Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

When it comes to creating an email marketing strategy, a lot of the decisions you make will depend on who you are targeting and what you find works best for them. But even before you have that information, here are some tried and true do’s and don’ts that every email marketer lives by.

Do: prioritize quality

First, how many emails do you think are sent per day? Some experts have estimated that over 300 billion emails are sent every single day. That’s a lot of emails. Knowing how many emails are being sent every single day, it’s important for your brand that you do prioritize quality. Make sure you set a standard that define what quality means for your brand or team and stick to it.

If people like the content in your emails, they’ll look forward to them even if they’re only once a week. Maybe quality means that it enriches their life in some way. Perhaps you just want to provide some interesting or beautiful images to your customers or readers, and that equates to quality for you.

Maybe quality means you teach them something. If your company focuses on mental health, maybe you equip your clients and customers with a new resource or exercise to start their week each Monday morning. When you prioritize quality over quantity, you are ensuring you aren’t overwhelming your reader or customer.

Don’t spam them.

Spam – Unsolicited and unwanted junk email sent out in bulk to a broad recipient list.

Always avoid making your emails look or sound like spam, and don’t worry about appearing in inboxes several times a week just to stay top-of-mind. Spam often uses dramatic phrases, and too good to be true offers. If you use that kind of language, odds are you will end up in their spam folder anyways, and the emails will never be received.

Do: segment your lists

Segmenting – The practice of dividing an email subscriber list into smaller groups based on criteria like interests, location, or purchase history.

The basics are that segmenting is a great strategy because it allows you to target tailored emails to specific people to ensure the customers will enjoy them.

For instance, if you are marketing a product that you find typically sells better to people who identify as a certain gender, you might segment your list by your subscribers’ gender. Gender segmentation can be the following women, men, non-binary, and other genders that people have self-identified. Or let’s say you wanted to offer a 10 percent discount to customers as a birthday gift. You could easily segment the list by month and send emails to customers with birthdays in any given month.

A type of segmentation that is very popular is segmenting by time zone. Some email marketers believe it is best to be in your customers’ inboxes first thing in the morning. However, all of your customers won’t live in the same geographic location. For this reason, you may decide to segment your lists by time zone to ensure you’re landing in inboxes at the optimal time.

Don’t: send the same emails to every subscriber

It can end up being a waste of your very valuable subscribers because if they are being sent emails that they don’t identify with, they are less likely to read the email and they may even unsubscribe. The perfect email doesn’t craft itself. It takes time, precision, editing, design work, and most importantly, testing.

Do: test various formats, lengths, links, and images in your emails.

It would be almost impossible to get everything right on the first try. You might find that your audience hardly clicked on the hyperlinks you included. So maybe you try linking to different content or even just providing a bit more context for your links in the next few emails. See what works, and don’t be afraid to try new things. The only thing you shouldn’t try is sticking to the same format without testing anything new.

Ethical email language

The end goal of an email marketing campaign is to achieve your business objectives and marketing goals. To do that, you need to create emails customers want to open, read, and engage with. One important way to run a successful campaign is to ensure that you’re conducting ethical email marketing.

Ethical marketing means creating strategies that bring true value to your audience, while maintaining the moral principles your business subscribes to. There are many considerations when writing emails in an ethical manner, but one is to choose your language carefully.

Use ethical language

As an email marketer, the language you use affects how your communications are received – you never want to use language to scam or spam users. Emails that don’t follow ethical marketing language may be caught by spam filters. They may never reach customer mailboxes. Even if they do get through, they may create negative feelings in readers, causing them to distrust your company and its tactics. This can put your brand’s voice and integrity at risk. If your words come off as manipulative, exaggerated, unethical, or desperate, your brand’s voice and integrity may be at risk.

Use trustworthy and honest language

Your subscribers should always feel like they can trust you. Using genuine language in your brand’s voice builds trust with your audience. Make a point to select conversational phrasing and that makes your customers feel comfortable. Consider excluding words and phrases that are time-sensitive. A simple “10% off inside” will do more to entice readers than something like “URGENT: Act Now.”

Some examples of words that will be flagged by spam filters are:

  • Act now
  • Apply now
  • Urgent
  • Exclusive deal
  • Important information regarding
  • This won’t last

Be truthful about what you’re offering

Choose phrases and words that indicate exactly what the email offer is. If it’s an extra 50% off sale items, state that. Your audience doesn’t want to feel like you aren’t telling the whole story.

So if you’re using words that are very exaggerated, or hyperbolic, the emails may not even make it to your audience. And, if the emails do make it there, you don’t want to risk having them feel like they were tricked by you.

Some examples of hyperbolic phrases are:

  • Best offer ever
  • Fantastic deal
  • Free money
  • No catch
  • No fees

These are phrases you should generally avoid so that your customers don’t feel tricked or misled.

Use language that adds value

Use words that add a value of some kind, so your audience has a reason to open and engage with your email. Your audience never wants to feel like you are begging them to open an email or make a purchase – that’s why it’s best to avoid desperate language. Using a phrase like “we think you’ll like this” or “we made this with you in mind” reminds the readers that these emails are for them, and they should enjoy them.

Avoid phrases like:

  • Please read
  • We need your help
  • You need to see this

Most people don’t intend to send spam emails, so when emails end up in spam folders, it can be frustrating. Save yourself that frustration by using trustworthy and hones language; being truthful with what you offer; and using language that adds value. And if you aren’t sure whether you are choosing the most ethical language, test some things out! Then, analyze your results to see what your audience responds well to.

Happy learning and good luck!

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