29 Email Marketing Best Practices That Drive Results

Four words, thirty letters, implement them, and skyrocket your business like a pro: email marketing best practices!

Today, we’re going to dive into the best email practices to help you grow your traffic and sales using your mailing list in 2020.

Ready to take your email marketing to the next level?

email marketing best practices

Great! Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Send your emails at the right time

What’s the best day (and time) to send your messages to get the best email open rates?

Google usually has the answer! No need to do those searches yourself as we already did it for you.

What search results showed is that Tuesday at 10 am is according to the internet the best day and time.

But here’s the problem.

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

So guess what happens? Everyone follows the same advice.

And then everyone’s inbox gets bombarded by emails on a Tuesday at 10 am. The result?

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

So what is?

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

This image shows that Thursday is the best day to send a campaign

As you can see, we discovered that the best day to send your emails is Thursday.

However, what about time? Is 10 am still the recipe to achieve better open and click-through rates?

Well, 8 and 9 am seem to have better open rates than the standard 10 am.

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

The best time to deliver an email campaign is according to Moosend between 8 to 9 am

On the face of it, there might not seem to be much difference between the weekdays.

So, it’s perfectly fine to email your subscribers on Mondays and Wednesdays.

But remember:

Every extra click is a potential sale. And you need that!

To sum it up, Thursday at 8.30 am looks like the best time to send your email newsletter.

2. Experiment with your timing

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 marketing 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 email list.

For example, your target audience might be plumbers who check their email in the evening.

In this case, you might find the best time to send your emails is 7 pm.

But didn’t you just say that 8-9 am is the best time to send my email messages?

Well, I’m not going to say I lied, but when it comes to sending emails, you need to know how your target audience behaves.

The easiest way to do that is to collect data through email tracking and experiment!

Thursday at 8.30 am would be an excellent place to start. But if that doesn’t work, you can try a different time or even another day.

Then try another. And another, until you find that sweet spot. After all, it’s a process of trial and error.

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

The chart displays the average email opens and clicks for different industries

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

Otherwise, you know what you need to do!

3. Create a consistent email schedule

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

Your customers will quickly get used to your schedule.

If your list expects an email at 4.15 pm on a Wednesday, then send them an email campaign 15 minutes earlier!

A consistent schedule leads to improvements in opens and click-throughs.

An erratic schedule will do the opposite.

Oh, and in case you are wondering…

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

Sending 2-5 campaigns per month is among the best email marketing best practices

With this email marketing best practice, you will minimize ending up in your subscribers’ trash folders to promote your email deliverability.

While I know that you’d love to bombard them will amazing offers, you shouldn’t.

Building up hype for your next campaign will make your audience appreciate you more and look forward to receiving your next big email campaign.

If you have trouble scheduling your campaigns, you can try our email marketing platform to turn it into a piece of cake!

Want to send your campaign immediately? Now you can!

What about targeting new subscribers at a later date and time? Absolutely!

Cool! But what about my non-openers?

Didn’t I tell you that you can automatically resend your email to the subscribers who didn’t open it?

Sign up now and see for yourself!

And speaking of non-openers…

4. Don’t bombard your list with emails

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 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 bought things from Barneys before and I was sad to see it go.

But before they ceased their operations, Barneys was sending me an email campaign every single day!

Sometimes it was more than one campaign a day!

And what do you notice?

Email marketing best practices Barney's examples of sending multiple emails per week

They all ended up in my trash folder, and Barneys passed off as a spammy brand.

Because at this point, this daily bombardment had become an irritant. And the very next day, I unsubscribed from their email list.

So whatever you do, keep in mind this email marketing best practice and follow it no matter what.

Sometimes, like many things in life, less is more.

5. Give your subscribers what they want

How many emails do you get every day? 100? 200?

Next question:

How many of them do you actually read?

According to recent email marketing statistics, the average office worker now receives 126 emails in their inbox. Every. Single. Day.

So, if you want better open and click-through rates, you should give your subscribers EXACTLY what they want. Because the fact is, most emails go unread.

The Quora team are masters at this.

At some point, they figured out I like Star Wars.

Okay, I don’t “like” Star Wars. I’m obsessed with Star Wars.

So what do they send me most days?

Quora implements personalized campaigns, a winning email marketing best practice for better open rates

Yep, emails, and (importantly) subject lines featuring Star Wars. My Gmail account is overflowing!

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:

This image shows Quora's less targeted email campaigns

No opens, no clicks. And no interest in learning what baby names are illegal in Italy.

(Although I guess naming your son Don Vito Corleone is kinda cool?)

Great email marketers are not born great; they grow great when they properly segment their email list.

That’s the first step to create the best email marketing strategy for your business.

We’ll get right into the perks of list segmentation later on.

What I want you to remember is that a great subject line will make a difference.

If you want a great email marketing tool to help you optimize them, I got you!

Our team has released Refine, a free online tool that predicts the open rate success of your subject lines!

Ready to test your email subject lines?

6. Offer your target audience compelling reasons to click

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

Then give your subscribers a reason to click.

Here’s a simple example from Starbucks.

In this newsletter example Starbucks uses the successful email marketing best practice of valuable subject lines

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

“You could win Starbucks for life!”

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

“You WIN Starbucks for life!”

Stupid brain. But, let’s be honest, free coffee for life sounds like a dream!

When I stop and read the subject line correctly, 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 campaign?

In this example Starbucks has created an email campaign including social proof from previous customers

Now I have to join ASAP for a chance to win more than 2 million prizes! (coffee and treats included)

Bonus points for the clever use of social proof from past winners.

So did I click? Of course, I did. It was completely free to join!

Did I win, though? Um… no.

Nevertheless, that’s one of the best email marketing best practices I’ve seen. So, Starbucks, I salute you!

7. Plan your schedule WAY in advance

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

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter. There are so many opportunities to profit from. And email is your best marketing channel to do it!

Of course, 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:

Create special offers.

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

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

But you don’t only need to be a chocolatier to benefit from it.

Instead of creating last-minute email marketing campaigns that won’t convert, plan them ahead of time.

Even if that means delivering a V-day email drip campaign on 22nd January!

Kate Spade implements some of the best email marketing best practices to create an early drip campaign for Valentine's Day

Well played, Kate. Well played.

From the visuals to the short copy, Kate Spade’s gift guide is all I want to see before V-day.

Like Kate here, create your seasonal email templates early to save time, beat your competitors, and capitalize on those important dates.

Moosend already has a wide variety of beautiful newsletter templates you can customize to your taste.

If you still haven’t got yourself a free account, what are you waiting for?

Christmas might be months away, but you can sign up here today and automate your campaigns like a pro!

A little early planning didn’t hurt anyone.

8. Target your last-minute panic buyers

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

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 to dig them out of a hole (and save them from an angry look).

People like me.

Take this example from Timberland:

In this example Timberland uses a last-minute email marketing best practice to target panic buyers

Just take my money and give me a printable gift card right now!

Timberland sent that email out at 9:07 am on 24th December.

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

And you can bet that a ton of significant others got a printed gift card tucked inside a card on Christmas day.

I can neither confirm nor deny if mine was one of them.

Let’s move on to our next email marketing best practice and never speak of Christmas 2019 again.

9. Create an email drip campaign

If you feel like your audience is reluctant to click on your CTAs, then the only solution is to target them with more emails.

Of course, you don’t want to be spammy. So, to avoid that, you need a smart drip campaign to convince them to act.

Drip marketing is easy to grasp and implement.

Think of your list as an empty glass and your emails as water that “drip” into it over time.

One drip isn’t enough to fill the glass. However, if you have a consistent drip strategy, the glass will fill up in no time.

Luckily, we got tons of fantastic drip campaign examples to get you inspired.

In this example, though, let’s see a welcome email drip campaign from Bonobos.

Bonobos implements a welcome drip campaign to onboard new subscribers

As a fan of the brand, I was glad to see what they created a three-part welcome series to onboard new customers.

The first email in the sequence has a new subscriber incentive of 15% off.

Plus, the “Find your fit” CTA promises to help you pick the right style (and avoid those sock and sandal combos).

In the next welcome email campaign, Bonobos uses its email content to promote essential items like suits and shoes.

However, the third email in the drip is quite different.

Bonobos uses one of the best email marketing practices to familiarize subscribers with the brand and the people behind it

Being a Ninja is all I ever wanted as a child. Now I get to meet them!

Sorta.

Bonobos make this campaign work by introducing their team to new subscribers.

What an incredible way to get your email subscribers to buy, humanize your brand, and promote your brand image!

10. Make your emails time-sensitive

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.

Especially for the new subscribers who just landed on your online store!

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

Here’s a nice example from nutrition brand MyProtein:

MyProtein uses the email marketing practice of FOMO and urgency to increase their sales

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 the full discount, we had better act FAST!

How to add time-sensitivity in your email marketing strategy

The example above is quite sophisticated.

Using urgency in your email subject lines will lead to more opens, clicks, and conversion rates.

Let’s see how you can leverage it properly:

  • Hours left: FREE Lipstick for National Lipstick Day! (MAC Cosmetics)
  • 📆2 DAYS LEFT to shop the Black Friday in July Sale! (Leesa)
  • ⏰ Hurry, Time is Running Out on These Hot Deals! (Nikon)

Hourglasses? Calendars? Clock emojis? Oh. My. Force!

These subject lines couldn’t be more urgent!

As you can see, the effective combination of emojis and language gives them an extra conversion boost.

Of course, if you want to make your email more time-sensitive, I got another brilliant email marketing best practice for you: timers!

Timers are a feature that not every email provider offers.

Luckily for you, Moosend gives you all the time(rs) in the world regardless of your plan. (Just make sure to sign up for your free account!)

See how cool timers look in this example by Redbubble?

In this image Redbubble uses the email marketing best practice of urgency in the form of a timer

Tick tock goes the sale!

11. Make a promise from Day 1 

Creating an online form will help you indicate what a new subscriber 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.

For example, Stacked Marketer has an email signup box on their website. There, they promise to send fresh content every day at 1 pm.

This image presents Stacked Marketer's promise to their subscribers

And that’s exactly what they do:

Stacked Marketer keeps their promise by emailing their audience every day at the designated time

Good job!

What I also love about their newsletter idea is that they included a legit email address, avoiding the no-reply address that countless brands use.

But more on that in a minute…

12. Weave storytelling into your emails

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

Bob had been struggling to get clicks on 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 fulfill his lifelong dream of opening a hot dog and donut diner in Fiji.

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

Resulting in:

  • increased engagement rates
  • more trust
  • better click rates

This is why storytelling is part of this massive email marketing best practices guide.

And don’t forget, storytelling has been such a powerful tool that content marketing has used to engage and convert more customers successfully!

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 it.

Like this:

In this example Backlinko with the best email marketing practice of storytelling

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

Brian Dean uses email to share a personal story with his subscribers

You can bet he gets a lot of clicks.

Stories can be personal, funny, and highly relatable to your target audience.

So, if you got one that fits your email marketing strategy, make sure to share it.

13. Allow your audience to unsubscribe

Wait, what?

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

Well, 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 an email list. And you need to embrace it.

As you’ll see in numerous successful newsletter examples, the best place to add your unsubscribe button is next to your email address:

In this image Happy Socks uses the email marketing practice of adding an unsubscribe button at the start of their email

I know it might sound like an unorthodox email marketing best practice. However, you need to make your email as transparent as possible.

Furthermore, you can add your button at the end of your email design. Keep in mind, though, that using a super small font (like 3pt) isn’t wise.

Because this can also generate spam reports.

Too many will quickly see your email deliverability plummet.

So if someone wants out, 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 to ensure that you don’t forget about it!

So, don’t be afraid of losing a few email subscribers. More will soon arrive to compensate for the loss.

After all, it’s just the circle of email marketing life.

14. Use the curiosity gap in your subject lines

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.

Curiosity gap is an email marketing best practice email marketer can leverage to increase open and click rates

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.

In 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 your email.

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

Using the curiosity gap

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 two possible email subject lines:

  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 will have to open the email (or click through to our site) to find out what that trick is.

Which email 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.

15. A/B test your email campaigns

Writing okay emails is easy. But writing awesome emails needs a bit of work.

The content of your emails and your intriguing subject lines will do the trick.

But there’s always an email marketing best practice to make things better!

I might bring up some school memories now, but the only way to nail those campaigns is through testing.

More specifically, A/B testing!

An A/B test sounds complicated, but I can assure you that it’s relatively easy to do.

All you need is the option to run an A/B split campaign. And guess which email service provider gives you exactly that!

If you thought of Moosend, you’re on fire!

As one of the best Mailchimp alternatives out there, we have a reputation to uphold!

Moosend A/B testing campaign

So, you can test various subject lines and determine which email content converts better.

Then, set your winning campaign parameters and let email tracking do the rest for you.

In this image you can see how to leverage the email marketing best practice of A/B testing with Moosend

As I always say, never forget to send test emails to yourself to check if your control and variations look good.

An incomplete campaign sent by mistake will ruin your experiment, and you’ll have to start again.

Extra homework. No fun.

What can you A/B test?

Short answer: EVERYTHING!

Long answer:

  • subject lines
  • preheader text (keep in mind your mobile device users!)
  • content of your email: images and copy
  • CTA boxes (colors, copy, placement)
  • your email campaign tone and length

Whatever you choose to test, don’t forget to check your metrics.

Your open rates are essential if you’re checking variations of your subject lines.

Similarly, monitoring your click rates when you come up with different email content is crucial.

Finally, the winning combo is the one that will give you the best conversion rate.

So, grab that (email) bull by the horns and send it to your email list ASAP.

Here, you can see a simple A/B test focusing on different CTA messages from Optimizely.

The picture shows how Optimizely used email marketing best practices to find the campaign with the most clicks

Source

49.6% more clicks?

As it seems, CTA copy can beat even the most boring newsletter images!

The click rates speak for themselves. Imagine that!

16. Craft a rocking value proposition

Emails don’t just have to be for sales messages or generating better click rates for 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. So, it’s only natural to mention him in our list of email marketing best practices.

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 and is much missed.

He 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 the email content of a typical edition of LinkMoses Private:

This image shows how Eric Ward added value to his email by leveraging some of the best email marketing practices

Yes, you read that correctly. 5,000 words. In a single 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’ email subscribers would number in the thousands.

The lesson?

Create a newsletter that will add value to your business and convert your target audience.

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.

17. Personalize your email campaigns

Have you ever had an encounter with one of those annoying salespeople 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 feels a little forced.

This is why you should definitely follow their example by personalizing your emails as much as you can.

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

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

This is a typical example of brands using the email marketing practice of personalized subject lines

Why?

Because it still works. And according to email automation statistics, 1.75% of email revenue comes from personalized email marketing campaigns!

Personalization, though, shouldn’t end with the subject line.

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

Or, they take the extra mile to remind me that I still need to watch my favorite superhero show (which I’ve totally forgotten about)!

Netflix's email marketing strategy focuses on personalized content which is one of the best email marketing practices for better engagement

(At this point, I’ll take in all your snarky comments about my Netflix username like a champ. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

So, if you want to see a significant increase in your engagement rate, personalization will give you the right tools to do it.

18. Unlock the power of list segmentation

Segmentation stands out in our email marketing best practices list. It is an incredible tool that every email marketer needs in their arsenals, no matter what.

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

Which makes us Moosenders super sad…

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

As we said before, segmentation starts the moment you capture your subscribers’ email addresses.

Nevertheless, segmenting your subscribers shouldn’t be a hassle. With smarter newsletter signup forms, everything can be a hundred times faster.

Here’s an example from Baskits:

In this example Baskits has a smart newsletter singup form to capture valuable information and segment their audience

The brand can easily group new subscribers based on their purchase preferences.

By properly segmenting your list, you can tailor your messages to meet those needs.

I’ll be honest.

List segmentation is a HUGE topic.

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

Design follow-up email campaigns

Let’s say you are launching a webinar.

You might send out an initial email like this one from Zendesk:

Zendesk leverages some of the best email marketing campaigns to create a successful webinar campaign

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

So you’ll want to send a follow-up.

Zendesk sends a follow-up email to reminder subscribers about their upcoming webinar

Timers! (I will never stop talking about them!)

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

So by segmenting your mailing list, you can:

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

Segment by user action

Is an email 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 rate.

Using state-of-the-art analytics and email tracking will help you understand your email subscribers’ behavior better.

Then, you can use the data to segment your target audience and deliver email content tailored to their needs.

Segment by website engagement

Did you know that it’s possible to segment users by specific actions on your website?

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

To nail eCommerce email marketing, you need the power of automation.

Using your email provider’s automated workflows is your ticket to success.

And Meowingtons sure knows how to leverage it properly!

In this picture you can see how Meowingtons uses abandoned cart emails to target its cart abandoners

If you have a multi-step signup form (which in itself is among the top email marketing best practices you need to implement), you could target users who filled in step 1, but didn’t complete step 2.

Sounds powerful. And it is.

19. Automate and personalize your messages

Connecting with your subscribers at a more personal level is one of the vital email marketing best practices to improve your engagement.

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

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

In this picture Brent Cross uses the age-old email marketing best practice of the birthday email campaign

And of course, with Moosend, you can also automate that. Although, you’ll need to collect DOBs during sign up… we’re not psychic.

But, we can give you all the subscription form templates you need to get started!

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 sends a weekly email letting you know how your baby is developing (and what to expect):

The Bump takes things to the next level with the brilliant email marketing practice of personalization

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

Engagement never stops!

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

The takeaway?

Think about how vital personal dates 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.

And you can leverage all our automated workflows just by signing up for a free account!

20. Start a conversation with your subscribers

What’s wrong with this picture?

In this picture Premier Inn uses a noreply email address in their email marketing campaign

No, it’s not the purple kite that looks like a strange antenna coming out of the boy’s head!

They personalized the content of the email and email subject line. Good.

They asked a question on the subject. That’s great.

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 no-reply email addresses. Or even better, encourage your subscribers to reply.

Collecting feedback is essential not only for your email marketing but also for your entire marketing plan.

So, start conversions with your target audience, and their feedback might help you boost every aspect of your business.

Like a boss.

21. Use emojis to make your subject lines stand out

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%. 

Statistics show that emojis are part of email marketing best practices contributing to improved open rates

For example, music retailers GuitarGuitar use a guitar emoji in most of their subject lines:

Guitarguitar uses the email marketing best practice of adding emojis in their subject lines

Makes sense, right?

And (practicing what we preach) we frequently use emojis in our newsletter to boost our open and click rates!

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

22. Remind subscribers why they signed up

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 entirely forgotten signing up.

Now it’s the perfect time to 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.
  • But you emailed it 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.
  • They hit the spam button.
  • Everything spirals into chaos. (I’m just kidding.)

But even if you’re a regular sender, reminding people why they signed up is among the most important email marketing best practices you need!

Converse, for instance, reminds subscribers why they signed up at the bottom of their newsletter.

This is a great email marketing practice from Converse to remind subscribers the reason they singed up

Why at the bottom, though?

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

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

This is one of the email marketing best practices to follow in 2020.

So, don’t forget to remind those absent-minded subscribers why they subscribed.

23. Maintain email list hygiene

You 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 significant, raw number of email subscribers.

But if most of those subscribers never engage, 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 email marketing campaigns hit spam thresholds set by inbox providers.

And that’s the kiss of death for your list. Which is why it is essential to clean your list regularly.

So what should you do?

Here are some quick email marketing tips:

1. Remove invalid emails (hard bounces)

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

You should remove any hard bounces from your email list to improve your sender reputation.

If you use Moosend for your email marketing 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. Give them a chance to come back to you!

But if you’re getting a consistent soft bounce from an email address, then it’s probably worth removing it.

A three-strike policy might be worth considering.

3. Remove disengaged email addresses

This one is a little trickier.

How long should you wait before removing a disengaged subscriber from your email 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, they are probably not interested in your list anymore.

4. Use double opt-ins

When a new subscriber signs up for your emails, you can send them a link to confirm the subscription.

This process is your good old double opt-in, an extra step to verify your subscriber’s email address.

The double opt-in will add an extra step to your subscriber’s journey. However, it’s one of the safest email marketing best practices you need!

See how IKEA cleverly uses its double opt-in to keep its list clean? And what about that “Hej Nick” in their email content?

IKEA uses double opt-ins to improve its list hygiene and avoid spam accounts

This looks like a brilliant strategy if you ask me!

Tip: Give them one last chance

It’s no fun removing a valid email address from your email 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.

For a real-life example, let’s take a look at Framebridge’s campaign:

Here:

In this picture Frambridge utilizes some great email marketing best practices to re-engage subscribers

24. Win your disengaged customers 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?

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 a re-engagement email with a strong incentive to win them back.

Here are some ideas:

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

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

HQ hair re-engages subscribers using the email marketing best practice of an irresistible 20% discount

Looks good, right?

But what about bloggers and SaaS companies? Is this email marketing best practice for them?

Well, Moz regularly gives a second trial to lapsed customers when they update their tools.

In this example Moz gives users a bonus free trial to re-engage them wjth their tools and convert them

Regardless of industry, find the right incentive to bring your lapsed customers back.

Customer acquisition is a big deal (and a costly one, trust me!).

Investing in customer retention, though, is cost-effective and the best practice to promote your growth in a competitive market.

25. Reward your loyal email subscribers

Loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business.

They stay subscribed to your product and 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 businesses run reward points schemes for their customers. It’s a great way to incentivize them to stay with you.

Like this:

In this photo example Costa leverages one of the most successful email marketing best practices to reward loyal customers

With a beautiful email design that invites customers to enjoy their favorite drink for free, your open and click rates are bound to reach the top.

26. Integrate email marketing with social media

Social media. The holy land of memes, challenges, and Instagram influencer marketing!

I guess you didn’t expect to see it in an email marketing best practices article. But here it is!

Why?

Everyone has a social account to communicate with their friends. But most importantly, check news and interact with branded content. (mainly from influencers!)

Since social media is such a big player, you need to integrate it with your email marketing.

Because it’s a marketing battle out there, and you need every potential ally to emerge victoriously!

And the way to do it? Well, take a look at Rothy’s email:

Rothy's uses this email marketing best practice to promote their instagram campaign and being attention to their social mediaaccount

This email campaign is great to draw attention to your social media profiles.

And the perfect social media marketing hack to expand your mailing list.

Of course, worry not if you don’t have a campaign like Rothy’s (or don’t plan to make one).

You can always add social media buttons at the bottom of your email and let your cross-promotional efforts run on autopilot.

In this picture Rothy's includes social buttons to integrate their social media and email marketing channels

Grab that drink! You deserve it!

27. Leverage the power of humor

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

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

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

(And a personal favorite email marketing best practice of mine for better engagement rates!)

With humor, you’ll be tapping into the emotional side of the brain. And your message will stand out among the hundreds of annoying sales pitch emails.

Something to try:

Set up a joke in the subject line. That way, you’ll be doubling down on both humor and the curiosity gap.

Like this:

In this picture Money super marketing uses the email marketing best practice of humor to engage and entertain subscribers

Personalization, curiosity gap, and humor all in one funny email.

Nice job!

28. Infuse your messages with emotion

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 is one of the most valuable email marketing best practices to increase list engagement.

So how do you go about it?

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

Interflora takes email marketing best practices to the next level by hyper-personalizing their mother's day email campaign

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

1. It has hyper-personalized email content

Personalization 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 the mother’s name in the subject line.

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

2. It adds urgency to the message

Secondly, and this is a little bit sneaky, they made the subscriber 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 David’s poor mum sitting there with an empty vase.

And it would cost him 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 email marketing best practices gold.

3. The email content brings the bacon home

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

But that introductory paragraph is an emotional nuclear bomb to boost sales like a pro.

Again, it’s personalized, and all the language is designed to tug at the subscriber’s heartstrings and make them want to purchase.

They even picked out the flowers for David; all he has to do is click.

This brings us onto the final email marketing best practice on our list…

29. Make your CTAs user-proof

Users. They’re a pain, right?

And they are always missing your beautifully designed CTA that blends seamlessly with your email design.

Well, you might have heard this mantra before:

“Don’t make me think.”

And it’s excellent 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 three different CTAs.

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

When it comes to CTAs, there’s no such thing as too obvious. Buttons work. And you need to drive those leads to your landing page no matter what!

But text links can work well too.

This email from Whitespark uses both.

In this image Whitespark uses one of the best email practices to create two user proof CTAs to increase clicks

And it’s clear what I need to do next!

Let’s recap

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

  1. The best time to send emails (statistically) is 8.30 am 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. Don’t bombard your list. Too many emails will lead to lower engagement
  5. Figure out what your users want, and send them more of the same
  6. Give your subscribers a compelling reason to click
  7. Plan your schedule to take advantage of important dates
  8. But don’t miss out on last-minute panic buyers
  9. Create beautiful email drip campaigns to increase your conversions
  10. Put a time limit on your offers to increase response
  11. Stick to what you promised to send when a subscriber signed up
  12. Use storytelling to improve engagement and build trust
  13. Make it easy for users to unsubscribe
  14. Use the curiosity gap in your headlines to increase opens and clicks
  15. Test your email content through A/B testing
  16. Make your emails super valuable
  17. Personalize wherever possible
  18. Segment to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time
  19. Combine personalization and automation 
  20. Don’t use a no-reply email address. Encourage conversations
  21. Use emojis in your subject lines to help your emails stand out
  22. Remind subscribers why you are emailing them
  23. Keep your lists clean of invalid email addresses, and unengaged subscribers
  24. Give lapsed customers a strong incentive to come back
  25. But don’t forget to reward your loyal customers
  26. Integrate your email marketing and social media strategies
  27. Use humor to increase opens and clicks
  28. Trigger an emotional response in your subscribers
  29. Have a clear CTA that tells your subscribers what 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 liked what you read, you might want to bookmark this page, share it with your friends, or hop on our email list, and we’ll ping you when we update.

Email marketing shouldn’t be a hassle.

If you still haven’t picked the right tools to make email marketing a piece of cake, make sure to try our email marketing platform.

What are you waiting for?

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