I think we can all agree that email marketing can become confusing and difficult once you get into the nitty-gritty of it.
That's why it's important to make sure you are doing these best email practices before you get into the more complicated stuff.
Optimize what the reader sees first
There are tons of emails being sent every day and our attention spans are decreasing.
Since you are competing against everyone else for attention inside your reader's inbox, you need to be superior.
Let’s think about everything that the reader sees at first glance:
The sender’s name
Here look at this:
And if you cannot grab the reader's attention quickly, they are gone.
Let's look at each factor:
Sender’s name of the email address
Make sure to use a real human's email address, like this Johnsmith@company.com. Do not use email addresses with “no-reply” in them, nor should you use anything like firstname.lastname@example.org. The more personal your emails are the better.
(In the setting of your email client and your email service provider, you can change the sender’s name on your emails)
You’ll want a real human's name to appear as the email sender.
The best subject lines compel the reader to click on them. This means that personalization is key.
The subject line should be around 41-50 characters long.
Including numbers, questions, and emojis is a great way to make your subject lines more engaging.
You need to give the reader a reason to continue to read the email.
Start with the most attention-grabbing part of your email, and use that to hook the reader into the rest of your email.
Clean your mailing list
Let's be honest.
People in America are constantly changing jobs and getting new email addresses. Or their interests change and they stop caring about your content.
Sending these people emails will waste your time, increase your email service provider's monthly bill, and make all of your emails more likely to end up in the spam folder.
So create a 90-day engaged segment of your list, and that is who you should be sending your email campaigns. Take your main list and suppress everyone who is not a 90-day engaged user.
Most email service providers will stop charging you for your total email addresses, and only charge you for the engaged ones (After you suppress them).
Every now and again you will send out emails and receive a hard bounce from an email address. A hard bounce means that the address is permanently inactive, and should be deleted. (Many email service providers do this automatically)
Have a clear CTA
If a reader cannot tell what action they should take next in less than 3 seconds. They probably won’t do it.
In other words, your conversion rate will suffer if you don’t have a clear CTA.
Make sure that your CTA is very easy to find and click. It should be listed at least once above the fold.
I think it's a good idea to list out your CTA several times throughout your email, giving your reader multiple chances to click on it.
Also, the text in your CTA should be concise and compelling.
Here’s an example of a good and a bad CTA.
The only sure way to know you have the best performing email for your audience is to test each attribute.
Once you test different things about your email, you’ll know which option is better.
I find the most important attributes to test are:
Colors of the email
Images in the email
Important note: make sure to only A/B test one variable at a time. Otherwise, you will have no idea what was the reason for a decrease or increase in the metrics.
I was working with an eCom store that sold high-end shoes. They had an old welcome flow, but no other flows. They also were not sending out campaigns.
The first few projects I worked on were the welcome flow and the abandoned cart flow. Generally speaking, these are the highest-performing flows that an eCom store will have. Once these flows were active, I started to test different text for the CTA, then the background color of the email, then the subject line.
I tested each of these variables one at a time and waited until I had a large enough sample size to have statistical evidence. Then I would use the variant with the best performance and select the next variable to test.
Also, before you can decide what variable works better, you need to have a large enough sample size.