Though the world is going head-over-heels about the success of short videos, memorable memes, and witty tweets, one marketing tool that remains powerful even after decades of use is: email.
Despite the cyclical cry that email marketing is dead, it’s still the next big thing for businesses looking to grow loyal customers.
Whether you’re running a blog, selling something online, or collecting sales leads, you are using email marketing to some extent.
But the question here is how effectively are you using the power of email marketing?
With a customer base of over 4 billion users, your email can deliver results that social media platforms may take years to deliver.
That’s why to reap the desired business benefits begins with following a few best practices.
In this guide, we will explore the best practices of email marketing for small businesses to get the most out of their email marketing efforts.
8 Best Practices for Effective Email Campaigns
Follow these eight practices religiously to understand why email marketing is still the king of all marketing channels.
1. Create a buyer persona
Creating and mapping out a buyer persona for each target audience is the most critical step in creating a marketing campaign that resonates with your audience. Unless you know who your target customer is, creating targeted messages is impossible.
Adding a buyer persona can help you add focus to your email campaigns. Why?
When you know who you’re talking to and understand their requirements, you’re in a great position to offer solutions based on their needs.
Pro-tip: Survey your customers to know what led them to purchase from you, what they liked and disliked about your products and services.
2. Build your organic email list
Just like everything good in your life, it’s not instant gratification or slam dunk that forms the foundation of building an organic email list.
Building a list of customers who want to receive emails from your brand cannot happen overnight. It’s a time-consuming process that can take several months to build.
So, instead of getting frustrated and buying an email list from third-party vendors, look for ways to grow your email list organically.
Interestingly, building your email list from scratch can improve your chances of reducing spam.
Pro-tip: Promote email sign-ups, create web opt-in forms, create a blog on your website, and ensure potential users that you won’t spam their inbox.
3. Segment your email list
Building your email list is one part but segmenting your email list is another. According to research, 77% of return on investment comes from segmented, triggered, and targeted campaigns.
Focus on segmenting your list based on different factors such as recipients, interactions with your brand, purchasing behavior, and location.
The purpose of list segmentation is personalization: you slice your email list into different segments based on your audience’s likes and dislikes. However, the list segment can be as large or as small as you want. Usually, the smaller a segment you create, the more likely your information will resonate with your recipient.
Pro-tip: When you get your segment rights, your audience will receive relevant emails full of information your audience wants to receive. It results in more purchases, customers, and conversions.
4. Craft catchy subject lines and headlines
Email subject lines are deal-breakers–they can either ignore or delete your email. A dull or clickbait headline can make your audience filter your all-important message as spam.
Good subject lines are often descriptive and personal and give your users a reason to click and read your emails.
Whatever your approach, it’s imperative to try and test different words or phrases to see what resonates with your target audience.
Pro-tip: While you may be intrigued to use emojis to add some visual pizazz to your subject line, remember to use it carefully because overdoing your emojis can backfire.
5. Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly
With the number of mobile internet users likely to reach a whopping 3.7 billion in 2025, creating mobile-friendly websites is as essential as creating visually appealing emails.
More people are using their mobile to browse the web, scroll through social media pages and check their emails on the go. With mobile being a rage in all age groups, you need to ensure that your email promotions, newsletters, and campaigns are mobile-optimized.
So, to create a mobile-friendly digital asset, consider the visual and length of your text. Keep in mind that many images may not be displayed on smartphones, and others may take time to download.
When you write a copy of your email, it’s crucial to keep your text concise. The more scannable and consumable your content is, the easier it is for your readers to digit your copy and information.
Pro-tip: Not all mobile devices will display images by default. So, focus on creating an “image-off” experience and ensure your email newsletter or emails still make sense even if your images don’t download.
6. Build your email campaign on the right platform
Just like creating mobile-friendly emails is important, building your email campaign on the right platform can make or break your email success.
Choosing the right solutions isn’t about offering subscribers emails that they love. It’s more about saving the time and efforts you spend on designing emails.
From creating workflows to managing lists, your email marketing platform can take your business miles.
While there are hundreds of email platforms out there, with each boasting of bringing a revolutionary change in your email campaign, selecting the best one is often an uphill battle.
One such email platform that helps you execute every stage of your email marketing strategy is Flodesk. You can automate personalized interactions with your target audience, and create high-performing landing pages, create brand emails and build workflows within seconds.
Pro-tip: Use an email platform that is user-friendly and easy to use.
7. Keep your CTAs front and center
When creating emails for your mobile customers who are busy, it’s imperative to get to the point and tell them what you expect them to do after they read your email.
So, place your call-to-action (CTA) near the top of your email to ensure it’s easily visible to everyone.
To ensure maximum click-through rates, try to make your CTA buttons at least 44 x 44 pixels.
It’s your CTA that separates a great email from a mediocre one and ensures your target audience waits for your emails every week or month.
8. Focus on A/B testing
A/B testing or split testing is the process of testing different elements like CTA, the color of your email, ads, font, and text to understand what works and what doesn’t.
For example, if you want to test the effect of personalization on your email subject lines, you may send two different subject line variations to your email list.
- First variation: 20% off for you
- Second variation: 20% off for you, Samantha
Next, you randomly split your email list into two halves and send the first variation to one half and the second variation to the other half.
This will help you test variations in your email marketing subject line that can increase your open rates.
You can try countless different options in A/B testing, but it boils down to what matters.
Usually, small businesses prefer conducting A/B tests on elements like CTA and button color. Each of the elements you test will affect different parts of your conversion rates.
For example, your CTA is likely to impact the number of people who visit and buy from your website. In contrast, your subject line will impact the number of people who open and read your emails.
So, before blindly performing A/B testing because your competitors are doing it does not serve any purpose.
Think about things that you want to test first. If your open rate is low, consider performing an A/B test on your subject line instead of your CTA.
Pro-tip: When performing A/B testing, always remember to test only one element at a time. Otherwise, you cannot identify which elements worked with your target audience.
Why email campaign best practices matter
If you’ve been giving less importance to email marketing, it’s probably time to rethink and evaluate your marketing strategy.
Email marketing has the potential to bring a paradigm shift in your marketing and sales figure if you’re ready to grasp and learn how to do it right.
Though it may initially seem like an uphill battle, it’s not that complicated once you get hold of how to get things done.
The best practices have evolved, and by following these eight practices, you can build an email campaign that resonates with your audience and delivers the intended result.
Success mantra for 2021: Follow and adhere to your promises and provide people with what they expect from your email campaign. Surprise them with good content and offers they cannot resist. It’s essential to line up with the expectations of your customers to see a successful email campaign.
What email practices are you following to keep your readers engaged?
Please share your thoughts with us!
Priya Jain is a professional copywriter with 8 years of experience. She has an MBA and engineering degree. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, spending her day running behind her toddler, and trying new recipes. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.