10 email marketing best practices
Table of Contents
1—Make Your Subject Lines Clickable
Think of email subject lines as the hook that makes recipients click to open your emails — or not! Without a good subject line, most emails never get that coveted click and land in the trash without ever being read. To avoid that outcome, follow these subject line creation best practices:
- Ask a question. For example, “Are You Still Stuck in Old-School Business Practices?”
- Generate curiosity. For example, “Why Your Child is More Digitally Intelligent Than Most CMOs”
- Try a teaser. For “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Customers—But Your Competitors Do”
- Be provocative. For example, “How Much Business Success Can You Tolerate?”
Blend multiple techniques together if you’re up for it, like this one from Linkedin we find really catchy.
2—Hit the Right Note in Your Email’s Opening Sentence
After you’ve nailed your subject line, the next most important bit of content is the first line of your email. Most are truly boring and uninspiring, because they are inauthentic, to general, and not original. Instead, follow these best practice guidelines to write better opening sentences in your emails:
- Be personal. Grab their attention right away with something personal, such as, “I noticed your company recently.”
- Get to the point. Avoid aggravating your email recipients by beating around the bush. Get to the point quickly. For example: “I have an idea on how you can expand your market opportunity.
- Inject humor. Lighten things up with a quick tongue in cheek opener, such as, “Hopefully you’ve already had your coffee.”
3—Body Text Length
You may wonder what the ideal word count for emails is. Think of it as a Goldilocks scenario — too few words are good and too many words are not good. The “just right range” according to one study is 50 to 125 words, both garnering a 51% response rate.
4—Call to Action
Your call to action needs to generate action as quickly as possible, before your recipients forget and move on to their next task. Here are a few best practices for creating perfect calls to action in your emails:
- Make it action oriented, such as: “Reserve your spot!”
- Be transparent: Tell your audience exactly where your CTA leads them.
- Keep it short: Two or three words is best, but no more than five or six.
- Inject urgency, for example: “Save today only!”
This example from Semrush is not only eye catching, but also tells you clearly why clicking through drives value.
5—Create a High-Impact Prospect List
The leading characteristics of a great email marketing list is the size of the list and the prospects on the list. Typically, an organization needs a large list — even up to a million people — to generate a high response. Also, you need to be sure that the prospects on the list are viable candidates for your company’s products and services. Ask yourself if these leads are pre-qualified and able to convert into opportunities.
Buying lists is not a great practice with GDPR laws in place. The best option is to have your target audience opt in as a marketing contact. There are several options to create an opt in: offer good content, invite for events, offer free trials, ask for subscriptions etc. Once they become a marketing qualified lead you can put them in nurture sequences and formally introduce them to your products and services.
6—Segment Your Prospect List
If you have a great email list, there is a way to make it even better — segment it. This pro tip works because experienced B2B email marketers know how much greater response they receive with a segmented versus unsegmented list.
Your prospect list can be segmented by a wide range of criteria depending on your marketing goals. The basic formula is to group prospects together who share similar behaviors, such as:
- Stage they’re at in the buyers’ journey
- Where they’re located geographically
- Their specific industry
- Level of interest they’ve shown in the brand
With a segmented list, you can tweak your emails to create more targeted messaging for each segment, such as the introductory paragraph, the offer, and the closing text.
7—Set Your KPIs
Measuring the impact of your email marketing campaigns is critical for process improvement. You want to find out what worked and what didn’t so you can improve on your subsequent email marketing campaigns.
Here are the top 10 key performance indicators (KPI) for B2B email marketing campaigns:
- Emails opened: If you want to increase your email open rate, A/B test your subject line. Your email open rate should be between 15% and 20% of your total emails sent
- Click-through rate: Send personalized and relevant content to increase your click through rate
- Click-to-open rate: Improve your click to open rate by incorporating a persuasive CTA, align your email copy with subject line and personalization
- Unsubscribe rate: This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is good to know how many of your recipients are actually interested in your business
- Bounce rate: Checking your email addresses of the recipients through unbounce or some other tools. If your bounce rate is very high, you should probably use a different list
- Spam complaints: If your spam complaints are high, you should check your email list. This should be probably a good indicator to reevaluate your campaign as a whole.
- Conversions: If your conversions are low, check your content, landing page or even minor tweak to the subject line could increase your conversions
When it comes to KPIs and email campaign metrics, learn to never be satisfied with the status quo. Know you can always improve your results.