Email Marketing Software Best Practices 2017

Use of an Email Marketing Software has become an integral part of any Digital Marketing Campaign strategy by any type of brand, product, service, purpose or industry. With experience of over a decade in providing Mvizz Email Marketing Software and having sent over 10 billion emails for clients – we at Mvizz have curated a handpicked list of Email Marketing Software Best Practices – Do’s and Don’ts to make your Email Marketing better than it is already.

Introduction to Email Marketing Software Best Practices

There are millions of companies currently using an Email Marketing Software to achieve their respective objectives. So we thought it’s a great idea to have a useful Email Marketing Software Best Practices Guide to give you an insight and improve your campaign performances. This guide comprises of consistent, efficient and measurable means and ideas of email marketing hacks and know-how on how to use your email marketing software better.

What to Expect?

This article will provide you an outline on important Email Marketing facts, trends and suggestions that we have built after servicing and working with various clients, ISPs, trends and analysing trends of over 2 billion emails in the past 10 years.

01 Subject Line

Treat Subject Lines like a Headline

Work hard on your subject line like you o to create your Email content. Create a thoughtful and engaging subject line to make the subscriber WANT to open your email.

Email Marketing Software Subject Line Ideas

The subject line can be:

  • Simple, no nonsense
  • Funny
  • Controversial or shocking
  • Single word
  • Numbers and lists
  • Personalised
  • Questions and other punctuations
  • “Missing out” and other scarcity tactics
  • Mysterious

 

02 Personalisation

Give Respect, Get Respect

Email Marketing is all about Personalisation. If you were sending a single email, you would personalise it right? Use the Personalisation Features in your Email Marketing Software to send Personalised Emails and get a substantial improvement in your Email Marketing Campaign performance.

Some Personalisation ideas are:

  • Name
  • Company Name
  • City
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Designation
  • Department
  • Educational Qualification
  • Salutation

 

03 Content Preview

Introduction content often decides the fate of your email

Of the top 5 reasons for anyone to open your email, is the Introduction Content. The two lines you read on your mobile inbox, the 50 characters in your Gmail/Yahoo Inbox or the 3 line preview in your Outlook/Thunderbird reader are sufficient to let the subscriber decide whether he wants to open or delete your emails.

The trick is:

  • Send specific introduction content to specific segments
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Keep it Relevant to the Body Content

 

04 Sender Name

The top reason for someone to open your email

For obvious reasons, subscribers open an email more from known people and brands than they would, compared to emails received from unknown people or brand names. Even lesser are brand names unless your brand is one of the products or services the subscribe uses or is familar with – combined with a relevant subject line.

How to increase Email Open Rate

How to get it right?

  • Use the name of your CEO – he’s popular and will intrigue people
  • Use your Marketing Manager’s Name
  • Use popular girl or boy names in your office – consistently

Basically develop an Email Marketing Personality, where the subscriber feels he is receiving email from someone ‘known’ after a period of time.

 

05 Timing

Different people are busy at different times of the day and different days of the week

Use the Mvizz engagement score feature to automate sending emails to the your audience automatically at the time and day of the week that your audience opens your email based on historic data.

Best Timing for Sending Emails

Key points to remember:

  • It’s best to analyse popular times and define a time based strategy to send out emails.
  • Nature of Content should be defined in the Time based strategy
  • Use Split A/B Methods to evaluate different time slots

Best Day for Email Marketing

The days of the week may vary according to the industry, content and purpose of your email marketing.

 

06 Email Marketing Software for List Segmentation

Send Relevant Campaigns to Relevant Contacts

How to Segment your Data? 

You can define your own style of segmenting in line with your marketing objectives. Use the Mvizz Email Marketing Real Time Segmentation Tool to help you engage with your lists better.

Email Marketing Software Best Practices

There are broadly two types of Segmentation:

  1. Behavioural Segmentation: People who purchased, did not purchase in the last 6 months, just visited, only purchase white shirts, sign up date, etc
  2. Demographic Segmentation: Age, Gender, City, Industry, Buyer Type, Member or Non-Member, Source, etc

 

07 Use Opt-In Email Lists Only

Permission Based Marketing

It’s always a good idea to refresh your Opt-In Permissions and give subscribers the confidence that you only intend to communicate with them if they are interested. One of the key things to remember is that not only is it illegal according as part of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 to email someone who has not given you permission or willingly given their email address to you, but it is also unethical and invasion of privacy to email people who have not given you permission to email them. Please check with the appropriate by-laws in your country for specifications of permission based marketing.

Check Permissions

Double check user opt-in permissions when importing contact lists to ensure you have permissions to email the subscriber.

Seek New Permission

Send out an Unsubscribe Link to your entire email list to see if anyone unsubscribes. If they are not interested in listening from you, then probably would not buy from you.

Remove Unhealthy Subscribers

If your email lists, there may be a bulk of users who have unsubscribed, do not open your email or have not opened your email since the past 6 months.

It’s a good idea to send them a fresh opt-in request or put them in a different email list to ensure your email campaign gets a Higher Engagement Rate amongst only relevant subscribers.

 

08 Email Design

HTML over Image-Only, any day!

ISPs and ESPs have defined many and continue to add new rules to the email design game. Sending an Image only HTML body will drop your email open rates drastically since ISP’s simply cannot read into your email body and assume that you may be a spammer!

Image Only – Big NO!

You must send HTML Formatted Content or Text Only (if the nature of communication is such).

Small Thumbnails – JPEG/JPG not PNG/GIF

Use a Optimised High Quality Web Version of images in JPEG or JPG format in your Email Body which load faster than PNG or GIF images.

Clear Heading, Readable Text

One of the key Email Marketing Best Pratices are to use a WYSIWYG editor, built in your Mvizz Email Marketing Account to create Formatted HTML Text with clear headings, paragraph text and appropriate links. HTML text automatically adjusts small/large mobile screens.

Call to Action Buttons/Links

Create a prominent Button to Click, Download or View – the Call to Action is an important part of Email Marketing Software Best Practices which defines how effective your email campaign becomes and eventually Email Marketing ROI. Make sure the button is placed after the content and font size is readable.

Background Colours

Add a smart corporate or bright fun colour to your email background – it adds a personality to your email.

 

09 Email Marketing Software for Responsive Email Design

Over 74% Mobile Only Subscribers

Its the mobile age, if your email is not compatible on mobile devices, you’re passé! Your email marketing software vendor should allow you to create, preview and send mobile compatible emails. Ensure that each campaign has been tested on iOS and at least 1 popular version of Android and Windows mobile email clients.

Email Marketing Software

Content Preview

Keep it short, catchy and relevant to the email body. The header content should be the most important content first, in HTML Formatted Text (preferably white background) and quick to load.

Design Distribution

Keep it short, catchy and relevant to the email body.

Responsive Email Templates

Use the Mvizz Responsive Email Template Designer to create simple, drag-and-drop HTML emails which open fast and are compatible with all Mobile Screens.

 

10 Good Quality Content

What are you saying?

Good email content comes from the reason for communication to the Target Email List and it should contain the following attributes to be considered good content:

  • Appropriate
  • At the Right Time and Frequency
  • Clear in Presentation (HTML Design)
  • Personalised

Ask yourselves these questions when creating an email body for any business purpose.

  1. Why should the subscriber open your email?
  2. Have you added to value to his knowledge?
  3. Does he have a reason to Click ?
  4. Is the purpose of the email clear?
  5. Does he have a reason to Unsubscribe?

 

11 Resend Unopened Emails

Try again.

You can increase email Subscriber Engagement and the overall Performance of your Email Marketing Campaigns by using Marketing Automation tools like Re-Sending Emails to subscribers who have engaged with your email campaign once. Maybe the user was not available, not in the mood or your email did not seem relevant when you sent him the first time – try once again with these ideas:

  • Change the Subject Line
  • Use Dynamic Content Tags
  • Change the Email Body Content and Arrangement
  • Change the Time and Day
  • Change the Sender Name

 

12 Send Autoresponders to Engaged Contacts

Marketing Automation 101

You will notice a spike in your Email Subscriber Engagement rates when you use the Mvizz Email Marketing Software to create Autoresponder campaigns to send automated email campaigns to your subscribers who: 

Opened your Email Campaigns

You can program an Autoresponder Email Campaign to subscribers who opened your email campaign to go after say 15 minutes of them opening your email. For example, if a subscriber has clicked on a particular model in your email campaign named iPhone Soundocks for Sale 50% This Week emailer – you can email them another emailer with specifications of that particular model after 15 minutes, an hour or even a day. You can decide this according to the email marketing needs of your business.

Similarly, if a subscriber has opened your email campaign name Vacation Rentals in Pittsburg, Germany more than 10 times in the past week but his name does not show up in your new sales list – you can program an Email Autoresponder asking if he’s looking for more information or to setup a call.

Clicked on a Specific Link in your Email Campaigns

If an email subscriber has clicked on any one or more links in your email campaigns – you can send specific Autoresponder Email Campaigns informing them about more information about your product or service. If your email marketing software has this feature then it is advised to use this feature pre-planned and pre-scheduled when you send out the first campaign.

Unsubscribed

If someone has unsubscribed from you email list, it is appropriate to send them a simple ‘Thank You’ or ‘Bye-Bye’ email and giving an option to the user to subscribe again is well within the known email marketing software best practices. Not only does this look professional and courteous but it will also give the user an opportunity to subscribe again in case they change their mind.

 

13 Engage the Subscriber

Give the subscriber a reason to reply or visit your website

Your email content should be engaging and useful to the subscriber to make him feel he has received something of value. This technique words well to increase click rates of your email campaigns. Engage the subscriber with some thought provoking ideas:

  • Asking a Question
  • Referring to an Incident or Cause
  • Reason to Smile
  • View a Coupon Code

The idea is to share important and enticing information in order to intrigue the email recipient for him to click and be able to find more information.

 

14 Text Only Campaigns

Simple yet Powerful

An under-utilised resource and one of the old school email marketing best practices to our wonder – it’s like fashion which has returned to the current trend. Simple Text Only emails can be constructed in your favourite drag-and-drop email editor to contain personal and important content in formatted HTML text. To our surprise, Text Only Email get the highest email open rates and you can plan campaigns using the following features:

Nearest to Reality

Simple text emails happen to get maximum open rates since they are closest to what a P2P email would look like.  Give a real human signature and From Email name – truly personalising who you’re writing on behalf of.

Personalised Emails

Send Personalised Emails to get maximum impact – If you’re addressing the CTO of one or a thousand companies – you’re likely to get their attention if it states their names in the first line of your email content.

Short, Precise

Send a crisp and short email with actionable content and we’ve decoded it to contain:

  1. An introductory line or simple pleasantry.
  2. Purpose of email
  3. Call to Action or Reply Communication Method
  4. (Optional) Closing line or equivalent pleasantry
  5. Your Name, Company Name. Contact Number – pretty much your actual email signature

 

15 Split Test Results

Split a Campaign by List, Design or Content

Amongst the innovative email marketing software best practices, Split A/B Email Marketing is a feature which helps you to send out email campaigns to your subscriber lists automatically split in 50:50 ratio to see which of your email campaigns was a better success.

To use this, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Create 2 Email Campaigns with a different subject line, different content or placement of content and different design.
  2. Send it the Email List.

To analyse results, analyse Email A vs Email B on the metrics:

  1. Unique/Total Open Rates
  2. Unique/Total Click Rates
  3. Unsubscribe Rates
  4. Forward Rates (If you have set up Email Forward Tracking)
  5. Which Links are Clicked More/Less – to analyse a heat map of highest clicked links
  6. Day & Time of Engagements in both campaigns
  7. Attributes of Engaged vs Not Engaged Subscribers

 

16 Add Some Humour

Wittiness gets traction

If your business or brand profile permits, then add some humour to your email campaigns. This technique has seen a rise in usage in order to increase engagement and social media sharing of emailers and newsletters. You can add some wit in your email using some of the following ideas:

The Subject Line

  • Use Emojis for different purposes
  • Funny statements, questions about your product’s usage or services ending with an exclamation mark or question mark
  • Cool one liner in the opening line of email content or first paragraph
  • Current Affair Jokes

Email Content

  • Add Text, Image or Video Content which has ‘shareable’ value
  • Start the email body with a funny bone
  • Keep the tone of the email content ‘light’ and ‘friendly’

 

17 Dynamic Content Tags

To each his own

Dynamic Content Tags is a leap ahead of segmented and targeted email marketing. You can define personal attributes of your subscriber and change contents of your email campaigns on the basis of his attributes or engagement with the email campaign.

Immediate Benefits of Using Dynamic Content Tags in your Email Campaign

  • Higher Engagement means Higher Open/Click Rate
  • Reduced Unsubscribe Rate
  • Higher ROI

Understanding Dynamic Content Email Campaigns

  • You can add Dynamic Content blocks includes Text, Image, Call to Actions, etc.
  • Make campaigns with predictive intelligence that address a possibility you can anticipate
  • Keep the email template flexible and scalable to add more or less without tampering the design and aesthetics

What Can Be Personalised?

  • From Name
  • Subject Line
  • Email Content
  • Images/Media
  • Content Block

 

18 Cool Pickup Lines

Opening Statements Define Your Brand

Right from the subject line till the first paragraph a recipient reads in your email – he or she will form an opinion and take decisions on the basis of what your email sounds like. Make innovative and action oriented ‘pickup lines’ which can natively increase open rates vs standard or boring introductory content.

Also Read:

 

19 Email Authentication

The boring but important stuff

The current ISP and ESP world comprises of these important aspects of Email Deliverability which, in simple terms,  ‘authorises’ the Email Marketing Software’s email sending infrastructure to ‘mask’ your domain name(es) when sending emails to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Here is a checklist of DNS Records required when setting up a new domain for email marketing:

  1. SPF
  2. DKIM
  3. DMARC
  4. Tracking (optional)

A common mistake email marketers do is to use ‘someone@gmail.com’ or ‘yourname@hotmail.com’ – which is seldom allowed by many Email Marketing Softwares but it does more bad than it does good especially with respect to Sender Reputation. Here are the disadvantages:

  • Your Email Marketing Software Account Reputation will not increase
  • Your Domain Reputation will not increase
  • If you’re using a Dedicated IP Pool – the IP Reputation will not increase

 

20 Delivery Time

Different times of the day for different people

Everyone may not check their email at the time when you email them or they may check it at different times of the day. It’s difficult to generalise on a particular time but if your email marketing software is able to log events for each subscriber and then email them at the best time that particular subscriber opens your email – that would be amazing isn’t it? (well, Mvizz has that feature).

best time to send email marketing campaigns

An alternative would be to send out at least 4 email campaigns and assess the highest time of the day – it could be between 12pm and 1 pm over a period of 3 days – are your subscribers opening emails? Repeat the same exercise the following month and compare the next 4 campaigns to the previous 4 campaigns. You should be able to get a pattern of times of the day which get the maximum engagement.

 

 

Conclusion

We’re constantly updating this list of email marketing software best practices with useful content and ideas to help fellow email marketers make the most out of their email marketing activities. If you feel you’ve learnt something, don’t forget to share.

Nakul Mehra

A seasoned Digital Marketing Professional with expertise in Email Campaign Management, Execution and Inbox Delivery. He has led his team at Vizz Media to help thousands of businesses in sending better email, generate higher ROI and increase subscriber engagement using Mvizz Email Marketing SaaS and Managed Email Marketing Services.

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