Email Marketing Rules Every Marketer Must Know

Email marketing may not be the trendiest marketing tactic right now, but it still works. Email is where you warm your leads up for a potential sale. If you’re using social media for lead generation, completing the nurturing process through email can be very effective. If you want to generate leads, convert leads, and develop a relationship with your customers, you must use email marketing effectively.

Want to be successful with your email marketing campaign?

Follow these 8 email marketing tips and best practices for successful email marketing campaigns:

1. Clean your database

  • Get rid of the emails that bounce
  • Make sure to remove people who opt out

2. Write better subject lines

  • An email campaign can die at the headline, so it better be good
  • 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone
  • People are busy and incessantly inundated–break through the clutter or be ignored
  • Give them a reason to open it – pique interest and say what you’re going to deliver
  • Be intriguing: 56% of brands using emoji in their email lines had a higher open rate (Experian)
  • For B2B companies, 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes (HubSpot)
  • News-related terms in subject lines perform fair but better than discount-related terms. “News” (16.2%), “update” (4.9%), “breaking” (33.5%), “alert” (25.9%), and “bulletin” (12.5%) all saw better than average click-to-open rates (as well as clicks and opens), with “newsletter” being the only term to perform below average in each metric. “Alert” saw the best differential for clicks (78.3%), while “news” did best for opens (30.9%). (Adestra July 2012 Report)

3. Break up content into manageable pieces

People are more likely to consume information that is an easy to digest format.

  • Use bullets
  • Be as clear and concise as possible

4. Write for your audience

  • Know your audience and how they like to consume information
  • Know the language of your audience
  • Know how much information they are willing to consume in email

5. Test for best time and frequency

According to HubSpot,11:00 a.m. ET has the highest clickthrough rate for email sends. However, every audience is different so you may have to do some trial and error.

You’re going through all of this effort to reach your audience, you can’t afford to waste time or money, so make sure you’re sending emails at optimal times to increase email open rates and click throughs. If you know your audience is particularly busy during certain times, don’t send it then.

  • Use testing or simply study when you get the best open rates and click throughs
  • You can also test a specific subset of your audience

6. Optimize for mobile

More and more people access email through mobile devices. If your email doesn’t format well for mobile and tablets, you will lose out on a lot of opportunity and risk having people unsubscribe.

  • 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device – (Convince&Convert)

7. Write like a journalist: use the inverted pyramid

Use the journalistic method of writing using the inverted pyramid; put the most important content first. Chances are people won’t read the entire email and they’re likely to skim, so make sure that if you have something you really want your audience to hear you put it at the top.

8. Commit to consistency

People are more likely to read your emails if you are consistent because they know when to look out for them and when to expect them. It may be difficult and require discipline, but consistency is huge. Your audience needs to be able to depend on you and consistency is required in order to establish a relationship.

  • Be consistent with your language
  • Be consistent with your layout
  • Be consistent with delivery days and times
  • Be consistent with the frequency

9. Always deliver value

Don’t ever send emails that aren’t worth your audience’s time. They’re busy and are likely to unsubscribe if you send content that’s not high qualityrelevant, and useful.

  • People already get too many emails; they don’t have time to sift through junk
  • People aren’t very forgiving
  • Not sending quality content tells your audience that you haven’t taken the time to get to know them
  • 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t – (Convince&Convert)
  • 25% of people complain they dislike all the marketing clutter they get, yet 40% claimed to enjoy getting lots of marketing emails from favorite brands and deal services each week. (2012 Blue Kangaroo Survey on Marketing Emails)

What are the email marketing rules that you think are most important to stick to? Let us know!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Email Marketing Rules Every Marketer Must Know