In this article, we have attempted to summarize a broad reminder of the best practices in email marketing. Here are 12 absolutely crucial points for successful newsletters.
1. Use A Professional Email Marketing Tool
Before you start creating newsletters, you should know that it is a must to use a suitable email marketing solution. Some remain convinced that the features of Outlook or Gmail are more than enough to send their campaigns… Except that one does not do a good job without a good tool.
Creating and sending bulk emails can only be managed via a professional routing platform for many reasons:
- Better email deliverability
- Secure sending servers
- Aesthetic and pleasant emails to read
- Automated unsubscription / NPAI management
- The possibility to send large quantity of emails
- Ultra-accurate statistical feedback
- Extensive personalization possibilities
- Etc …
All these features can not be assumed by any traditional webmail. And yet, this archaic practice is still heavily used by small businesses without means. Except that the price is not a valid reason: platforms for sending free emails exist on the market. But even if these low-cost email marketing players can ease the task of low-profile marketers, most offer in reality a much lower quality of service than certain other solutions. They might cost a small price, but are exponentially more profitable.
Paying to send emails is ultimately a normal thing when you see the power of email marketing and its performance. You don’t believe in it ? It doesn’t work for you? Maybe you don’t have all the tips to make a newsletter as it should be done.
2. Have A Clean Database
Getting a clean database can be a tedious work. But what do we mean by «clean»?
Let’s be clear, buying a database on the web is an easy solution that will not help you in any way. Certainly, you can buy 1 million email addresses for a sum sometimes so small that you would not believe it. But know beforehand that these addresses will NEVER be qualified. And making a newsletter with an unqualified database, that is a sure loss. As long as the recipients do not know you, they do not expect anything from you. And some of these addresses have probably been unused for a long time. Sending them your campaigns is a waste of time, money and image.
You must create your database in a legal way using contest games, opt-in forms on your website or on your social networks, by telephone survey or any other means that will leave the recipient the choice of subscribing or not.
It is these contacts that will make your database a powerful marketing tool. And try to collect as much information as possible for each person: name, first name, age, civility, department etc. This data will allow you to personalize your emails and to increase considerably your statistics and your turnover. Make a newsletter starts by this step.
3. Segment Your Database And Target Your Campaign
Once your contacts are properly acquired, you should divide your database into as many categories as possible. Make sure to segment your contacts based on criteria that are relevant to your brand . For example, a ready-to-wear brand will need the civility and age of the contacts to be able to send them personalized offers.
This is an absolutely essential step by which you must pass. And I insist because segmentation and customization are today the keywords of email marketing, and that’s what makes all the difference to SPAM.
Each campaign sent must be addressed intelligently and thoughtfully to a group of recipients who will be receptive to your message. If you manage to work like this for all your campaigns, I can assure you that you will always look forward to making a newsletter!
4. Customize Your Emails
As I said, the segmentation work will allow you to customize your emails. And this can be translated into several forms:
- Indicate the name and / or first name of your recipients in the subject and in the body of the mail
- Indicate their civility at the beginning of the mail
- Offer a targeted offer
- Rewarding customer loyalty
- Submit an offer on the day of the client’s birthday
- Invite your customers to an open house near their place
The data to be collected are quite colossal, but with perseverance and patience, you can make it happen and build a quality database of recipients who will follow you and respond positively to your campaigns.
You will then understand that quantity is nothing compared to quality. And it’s a real calculation to do when it comes to making a newsletter. Owning and sending newsletters to 50,000 unqualified contacts will cost you a lot and will pay you very little in proportion. On the contrary a base of 5,000 highly qualified recipients will cost you not only less but you will be much more economical and profitable.
5. Customize The Sender’s Name And Address
Personalization in email marketing can also be done in the other direction. It’s up to you to make your emails more personal by adding the name of a real collaborator as a sender. Your recipients will then receive an email with, for example, the title «Alex from X company». Your contacts will then be able to put a name on the person who sends them emails, they will identify it quickly and this will make your email marketing much more personal.
The sender address can also be changed thanks to an email marketing solution allowing you to make a personalized newsletter. The advantage here is to avoid encrypted addresses that don’t gain trust from recipients or spam filters. A customized sender address will improve your deliverability.
Enter the name of your company and your service in the sender address, and definitely forget the «no-reply» type addresses. By definition, email marketing is meant to be an exchange between two parties. Your recipients should be given the opportunity to reply.
6. Convince Your Contacts Right From The Subject
If the sender address is the first item checked by the spam filters, the subject is the one that your recipients will see first. Be convincing right away!
There is no rule about the length of subjects. The average is around 60 characters, but differs greatly depending on the sector of activity and receptivity of the recipient. In B2B, we note that long subjects are more efficient, unlike the B2C sector.
The content of the subject must challenge the recipients and prompt them to open. For that, use catchy words and most importantly, try to place personalization. Emails containing the recipient’s last name or first name have a higher open rate and increase proximity to readers.
Emoticons and symbols in the subjects are also appreciated by marketers who want to make a newsletter that stands out because they make it possible to be distinct in the flow of messages that flood the inboxes.
Don’t hesitate to play on suspense or ask questions. On the other hand, certain words should be avoided so as not to be considered as a spammer with ISPs. Overall, avoid too advertising terms and anything that might sound like a scam attempt. But that’s not your intention, anyway, is it?
7. Using A Pre-header
The preheader is perhaps the least known element of marketers and it is still less used when it comes to making a newsletter. It is this phrase that will appear in the preview of your email, following the subject in some email services like Gmail and on most mobile email applications.
The preheader is often used to insert a link to the web-copy of the email. In other words, the famous mention at the beginning of the mail «Show this email in your browser» can be moved to not appear in the preview.
It is indeed the first sentence of your email that will be chosen by default to be displayed in the preview section. So place a sentence summarizing your message or completing the subject at the very top of your content. This can be quite long because Gmail allows to display a lot of characters.
8. Find The Correct Sending Frequency
It is imperative that you decide on a constant sending frequency. To retain an audience, you must make a newsletter that can be sent on a regular basis. Please also note that it is preferable to cancel your newsletter in case you forgot or you go on holiday rather than disrupt your usual rhythm.
There is no magic recipe for an ideal frequency to send emails. Everything will depend on your field of activity, even if the majority of companies choose a monthly shipment (33% in B2B) or bi-monthly (22%).
The idea is to never harass your recipients with too many emails but also, don’t let them forget you by contacting them too rarely with your news.
9. Varying Content
By choosing your sending frequency, make sure that you will have enough things to say each time you create a newsletter. And if you think that newsletter is only for sending commercial offers, you’re wrong!
The main purpose of a newsletter is not commercial. The primary purpose is to gain loyalty and to diffuse information. So yes, we can sell by email. But your subscribers expect quality content from you. Give them advice related to your field of activity, let them discover interesting articles, talk about your news, your innovations …
In addition, major public events, national festivals and current affairs are excellent topics for your newsletters. Use it to feed your communications: Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Back to School, Sales, July 14th … All can give you ideas of tone and content. Try as much as possible to link these events to commercial offers!
An emailing is not structured in a hurry. Think about the structure so that reading your email guides the reader to conversion. Your call-to-actions (action buttons) must be well placed and persuasive: use action verbs to the imperative and link them to suitable landing pages.
The overall design must be refined and the design must match your brand image. Place the most important item at the top of the email. Indeed, items placed first in an email are the most clicked ones. Only a tiny portion of your readers will read your email to the end.
Do not forget to respect a certain ratio text / image. It is estimated that a balanced ratio is 60% text and 40% images. It is a true factor of deliverability. And be careful not to integrate heavy images or you risk getting your email being sent directly to the spam folder!
In 2015 (and even in 2017, it happens!), You can not omit to adapt your emails for a reading on a mobile. Responsive design is no longer a trend, but has now become a norm. If your newsletter is not readable correctly on a mobile, you can estimate losing almost 20% of your readers.
Mailify allows you to create newsletters automatically adapted for mobile reading thanks to its Email Builder.
12. Test Before Sending
If you followed everything, your newsletter is now ready to be sent. But do not spoil everything now! Send tests to you and your co-workers on different email addresses to verify that it is displayed correctly.
Also test each link in your content. If a reader clicks, it means that he is very interested in your message. It would be a pity if he finds himself on a link that does not work! Be sure that everything works for everyone.
Now you have all the cards in hand to make an efficient and effective newsletter. These points are merely reminders for good practice. Make sure you respect them all. They are the basis for a successful and profitable newsletter. Now it’s your turn !