Email as trusted communication channel still reigns supreme with consumers and businesses. While there is a lot of competition, particularly with instant communication apps like WhatsApp, Slack and Messenger, email is preferred when put to the test.
You might be as confused as we are as to why email is still relevant. Its competition is fierce with so many communication apps. At our fingertips yet email really does still reign supreme.
Yet people trust it, and email has stood the test of time, as it’s easy to use and there are many ways to control it.
Recipients can choose who can send email to their inbox and which email addresses are considered ‘SPAM’. Plus businesses realise email marketing is a given for getting a healthy conversion rate from their opted-in subscribers aka email list contacts.
Plus it’s hard to ignore the volume of users. For example, in 2019, there were 3.9 billion users and email has not yet peaked with growth to 4.3 billion users by 2023. Therefore in this article, we review best practices business email marketing.
Compliant Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective digital marketing strategy. However, just like other marketing strategies, you need to know how to reach and engage with your target audience compliantly. This starts with how your business is capturing customer data.
1. Customer Data
Do you know the protection and privacy laws and regulations that businesses operating within jurisdictions must adhere to when they capture, store, access and use customer data. To ignore these laws and plead ignorance is no defence and hefty fines, and the publicity will damage your brand reputation.
Therefore your first focus needs to be on how your business is managing customer data. For example, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is far-reaching, and your staff need to know what it is and what they need to do to ensure your business is using best practices.
When your team is empowered with data protection and privacy knowledge, they can forge ahead and capture your business needs from it’s targeted audience to create personalized email marketing campaigns.
2. Use email authentication protocols
To reduce the chances of your emails being rejected or marked as spam, mandatorily use email authentication. Email authentication confirms your identity as a sender. The authentication protocols check and certify your emails by authenticating your email domain or your DNS server.
The receiving email server can then confidently deliver the email to the inbox instead of trashing it as a spam email.
If your emails are not authenticated, then there is a likelihood of poor email deliverability. In plain text, it means your emails won’t reach users, and your domain will get a bad reputation. It is therefore highly recommended to set up all the tech specs of sending.
Now, setting up just one method could not mean 100% emails delivered. Hence, it is a good idea to use more than one authentication method and monitor how they impact email deliverability.
Configure DKIM, SPF, DMARC authentication records.
Domain Keys Identified Mail – is a digital stamp or signature
3. Less is More – Volume of Emails
To boost traffic to your website or gain your customers’ attention, the old way of thinking was to send a sequence of emails repeatedly.
However, with local and global anti-spam laws which include the instant unsubscribe, it could prove detrimental to your strategy when customers are driven to unsubscribe from your mail list as your emails are spamming their inbox!
Be targeted with your email content and only send it to the email list subscribers aka contacts with an interest or meet the criteria. For example, if you have a special offer on pet food, send the promotional email to the subscribers that have a pet or want a pet.
Similarly, if you have an online store-wide promotion, then it’s appropriate to send your promotional email to ‘all’ your email list.
4. Content is Everything
Use catchy and crisp subject lines.
The subject line of your email plays a crucial role in improving open rates. It is the first thing that will catch your customers’ attention and get them to read your email.
Use emojis that aptly convey the message and add a visual effect to what you are trying to convey.
On average, a subject line should not contain more than 50 characters and keep it up to 5 words. It is also wise not to include words or phrases that could trigger your email to be sent to the spam folder. For example, Using ‘Click Here’ is a huge red flag. Instead, use an appropriate, meaningful call to action, e.g. ‘Pre-Order’, ‘Schedule an Appointment.’
Avoid false advertising and ruining your reputation. The subject line should include a short summary of what to expect in the body of the email.
Personalize your emails with information that’s unique to your email list subscriber aka customer. They will take action, i.e. they will read the email message, and if they’re interested in the content, they will click a link which should take them to your website or online store.
Emails that do not address the customer personally, usually end up in Thrash. Addressing a customer as “Dear Friend” or “Hi” is another sign of spam.
Make sure the automated email system also adds the recipient’s name to the content.
The purpose of personalization is not to overwhelm the recipient with everything you know about them. Instead, it shows them the content is relevant and what you have to say and offer needs their attention. Email content must be reviewed, edited, and read well to engage the recipient.
Take your time to get the content which includes images, links, maybe a video just right. Marketers know that conversion, i.e. opens and clicks are higher when each email list subscriber believes you are writing specifically to them.
Remember to be consistent with your message in your emails and in the content on your website. Proofread everything and use simple clear language to avoid alienating your audience.
5. Prepare Ahead of Time – with an email drip campaign
Target your audience well ahead of events. For example, if you are marketing your product to be sold on Valentine’s Day, plan and start your campaign in January. Keep a consistent schedule of sending emails.
The email content should build up the tempo as the date approaches the actual event. Plan a special offer and keep up the promise. To further drive confidence in your business, your subsequent emails could bear testimonials of customers who have benefitted from the offer.
In summary, in email marketing, like all marketing and sales today, everything you do revolves around your customers. From email authentication to delivery time, and whom you send the email to start with your customer being front and centre, this strategy will determine the content and your regularity of contact.
Email is preferred by marketers and recipients, and it will continue to outshine other channels as more businesses use best practices for deeper engagement and better ROI.