26 Actionable Email Marketing Tips & Best Practices To SKYROCKET Your Growth In 2018

email marketing best practices

Looking to increase engagement and get more from your email marketing?

We’ve got you covered.

In this guide we’re going to deep dive into actionable email marketing best practices that will help you grow traffic and sales from your list in 2018.

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Ready to take your email marketing to the next level?

Great! Let’s get started with some surprising data…

#1 The Best Time To Send Emails Is NOT What You Think It Is

What’s the best day (and time) to send your emails to get the most opens?

Do some quick Googling and you’ll get the following answer for “day”:

best day to send emails

And this one for “time”:

best time to send emails

So that’s Tuesday morning at 10am according to the internet.

But there’s a problem.

That advice has been circulating the web for a few years now. And it’s written as a fact on a ton of marketing blogs.

So guess what happens?

Everyone follows the same advice.

And then everyone’s inbox gets bombarded by emails on Tuesday morning at 10am.

The result?

Your email gets lost in the crowd. Opens go down. And Tuesday is no longer the best day to send an email. 10am ain’t the best time either.

So what is?

Well, we analysed over 10 billion emails sent through our platform.

And we discovered that for the most opens you should now send your emails between 8 and 9am on a Thursday.

best day and time to send emails

So there you go.

Admittedly, Tuesday is still a close second at the moment. But it’s on a downwards trend, which we expect to continue.

Here are the actual numbers:

On the face of it, there might not seem to be much difference between the week days. But remember:

Every extra click is a potential extra sale.

So Thursday at 8.30am seems like the best time to send your weekly email.

However….

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#2 Send Emails At Midnight On A Saturday If That’s What’s Best For YOUR List

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase:

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Big data allows us to infer general trends and email best practices. But that’s global over thousands and thousands of lists. And it doesn’t necessarily mean those best practices will be right for YOUR list.

For example, your target audience might be plumbers who check their email in the evening. So in that case you might find the best time to send your emails is 7pm.

So what should you do?

Experiment.

Thursday at 8.30am would be a good place to start. But if that doesn’t work try another time.

Then try another. And another, until you find that sweet spot.

Here are some benchmarks to help you figure out how your list is performing:

Industry Average Open Rate Average Click Rate
Food 18.68% 1.05%
DIY & Constructions 15.74% 2.51%
Computers & Electronics 13.79% 1.42%
Media & Publishing 12.04% 1.42%
Groceries 10.52% 1.05%
Fashion 8.23% 1.05%
Pharmacies 6.13% 0.54%

For more stats and figures check out our 2016 report.

If you’re hitting around those figures, you’re probably scheduling your emails at the right time. Otherwise experiment.

And then…

#3 Stick To A Consistent Schedule

Figured out the best day/time for sending to your list? Then stick to it.

Your customers will quickly get used to your schedule.

If your list expects an email at 4.15pm on a Wednesday… then send them an email at 4pm on a Wednesday.

A consistent schedule leads to improvements in opens and clickthroughs.

An erratic schedule does the opposite.

Oh, and in cases you are wondering…

According to our data, the optimum frequency (to get your emails opened) is 2-5 campaigns per month.

how often should you send emails?

#4 Give Your Subscribers What They Want. Then Give Them More Of The Same

How many emails do you get every day?

100? 200?

Next question:

How many of them do you actually read?

According to Templafy, the average office worker gets 121 emails in their inbox. Every. Single. Day.

So if you want more opens and clicks you better give your subscribers EXACTLY what they want. Because the fact is, most emails go unread.

Quora are masters at this.

At some point they figured out I like The Beatles.

Ok, I don’t “like” The Beatles. I’m obsessed with The Beatles.

So what do they send me most days?

quora emails

Yep, emails and (importantly) subject lines featuring The Beatles.

(By the way, have you checked out Refine? It’s our free online tool which predicts the open rate success of your subject lines!)

And as you can see, I open pretty much every email.

Then waste 10 minutes of my day reading all the answers and comments.

Thanks Quora.

Now, compare the above to these less targeted emails from last year:

quora emails 2

No opens. No clicks.

All you need is love… and a properly segmented email list.

Learn more about how to use segmentation in your email marketing campaigns here.

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#5 Don’t Bombard Your List With Emails (Unless You Like Unsubscribes)

I get it.

You want more traffic to your site. You want more sales.

So you figure you should send out a ton of emails to your list. The more the merrier right?

The truth?

Too many emails will see your engagement rates plummet. And your unsubscribes go through the roof.

Think about it like this:

An opt-in subscriber has given you a golden ticket. They’ve trusted with you with their email address. So don’t abuse their inbox.

But where is the tipping point? How much is too much? And when do you cross the line into spam?

Well, here’s an example from the online marketing world.

Firstly, let me say that I have big respect for Stuart Walker and what he has done with Niche Hacks.

It’s a great site and I highly recommend you check it out.

But…

He sends far too many emails to his list.

stuart walker mails

Yep, that’s 9 emails in 3 days.

And what do you notice?

They are all unread. I didn’t open a single one.

Because by this point his daily bombardment had become an irritant. And the very next day I unsubscribed from his list.

So whatever you do, don’t bomard your list. Sometimes, like many things in life, less is more.

#6 Give Your Subscribers a Compelling Reason To Click

Want to get more clicks-throughs from your emails to your website? Of course you do.

Then give your subscribers a reason to click.

Here’s a simple (but great) example from golf site “Me And My Golf”.

me and my golf mail

Firstly, that’s a great subject line right there:

“You may have just WON a TaylorMade driver”

What’s my brain going to see when I’m quickly scanning my inbox?

“You have WON a TaylorMade driver”

Stupid brain.

When I stop and read the subject line properly I’ll see I haven’t won yet. But it has already done the trick. The email caught my attention and stood out in my inbox.

And what happens when I open the email?

I need to click through to find out if I did win.

call to action button

Bonus points for the clear call to action button.

So did I click? Of course, I did.

Did I win? Um… no.

 

#7 Plan Your Schedule WAY In Advance

There are certain dates on the calendar that will be particularly important to your business.

For example, if you’re in the business of selling chocolates, then Valentine’s day is going to be a biggy.

So here’s what you don’t want to do:

Just email your list the day before Valentine’s day with a list of your special offers.

Because most people will already have bought their gifts. Or at least made up their mind what they will be buying.

Which means you’re going to miss out on those sweet sales (pun intended).

At moosend we knew that smart marketers would be planning (and rolling out) their Valentine’s day promotions at least 2 weeks in advance.

Which is why we published our guide to Valentine’s day marketing in January, and emailed it out to our list 3 weeks before the event.

valentine's newsletter

So plan your content and email marketing strategy in advance to capitalise on those important dates.

#8 The Exception: Nab Those Last Minute Panic Buyers

Ok, this might sound like we’re contradicting what we just said. But bare with us…

The truth is, our fictional chocolatier DOES want to be emailing his list one or two days before Valentine’s day.

Just not for the first time.

Because while most people will be buying way in advance, there will still be those who have left it all to the last minute.

People who are panicking and ready to buy anything heart shaped or sweet to dig them out a hole.

People like me.

Take this example from See Tickets:

see tickets last minute newsletter

They sent that email out at 8am on Saturday 23rd December.

You can bet that they got a lot of clicks and sales.

And you can bet that a ton of wives and girlfriends go a printed receipt for 2 tickets to the theatre tucked inside a card on Christmas day.

I can neither confirm, nor deny if my wife was one of them.

#9 Make It Time Sensitive, Your Subscribers Won’t Want To Miss Out

Walk down any high street and you’ll see messages like this:

“SALE NOW ON. MUST END THURSDAY!”

“20% Off Everything. TODAY ONLY!”

Why? Because they work.

There’s nothing like a bit of urgency to spur us into taking action. That fear of missing out has us reaching for our wallets quicker than a leopard on a skateboard.

And guess what? It works just as well on an email as it does in a shop window.

Set a time limit for your customers to take an incentivised action You’ll see an increase in clicks and conversions.

Here’s a nice example from nutrition brand MyProtein:

my protein

In the subject line we see they are offering a 40% discount on protein powder.

But when we click into the email what do we discover? The discount drops 1% every 2 hours.

So if we want to take advantage of full discount we had better act FAST!

How You Can Use This In Your Email Marketing

The example above is quite sophisticated.

But simply using language that communicates a sense of urgency in your  email subject lines will lead to more opens, clicks, and sales.

Here are some examples:

amazon today only offer

groupon getaways 15% off

Just don’t be DFS. Will their sale ever end?

Eons after humanity has gone from this world, the giant red star above us, which once gave life to our little blue planet, will incinerate our dead world to a crisp.

The oceans will boil to nothing and the atmosphere will be blown away into space. The land will burn as though hell itself had claimed it.

But somewhere on this desolate rock will be a DFS with a fabulous half-price sale and everything must go.

#10 Make A Promise From Day 1 (and stick to it)

Most good email sign up forms will indicate what an individual signing up should expect.

Will they get a weekly newsletter? A ping when you publish a new blog post? Notification of special offers, or discounts?

Whatever you promise when someone signs up to your newsletter, stick to that promise.

Launching Next have an email signup box in their header. They promise to send a daily list of new startups:

launching next signup box

And that’s exactly what they do:

launching next mails

They also send the email out at the same time each day (12pm EST/5pm UK).

launching next date

Good job!

All they need to do now is get rid of that horrible noreply email address 😉 More on that in a minute…

#11 Weave Storytelling Into Your Emails To Push Engagement Through The Roof

Once upon a time there was an email marketer called Bob.

Bob had been struggling to get clicks to his website. He had a good list, but it just wasn’t engaged.

Bob was ready to give up.

But then, one January evening, after his eleventh triple shot coffee of the day, he had an idea:

How about instead of sending simple offers and sales messages in his emails he told his customers a story?

Buzzing with caffeine and anticipation, Bob drafted his email and hit send.

And guess what?

It worked.

Bob’s click-throughs went up by 19%. His sales went through the roof. And he used the mountains of cash to fulfil his lifelong dream of opening a hot dog and doughnut diner in Fiji.

People love stories. They bypass the logical parts of our brains and tap into our emotions.

Resulting in:

More engagement. More trust. And more clicks.

Which is why storytelling should be part of your email marketing strategy.

Backlinko’s Brian Dean starts most of his emails with a quick story about a specific problem he has faced on his journey and how he overcame that problem.

Like this:

Brian Dean starts his emails with a quick story

This:

Brian Dean starts most of his emails with a quick story 2nd example

And this (where he even mentions the word “story”):

Brian Dean starts most of his emails with a quick story 3rd example

You can bet he gets a lot of clicks.

 

#12 Make It INCREDIBLY Easy To Unsubscribe

Wait, what?

Surely you don’t WANT users to unsubscribe from your list?

Well, no, of course you don’t.

But the facts are:

No matter how awesome your emails are, some users will want to unsubscribe. Perhaps they are no longer using your product, or maybe they had a career change.

Unsubscribes are part of running a list.

What you DEFINITELY don’t want is spam reports.

Too many will quickly see your inbox deliverability plummet.

So if someone wants to go, then let them go. And make it easy for them to do so.

At moosend we automatically add an unsubscribe link to the bottom of every email.

#13 Use The Curiosity Gap In Your Subject Lines To Hook Subscribers In

Have you heard of the curiosity gap before?

If not, I can guarantee you’ve seen it in practice.

Just scroll down your Facebook timeline. Or take a look at those ads that seem to be at the bottom of every article you read these days.

curiosity gap mail

Here’s what it is in a nutshell:

Provide enough information to hook your audience. Make them ‘curious’. But don’t provide enough information to satisfy that curiosity until they click.

Headline writers have been using the curiosity gap for decades.

And in more recent times the practice of writing enticing headlines, which appeal to our desire to ‘fill in the gaps’, has been adopted by viral sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed. They’ve done pretty well right?

I’ll be honest, the curiosity gap has a bit of a bad rep.

Mainly because of headlines that look like this:

“This Man Ate A Prawn Sandwich. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!”.

But it’s an age old copywriting technique that WORKS. And it’s definitely something you should be using in your email marketing.

Consider:

If you give away everything in your subject line, then a recipient has no particular reason to open the email.

But holding back some information, while providing enough to draw them in, can lead to a serious boost in your open rate.

An Example

Let’s make this a little meta.

Say we’d just written a full article on the Moosend blog about how using the curiosity gap in your headlines can boost open rates.

Here are 2 possible subject lines for that email:

  1. Subject: How We Used The Curiosity Gap To Boost Our Open Rate By 8%
  2. Subject: This Simple Copywriting Trick Boosted Our Email Open Rate By 8%.

In the first subject line we give away the fact that we’re talking about the curiosity gap.

However, in the second we simply allude to a ‘trick’. And the reader is going to have to open the email (or click through to our site) to find out what that trick is.

Which subject line do you think would get more opens?

Spoiler: It’s the second one.

Use the power of the curiosity gap (in a non spammy way) to get a serious boost to your open rate.

#14 Go Next Level On This Thing, and Make Your Emails SUPER Valuable

Emails don’t just have to be for sales messages, or generating clicks to your website.

Sometimes an email can be so valuable that it becomes a product by itself. Something that people will not only subscribe to, but will be happy to pay for.

One example is the LinkMoses Private newsletter.

The newsletter was founded by the late Eric Ward. A true giant of the internet marketing world, and more importantly, a great man.

If you haven’t heard of Eric before, he was considered to be the world’s foremost expert on link building.

Eric was building links (for traffic) years before Google came on the scene, and helped companies (including Amazon) improve their reach on the web.

Sadly, Eric passed away last year and is much missed.

Eric ran a monthly newsletter on his site called LinkMoses private. To access the newsletter, you didn’t just have to provide your email address, you also had to pay $8 a month.

And it was worth every. single. penny.

Here is an example of the contents of a typical edition of LinkMoses Private:

contents of a typical edition

Yes, you read that correctly. 5,000 words. In an email.

And there was no fluff either. Every single one of those words gave value to the reader.

While I can’t claim to know the numbers, I’m pretty sure LinkMoses subscribers would number in the thousands.

The lesson?

Make your emails super valuable. Make your subscribers light up when they see your email popping into their inbox.

If it’s really good, they might even pay for the privilege.

Note: Eric’s family decided to continue LinkMoses Private, and it is now penned by Matt LaClear.

#15 Personalise All The Things

Have you ever had an encounter with one of those annoying sales people that use your name in every second sentence?

Well, as irritating as it can be, they do it for a reason.

We respond on a subconscious level when someone uses our name. Even if it can feel a little forced.

Which is why you should definitely by personalising your emails as much as you can.

The simplest way of course is to use your customer’s first name in your subject lines.

You’ll see it in your inbox all the time.

netflix in your inbox

Why?

Because it still works.

But personalisation shouldn’t end with the subject line.

Netflix for example, follow up with shows they think I’ll enjoy based on my viewing habits.

based on my viewing habits

Or, in the case of Friends, the viewing habits of my wife 😉

<chandler_voice>Could that email BE any more personalised?</chandler_voice>

So make your emails as personalised as possible to see a big increase in engagement.

#16 Unlock The Power Of Segmentation to Send The Right Message, At The Right Time

Segmentation is a powerful tool.

But it’s one that is seriously underused in email marketing.

Which makes us moosenders sad 🙁

The thing is, you might be looking at a raw number of subscribers. But every one of those subscribers is an individual. And as individuals they will all have different needs.

By properly segmenting your list you can tailor your message and campaigns to meet those needs.

I’ll be honest.

Segmentation is a HUGE topic. We’ve dug into detail here, here, and here.

But for now, here are some quick pointers (and examples) of how you could use segmentation to charge up your email marketing campaigns.

Follow Up Campaigns

Let’s say you are launching a webinar in a week’s time.

You might send out an initial email like this one from FB marketing guru Jon Loomer.

fb marketing guru Jon Loomer

But of course, lots of your subscribers might miss that first email.

So you’ll want to send a follow up.

 marketing guru Jon Loomer

It would be a bit annoying to get that email if you had already signed up wouldn’t it?

So by segmenting your list you could:

  • send a registration email to subscribers who haven’t signed up yet
  • a reminder email to those who have

Categorising Your Subscribers

Many websites cover a variety of topics.

As an example, one of my own sites noobnorm.com covers various sports and activities such as golf, running, and motocross.

various sports and activities

It wouldn’t make much sense to send someone who signed up in the golf section an email about motorbikes would it?

They just wouldn’t be interested. And my engagement would SUCK.

But by logging which section of the site they signed up, I can segment my list, and send subscribers targeted emails specific to their interests.

Much better.

Segment By Engagement

Is a subscriber responsive to discount codes?

Then send them more emails with discount codes.

Do they prefer to click on emails with gift ideas?

Then send them more gift ideas.

You get the picture, right?

And the good news is, with moosend it’s super easy to segment by individual campaign engagement.

Segment By User Action (On Your Website)

Getting advanced, it’s possible to segment users by specific actions on your website.

For example, if you run an ecommerce store you could automatically send out abandoned cart emails to individuals who don’t complete their purchase.

abandoned cart email

Or if you have a multi-step signup form (which in itself is good practice), you could target users who filled in step 1, but didn’t complete step 2.

At moosend we can integrate directly with your CRM to allow you to filter and segment by pretty much any data you can capture.

Sounds powerful. And it is.

#17 Combine Personalisation With Automation To Make Your Subscribers Feel The Love

Connecting with your subscribers at a more personal level is a great way to improve your engagement.

This could be as simple as sending a quick email to wish them happy birthday once a year.

This birthday email from Brent Cross shopping centre included a £5 gift voucher.

happy birthday email

And of course, with moosend, you can automate that. Although, you’ll need to collect DOBs on your sign up… we’re not psychic 😉

But birthdays are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s an example of taking personal automation to the next level.

After signing up, pregnancy and parenting site The Bump send a weekly email letting you know how your baby is developing (and what to expect):

the bump send week 38 newsletter

And they continue to send regular, personalised emails after your baby has been born.

the bump send 3 month newsletter

Again, all of this will be automated. But it seems super personal right?

The takeaway?

Think about how important personal dates for your subscribers fit with your product or service.

Then collect the information you need, set it all up, forget about it, and watch your traffic grow 🙂

Setting up automated emails is super easy with moosend. Find out how to do it here.

#18 Ask For Replies And Start A Conversation

What’s wrong with this picture?

premier inn mail

They personalised the email and subject line. Good.

They asked me a question in the subject. Good.

But then they go and spoil it by using a “noreply@” address to send their emails.

Here’s the thing:

You want to start a conversation with your audience. It builds trust. So why would you not want them to reply?

Steer clear of noreply email addresses. Or even better, encourage your subscribers to reply.

#19 Use Emojis To Help Your Subject Lines Stand Out In Crowded Inboxes

Want a simple tip for helping your emails stand out in a crowded inbox?

Use emojis.

Once again, we crunched the numbers on over 10 billion emails. And we found that using an emoji in the subject line can increase open rates by 4.2%.

emoji in the subject line can increase open rates

Music retailers GuitarGuitar use a guitar emoji in most of their subject lines:

guitarguitar emoji mails

Makes sense right?

And (practicing what we preach) we used a heart emoji in our recent Valentine’s day marketing guide email:

inbox

It’s a simple, but effective, way to increase your opens.

Here’s how to do it with moosend.

#20 Remind Subscribers WHY You Are Emailing Them (Otherwise They’ll Forget)

Can you remember all the email lists you’ve signed up to over the years?

I’m guessing probably not.

And you can bet that there will be people on your list who have completely forgotten signing up.

So remind them WHY you’re emailing them.

This is particularly important if you’re not a regular sender.

Here’s an example of a newsletter best practice:

  • You send a monthly newsletter to your list.
  • You send it out on the last day of the month.
  • Someone signs up on the 1st of January.
  • By the time the 31st rolls around, they’ve completely forgotten all about you and your website.
  • Just like they forgot that New Year’s resolution to hit the gym three times a week and eat less pizza.
  • They hit the spam button.

But even if you’re a regular sender, reminding people why they signed up is good practice.

Remember that daily email from Launching Next?

They remind me I signed up right at the top of every email:

launching next reminds me I signed up

At Moosend we remind subscribers why they signed up at the bottom of all our newsletters.

moosend reminds subscribers why they signed up at

Why do we put it at the bottom?

Because that’s where people will generally go to look for an unsubscribe link.

So by putting the reminder there, we can catch customers (and remind them) before they unsubscribe. Which gives us a better chance of changing their mind and keeping them on our list.

This is one of the newsletter best practices to follow in 2018.

#21 Clean Your Lists, Or Watch Your Engagement Plummet

You’ve might have heard this phrase before:

“Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”

Well, we can apply something similar to your email list.

Sure, it’s good for the ego to look at a big, raw number of subscribers.

But if most of those subscribers never engage then they are, at best, chewing up resources. And in some cases they may be hurting your overall deliverability.

Too many bounces and invalid email addresses can see your campaign hit spam thresholds set by inbox providers. And that’s the kiss of death for your list.

Which is why it is important to clean your list regularly.

So what should you do?

Here are some quick tips:

1. Remove Invalid Emails (hard bounce)

A hard bounce means that the email address doesn’t exist on the server.

You should remove any hard bounces from your list.

If you use Moosend for your email campaigns, you can set hard bounces to be automatically removed.

2. Monitor Soft Bounces

A soft bounce can happen if an inbox is full, or temporarily unavailable.

You might not want to remove a soft bounce immediately. But if you’re getting a consistent soft bounce from an email address, then it’s probably worth removing it.

A 3 strikes policy might be worth considering.

3. Remove Unengaged Email Addresses

This one is a little trickier.

How long should you wait before removing an unengaged email address from your list?

There’s no definitive answer (sorry!).

But a good rule of thumb is that if someone hasn’t opened any of your emails for a year, then they are probably not interested in your list anymore.

Tip: Give Them ‘One Last Chance’

It’s no fun removing a valid email address from your list. I know that.

So before you do, why not try sending out one last email to see if they want to remain on your list?

Here’s a simple template you can use:

Subject: {name}, We Miss You 🙁

Hey {name},

We noticed that you are subscribed to our list, but haven’t opened any of our emails in a while 🙁

Are you still interested in our {newsletter/service/product}?

We hate spam as much as you, so if we don’t hear back from you we’ll automatically remove your email address on {date}.

But if you’d like to say subscribed to our list, then just click the link below:

{link to stay subscribed}

And if we can do something to improve our {newsletter/service/product} we’d love to hear your feedback.

Thanks

With automation, you can set this up to automatically send out and keep your lists clean while you sleep. Find out more about email automation with moosend here.

Maintaining a clean list will help to improve your overall deliverability and engagement.

We recently publsished a complete guide to email deliverability here.

#22 Lapsed Customer? Give Them A Strong Incentive To Come Back

To grow your business, you’re probably going to be focused on acquiring new customers.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all do it.

But you know what?

Completely new customers are going to be starting at the top of your marketing funnel. Which means it’s going to take time to nurture that sale or lead.

Fortunately there’s another type of customer that’s

  1. not bringing you revenue at the moment
  2. is going to be much easier to convert

A lapsed customer is a golden opportunity for growth.

They already know your product.

They already know how awesome your service is.

If you can reconnect with them, they will be primed for conversion.

The best way to do it? Send them an email with a strong incentive come back.

Here are some ideas:

  • a limited time discount code
  • a free gift
  • a second free trial of your new and improved service

Beauty retailers HQ Hair offer a discount AND a free gift for coming back.

hq hair offer a discount

Moz regularly give a second trial to lapsed customers when they update their tools.

moz regularly give a second trial

So find the right incentive to bring your lapsed customers back, but…

#23 Don’t Forget To Reward Loyalty

Loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business.

They stay subscribed to your product. They choose your store to make their purchases (and keep away from your competitors).

So reward them for their loyalty.

There are simple ways you can do this:

For example, let’s say you run a SAAS business and decide it’s time to raise your prices.

Why not lock in current pricing for existing customers? That’s a great way to make them feel appreciated. And you’re not losing anything right?

Taking things up a notch, many business run points schemes for their customers. It’s a great way to incentivise them to stay with you.

Like this:

costa coffee club newsletter

Free coffee? Yes, please.

#24 Use Humour To Brighten Your Subscriber’s Day (And Make Them Click)

How many internet marketers does it take to change a light bulb?

Give me your email address and I’ll tell you.

Ok, bad joke aside, using humour in your marketing emails is another great way to engage your customers.

You’ll be tapping into the emotional side of the brain. And your message will stand out among the hundreds of boring, sales pitch emails

Something to try:

Setup a joke in the subject line. That way you’ll be doubling down on both humour and the curiosity gap.

Like this:

all in one email

Personalisation, curiosity gap, and humour all in one email.

Nice job!

#25 Tug At The Heartstrings

I talked earlier about how stories tap into the emotional side of our brains.

And I’m sure you figured it out already:

Triggering an emotional response will do good things for your list engagement.

So how do you go about it?

Well, here’s a great example from flower retailer Interflora:

flower retailer interflora newsletter

There are so many good things going on here. Let’s break some of them down.

1. It’s Personalised. But Not In The Usual Way

Personalisation is important. We know that.

But let’s be honest:

You probably get a ton of emails each day with your name in the subject line.

So while it’s still good practice, it doesn’t quite have the same impact as it used to.

What did Interflora do instead?

They used my mum’s name in the subject line.

Which immediately made the email stand out in my inbox. And as you know, getting your subject line read is half the battle.

2. They Made Me Feel A Bit Guilty

Secondly, and this is a little bit sneaky, they made me feel guilty.

How?

By using the word “just” in the subject line.

“Refill Linda’s vase for just £19”

What does my brain do with that?

It conjures up an image of my poor mum sitting there with an empty vase.

And it would cost me JUST £19 to refill it!

Not £21.

Not £20.

£19.

Phrases like “just £X” and “only £Y” get a bit overused in sales.

But in this case, it’s gold.

3. The Email Body Brings The Bacon Home

I’m not exactly known for being Mr. Emotional.

But that introductory paragraph is an emotional nuclear bomb.

Again, it’s personalised, and all the language is designed at t.ug at my heart strings and make me want to purchase.

They even picked out the flowers for me, all I have to do is click.

Which brings us onto the final email marketing tip on our list…

#26 Make Your Call To Action Idiot User Proof

Users. They’re a pain right?

Constantly missing your beautifully designed call to action that blends seamlessly with your email marketing template.

Well, you might have heard this matra before:

“Don’t make me think”

And it’s great advice.

Give your users a choice and they will invariably take the wrong action. Or worse, get confused and frantically unsubscribe from your list because you hurt their brain with those 3 different CTAs

Make it ridiculously clear what you what you want your users to do.

When it comes to CTAs, there’s no such thing as too obvious.

Buttons work.

But text links can work well too.

This email from Whitespark uses both.

email from whitespark

And it’s clear exactly what I need to do next.

Let’s Recap

Here’s a quick recap of the tips and best pratices covered in this guide.

  1. The best time to send emails (statistically) is 8.30am on Thursdays
  2. But experiment to find the time that’s best for your list
  3. Stick to a consistent schedule, that your list will get to know
  4. Figure out what your users want, and send them more of the same
  5. Don’t bombard your list. Too many emails will lead to a fall in engagement
  6. Give your subscribers a compelling reason to click
  7. Plan your schedule way in advance to take advantage of important dates
  8. But don’t miss out on last minute panic buyers
  9. Put a time limit on your offers to increase response (the urgency factor)
  10. Stick to what you promised to send when a subscriber signed up
  11. Use storytelling in your emails to improve enagement and build trust=
  12. Make it easy for users to unsubscribe
  13. Use the curiosity gap in your headlines to increase opens and clicks
  14. Make your emails super valuable (and they may even become a product in their own right)
  15. Personalise wherever possible
  16. Segment to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time
  17. Combine personalisation and segmentation to connect with your subscribers
  18. Don’t use a noreply email address. Encourage conversation
  19. Use emojis in your subject lines to help your emails stand out
  20. Remind subscribers why you are emailing them
  21. Keep your lists clean of invalid email addresses, and unengaged subscribers
  22. Give lapsed customers a strong incentive to come back to your business
  23. But don’t forget to reward your loyal customers
  24. Use humour to increase opens and clicks
  25. Trigger an emotional response in your subscribers to increase clicks (and sales)
  26. Have a simple, clear call to action. Tell your subscribers EXACTLY what you want them to do

What’s Next?

We’ve covered a lot in this guide, so if you have any questions or comments specific to your campaigns, then please leave them below.

We’ll also be regularly updating with more email marketing best practices. So if you like what you read then you might want to bookmark this page, or hop on our email list and we’ll ping you when we update.

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