Email is one of the most effective marketing tools available — but are you getting everything you can out of your email program?
By Tia Peterson
As digital marketers, we feel your pain. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the current marketing landscape, something new comes along and everything changes. Well, almost everything changes. One thing has remained a constant: email’s effectiveness as an engagement tool.
That’s not to say that email itself hasn’t changed, of course. Each year brings a host of dos and don’ts to learn and abide by — it only takes a quick skim of the 2020 Litmus State of Email Report to realize that. But before you take a deep dive into Dark Mode and AMP and all the latest trends, take a moment and assess the basics you should be following to get the most of your email program. These six rules of thumb — when followed! — can instantly improve your outcomes.
1. Email often.
Research has shown that brands who have regular, consistent contact with their subscribers enjoy stronger engagement than those who don’t. It might surprise you how often subscribers want to hear from you! Every day might be a bit much, but weekly sends have been shown effective.
The more subscribers engage, the more your emails are seen as valuable and desirable, both to subscribers as well as to mail delivery services.
2. Use (better) calls to action.
Most emails sent to your subscribers should include a strong call to action near the top to increase engagement with your messages. The more subscribers engage, the more your emails are seen as valuable and desirable, both to subscribers as well as to mail delivery services. The CTA can be simple — calls to action in email marketing aren’t that different from those you’d use on your website. For example, a CTA in a newsletter can encourage subscribers to visit the blog or content hub, which is something they would want to do anyway. Instant engagement!
3. Split test your subject lines.
Subject lines directly influence open rates, and, in some cases, delivery rates. Suffice to say, your subject line can make or break your chances at success. A good rule of thumb is to come up with two or more ideas for subject lines that are specifically written to encourage opens, and to split test them with every send. Then, learn from them.
4. Analyze your audience.
Data is everything. You can use email analytics reports to figure out which devices your audience uses, what time the majority of your engaged audience is opening your email and even which portions of your email are getting the most clicks. All of this data helps you improve engagement and also helps you plan design and development — check the data frequently and use it to make adjustments to your content plan as you go.
5. Spam test your emails.
Tired of seeing your emails hit the spam box instead of the inbox? Correct your issue by spam testing emails before sending them out. An email testing tool like Email on Acid allows you to run your designed and developed emails through spam filters to determine the likelihood of the message making it through.
6. Check in with your audience.
Email should be conversational and your subscribers should feel like you are interested in whether or not the content is working for them. From time to time, send a conversational, direct message to your audience to get their feedback. It can be as simple as clicking a thumbs up or down button in the message to indicate that the content you’re sending is valuable, or it could be a call-out to find people who would be willing to participate in a user-testing capacity for you. However you choose to do it, be open to feedback and create a way for your engaged subscribers to help you plan for better sends.