Email marketing: from worst cases to best practices

3 minutes read

Email marketing: from worst cases to best practices

Email marketing is a powerful tool for companies to improve customer engagement. However, the engagement you get depends greatly on whether you use email properly. We would like to share some examples of best and worst practices based on our own research. Continue reading to find out what (not) to do.

1. E-mail acquisition

As this first one may -hopefully- come as no surprise to you, sending email campaigns without an opt-in, will definitely not grow your engagement. The way to go about e-mail acquisition is by using an active opt-in. So, let your users click the empty box next to a call to action (CTA) like “Allow us to update you via our newsletter.” Even better would be a double opt-in, to comply with GDPR requirements. A passive opt-in (where the box is already checked), is no longer allowed due to the GDPR. But that shouldn't be a problem to marketers as an active opt-in leads to more engaging recipients and higher deliverability.

2. Welcome e-mail

When you’ve received an opt-in, the right follow-up is recommended to prevent a change of mind. Consumers may sometimes not be fully aware that they’ve subscribed for a newsletter. Rather than surprising them (in a negative way) by instantly sending a newsletter, you can gain goodwill by announcing when and how often you will be sending newsletters via email. Even better is to give new subscribers the option to select which topics they’re interested in. So instead of sending all your marketing messages to all contacts, limit your communications to those topics your receiver has shown an interest in.

3. Mail content

When it comes to the content of your email, our advice is not to limit the content solely to images. Mail providers scan emails on spam. If the mail contains too many images, the provider can’t scan the content. Therefore, the mail will be labelled as riskier, as a result the email may not reach your receiver’s inbox. Also, mailbox providers often only preview the text, so make sure your message is covered by words. The best results are achieved when using mostly text, few call to actions (2-5) and a message that holds value to the receiver.

4. Sunset policy

The level of engagement of your receivers is not only a goal on itself. Engagement also determines the chances of your email campaigns to reach your receiver. In other words: the lower the open- and click rates of your email campaign, chances are mail providers will mark your mailings as spam. As a result, your campaigns will end up in the spam box, limiting the reach and effect of your campaign. Therefore, it is not advised to keep targeting your full dataset. By filtering out recipients that do not engage, you will ensure that those consumers who do, continue to receive your mail. To clean up your database, send a reactivation mail after 3 or at least 6 months of no interaction. Ask the user to reactivate his account or remove him from the list.

5. Unsubscribe

Though it might not seem like it, the unsubscribe button is another opportunity to improve your engagement percentage and decrease your spam reports. When people are looking for a way to unsubscribe but can’t find this, they are most likely to hit ‘report as spam’. Which is disastrous for your reputation. Therefore, don’t hide the button but show it in the footer of each sent mail. Also, mention why the user is receiving this mail, as that might clear the need to unsubscribe. Moreover, when sending a welcome mail when someone first subscribes to your mailing list, you might want to consider providing an unsubscribe option in a prominent position. This way you’ll make sure all receivers of your campaigns are engaging with your mail, leading to higher engagement with your brand and product.

Want to get the best results with your email marketing campaigns? Check out our Email Campaigns product page for an overview of all added features to improve your engagement.

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About the author

Charlotte van Raak is content marketer and makes sure our readers always have interesting blogs to read about how to engage with customers. During the day, she answers 1K questions in her role as communications advisor. At night she preferably sleeps.

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