Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.
Demographics: Certain demographics like age, gender, job title, and other information that informs your buyer personas can be a good way to segment customers and customize messages. For example, a financial company may want to send retirement-themed emails to customers seeking information on offering their employees benefits and emails about college loans to university-based customers.
Give people a way to avoid more emails about the same offer. If you do a concentrated promotion for something, you might send lots of emails about it in a short time. Give people the option to avoid future emails about the offer. Just add a link to the end of the emails (e.g., “If you’re sure you’re not interested in [ offer ], click here, and I won’t send you any more emails about it this year.”). That way you won’t annoy people who aren’t interested in the offer now. You could argue that some of them might buy if they saw all the emails. Well, if you’re only interested in this month’s sales, send as many emails as you can. I just assume you want to have someone left on your list for next month.
Ask for the right information upfront: Great personalization starts way before you hit the ‘send’ button. It all starts with your sign up form. Without data such as name, company and location, you will be very limited with your personalized communication. Remember to only ask for the information you need, rather than the information you want. This is one of the ways that GDPR has impacted marketing teams.
Know your spam rules. A lot of innocent people send spam because they didn't know any better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you're allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don't have permission to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. Include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email, and don't forget to remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.
Building subscriber lists is a common need for email marketers. The important thing to remember with this objective is that your email marketing should be focused on quality and not quantity. Because you could gain an additional 1,000 subscribers but they aren’t really interested in your brand and are therefore not going to add much value to your email database or your business.
You can assess the interests of individual list members by monitoring which pages they land on, and where they go from there. The process is explained by this example from Airbnb. They use click behaviour to ascertain the destination preferences and travel styles of customers and base their follow-up emails on those preference profiles. It's intensely specific, but it gets results!
Keep the subject line and pre-header short: The subject line is crucial. Keep it short so the reader knows exactly what the email topic is about. And the pre-header text (also known as snippet text), don’t let it go to waste by using “To view this email in your browser…”. Instead, summarize the email or include a call to action (i.e., Use “FREESHIP” to get free shipping).
Win-back: An existing customer is soon approaching the end of his yearly subscription. The customer hasn’t used your product in 3 months and you need a way to win them back and keep them for another year. Create a “win back” email that sends an automated email to all customers that are coming to end of their contract with a list of new product features and a short plan on expected releases in the next six months.
The subject line should link seamlessly to your main headline and then to the lead copy and into the body of the email. Ensure that the subject line is relevant to the content and incites a relevant expectation – clickbait is bad, folks! Open rates are not the only metrics by which to measure success (I’ve heard it said that open rates are ‘vanity’ and clickthroughs are ‘sanity’).
Do people who share your view see you as more relatable or trustworthy because of your opinion? Not all opinions or even values make much of a (positive) difference. For example, I could point out that I think people should be treated as equals regardless of their gender or sexuality. Most people who agree with that don’t think much about it. It’s such an obvious thing to them. So, telling that doesn’t make much of a difference to people who agree with me. However, many people who disagree with that might think I’m crazy.
Be clear about what people can get and how to get it. This is the backbone of this email marketing strategy. Tell people about the benefits they can get. Write a separate email about each major benefit, if you want. Make sure those benefits come out clearly. But also keep it conversational. Don’t just list a bunch of benefits and expect people to buy. Also, remember to be clear about what they need to do to get those benefits. Tell them to “click here” or “apply for a consultation.” Don’t force people to think about how to move forward. It’s not that they couldn’t figure it out. It’s just unnecessary (and therefor annoying) when you could make it easy for them.
Embedding images, animation, and vids in an email are tricky, as these elements often mess up during the transfer from one platform to another. A multitude of email clients, operating systems, and connection speeds make this an area in which to proceed with caution. Videos and animation are undeniably eye-catching and engaging, so it may be worth the risk of a dropoff to include them.
When your website users land on a page that solicits their personal information, tradition might tell you to include a pre-checked box that opts the user into an email campaign so they can receive updates and special offers related to your business. Today, having this box pre-checked is in violation of GDPR. So, to comply with GDPR, make sure your European users and customers are given the clear option to opt into your email newsletter themselves -- don't make the decision for them.
Alternatively, at least, an eye-catching design. It’s worth letting a proper designer have a go at prettifying your emails. Customers are often opening emails on the go, so you need to work hard to grab their attention. Making your emails nice to look at is a brilliant way to hold their eye. Netflix put time and effort into making their emails stand out, personally and visually – and it pays off for them!