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Email marketing checklist: 7 strategies to get it right, every time

Email marketing checklist: 7 strategies to get it right, every time

Email marketing remains one of the most influential, most popular, and best channels for marketers today. Sure, there are plenty of shiny new toys to tinker with and many of them perform quite well. But email is still arguably a marketer’s most important channel. Among business professionals, 86% say that email is their preferred method of communication. On the consumer side, 77% of people prefer to get permission-based marketing communications via email as opposed to direct mail, text, phone, and social media. Also, did I mention that email is free (or low cost)?

But getting email right can be tricky. Should the message be fun and witty, inspiring and motivating, or serious and concise? There are so many options. Even the most experienced email marketers can’t get it right every time. Every customer is different, every email serves a different purpose, and it’s hard to know what will resonate best.

To really nail your email marketing and know how to achieve better results with every email send, marketers must adhere to the following email best practices. It’s not always about sending the right promos or designing the prettiest template, but it may be about to whom you’re sending those promos, how often you’re engaging, or the presence of “dirty” data.

Using these 7 strategies, email marketers can bring their “A” game.

1. The best emails have the best content

It may sound simple, but it’s critical — the content that the email is promoting has to be high-quality. Sometimes marketers get too focused on the email copy and not enough on the content. Think “What’s in it for them?” when crafting content. Each piece of content needs to offer some sort of concrete insight or action item that can lead to better performance. The core of your brand is the content you put out, and email success will follow if the content that supports it is optimal quality.

2. Frequency

As the old adage goes: sometimes, less is more. The frequency by which marketers should be engaging with their customers is a fine line. On one side, there are emails customers and prospects are seemingly happy with because they lead to opens, clicks, (and hopefully) conversions. On the other side, there’s a mountain of unsubscribes. Obviously, each individual may have a different max cap, and tailoring each recipient’s frequency of delivery should be personalised based on individualised data.

3. Perfecting the subject line

The subject line of your email is the first impression of the message. They must be engaging, helpful, and accurate. No one will enjoy a click-baity subject line that doesn’t have any substance within. Beyond that, analysing your internal data on what performs best will enrich your email marketing strategy. With an email blast analytics tool, marketers can analyse factors affecting emails with A/B testing — length of the subject line, tone, branded vs. non-branded, and more. Consider a variety of additional strategies as well, like creating urgency in the subject line, or personalization for each user with demographic, location, weather, and behavioral data. You’ll also want to avoid asking ‘yes or no’ questions in a subject line – if the answer is no, that person won’t open the email to see what else you have to say.

4. Personalised touches

It’s not just the subject line that can be personalised. Personalisation comes in many shapes and sizes — and it goes well beyond adding in “Hi {{first name}},” at the start. The content you created for the email has to be relevant to the users you send it to. Personalization is as much about who you send your emails to as it is about who you don’t send your emails to. Irrelevant emails lead to unsubscribes. Personalise with every data channel you have in your arsenal — profile data about customer gender, age, hometown, favourite sports team—whatever you have opt-in access to—can be helpful information. Behavioral data, like time spent on your website, categories they’ve showcased an interest in, and past purchases, can be game-changers in personalization strategies.

5. Data hygiene

Clean data is imperative. Regular upkeep of your data is crucial to an email marketing strategy. Purge your non-deliverable and fake email information to remove data that is skewing your performance metrics, and most likely dragging down your deliverability and domain reputation. Clean your data-scoring process by ensuring that leads don’t move down the funnel too early or late.  Ensure that behavioural data isn’t getting skewed by problems in the customer journey. Even profile data can change regularly. People move away, get new hobbies, change their names, and more. Consistent maintenance can give more accurate intel on your performance and dirty data won’t bog down your results (and potentially get you to change something that may be working well).

6. Minimise inactive subscribers

Inactive subscribers are a part of dirty data even if the contact information is current and deliverable. Inactive subscribers have a similar effect as dirty data in that they bog down performance data and skew insights. The first step is defining what an inactive subscriber is, and agreeing with this definition across team and function. Additionally, determine the cause for inactivity: acquisition source, acquisition date, and changes to customer’s demographic data (for example, if they moved to a new city) can all be factors. By understanding the cause, you can effectively avoid more of your subscribers moving to that inactive category. Finding current inactive subscribers will alleviate suppressions and skews on your performance data.

7.  Preference center

The preference center doesn’t have a great reputation in the marketing world. Subscribers rarely interact with the preference center unless they are looking to decrease or fully remove themselves from your email cadence. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Marketers should rethink the preference center as a channel that captures what customers do and not just what they say. The concept of a hidden data center captures data like demographic info, specifying interests and preferences, favourite product categories, and channels. Preference centers can capture behavioural and demographic data that can be used to better understand customers.

Combining personalization, data accuracy, and ideal cadence can lead to higher open, click-through, and conversion rates for arguably the most important marketing channel: email.

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