile-friendly emails help in boosting the open and click rates and engage maximum prospects.
Besides, the number of mobile users is continuously increasing, and hence taking a mobile-first approach while designing email campaigns is always a great idea!
Along with keeping the emails optimized for mobiles, it’s equally important to focus on designing emails that are compatible with the dark modes as brighter screens cause digital eye strain, and nowadays, people use smartphones throughout the day.
Spending so much time on mobiles encourages people to read their emails on smartphones, which makes it even more critical to optimize emails for darker screens; otherwise, there is a risk of them getting rendered inappropriately and causing frustration to the viewers.
9. It’s Always A Great Idea To Provide Prospects With Options
Integrating options for subscribers in the emails is a smart move as it helps them choose their preferences themselves. For example, the subscriber churn rate for HubSpot declined once they started giving a separate option for newsletter subscriptions for their blog with variations in terms of frequency and topics.
10. Be Cautious Of The Kind Of Visuals In Emails
Adding images to emails is an excellent idea, but sometimes massive files increase the load time of the emails. So, it’s always a safe practice to add images only when they add value to the emails and convey something that text can’t.
A couple of pointers to keep in mind when adding images to emails are:
- Ensure that every picture that’s added must reinforce the value of the business, for example, try to integrate the company’s logo to make it easier for the viewers to relate to the brand.
- Use smaller image files and try to ensure that they fit into the emails and aren’t looking too large or too small.
- Always use a quality image type so that the email image doesn’t look distorted as it can ruin the viewers’ experience.
- Use different display options as some email programs block the images automatically. Also, using a “View as webpage” link at the top of the email is an excellent idea so that anyone who has display issues can view the same as it’s designed without any hassle.
- Please refrain from using too many or too few images because excessive or no use of visuals can distract recipients.
- Always offer the next step to the viewers with the images by guiding them on their actions once they see the visual. For example, when a non-profit organization is looking to generate donations, an image in the email with a button that allows people to donate could be a great idea.
- Don’t forget to add Alt text to images as it helps viewers understand what they are reading, and without an Alt text, they will only see a blank space.
11. Optimize The Call-to-Action Buttons (CTAs) For Making The Email Copy More Effective
CTA also acts as gateways to the readers on what should they take once they complete reading the email and represents the specific goal of the email campaign, whether it is to:
- Purchase a particular product
- Review a recently bought item
- Fill a customer survey.
The above example of CTA by the diamond empire designed to attract the bridal market is unique in two significant ways:
A) The color of the CTA (light blue) subtly complements the overall email design.
B) The size of the CTA is a little large for grabbing the attention of the ladies.
One needs to be careful in terms of how many CTAs should be there nd here are a couple of tricks to optimize email CTAs:
- Make sure that the CTA stands out by using a striking button image in the place of a text link with bright colors and enough whitespace. Also, avoid placing the CTA at the very bottom of the email.
- Create a sense of urgency by using action-oriented words such as “limited time” or “Get started today.”.
12. Embrace Minimalistic Layouts To Maximize The Accessibility
Minimalism is the new trend nowadays as smart, simple, and sparse emails call for more accessibility even for the specially-abled ones. Going for an uncomplicated and clean email layout is necessary to grab the attention of the viewers.
Minimalistic emails help in:
- Keeping the email body simple so that the messages get delivered clearly.
- Avoid integrating unnecessary elements to avoid causing distractions to the target readers.
13. Design An Exclusive Referral Email Campaign To Boost The Shareability & Open Doors For New Customers
An engaging referral email campaign is one of the most effective eCommerce email practices for boosting sales as it drives prospects to share the content and feel thrilled about the referral incentive.
Referral email campaigns help in:
- Increasing conversions by acquiring quality customers by leveraging the existing ones.
- Building brand image by maximizing the exposure as more people are buzzing about the business.
- Raise credibility because when people hear about a brand from their close acquaintances, they automatically start trusting it, which would be a rare case with paid advertising.
14. Keep Split Testing Email Campaigns To Make Sure Everything Is On The Right Track
Along with leveraging the best email practices, there’s a need to keep testing the email campaigns internally for coming up with a conclusion that combinations are working the best.
To gather these details, executing A/B testing or split testing is the best solution. The process involves sending the same email to a marketing list but by substituting one variable with others:
A) Pre-header text or the subject lines
B) Image or email copy
C) Different greetings
D) The varied tone of voice
E) Email length
F) Sending times and days
G) Different types of CTAs
After receiving the results of the A/B test, using the findings to tailor emails in a manner to best engage with the target audience should be the ultimate objective of the marketers.
15. Monitor The Metrics, Analyze, & Improvise The Email Campaigns
Running email campaigns isn’t a one-time process, but there’s a need to analyze the metrics and based on the findings improvising the loopholes. Keeping track of the results helps in understanding the progress and get an idea of aspects such as:
- Open and click rates
- Content in-demand
- Conversion numbers
- A/B test outcomes
- Popular CTAs
Based on these findings, it will become easier to tweak the email campaign and make it more relevant as well as conversion-focused.
Wrap Up Time!
Emails are one of the most lucrative channels for contemporary marketers. If strategized properly, it can lead to driving more conversions and quality traffic for boosting sales and the bottom line of business.
***This is a guest post from Dhruv Maheshwari. Dhruv is the founder of Big Cafe Digital, a full-fledged Digital Marketing Agency. He likes to keep up with the latest digital marketing and social media trends. Apart from being a marketing enthusiast, he loves fitness and traveling.***