We won’t waste your time telling how effectively email marketing increases revenue and customer loyalty. If you read this, you already know the deal.
Instead, we’re going to share the best practices for a successful email campaign start. Follow them to make emailing your most effective marketing channel.
Before You Start
Even if you’re new to email marketing, you might have heard that successful email strategies root in legal contact base collection.
1. How to Build a Quality Contact Base
A subscription form added to the site and on social media is the easiest and most popular way to grow a database. Offer potential subscribers some discounts or a promo code in exchange for their email address. Set up Double Opt-In to verify each address and avoid fake accounts.
Without Double Opt-In, your mailing list may include:
- Fake addresses;
- Inactive emails;
- Spam traps;
- Addresses provided by non-owners;
- And other digital junk.
2. Constant Quality Control
Validate your contact list on a regular basis: remove inactive contacts and unsubscribed users from the mailing list. You can do it manually or use automation software. If contacts have been collected a long time ago, offline or without a subscription confirmation, use one of the email validators to verify incoming email addresses.
And in case you still haven’t set Double Opt-In, it’s high time you did it (and yes, we know we’ve recommended it a couple of paragraphs ago).
3. How to Choose an Email Service Provider
An Email Service Provider (ESP) is the main tool you'll work with every day. Each ESP has its own focus and a specific set of features. For example, MailChimp is perfect for small companies, eSputnik fits most medium and large businesses, and GetResponse is designed for educational projects. Apart from email, some services offer additional channels of communication (SMS, Viber, Web Push Notifications, WhatsApp). Pay attention to technical support in the first place, as it may be difficult to figure out on your own how to work in the system.
“It was very simple to introduce! The manual by eSputnik was simple and straightforward. The introduction process took about 7-10 minutes.”
Denys Arysmiatov, Homsters.kz
Make sure you’ve studied the technical characteristics of the ESP:
- Deliverability rate;
- Send speed;
- Template editor convenience;
- A wide range of designs;
- Automated workflows;
- Mobile friendliness;
- Statistics tools;
- Reliable customer support.
4. Domain Registration and Digital Signature Authentication
For bulk campaigns, a personal domain name is a must. Don’t be afraid to go bankrupt - its cost starts from as little as $10 per year. Major free email agents (Gmail.com, Mail.ru, etc.) eventually diminish the reputation of the sender. Moreover, it’s the name of the company in the “from” line that tells the recipient whether the email is worth opening.
Next, you need to attach a digital signature to your domain so that no one can fake your emails. Email agents use them to assess your reputation, and the better your reputation, the better the deliverability of emails. Check this step-by-step instruction on how to set up a digital signature with the help of eSputnik.
5. How to Warm Up Your Domain
The less, the better perfectly applies to new domain usage. Start with few emails; thousands of campaigns sent over two days have good chances to end up in spam. As a rule, the warming process takes about two weeks. At eSputnik, it’s run in a semi-automated mode under the supervision of technical support.
How to Create the First Automated Email Campaign
Having passed through all the milestones, you are now fully equipped and ready to start. And the best first step is to launch a welcome series greeting new subscribers.
1. Welcome Emails
A welcome email is one of the most popular triggered campaigns. A triggered campaign is an email that is automatically sent after a certain user's action. As a rule, welcome emails are triggered by registration or subscription confirmation. You can opt for one email or launch a series of automated messages.
2. Proper Introduction
A welcome email reminds the first date: you need to present yourself in the most appealing way and establish a solid base for further communication. To reach this goal, introduce not only your products but also your team members, for example, a support crew - this will make your brand look friendlier and more human.
3. Smart Workflows
One of the most widespread email marketing mistakes to avoid at the first stage is to scare off the subscribers with too often sends.
With the help of eSputnik, you can set up smart workflows to avoid unwilled persistence.
For example, your welcome series consists of five automated emails. Set up the workflow in such a way that the users who haven’t opened the first two emails won’t receive the next campaigns. By doing so, you will both save money on sending unnecessary emails and keep your subscribers.
General Principles of How to Create Email Campaigns
Regardless of what you send, a promo email or a triggered campaign, there are basic email marketing guidelines you need to stick to in order to succeed.
1. Available Unsubscribe Option
Each email should contain an unsubscribe option. In its absence, users will have to report spam to stop receiving emails, which damages the sender's reputation a lot.
eSputnik can help you create an unsubscribe option with a link to a feedback form. It will enable users to explain why they no longer want to receive your emails, and you’ll have an important insight into how to improve your service.
2. Text/Image Ratio
Your email must contain text. A textless email will be blocked by most email agents. And if the image display is off, the recipient will see a blank email. On smartphones, such emails are also displayed incorrectly.
Your email must contain at least one image. As practice shows, images generate more clicks than a text link. In your emails, stick to the following ratio: 60% of text vs. 40% of visuals.
3. Plain Text or HTML
Our research suggests that in most cases HTML works more efficiently. Plain text is useful when you need maximum personalization: for reactivation campaigns, surveys, etc.
4. Clear Sender's Name
The sender's name is the first thing the recipient pays attention to. Therefore, it needs to be recognizable. There are four good options to include in the sender’s name:
- Company name;
- Recognizable CEO name;
- Employee name and position;
- Branded mailing name.
5. Relevant Subject Line
The subject line should attract attention but not mislead. A sensational line can make people open the email, but if it doesn’t correlate with the content inside, the subscriber may feel deceived and even willing to unsubscribe.
6. Permission Reminder
To avoid spam reports, gently remind the recipients they have agreed to receive your campaigns.
Dozens of call-to-action buttons included in an email won’t improve its click-through rate; rather the opposite.
Email marketing is designed to build a long-term relationship without hustle and over persistence. To turn a subscriber into a loyal customer, first offer them something of value and interest, original and useful content to begin with.
Of course, you can't do without buttons - but try to keep balance and be more user-friendly.
8. View in Browser Option
Some email agents cut images and even text in your emails. To make sure the recipient sees the campaign the way it has been designed, add a link to the web version of the content.
9. UTM Tags
Don't forget to add UTM tags to your email. The main tool to assess your campaign strategy, they show which email has generated more traffic, clicks, opens, etc.
Test before Sending
Make sure your email is displayed correctly in different browsers and on mobile devices. Check the text for mistakes. Examine product cards and make sure they contain the correct information - product description, pricing, links, etc. By the way, eSputnik can help you with this task with our product block generator that can automatically create product cards. All you need to do is to insert in it a link to the website description of the product, and the job is done.
Now when you’ve checked everything and hopefully avoided most often email mistakes, you’re ready to launch your super efficient email campaign. Follow our blog for more inspiring ideas on how to do email marketing, and good luck!