10 Do's and Don'ts of Email Marketing

In my past days doing email marketing for large businesses, every time we sent an email campaign to our database, we would see a corresponding increase in traffic to and enquiries from our website. That’s because email marketing is a proven tactic that drives results, again and again, and it should be in the marketing arsenal of any small business.

Definition of email marketing.

But, a lot goes into getting an email campaign right - the results don’t just happen. From planning your schedule to crafting your content, from testing subject lines to figuring out the right day to send your emails, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of every marketing email that gets sent out. So to help guide you through the process, here are our top 10 do’s and don’ts of email marketing that you should know before you press send.

THE DO’S

#1. GROW YOUR DATABASE - THE RIGHT WAY

To send email marketing campaigns, you need people to send them to - so that means you need a database. But, it’s important to grow your database the right way. You want your database to be filled with people who really want to hear from your business, and will want to buy from your business or use your services. It’s no use having thousands of people on your database but none of them are interested in hearing from you.

So, we suggest having a sign-up form on your website that requires subscribers to OPT IN, not opt out, to receive your emails. It’s also worthwhile taking some time to read up on the Spam Act 2003, as ignorance of the details won’t shield you from the penalties of breaching it.

#2. SEGMENT YOUR DATABASE

Wherever you can, you should segment your subscriber base so that you can tailor your email marketing campaigns to meet your segmentations. These could be based on interests, age, gender, location, stage in the buying cycle, job function, purchase history - whatever data you know about your database can be used to segment them.

#3. TEST EVERYTHING

The beauty of email marketing is that there is so much you can test and measure - you can create different templates and see which one performs better, try different headlines and see what encourages more opens, switch up imagery, content and products to see what your database engages with. If something isn’t working - test-try something else - just keep tweaking and refining until you hit the magic formula.

#4. MEASURE EVERYTHING

Use reporting tools to inform your testing and tweaking - you can monitor your open rates, bounce rates, click through rates, unsubscribe rate, and what people click on and don’t click on. Then use this information to see what elements you might need to change, or test, how well you’re currently doing and what areas you can improve on.

Analytics and monitoring.

#5. CHECK EVERYTHING

Before you hit “send” check everything - test that all your links work, double-check for any spelling or grammatical errors, test any phone numbers you’ve included, check your product and images are right. The last thing you want to have to do is send out an embarrassing correction email, so double and triple check before you send your email out.

THE DON’TS

#1. BUY AN EMAIL LIST

This might seem like an easy and quick way to build up your database, but there are a number of (very good) reasons why you should avoid buying email lists.

  1. You have no guarantee over quality - until you buy it, you won’t know how many email addresses are actually usable

  2. These “customers” are likely to have no familiarity with your brand so you’re unlikely to get very good engagement with them

  3. You have no data insights as to who these “customers” are

  4. You’re risking breaking the Spam Act, as you can’t guarantee that these customers have actually opted in to hear from you, or from anyone else

#2. NEGLECT YOUR SUBJECT LINES

Writing an engaging subject line isn’t actually as easy as it sounds, but it is important! Your customers are likely to be receiving hundreds of emails from businesses weekly, or even daily. You need to cut through that noise to get them to open YOUR email.

#3. NEGLECT YOUR DATABASE

If you are sending emails to addresses that consistently bounce, take the time to remove them from your database - they’re not doing you any good, and in fact they may be doing you harm by decreasing your standing with your email service provider.

#4. OVER (OR UNDER) COMMUNICATE

Getting the right balance when it comes to how often you email your customers is important - email them too often and they may see it as spam and unsubscribe, email them too little and they may forget about your brand and not engage with you. So it’s important to focus on getting this balance right.

#5. FORGET ABOUT PLAIN TEXT

A plain text email is one that is void of all formatting, and it’s actually more important than you might think. Some email clients, mobile devices and browsers don’t actually accept HTML formatting or images, some people actually prefer getting plain text emails, and SPAM filters like to see plain text emails with the HTML versions. So, to ensure everyone can read your email, and to keep SPAM filters happy, it’s a good idea to optimise your emails for both.

Hopefully these 10 guidelines will help you optimise your email marketing - or help you get started with it. But, if you’re still not sure of how to get started or what might or might not be working for your email marketing campaigns, then we’re here to help! We can manage your email campaigns for you, just get you started and train you so you can manage them yourself, or just help you with your email marketing strategy. Whatever your needs, we’re here to help. Just book in your FREE consultation today and we can get started on making email marketing work for your business.