Email Marketing is one of the giants of digital marketing strategies. It is something even more powerful than social media platforms.
Moreover, email marketing has stood the test of time, known as a highly result-oriented method to reach audiences and connect in the long term.
In 2021 and beyond, email marketing trends are only going to scale and grow, especially after the pandemic, even strengthening this communication medium furthermore.
Emails are not fluke or fad; they won’t be killed by any latest messaging app of the decade. So you better play a long-term game for your business by building email lists.
To help you, here are the 30 best email marketing practices that you should do in 2021.
Send a Few But More Relevant Emails
You have to safely assume that people do not have much time to invest in something that they do not see of valuable yet.
They tend to ignore most things. Also, your potential customer or the subscriber might be getting hundreds of emails just like you, and a lot more annoying on a daily basis.
So, how do you make them even notice your email?
And even if they notice, they need to consider it important for them. Given they receive such emails regularly, it is easier to just look at a peek and close it.
Increase In Email Conversation Due To the Pandemic
Not to forget, the pandemic situation also impacted consumer behavior and their lives in more ways than you can imagine.
Then, social distancing also affected their behavior and how they interacted with or met others. You see, there are more Zoom meetings and more usage of apps such as Hangouts, Whatsapp, Slack, Skype, etc.
So it also increased the email conversations and usage of emails as well.
Now it can be a good thing, but it also means they are bombarded with emails on a daily basis more than ever.
So the best you can do is refine your email marketing strategy. Send fewer emails to your list of subscribers.
You also have to see whether they are active and responding or not. So it is better to refresh your list every once in a while.
Remove people who aren’t responding or have been inactive for a long time.
Don’t Buy Contact Lists
This is not a surprise practice that is essential to your email marketing campaigns. It is kind of earlier that a few decisions came to the new campaigners.
They often suggest or just think that they can buy contact lists, but it is most certainly a terrible idea.
As per the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is not something suggested at all.
Email campaigns only achieve success which means more conversions, leads, and even beginning with the right long-term audience.
When you contact the people on the purchased contact list, they are certainly to be earned from their previous interaction, notice the change, and will drop.
You will also start noticing the email performance drop as they start to know that you are not their previous party.
Also, GDPR requires the consent of the subscribers before you connect to them and send emails. Buying a contact list definitely doesn’t come with their respective consent.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is one of the crucial aspects of the success of an email marketing campaign.
You need to get a deep understanding of your audience who are receiving your emails. And this is something you need to do in the planning stage of your campaign.
The audience is more than just an interest group based on a demographic region. Most of the time, audience study is limited to their region, interests, and sex, but there is more to it.
You have to ask yourself all the detailed questions about your audience before sending them emails.
- Which mode of communication do they prefer?
- Is there a particular kind of language, slang, or vernacular that they resonate more with?
- What are their primary problems which you can resolve?
- What kind of email content are they most engaging with?
- What distinguishes them from the general population?
And there are more to go. It depends upon the kind of business you’re in, the products you are selling, the audience, your niche, your campaign objectives, and more.
You get the gist here! You need to be thorough about the audience you are going to engage with through emails.
Learning about them will help you customize and personalize the email campaign to a greater extent, eventually giving you more open rates, click-through rates, and conversions as well.
Make Sure You Have A Opt-In Process
There are regulations such as CCPA and GDPR that enforces companies to obtain the explicit consent of the subscribers before adding them to their email list.
The opt-in process is how you get the email addresses of your potential subscriber on your website or other platforms.
You need to make the opt-in process as transparent as can be. Subscribers must know before signing up or giving them details in the form about what they can expect.
Also, they can expect your newsletter in their inbox every once in a while.
Usually, a single-opt-in form where you only ask them to give their email and agree to the subscription is enough, at least technically.
But still, double opt-in is always better to ensure that you are getting the subscribers that actually want to receive your newsletters.
Double-opt in the process is when the potential subscriber has to also click on the confirmation link they receive in their inbox after filling the single-opt-in form to further confirm the subscription.
Focusing More On Email Design
When you design an email beautifully, it tends to pop out amongst the other boring and pale thousands of emails in the inbox.
The design also helps in building perception for the brand. It signals what your business or company stands for.
Not to mention how it impacts the psychology of the subscribers, especially as their first impressions of the company.
If it is too much, they will bail; if it is not enough, they will count you as others. Email design needs to stand out and complement the messaging as well.
The best you can do here is to rely on email design tools. Canva is certainly a free tool that is exceptionally good at creating email templates.
It is also highly suggested to look around and see how other successful email marketing campaigns utilize their email design.
Make Sure You Offer Something Valuable
It is already established that the emails you send must have some purpose, so users can simply understand the messaging of it.
Your emails cannot be just to say ‘hi.’ There are multiple types of emails sent under a campaign, such as welcome emails, product announcements, updates, etc.
But more than that, you also have to ensure the value you are providing them through your emails. Every email must offer your subscribers something valuable that they cannot turn back on.
There must be a goal with every email you send, and let things be clear, the only goal a business emails their subscribers is not about selling.
You cannot send every email about selling and consider its value.
Rather the ratio is quite the opposite; you will spend most of the emails helping customers with their problems or providing value to them in one way or another, and then once in a while, you send them an email about selling.
It can offer actionable tips, guides, e-books, free resources, free trials, and other content-driven elements to offer.
You have to put yourself into your customers’ shoes and think about what kind of information will be useful for them
Customizing Email Design For Dark Mode Users
Apart from this, you also need to focus more on the Dark mode users because, in 2021, it is quite peculiar.
In today’s age, people work overnight or use their phones at night, and they prefer ‘Dark Mode,’ which is basically a color scheme that changes the screen to be comfortable to look at at night.
You need to keep in mind while designing emails to preferably choose the backgrounds, texts, icons, fonts, and other graphical elements accordingly.
You need to optimize the email design to make their reading experience at night better. The dark mode was one of the trendiest email marketing practices last year, and it continues as well.
Make It Easy To Unsubscribe
It is one of the most important email marketing practices that you need to do.
You have to give your subscribers an easy way out. Make them feel during their signup and along the way that they are in control and they can leave a subscription anytime they want.
It is essential to understand that people opt out for all kinds of reasons. So Do not take it personally or make it a big deal.
You will get new sign-ups, and people will come and go. And during this, you will get consistent long-term subscribers who will be with you for a long time.
However, if you do not make it easy for people to opt out, it annoys them and makes them feel agitated, tricked, and confined.
Chances are, after many attempts, they might just report you as spam or complain about you on social media platforms.
Either way, it is going to harm your reputation as a brand.
So, it is better to keep the ‘Unsubscribe’ option always present in your emails, preferably in subtle small letters at the bottom corner.
Keep Things Short, Snappy, And Sweet
You don’t need to write a detailed email in more than an explanatory zone or too much storytelling.
The idea is to deliver the message, whether its purpose is to take them to your product page or offer them new discounts, new blogs, or anything.
Your emails must have a sense of urgency in them, considering that the reader is busy and volatile with their time and attention.
If they don’t get what exactly your email is about or what you are saying, they won’t put any effort into understanding it.
They either just go back or delete it, and if that happens twice or thrice, they may even unsubscribe or report you as spam.
Make sure your subject line is around 6 to 10 words. Email bodies need to be concise, short, and valuable to read.
It is essential that the content of your email must be highly relevant to your subscriber, something informative, helpful, or entertaining, or at least a message.
Make Sure Every Email You Send Has A Purpose
You can’t send an email just to say ‘hi’ to your subscribers. However, there are other ways to engage with them time-to-time, but it still has to be purpose-driven.
Every company has a different email marketing strategy. But the most common is to make your emails few, highly relevant, and purposeful.
Some email types or emails with certain purposes are common amongst multiple or all email marketing campaigns, such as :
- Confirmation Email For Double Opt-In
- Welcome Email
- Product Launch
- Branch Announcements
- Product Offers
- Order Confirmations
- Shipping Confirmations
- Abandoned Cart Emails
- Thank You Emails
- Survey Requests
So, these emails are pretty much the baseline of every campaign. It will be better to develop a template for each of these emails with copy/content.
By doing so, you won’t have to design a new template or the email altogether every time you need to send an email to subscribers.
Having set templates and copy helps you save time and maintain consistency. Also, it becomes easy to put it through automation as well.
You can always customize these templates or emails before sending them as required.
The idea here is to assure every email must have a purpose. And when you have purpose-based emails, you can develop templates for them as well.
Ask Questions In Your Emails
Asking questions always get your appropriate or required response. When you ask questions in your emails, you tend to get a higher engagement rate.
It is one of the best email marketing practices that works dramatically well. Think of it as a face-to-face conversation where when you ask questions, conversations tend to happen.
It also proves to be a great ice-breaker in the real world. And that’s why it works really great, as it evokes responses from your customers.
Not just that, you learn about your subscribers, their feedback, their suggestions, and whatnot.
It also helps you to retrieve information from your customers or potential customers about the product, services, or overall experience.
Test To See What Works Best
This has to be the most overlooked email marketing practice. The impact of doing this in your campaign is or can be unimaginable.
Experimenting helps you explore more possibilities for success, and it keeps you growing by adapting. And growing is the one thing that keeps businesses successful in the long run.
All the tips, tricks, strategies, and gimmicks in the world can help you grow to a limit, but after that, it all falls into the brand’s ability to learn, adapt and grow.
In the case of email marketing, A/B testing is a long-term practice with long-term as well as short-term goals.
It is about trying new things consistently, whether it is new subject lines, different frequency of emails, changes in email design, different personalization techniques, and so much more.
You can do A/B testing by changing a particular element on a limited number of subscribers.
For example –
You want to try more subject lines. Maybe you want to try humor in it but not sure how it will work. Also a bit hesitant to just go all the way on this new path as trying on all your subscribers.
What you can do is only send these new subject lines to a fraction of your total subscribers. Suppose you have a list of 5000 subscribers, so with A/B testing, try a new subject line on just 500 subscribers and see how they respond.
If it works, you can do the same for the rest of the 4500 subscribers as well. This way, you can learn what works best and what doesn’t.
Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines That Make Users Want To Click
Subject lines of the emails you send are one of the most important parts of your email campaign.
After all, they are the very first thing that your subscriber sees regarding the email. It is what decides whether it drives their attention or not.
Even furthermore, it also decides whether the user will open it or not.
Users are bombarded with emails on a regular basis, so crafting a subject line that cuts through that noise is compelling enough to get opened.
Nailing the most effective subject lines needs a lot of work, practice, time, and testing.
You can always do A/B testing with different types of subject lines for your emails and see which gets you more open rates and click-through rates.
- Make sure you use the recipients’ name in the subject line.
- Keep the subject lines short, preferably between 30-50 characters
- Make it snappy and branded-copy
- Use relevant emojis and place them well.
- Crystal-clear value prop
Connect Your Subject Line To The First Line Of Your Email
It is clear by now that an email subject line should be something that makes people click on the email, increasing the chances of its open rate.
But most mistakes are made after that! Because people may attract or pull people into the email but just reading the first line, they get disappointed.
They close the email even without reading it. Even the chances are it will annoy them, and they will unsubscribe or report it as spam.
Now they may not do it the first time but certainly will if every email builds interest in the subject line but doesn’t deliver when it opens.
The problem is your subject line is not connected to the first line of your email. It doesn’t hold the interest of the reader.
The first line of your email, in fact, has to be the follow-up of the subject line, which was the reason why the subscriber opened the email in the first place.
How Do You Connect Subject Line To the Email’s First Line?
First, make sure your subject line is something not too much of click-baity that you cannot even follow up on or stand by actually.
It usually ends up just as a shallow trick to lure people into reading their email without even mentioning it in the email.
So whatever you want to attract subscribers to open the email, it should be meaningful and promising at the same time.
Now, make sure the first line of the email follows up the message that must be related to the subject line.
It would only work if the subject line was brief and descriptive. The idea is to tease the actual message, the promise of the hook.
You don’t want to be too cryptic about it, such as “You won’t believe this!” or “it is going to change your life.”
Also, you should not be too general about it, like “ This week’s Newsletter “ or “ Saturday’s Mail,” etc.
Another thing you need to remember is the first line of the email is going to appear in the preview of the email in their inbox.
Make It Clear, Concise, and Conversational
Nobody wants to read an email that is all over the place. If your message is kind of foggy and not understandable in just one go, they will just not indulge.
It should take minimum effort to read and understand the email, the purpose, the messaging, and the CTA.
Make sure your message is not hazy, confusing, or fuzzy in any way. It should be on-point and concise in its structure.
Also, don’t forget to make it personal. Subscriber also does not want to read an advertisement or a report.
They want to connect. Anything that doesn’t reach out to them emotionally or at a personal level isn’t reaching at all.
So make sure you craft the email as a conversation. The language could be semi-formal but preferably casual.
Try not to sell or take the high road on making it feel like how good your product is. Don’t be pushy, demanding, or too obvious about things.
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I am certified and awarded Email marketing expert. I’ve spent the last decade reading and writing marketing books and blogs as well as my articles helps people to start their Email Campaign from scratch or boost their existing business.