Given that email is still the predominant form of customer communication, it’s always a good idea to review your email marketing practices and update, tweak and improve them for subscribers. By constantly measuring, evaluating and testing new techniques, you’ll improve deliverability, improve satisfaction and increase sales (yeah, those are nice, too).
There is no cookie-cutter for successful email marketing. It will always come down to your customer and prospect’s expectations and how you deliver on them. That said, it doesn’t prevent anyone from trying these best practices to improve your deliverability to your recipients. Feel free to apply these in your email marketing, autoresponders and demand generations software.
1. Implement a Consistent “From” Address
Consider updating your “From” address so it’s consistent across all email communications. The recommended format is to have it be your full name, or your full company name, or both. Either way, be sure to keep it uniform. I can tell you that when I get the same emails from the same person, I am more likely to add them to my ISP’s address book — which is like a VIP pass to their inbox.
2. Update your Opt-Out and Footer Information in Your Templates
3. Give your Email Templates an Overhaul
It was nice back in 1994 when email included SUPER LARGE TEXT and blinking animated GIFs in email, but times have changed. People love a consistent, clean and readable theme that drives them to pertininent information. I need to give massive credit over to Campaign Monitor for having 30+ free email templates that you can use today in your email marketing. These templates have been tested to look great on virtually every email software on the planet. If you use those templates, be sure to update the merge fields appropriately.
In addition to this, send your emails in multipart. This means if the recipient is reading your email on their BlackBerry, they can get to the point right away and skip all the graphics and fluff. Multipart emails send as both an HTML and a text email.
4. Stop Sending Email to People Who Don’t Respond
I’ve seen it again and again … marketers sending email to their entire database instead of targeted broadcasts to qualified prospects. It’s not rocket science. If someone isn’t responding/opening/clicking on your emails, odds are they probably don’t want your email. These people are also risky because they could, unexpectedly, report you as Spam to their ISP if you cross the line with expectations. The industry calls this, “list attrition,” and that basically means that an email address is good for about 9 months in your CRM software. Don’t push it.
If you’re open rates are up and your bounce rates are down, you’re doing well. Keep it up and continue to provide value in every email and please your subscribers.
5. Ask (and Remind) Prospects to Add You to their Address Book
When an email sender is added to an ISP’s address book, the ISP gives more credibility to the sender. They figure that only trusted contacts, family members and friends make it there, and they commit to delivering those emails more reliably. Take a look at how emails look like when you send them; the email address they should add is the one in the From field.
We suggest you let them know this information in every email just in case they dug your email out of their junk mail folder.
6. Measure, Analyze, Test, Tweak, Adapt, Rinse, Lather Repeat
You can’t afford to not measure the effectiveness of your email marketing today. With Google Analytics, they can help you measure the effectiveness of your emails, copy, marketing effectiveness and interests of your users. They have a really cool blog entry explaining how to measure your email markeitng with Google Analytics.
Once you establish a baseline, consider using Google Website Optimizer to split test landing pages. And to make things more exciting, try spliting your broadcasts into two different templates with different subject lines to split-test your marketing. This will result in probably a few late nights but will deliver in a high return in the form of knowledge and conversion from your prospects and customers.
7. *BONUS* Offer a Free Report, eBook or Webinar to Prospects
Not exactly an email deliverability tip, but definitely helps your marketing. When you provide value to your prospects who don’t know you, give them the chance to know more about you. Free reports, ebooks and Webinars help you build and nuture that relationship. Give your readers time to schedule and review your emails and establish rapport all along and advoate for their interests. When they’re ready, they will buy from the path of least resistance — you.
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These are just the tip of the iceberg with it comes to email best practices. I’m interested to hear your tips for improving deliverability. Share your tips in the comments and be heard!