Are you struggling to see results with your email campaigns? You're not alone. While email is one of the most effective forms of marketing today, many business owners are at times confused about how to use it to grow their business.
Here are seven tried-and-true best practices to help you get back on track and start seeing results from your email campaigns:
1. Have a permission-based list
One of the best ways to ensure your email campaign reaches the inbox is to maintain a healthy, permission-based email list.
Just like Facebook looks at engagement to determine what to show in your newsfeed, email clients like Gmail are beginning to use subscriber engagement to determine whether to deliver your email to the inbox or the junk folder.
Use confirmed opt-in (or double opt-in) to ensure that the people signing up to receive your emails actually do want to receive them. If they give you permission, they probably won't mark your emails as spam.
2. Use short, actionable subject lines
Your subject line is the first thing people see, and arguably the most important. It determines whether someone opens your email or dumps it in the trash. Make it clear in your subject line what your readers can expect to see when they open the email.
You can also add sensible humor to your subject line. Imagine the number of emails people comb through every day. It's refreshing to see something unique - something that makes you chuckle and wonder "I wonder what this is all about."
3. The shorter the email, the better
Face it, people are busy. Keep your emails short, sweet and to the point. Your readers will thank you for it with high click-through rates. In fact, AWeber found that shorter emails have a 29 percent higher click-through rate than longer ones. And don't forget to put your most important content first and spell out "What's in it for me?" for your readers.
4. Use a single, strong call to action
Nothing's more frustrating than trying to figure out what exactly an email is asking you to do. Don't make your readers search for your call to action. Make it clear what you hope they'll do. Remember, they're busy, and they'll reward you with clicks if you make it easy for them. Also, keep the calls to action to a minimum. Give them one thing you'd like them to do and allow them to focus on that instead of a dozen requests to download this or that.
5. Keep your email design simple and mobile friendly
Did you know that 53 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device? If that doesn't surprise you, maybe this will: 75 percent of your readers are "highly likely" to delete your email if it's not mobile friendly.
Don't ruin any chances of your readers take action on your email with a non-mobile-friendly design. Most email marketing providers offer pre-made templates that are mobile friendly, so it really takes away all of the guesswork.
Designing your email is probably one of the toughest things to do. With so many feature-rich editors out there, it's tempting to go hog-wild with your design. Resist the temptation. Remember to keep your design simple: less is more. Don't be afraid of white space - it helps with readability and allows you to frame your content. Make sure your email design is consistent with the branding of your other marketing channels (e.g., website or blog).
6. Use impactful images
Images are a great way to make an impact and grab your reader's attention. But imagery needs to be done well. There are a number of free image creation tools that allow you to create stunning images for your emails and other marketing materials. However, if you don't have the time to create your own, free stock images are a great source.
7. Segment for better engagement
Want to see better results from your email campaign? Subscriber segmentation is a great way to get there. There are a variety of segments you can create (you're only limited by your imagination), but here are a couple of quick and easy ones to consider:
Interests - When someone signs up for your emails, ask them to select things in which they're interested. This allows you to create and send targeted emails based upon those interests.
Clicks - When a subscriber clicks on a link in your email, it's fairly safe to assume it's something in which they're interested. With that information, you can send additional information about that topic. If you discover that a number of subscribers just aren't clicking on your content, perhaps it's time to send a survey to find out what they'd like to see.
Real success with email marketing comes when you stop looking at your subscribers as walking dollar signs and start looking at them as relationships. Once you begin thinking in these terms, it's much easier to create and send emails that people value.
Brandon Olson is the Content Marketing Manager at AWeber, one of the world's leading email marketing providers, which helps more than 120,000 businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers increase sales and profits through its suite of web-based email marketing software. For updates, follow them on Twitter.