For many affiliates, email marketing is a huge part of their marketing strategy. But for others, it’s undiscovered land and like anything new, there are things to learn about the best and worst practises.
If you’re not already involved with email marketing, I highly recommend starting to build up a list of email addresses from the people who visit your website; it’s a great way to re-market to individuals who have already shown an interest in your content or brand.
Here are some simple ways to ensure your email marketing is at the top of its game and you are getting the most from your efforts.
1. Make Your Emails Responsive
I think it goes without saying that ensuring your emails are optimised for mobile is one of the most important things you can do. Most email platforms such as Aweber, Getresponse and Mailchimp offer a range of ready-made responsive templates so that all the hard work is done for you. According to email platform Litmus, 53% of emails are now opened on mobile and this figure looks set to increase over the next few years, so a responsive email has never been more important.
2. Include a Call to Action
You’ve sent an email out for a reason, so you need to make it clear to the receiver what you want them to do. It’s likely you want the opener to be pulled back to your website, to either make a purchase or take some other action once there. Getting the reader to open the email is the first challenge out the way. Getting the reader to click within that email is a whole new challenge.
Include a strong, visual call-to-action button in an easy-to-see location within the email. Bright colours and clear font are important elements. Try using a stand out colour that isn’t used elsewhere in the email, other than for clickable features, such as in the first example below. You will also want to think about the positioning. Keep it close to the relevant text and not right at the very bottom where it will never be seen, like in the second example.
3. Make Your Unsubscribe Button Visible
You should always include an unsubscribe button in every email you send. If you don’t you are risking your email being reported as spam, which is going to affect your relationship with the email marketing platform.
Trying to hide the unsubscribe button in inconspicuous places is only going to frustrate the receiver and rather than leaving your list quietly via a visible link, they might report your email, make a complaint or bad-mouth your brand across social media.
4. Keep Your List Clean
Over time your list of email addresses will become outdated as more and more people abandon old accounts or simply stop opening them. You might have heard of ‘email list hygiene’ and this is simply ensuring you have an active and relevant list at all times. Every 4-6 months, clear out those who have never opened a single email. If you’re sending quite regularly this is a good waiting period. However, if you’re only sending once every couple of months, you might want to give it a bit longer. Most email platforms provide you with the tools to do this very quickly and very easily.
5. Don’t Buy Email Lists
Collecting and building your own email list is the most important element of email marketing. If you want to send out successful campaigns, then you need a highly engaged list.
If you’re purchasing an email list from anywhere at all, there is a very slim chance that any of those people will be interested in what you have to say. This is such a common error as it’s often seen as a quick win to build up a list. Here are some of the reasons why you should never do this:
- High unsubscribe rates and spam report rates means you might get banned from the email marketing platform you are using.
- If you’re sending emails to large numbers of people who aren’t opening/clicking your email then you are wasting money.
Make sure the people you are emailing have opted in to receive your emails specifically. This way you can be sure they are actually interested and want to read your emails.
6. Never Use Misleading Subject Lines
You are trying to keep your subscribers by sending them enticing email content which is relevant and interests them enough to retain their subscription. So writing misleading subject lines just to get someone to open your email is basically the same as inviting them to unsubscribe.
How frustrating would you find it if you opened an email which said “Is this the perfect car for you?” and the content was actually about a new weight loss solution. Be honest with your readers and you are going to retain your list for a lot longer, and get much more out of it.
7. Personalise Your Emails
When you’re sending out emails in bulk they can often appear very automated and the reader might not feel like the email is really aimed at them directly. It’s difficult to make every receiver feel like the email is especially for them, but there are some things you can do.
- Use the first name of the receiver in the subject line and at the start of the email. As long as you have been collecting the first name of your subscribers along with their email you should be able to do this.
- Segment your emails wherever possible. If you have more information about the person such as a location, gender or specific interest then try targeting your emails at different groups to increase open rates and clicks.
8. Test Things Out
The best way to see what’s working and what isn’t is to test everything! There are many articles claiming that subject lines with certain words, or subject lines of certain lengths work best, but you will never really know what works best with your unique list until you test things out.
Here are some of things you can test:
- The subject line
- The template itself
- The content in the message
- The call-to-actions in the message
- The dates and times you are sending emails
9. Don’t Send Emails all the Time
People receive so much email these days, they don’t necessarily want brands or bloggers to be sending emails every day or even every week. If you are sending on a weekly basis, keep a close eye on the number of unsubscribes those emails are receiving. If it seems high, then try reducing your sends to once every two weeks, or even once a month.
There are quite a few things to think about when putting an email marketing strategy together, so planning ahead is advisable. Try to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and think about your own habits when checking email. Ask yourself, what makes you open an email? What makes you unsubscribe from an email? What makes you click on something within an email? This is a great starting point if you’re unsure about what to include and what not to include in an email.