Best Practices for Modern Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for nearly 40 years. As one of the oldest forms of digital marketing (hey, it’s all relative, right?!), it has been incredibly effective.

While email marketing has evolved over time, the main goal behind it has remained the same: deliver valuable information at any given time to influence or stimulate an action.

That being said, there are some ground rules for the best ways to approach email marketing in the modern era.

Target Your List with Segmentation

Your subscribers are most likely a diverse group of people – but they do have one thing in common: you! Beyond that, though, it pays to analyze audience demographics and psychographics. From income levels to location to buying decisions, any interaction a subscriber has with your site creates an opportunity to further segment, or filter, your list. You can then create specific messages for different segments. On average, 77% of return on investment (ROI) comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.

Orange Slices

Segmenting your list allows you to send specific, targeted messages rather than a generic message to everyone. For example, if you want to offer a promotion to all your customers who live near your New York City retail location, you could send a targeted campaign to anyone whose city, state, or zip codes match up with New York City and exclude everyone else.

Steer Clear of Spam Folders

Now, before dive into this one, it’s important to know that the scope of what is considered spam expands well beyond the traditional discount pharmaceutical ads we’ve all seen before.

Can of Spam

Spam is considered anything that gets caught in an inbox’s spam filters. A number of factors can influence where your email ends up, and the number one reason emails aren’t read is because they end up in the spam folder.

To improve your deliverability, follow these tips:

  1. Avoid spammy content. This includes gratuitous use of exclamation points, mentioning “millions of dollars,” or lackluster content (think: all text emails with no images or design elements). Even if your content is legitimate, utilizing these elements can land you in spam folders or encourage recipients to mark your email as spam.
  2. Offer an easy way out. An Unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email is pretty standard across all email marketing software providers, and for good reason. If subscribers don’t see a way to unsubscribe, they’ll take the next available option and mark your email as spam. Too many spam complaints can damage your sending reputation. Consider adding an additional opt out link at the top of your email for good measure.
  3. Comply with standard spam laws. These include not using false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines. Simply put, using clickbait-style headlines or gimmicks, your spam rate will go up. This includes having accurate, up-to-date contact information in your email footer. Transparency is the name of the game.

Clean Your List Regularly

Regardless of list size, chances are some of those email addresses are invalid or are no longer interested. Keeping a bloated email list will not only hurt your metrics and inaccurately tank your performance metrics, it also puts you at a higher risk for getting spam complaints. It’s also probably more expensive, since many providers charge for total contact count.

Cleaning Supplies

This is why it’s important to make sure that your list is clean and well maintained. If have an old, stale list, it will contain invalid or outdated email addresses that can hurt your sending score. Use a list cleaning service like Neverbounce to solve that problem (and keep the compliance gods happy!).

You can also use segmentation to isolate subscribers who have never clicked or opened an email and remove them. This removes the “dead weight” from your list, which will ultimately improve your open and click-through rates overall, because your list will be more engaged.

These are just a few strategies to get you in the right mindset to hone an email marketing strategy. We’ve got all kinds of advice so come back for more info and by all means, share your thoughts in the comments section!