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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

7 Expert Email Marketing Tips

7 Expert Email Marketing Tips
Credit: Shutterstock/Fizwig

Email is an effective, affordable marketing tactic that has remained a top strategy for years. It has influenced many consumers and propelled many brands to the top of their category. But while it's held its ground for some time, it's certainly changed over the years.

To keep up with times, you must adapt to tech changes and implement new tactics. Here are seven email marketing tips to ensure success for your email marketing campaigns. [Deciding on an email marketing software program for your business? Here are our best picks.]

According to KJ Dearie, product specialist at Termly, one of the most important steps an email marketer should take is adhering to the CAN-SPAM Act, a law that outlines seven requirements for business emails.

"Broadly speaking, the CAN-SPAM Act requires marketing emails to be clear in both content and intentions and to give recipients the ability to unsubscribe from the emailing service," Dearie said. "The act also dictates the need for business owners to ensure that any third-party email marketing service they employ adheres to the CAN-SPAM standards or risk penalization, the likes of which could be as steep as $40,000 per offending email."

It's best to make yourself aware of these risks before it's too late. It's as simple as familiarizing yourself with the act and ensuring you don't overstep its boundaries.

When crafting your emails, keep your target audience in mind. However, this isn't just one group of people; rather, it should be several groups of consumers categorized according to preferences and interests, a process known as segmentation.

"Do not blast messages to everyone on your list," said Maria Mora, content director at Big Sea. "Break lists up depending on where your contacts are in the buyer's journey, and segment based on what you know about them. Then tailor messages that are appropriate to those contacts at the right time."

The first thing customers will see is your subject line. If it doesn't pique their curiosity among the swarm of other emails in their inbox, they'll likely delete it.

To create an attractive subject, Ryan Gould, vice president of strategy and marketing services at Elevation Marketing, advised getting personal with customers by being upfront about who you are and what you can do for them.

"Customers really don't care about what your email is offering. They just want to know how it's going to benefit them," he said. "If that is coming across clearly in the subject line and it's paired with a sense of urgency, such as a time limit, odds are they will want to read more. Using questions … and mentioning current (and relevant) events are also excellent ways to pique readers' curiosity."

Once you've come up with some good angles, it's time to put them to the test. With A/B testing, you can experiment with two variants, such as two subject lines, to discover which performs best.

"When sending email campaigns, it's important to find out what works for you and your audience," said Sean Nichols, marketing manager at SiteVisibility. "A/B testing is the best way to do this and can … increase your open rates and clicks."

Rather than blindly choosing what you think might perform best, run A/B tests so you can curate your information in the future.

"Through A/B testing, you're able to test a variety of things, like subject lines, who the email is sent from and when the email is sent, but perhaps most importantly, you're able to test the content within the email," he added. "Here, you should test things like call to actions, the images included, the text used to convey your message and the layout of the email itself."

Nichols recommended testing just one part of the email (e.g., subject lines or images) at a time so there aren't too many variables. This ensures more accurate results.

Don't forget the purpose of your email, which should be clear to your audience. Are you reminding them that they have an item in their cart? Alerting them of a sale? Promoting new products?

"If you want to see email engagement increase, you have to have a strong call to action to encourage and measure that engagement," said Megan Robinson, vice president of marketing at @revenue. "For those starting out with email marketing, [many] fail to think about the reader's journey and connect the immediate message with the next steps."

Every email should require some form of action from consumers, from checking out your website to filling out a survey. Once you have their attention with a catchy subject and intriguing text, they'll be more interested in following your requests.

Don't complicate your emails. Say exactly what you want to say in a way that will interest your readers. You don't have to type paragraphs of content that no one will bother reading. Be as clear and concise as possible.

"Instead of including several long articles that will take readers a long time to scroll through, keep it brief and include a link to your blog where they can read more," said Emily Sidley, senior director of publicity at Three Girls Media Inc. "This is especially important, because the majority of consumers check email on their phones. If the email is too long, they won't spend time scrolling through on their tiny handheld screen."

Many mobile users are on the go and don't have time to read lengthy content. If your emails take longer than two to three minutes to read, you're likely to be ignored, added Mora.

The last step to consider is analytics. Your job is not over once you click Send. In fact, it's just begun.

"Each time you send a newsletter, look at how many recipients open it, which links they click, if they forward it, etc.," said Sidley. "As you look at this information, notice trends. Do your readers like a particular type of content more than another? Is the open rate higher or lower when you send it in the afternoon or the morning? Pay attention to the data and adjust your email marketing campaign accordingly."

The results will help you create more valuable content for the future.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Purch B2B staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn't play it safe is when she's writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.