Done right, email marketing builds and strengthens the relationship that you have with your clients. Imagine your emails being opened by your subscribers and then shared with their friends. Imagine people responding to your email campaigns. Achieving high email open rates and response rates is based upon following a few email best practices and consistently delivering something of interest and value to your subscribers. Let’s look at several of the best email marketing practices and how you can put them to work for you.
Signup process – setting the expectation
The signup process sets the stage for your relationship with your subscribers. Get this right and people will look for your email, get this wrong and your mail won’t get opened. Getting this right means starting the process by clearly communicating what your subscriber should expect from you. This sounds elementary, and it is, but the web is still filled with bad examples in this area. Your signup form should make it clear what you will send out as well as when and how often. When a person signs up, they should be shown a thank-you page that tells them what to expect next.
To require an opt-in or not
An opt-in as an additional step that takes place between when a person signs-up and when they officially become a subscriber. The purpose of the opt-in is to ensure that the person receiving your email really does want it. Churches need something like this in place to keep people from signing up others in an effort to preach at other people in an annoying way. For most businesses, this really isn’t worth the effort to put in place. Also important is that your email should contain a way to unsubscribe from your list. The best practice is to place a link to be removed from your list at the very bottom of the email.
Sender and Subject lines
Think about what you do when you open your email program. You scan the list of messages in your inbox and based on the sender or subject line of the email there are some messages that get opened immediately and some that aren’t. An email marketing best practice is to include in square brackets  an identifier that all of your email subject lines will include. This makes it easy for your subscribers to recognize your email and also to build email filtering rules for your emails to ensure that your emails get seen and opened.
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t
In order to figure out what works and what doesn’t, you need to be clear about your objectives and measure and track progress toward your goals. Email marketing can be a powerful engine for growth in your business and it all starts with a great email marketing strategy and the right email marketing software. (I used AWeber marketing email software for years until I outgrew it, because it has a lot of must have features and it makes life easy.) You should be measuring which email subject lines work and which one’s don’t. You should be measuring your email response rates – how many people click to go to your website, etc. The right software makes this easy.
The secret to a healthy list of subscribers who open and read your emails is to predictably deliver great content. Ask your subscribers for feedback. Over time, as you deliver valuable content in the form of interesting information that your subscribers look forward to receiving, you are building important relationships with your subscribers. Your subscribers will be happy to tell you what they want to hear more about and equally as important – what they don’t like that you may be doing. Ask for and listen to your subscribers’ feedback.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that many businesses are using to increase sales and leads. With these email marketing best practices as a starting point, take a moment to review your current email marketing campaign or start thinking about how email marketing can help you reach your audience and add value to your business.