20 Email Marketing Pointers

Email marketing is a marketing technique often underutilized by small business owners. Sharing perfectly styled photos on Instagram or engaging in witty Twitter exchanges is more appealing to most, but don’t be fooled: your business is 6x more likely to receive a click-through from an email than from Twitter (source). Social media platforms seem to be ever-increasing the cost of exposure while email marketing is free depending on the number of emails in your list.

  1. Add subscribers only if you have their permission. By sending marketing emails to people who did not specifically opt to receive them, you increase your chances of being tagged as spam (which will negatively impact your deliverability rates).
  2. Set a schedule. Once a week or once every 2 weeks tends to be the sweet spot for most small businesses. If you send more often than that, you risk a high percentage of unsubscribes. Every audience group is different so keep and eye on your statistics.
  3. Make it easy to subscribe. Visitors to your website or other online platforms (ie social media profiles) should not have to look hard for your email sign up. Keep one on your home page, your blog pages and other places strategic to your sales funnel and website design.
  4. Do not buy email lists. There are too many unknowns when it comes to purchasing an email list and these things can increase the amount of spammy activity associated with your company and your IP address.
  5. Let your audience know what type of information they can expect to receive. By clearly communicating with your audience, you decrease the number of unsubscribers because you are providing the content they want to receive. Set accurate expectations.
  6. Design your emails to be cohesive with your brand. Use a consistent email template to improve brand recognition. Your logo should be located at the top of the email and other brand elements should be reinforced in your email (color palette, fonts, etc).
  7. Focus on mobile users. Over half of emails are opened on mobile devices (source). Choose a template that adjusts font size for mobile viewing. A single column layout is your best bet. Your call-to-action button should be at least 44px by 44px.
  8. Add required footer information. The Can Spam Act requires your address to be included in your email. If you are a home-based business, I recommend using a PO Box. You are also required to include an option to opt out of future emails. (source)
  9. Use relevant subject lines, void of spam trigger words. There are certain attention grabbing words that are more likely to trigger spam filters. Use this list as a guide.
  10. Provide valuable content. Have you ever received a simple “Happy Holidays” marketing email in your inbox from a company you follow along with? Did you immediately delete it? Respect your subscribers’ time and send them content of value instead of pointless fluff.
  11. Personalize your messages. Customizing your content to your subscriber only increases the chances you are providing information that is relevant to them and/or your business is making a personal connection with them. Depending on your audience, using a subscriber’s first name in the beginning of an email can help increase clickthrough rates. It is worth testing.
  12. Use one clear call-to-action per email. What is the most important next step your audience can take? Make that the one and only call-to-action in your email. Keep the message clear. Your audience has a limited attention span.
  13. Make your email scannable. Most email openers won’t read your email word for word. You have a fraction of a second to prove that your content is worth their time. Use section headings and lists to help them find information that is relevant to them.
  14. Test. Use AB testing to track open rates and click through rates of various days of the week and times of day in addition to subject lines. Split testing is possible in Mailchimp, Contstant Contact and Convertkit. Notice trends and adjust your content and sending times to maximize results.
  15. Offer exclusive incentives and deals. Reward your subscribers with things that they cannot find elsewhere. Give them a reason to continue receiving your emails.
  16. Proof read! This is an extension of your brand. Spelling and grammar are important.
  17. Be consistent. Although I encourage some variables for testing the goal is to find the most successful combination. Once that is determined, the visuals and schedule should be kept consistent to help your small business build relationships, fulfill expectations and become a trusted expert in your field.
  18. Use preheader text. This is the text that followings the subject line in your inbox. Most email clients use this to give the reader an idea of the email content before they even open it. This is a great place to indicate if there are exclusive offers included in the email body.
  19. Segment your audience. Grouping your email list is just another way to provide the subscribers with the most relevant information. You can segment by demographics (gender, location, age, etc.), interest, customer behavior (first time purchasers, recent purchasers, frequent purchasers, etc.). Look into your email marketing software to see what segmentation categories are possible.
  20. Create custom landing pages. Sometimes business owners put all of their effort into the email itself and forget to consider where the call-to-action is taking their subscribers. Can you create a new page on your website to cater specifically to the email topic and expand on it with visuals and other relevant information? You can accomplish so much more by sending users to a relevant page rather than just the home page of your website.