Email Marketing Best Practices

Despite increasingly crowded inboxes, email marketing is still king among marketing efforts shown to most benefit companies’ bottom lines. Quick production and relatively inexpensive cost offers a profitable return on investment to directly reach customers who have already opted-in to receive messaging. However, strategic planning and management are necessary to squeeze the most ROI out of this tactic. The following best practices will help with email success:

1) Balanced Design

To appeal to recipients and pass spam filters, email content should contain a ratio of 60% text and 40% images. Text should be at least 500 characters and images shouldn’t exceed a 1MB file size total. Animated gifs can be embedded to amp up the engagement factor to surprise and delight your customers, however, be aware that some versions of Outlook aren’t able to support (the first frame of your gif will show as a static image for those folks).

2) Content Strategies

With lots of other email messages to compete against, it’s important to make sure your communication resonates with your audience. Include personalization (“Hi Mark…”) and exclusivity for subscribers to feel part of a special group (“offer available only with this promo code”). Remind the recipient who you are and what you do, including announcements they would care about. Make sure the content is something the user wants or values based on their needs and past relationship with your company, but keep it short and drive to action with button links to your website for more information.

3) The Email Looks & Sounds Great–but how do you get people to open it?

Be descriptive, but succinct, with your subject line to tell the user what’s inside, making sure it’s something they care about. Use clear and consistent From lines and subject lines, especially for regular series or newsletter email blasts. Avoid using all caps and punctuation marks (!@$%^) that can land your email right in the spam folder.

4) The Technical Stuff

Send your email messages as HTML vs. sending as JPEG image files. Why? Large image files will go to spam, mobile devices won’t adjust the image for a smaller screen size for a poor experience, and links aren’t able to be embedded to direct recipients to areas of your website for conversion. All this hurts your brand perception AND your company’s email reputation–high spam scores can cause you to lose the ability to send future email campaigns. Additionally, make sure to test your email messages for quality assurance across email systems and devices, especially mobile, before deployment to catch any formatting issues, typos or functionality problems.

5) Your Email Subscribers

Finally, make sure you are sending messages to only people who have agreed to receive email from your company. Those who have unsubscribed or have not opened your emails should be removed from the list–focus on the customers who have interest and don’t waste time or money on ones who do not. You can even further segment your list into groups based on their purchasing behavior, geographic location, and more to provide unique messaging that’s even more relevant.

Taking the care to craft meaningful and strategic email blasts to your customers is a great way to continue to build relationships and brand loyalty over time.