1. Avoiding the Spam Filters

The majority of large Internet service providers now use rigerous spam protection mechanisms to trap unsolicited email before it gets into their customer’s inboxes. Spam filters generally “rank” each email by a number of different criteria, and, if that email rates above a certain level (such as 10 spam points), then it is flagged as spam and deleted.

To make sure your emails don’t get flagged as spam – and deleted before they even get to your subscribers – avoid using words such as ‘Free’, ‘£££’, ‘Save’, ‘Discount’, etc., in both the subject line and the content of your email.

2. Maximising Click-Thru Rates

Both web pages and emails can contain a lot of text and graphics, and this sometimes makes it harder to get your subscribers to perform a certain task, such as clicking on a link to see your special offers.

Numerous research papers tell us that the majority of Internet users respond better to a plain, bold, blue text link – such as this – as opposed to a banner or button. So, if you’re going to include links in your emails, make sure they are bold, blue and underlined. This will mean that more subscribers click through, meaning more conversions/sales for you.

3. The Power of Personalisation

If you were standing in a crowded street, which of these would get your attention: “Hi, YOU!” or “Hi JOHN” (assuming your name is John). The power of personalisation can and should be used in your emails. In fact, by simply starting your email with “Hi [subscriber_name]” instead of the boring “Hi there”, you can increase both your reading and click-thru rates by up to 650%. Why? Put simply, it’s because your subscribers feel like they already have a relationship with you as you’ve addressed them by their first name.

4. One-Click Unsubscription

If you want to grow your mailing list, then there’s 2 things that you absolutely must have: a double opt-in process, and a quick way to unsubscribe. In some countries, it’s actually mandatory by law that every email has an unsubscribe link in it. The unsubscribe link should take the recipient directly to a page where they are then removed – courteously – from your mailing list.

5. Signup Confirmation

Don’t get accused of spamming – always, and I mean always use a double opt-in confirmation process. Double opt-in means that after your visitor initially enters their email address to subscribe to your list, you should then send them a “confirmation” email. This email should contain a special link back to your email marketing program, which will then verify that this visitor did indeed sign up to your mailing list.

6. Tuesday / Wednesday = Increased Response

Studies conducted by online research analysts have shown that the best days to perform a mail-out to your list are Tuesday and Wednesday, as this is when people are more receptive to communication. This means that they are more likely to read your content and click on links, meaning more sales.

On Mondays, everyone is still recovering from a hectic weekend. On Thursday and Friday, people are already too busy looking forward to the weekend. We’ve actually experimented with this, and received the best results by sending out emails at around 2-3pm (GMT) on a Wednesday.

7. Repeat Email Communication

An autoresponder is an email that is scheduled to be sent at a certain time interval after someone subscribes to your mailing list. Autoresponders are a great way to automatically follow up with your subscribers or provide them with more information on your products/services.

For example, if you provide a free newsletter, you could setup 3 autoresponders for new subscribers: the first is sent 1 hour after they subscribe. It contains a thank you message and a link to get 10% off your newly released eBook.

The second is sent 24 hours after they subscribe, telling them about your community message boards, and the third is sent 72 hours after they subscribe, in which you can offer them a special deal on becomming a paid member of your site.

Autoresponders help your subscribers build trust in both your company and your brand, and this can help make it easier when trying to close sales in the future.

8. Consistency is the Key

If you’re running a newsletter or frequent email publication, make sure you keep the look and feel consistent from issue to issue. By keeping the look and feel consistent, you help to maintain and strengthen your brand and your image to your subscribers, which again will make it easier to close sales when you need to.

vCreate a template for your newsletter and whenever you need to create a new issue, use that template as the basis for each issue.

9. On Time, Every Time

When sending an email to your subscribers, always make sure that it’s sent on the same day, at the same time. For example, every Wednesday at 3pm. Your subscribers will come to “expect” your email to arrive in their inbox on the same day at the same time every week, meaning that they want to read your content and are generally more receptive to any special offers or promotions you may include.

10. The Half-a-Second Subject Line

When your email arrives in your subscribers inbox, you generally have about half a second to catch their attention with the subject line of your email. After this, they will either delete your email or ignore it. In your subject line, try and specify a benefit that the subscriber can expect by reading your email. For example, instead of using ‘OurSite Newsletter Issue #1′, use ‘OurSite Newsletter: 10 Tips for Financial Freedom’.

11. The Free Bonus Hook-In

Free is overused these days, especially on the Internet. However, if you’re looking to grow your subscriber list, then create or source a product of value to your visitors (such as an eBook or discount coupon) and offer it to them for free when they signup to receive your newsletter.

To make sure they don’t simply type any email address into your subscription form, setup an autoresponder to send them the free bonus 1 hour after they subscribe.

12. The Preview Pane

Popular email clients such as MS Outlook show a preview of an email when it’s selected in your inbox. Always have some interesting content at the very top of your email, as this is the part that will show in the preview window of your subscribers email program. If it’s interesting enough, then your subscriber will open your email and continue on reading.

13. Link-Click Testing

When creating marketing emails, try using different text for both content and links. Also try re-positioning images such as logos and buttons. After sending about 3 different emails, compare the click-thru stats and see which one worked best. Now, when you need to send marketing emails in the future, you know that you will be sending the right mix of content and images that will attract the most click-thrus, and ultimately the most sales.

14. Email-Based Learning

Add value to your website, build trust in your visitors, establish your credibility and collect more subscriptions to your mailing list by setting up an email-based learning course. To do this, simply create a series of autoresponders (for example, 5) containing unique content. Then, schedule the first one to be sent after 24 hours, the second after 48 hours, etc.

15. Always Sign on the Dotted Line

Always include a signature at the bottom of your emails, as it’s one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your website. This signature should include your personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link. You can use your signature to link back to your website, and even to other products.

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Latest posts by Leigh (see all)

  • Irina

    Wow! What a great post!
    \nYou gave a very useful information.
    \nTo say honestly I work in Email Marketing for several years, I have experience in creating successful campaigns, in having high open and convertion rates, reading email marketing tips I always have something to add, but this time I can’t do this….You describe everything very well.

  • James

    Hi Leigh
    \nVery very interesting and useful advice and info. We are doing our email marketing campaign and these tips will be brilliant to implement our campaign.

  • Sir SEO

    Great information. I’ve been struggling with email marketing. My open rate is terrible

  • Shans

    You should know one of the Subject line should pertain to the email and be informative enough to encourage the reader to open it whilst not being too long. It should not be in capitals, or contain exclamation marks.

  • Michael

    Great advice – this is a really useful overview for someone uncertain of how to carry out a campaign. Good work!

  • Maria

    Great post,
    \nOnly one thing I would disagree with, but just my opinion.
    \nI don’t think a one click unsubscribe process is the best you can do.
    \nfirstly for the obvious reasons, the link is clicked by mistake.
    \nSecondly, what if they still want to hear from you, but don’t like the content they are getting?
    \nOffer them a chance to tell you what they WOULD like to receive on the opt out page. Give them a link to a preference centre where they can state their interests.
    \nAlso, I see more and more unsub pages with 3 options.
    \n1. I’ll try (insert number) more emails, then unsubscribe me.
    \n2. Keep sending me emails,
    \n3.Opt me out completely.

  • Rich

    thanks for these.interesting about the click thru rates being best with plain text links as opposed to banners and images.I thought it would have been the other way round.

  • Pablo

    Thanks for the good info. Always try to give value to your suscribers and you will get it!!

  • Neil

    Great post – hopefully this will improve my results !

  • Jo

    The engagement level of your email marketing campaigns is critical to email marketing success. Your level will be determined by a number of different factors, all of which point to whether or not your recipients are opening your messages, reading them and responding to them appropriately.

  • Ralf Dooley

    Great info about email marketing. Always struggled with my email open rates and will try some of your email marketing advice.Thanks for the info.

  • Martin

    Excellent post, always looking for good, quality tips on e-mail marketing & I think I`ve just found them!!

  • Blueprint

    Thanks for taking time out to create this. Along with SEO to get people to your website. email marketing is a great way to keep and build relationship

  • Rushana

    Useful tips, thank you. Would be great to have more info perhaps on incorporating some social media, too :)

  • Nicholas Scott

    Following are the three major tips that can make a nice e-mail marketing strategy :
    \n1. Avoid Email Marketing During the Holidays
    \n2.Avoid Mistyped Addresses by Requiring 3.Retyping Defining Opt-In Email Marketing

  • Akbar

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  • Sam Feerick

    Great tips here for email marketing, thanks Leigh – I have also written a guide which you can find here http://www.inboxinsight.co.uk/resources/Best_Practices_to_Email_Marketing_Part_1.pdf

  • Clare Web Design

    Thanks for this, it’s very helpful to have a list when looking at the best way to set up an email campaign.

  • Leo

    Brilliant tips – I will be aiming for once a week on a magic Wednesday! Many thanks
    \nForster Racing School

  • Dan

    Email marketing can bring longevity to your business when used properly. Build trust and rapport with your target audience and they will reward you with loyalty by keeping an open line of communication by signing up to your mailing list. Just try not to shoot them with sales pitches in every single email or you’ll run the risk of losing them.

  • Barbara Mckinney

    You’re right Dan! Email marketing if done right can really give great results. Email marketing alone cannot be successful if not coupled with other marketing tools. Based on experience, email marketing incorporated with social media and telemarketing could be more effective. Effective in the sense that it can give you faster result. You can qualify who are interested in your services/products offered.

  • Logo Items

    Best practices in email marketing demand communications that go beyond advertising, respect the customer, and speak in a familiar one-on-one style. Email is "the most personal advertising medium in history," says Seth Godin, whose book Permission Marketing set the rules that transformed email marketing into what it is today. "If your email isn’t personal, it’s broken."

  • Mr.Ven

    Hi Leigh,
    \nGiveaways are the key to increase email subscribers. eBook, free software downloads are few of the incentives that makes the visitor to subscribe with your email list. It works well.

  • Phil Brassington

    Thanks for the article, really nice. And Maria, totally disagree, unsubscribe has to be easy otherwise I just hit junk

  • Ed Shaw

    Useful reading when thinking about my email marketing, thank you.

  • Chris

    Leigh, you’ve missed browser detection and clean messaging within image alt text as most email clients do not download images as standard. Having a red cross where an image is supposed to be is missing a trick!

  • Leigh

    That’s a great point, Chris. More and more clients wish to send image-heavy emails in an attempt to "stand out". Target audience and industry sector aside, we’ve experienced higher CTRs from plain text emails.

  • Sampath

    I am planning to start my own company, that is like global sales like a training providers and i have paid links like LinkedIn just i wanted to bring information from linkedIn and i want to format that and need to find out students because of that i wanted to know how to send bulk emails, if anybody knows this please give me call or email me.

  • Atul Jain

    Very nice article. There are a few more important tips which one should keep in mind while planning an email marketing campaign.
    \nYou can read about it at http://www.atuljain7.com/email-marketing-best-practices

  • Alexander Smith

    do you guys provide opportunities to sponsor or advertise in your newsletter?

  • Monica

    Really informative post we have here. I liked the click thru part of it ,I think is so clever and interesting to see your customers habits and what /how they react to email campaigns.
    \nThank you for sharing the info with us.

  • Richard Barrett

    The advent and advances in technology makes email marketing a must to stay competitive. I believe that no matter what kind or kinds of strategies you may employ, success can still be achieved successfully when they are properly done. With this significant number of tips to consider, there is no way you can’t be successful in the business.

  • Dheeraj

    All above email marketing tips are worth to consider if you are doing email marketing or plan to start email marketing campaign for your business.

  • theo

    I found this video helped me quite a bit when i was coming up with ideas on how to improve my emails for potential clients. http://youtu.be/wnUpqxNcbOg

  • Tom Hughes

    Really helpful list of the email marketing basics. I particularly enjoyed point number 1, that’s going on my wall :)

  • Millie Isabelle

    Awesome email marketing tips! I’ll keep in mind while planning an email marketing campaign. Thanks for sharing…