While email marketing may not get the attention some newer marketing channels get, it’s still a terrific way for you to generate leads and convert more prospects for your business.
With that in mind, I want to share some email marketing best practices you can use to generate more leads for your business.
Email Marketing Best Practices
- Don’t purchase contact lists.
- Avoid using ‘No-Reply’ in the sender’s email address.
- Stick to fewer than three typefaces.
- Optimize the email’s preview text.
- Include an email signature.
- Clean your mailing list regularly.
- Keep the main message and call-to-action above the fold.
- Personalize the email greeting.
- Keep your email between 500 and 650 pixels wide.
- Split test different subject lines and calls to action.
- Include your logo.
- Name the offer in your subject line.
- Allow recipients to subscribe to your newsletter.
- Write compelling (but concise) subject lines.
- Use auto-responders for opt-ins.
- Closely tie emails to landing pages.
- Conduct a five-second test.
1. Don’t purchase contact lists.
This first tip should come as no surprise, but given the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it bears repeating.
Email campaigns depend on a healthy open rate, and if you’re contacting people whose information you bought – rather than earned from a previous interaction – you’ll quickly see your emails’ performance drop.
The GDPR also requires each European recipient’s consent before you reach out to them, and purchased email lists usually do not come with that consent.
For help reaching your target audience, consider Versium Reach – a platform made for B2B marketers that allows you to own data on your target audience across multiple marketing channels.
2. Avoid using ‘No-Reply’ in the sender’s email address.
Have you heard of CAN-SPAM? This longstanding piece of legislation is a popular and important guideline for all email marketers in the U.S.
One major rule in CAN-SPAM is to never use the words “no reply,” or a similar phrase, as your email sender’s name (for example, “email@example.com”).
“No reply” in an email message prevents recipients from responding and even opting out of further emails, which CAN-SPAM protects their right to do so at any time.
Instead, have your automated emails come from a first name (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org). Your customers are much more likely to open emails if they know they were written by a human being and it keeps you compliant with email regulations.
3. Stick to fewer than three typefaces.
The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you’ll get.
Don’t junk up your email with more than two fonts or typefaces, as that can distract readers and ruin your email’s visual appeal.
In addition, you want to use web-safe fonts with sizes between 10-point and 12-point. This ensures your email will be legible on all readers and devices.
4. Optimize the email’s preview text.
If you subscribe to a newsletter, you’ve likely seen a message like this at the top of your email: “Email not displaying correctly? Click here.”
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a helpful warning but keeping it in the preview text of your email (also known as the preheader) can drastically impact your email’s open rate.
Firstly, because you’re telling recipients, “Hey, this email might not work.” Secondly, it doesn’t provide any insight into what the email is about.
Your preview text should supplement your subject line by adding in details to capture your audience’s attention and encourage them to open.
By default, preview text pulls in the first several words of the email body and displays it next to the subject line before the person opens it.
The problem is custom email templates often stick with conditional statements like “Can’t see images?” or “Not displaying correctly?” at the top banner, allowing it to slip right into the preview when it goes out.
As a rule of thumb, always write a custom preheader that teases what your email will offer.
5. Include an email signature.
Even if your newsletter is technically being sent to your contacts on behalf of the company, rather than an individual, the email should include the signature of a specific person.
In a 2019 State of Business Email Marketing study, 41% of marketers said they use email signatures for branding and visibility. The second most popular reason for its use was to maintain standard, cohesive sign-offs across all their companies.
Another reason you should include your email signature is that it’s a touch of personalization. People are naturally more inclined to read an email if they know it came from a human being, not just a collective marketing team. Your email signature is your ticket to their attention.
Want a quick way to make a beautiful email signature? Use HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator. We also have an Out-of-Office Email Generator to make your response to incoming messages just as delightful.
6. Clean your mailing list regularly.
Some of your email contacts might not opt-out of your email campaign, but will still never open your emails.
It’s tempting to email as many people as possible to reach more prospects, but keeping your least-engaged recipients on your mailing list can kill your open rate. People who never open emails make your campaign look worse since you’re not analyzing the campaign’s quality against your most loyal recipients.
Review your list of subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails over a certain period of time, and remove them on a regular basis. This gives you a more accurate email open rate and keeps your email campaign clean of the people who are no longer interested in hearing from you.
You can also implement a workflow in which they’re gradually moved to a less frequent email list based on activity.
For instance, say you have a daily newsletter. You could implement a workflow in which subscribers who do not open your email in two consecutive weeks are moved to the weekly email. Then, those subscribers could be moved to the monthly newsletter if they don’t open 4 consecutive emails. And so on.
It keeps you from bombarding your subscribers with emails they’re not interested in while keeping your list clean.
7. Keep the main message and call-to-action above the fold.
Above the fold refers to the information that’s visible to the reader before they scroll down.
Even though recent research suggests that consumers scroll more than they used to – because of social media and vertical timelines – above the fold content still gets the most attention.
Eyetracking research from Neilsen Norman Group found that consumers spend 57% of their viewing time on above-the-fold content. That number drastically goes down to 17% of the second screenful and gradually decreases as they scroll.
With this in mind, place your message and CTA above the fold. It’s the first thing your recipients will see once they open your email, therefore increasing your conversion rate.
You can also run an A/B test first to validate the hypothesis and see if it works for your emails.
8. Personalize the email greeting.
How often do you read emails that begin, “Dear Member”?
You might segment your email audiences by the type of customer they are (member, subscriber, user, etc.), but it shouldn’t be the first thing recipients see in your company messages.
Personalizing the greeting of your emails with your contacts’ first names grabs the attention of each reader right away. For HubSpot users, this is called a personalization token, and creating one looks like this:
Then, the address line of your email would automatically produce the contact’s first name by fetching this personalization token in the email’s HTML, like this: Hi, !
Don’t worry, personalizing an email’s greeting line with 50 recipients’ names doesn’t mean you’ll have to manually write and send 50 different emails from now on.
Many email marketing tools today allow you to configure the greeting of your email campaign so that it automatically sends with the name of the people on your contact list – so everyone is getting a personal version of the same message.
9. Keep your email around 500 to 650 pixels wide.
If your email template is wider than 650 pixels, your email won’t show up correctly and will require users to scroll horizontally to read the full email.
This is a pain, to say the least, and will likely affect your conversion.
Having your template fit within the standard format will make for easier readability, better conversions, and an overall better user experience.
10. Split test your subject lines and calls to action.
If you can’t seem to increase your email’s open and click-through rates, a couple of things might be wrong: You’re not emailing the right people (are you buying your contact list? See the first tip at the top of this blog post), or the content needs to be improved.
To start, focus on the latter, and conduct an A/B test.
A/B tests can be used to improve almost any of your digital marketing content. In an email, this test splits your recipients into two groups: Group A receives the regular newsletter, while Group B receives the newsletter with a specific variation.
This variation tests to see if your audience would be more or less likely to take an action based on that element.
For example, you might change the color of your CTA from red to green to see if your email’s clickthrough rate increases. If it does, the test indicates that you should change your emails’ CTA color to green from now on.
11. Include your logo.
Logos are a must when it comes to emails.
A 2020 study by Red Sift and Entrust found that logos positively impact email engagement as well as brand recall.
Brand recall increased by 18% after a five-second exposure when including a logo in the email. Purchase likelihood also went up by a whopping 34% in emails where logos were included.
With this in mind, add your logo to your email design to ensure that it’s always included.
12. Name the offer in your subject line.
When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can drastically increase your open rates.
“Free shipping when you spend $25 or more” and “Receive a free iPod with a demo” are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.
However, be careful not to overwhelm your readers with savings- or product-related emails.
Customer loyalty starts with casual industry insights – only after nurturing should you start introducing offers. Here’s an example of an email with an enticing subject line and warm, welcoming body copy:
13. Allow recipients to subscribe to your newsletter.
You might be thinking, “Wait, if they received the email to begin with, shouldn’t they have already subscribed?“
Usually, yes, and therefore adding a “Subscribe” button to your email doesn’t help those who’ve already agreed to receive your emails. But great content is shareable content, and if your current subscribers are forwarding your emails to their friends and colleagues, you’ll want to help them subscribe, too.
Add a small but visible CTA that allows an email viewer to subscribe to the newsletter if they received this email from someone else.
But remember, because your newsletter should already be driving another action, such as downloading an ebook or becoming a community member, make sure this “Subscribe” button doesn’t distract or confuse users, weakening your main campaign goal in the process.
14. Write compelling (but concise) subject lines.
A good subject line should contain between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces. The reason why you do this is that email providers often cut off subject lines that go beyond this length.
Your email subject line should also create a sense of urgency while giving readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.
15. Use auto-responders for opt-ins.
Be prepared for your readers to forget they opted in.
Set up an auto-responder that reminds people they opted into your email database. The auto-responder should be sent out one day, five days, and 10 days after the person registers.
Each auto-responder email should also include additional content or bonus material to reward the reader for opting into the newsletter– or your readers might not feel they have enough incentive to actually opt-in.
16. Closely tie emails to landing pages.
Your landing page should match the email in terms of headline, copy, and content. The look and feel of your landing page should also match the email as consistency goes a long way toward a customer’s trust.
Just make sure you’re using tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages performed the best so you can keep sending what’s working.
17. Conduct a five-second test.
Send a copy of the email to a friend or business associate. Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is? If so, you’re golden. If not, keep working.
There are a lot of new tools at a marketer’s disposal that are getting attention these days. But email marketing has stood the test of time regarding its influence on your users. This old, reliable, and faithful tool can really ensure you get the most out of your marketing initiatives.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday
Did you know that 130 million users use Facebook and Instagram to discover sales and buy products during Black Friday weekend alone?
This means that setting your shop up for success is an excellent way to attract all shopaholics into your business and make serious money. But, with so little time, how can you know what you’re supposed to do?
Well, after talking with Meta experts, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist with everything you need to do AHEAD of Black Friday if you want your Instagram or Facebook Shop to be a huge success this holiday.
So read on, and start planning now!
11 Things you need to do to get your shop Black Friday ready
The key to a successful Black Friday is reaching the right audience with the right products. In years past, this meant a well-placed ad in the local newspaper or a spot on the radio. But today, the best way to reach potential shoppers is through social media. And of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram and Facebook offer the best buying experience.
Facebook and Instagram Shops provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and reach a wide audience, and offer a convenient way to browse and purchase items with just a few clicks. Plus, since most users are already using these social media platforms *we’re talking about more than 3 billion*, it has become a natural way to shop.
So if you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of Black Friday, setting up an Instagram or Facebook shop is a must, and here are the best tips to do so:
1. Start planning your holiday strategies if you haven’t already
For many businesses, Black Friday is make-or-break time, when they can either turn a profit or end up in the red. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan in place for dealing with traffic.
By mapping out a strategy beforehand, businesses can avoid being overwhelmed by the high demand and ensure that everyone has a positive experience. This means, planning your offer and deals ahead of time, placing your ads budget, doing product inventory, organizing customer service, etc.
Regarding offers, Instagram and Facebook Shops allow businesses to set up coupons and discount codes during checkout, and timely offers to display their deals. Offer parity with your site is key. So be sure to review #7!
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2. Update your Meta Shop banners
In order for retailers to lure customers into their shops, they need to make sure their signage is up-to-date and eye-catching. This is especially true for banners, which are the first thing people see when hunting for good deals and promotions.
A well-designed banner can help to create a sense of urgency and excitement, convincing shoppers that they need to act now in order to get the best deals. These act as hero images from a traditional site, but for your Instagram Shop.
Additionally, they can be used to highlight specific sales or promotions, making it easy for shoppers to find the products they’re looking for. After all, what good is a sale if no one knows about it?
So if you’re looking to make the most of this busy shopping day, don’t forget to update your social shop banners with eye-catching designs. It could make all the difference in attracting customers to purchase in your store.
3. Make your organic media is shoppable
Facebook and Instagram Shops allow you to tag a product every time you post a picture, reel, story, or video. This is especially relevant because it drives users from an organic publication to your shop where they can check all the information about the item they’re interested in.
Plus, tagging can give you clean insights to how they’re interacting with products and creatives.
Hat tip: Did you know that you can tag your products in the description of your feed posts? No more using ‘link in bio’ in your copy for your organic posts. Use the @ symbol and choose ‘products’, once you have found your product select it and BAM, your product is now linkable in your Instagram post’s description!
4. Set your products up for success
Each product description should contain anything and everything a user needs in order to buy. This includes:
- Engaging and informative product descriptions
Standing out from the crowd of sellers can be especially hard during the holidays. However, a great way to do that is to make sure your product descriptions are clear, concise, and compelling.
No matter if you’re selling clothes, accessories, or home decor, a good product description will tell potential customers everything they need to know about a product, including its features, benefits, etc. Plus, it should also be engaging, so that shoppers are tempted to click “add to cart”, so don’t forget about the call to action and use strong and convincing language to urge the buyers to take your deal.
Be sure to exclude urls in your product description because it’s not allowed. Keep your product descriptions centered on benefits and remember, users often have 1-3 seconds to evaluate the efficacy and interest in a product from a product description.
Images that are well-lit and clearly show the product details can be the difference between a customer clicking “add to cart” or moving on to the next item on their list.
For Instagram and Facebook Shops, images need to be at least 500×500 pixels. Additionally, it’s important that you include more than just one image and focus on features.
Extra tip: according to Meta experts, if your product is in the lifestyle category, detailed product images can help you increase your possibilities of making a sale by 6-8%.
Extra extra tip: Include an image of a customer’s selfie with the product. Showcasing real customers using or holding your product makes a big difference with your conversions.
- Include price, availability, and sizes
No one will buy anything from your shop if you don’t have this information! So check your products and make sure that all of them include the deal price, pieces in stock, and sizes (this one applies only for items that are in categories like: Clothing Accessories, Newborn & Baby Fashion Accessories, and Costume Accessories)
Regarding sizes, you can (and should) add a size chart to help users feel confident in the purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates.
Bear in mind: July 2022, Meta changed the basic information each item showcased in their shops needs to have in order to be displayed, so click here to discover everything your products need to have!
5. Update your catalog
An outdated catalog will make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and they may decide to do their shopping elsewhere.
So, it’s important that you check and update your catalog to display all the products that are on sale to help your customers make important purchase decisions and drive sales.
Taking this into account, your catalog should:
- Have all the products displayed with their variants
- Include product details: complete all data fields (materials, ingredients, multiple images, videos, and size charts where applicable)
- Be maintained: update collections with new items and inventory quantity. Regarding this, you can use Meta Pixel to automatically update your catalog and reduce operational load.
6. Enable checkout on Facebook and Instagram Shops
Redirecting users to your own website or another platform in order to complete a sale is inconvenient and can lead to lost sales. So, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you set up your shop with checkout, if you’re allowed,to help potential customers discover and buy your products on one platform.
**For eligible stores in the US, all fees are waived through the end of 2022 for enabled checkouts.
Onsite checkout can be set up in Commerce Manager and it’s available for US shops only; it will give insights into shopper demographic and full-funnel conversion data which, in return, can help you optimize your campaigns.
7. Offer Parity
An Instagram or Facebook Shop is an extension of your store, but in a more consumable form that doesn’t require users to go from a place to another in order to buy something. This means that both should offer the same data: from prices and deals, to contact information and banners.
Why? Because some people may find your social shop and make their purchase there, meanwhile others would prefer to go to your website to get more information about you, so offer parity is a must if you want to build trust with potential customers. After all, no one wants to find mismatched prices!
8. Enable product reviews
By reading reviews, users can get an idea of what other shoppers thought of a particular item before they make a purchase and it can help them make informed decisions. That’s why they’re a key player when it comes to driving sales during Black Friday.
Regarding this, US shops with onsite checkouts have access to ratings and reviews and can manage them in Commerce Manager, which will allow you to check customer feedback and answer them.
Remember this: you need to have a shop with onsite checkout to enable product reviews and ratings.
Moreover, it’s possible to import reviews from 3rd parties! For now, Yotpo and Bazarro are active, meanwhile, Okendo and Stamped.io will be available with the reviews section in the next quarter.
9. Don’t forget about user-generated content
User-generated content has the added benefit of being more authentic and relatable than traditional marketing materials. It’s this human element that can be critical in helping persuade undecided shoppers to make a purchase. In fact, UGC drives a 9% increase in CTA clicks for buy now or view on the website
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During Black Friday, this type of content can be a valuable tool for helping brands connect with consumers and build trust, so it’s important to include it in your strategy.
For this, you can use images and videos of different customers using, wearing, and loving your products or provide buyers with information like “how to use” or tips that can help them make the most out of an item.
If you go to the UGC section of your commerce account, you can find UGC that’s ready for potential use in your stories and in your Meta Shops. You can find any images that tagged your handle or used one of your branded hashtags. When you find images that you’d like to use, you can send a request to that user’s profile for permission of usage of that media in your store.
It’s really that easy!
10. Leverage Shopping Ads and Catalog Ads
Instagram shopping ads allow businesses to showcase their products directly in the Instagram feed.
By tagging product photos with relevant information, businesses can create ads that include pricing, product descriptions, and a link to purchase the product. These ads are designed to be highly visual and engaging, and they provide a convenient way for users to learn about and purchase products without ever leaving Instagram.
On the other hand, Advantage+ Catalog Ads are a must-try for those businesses that have a large catalog of products and don’t want to be bothered by having to create a different ad per product. Instead, this type of ad helps you to create one campaign for all your products and show it to people that are interested in even one item from your catalog by creating an individual ad.
By integrating Catalog and Shop Ads into your paid media plan for Black Friday, you can attract possible customers and take them through your sales funnel all in one platform.
If you’re not familiar with these types of ads, you should start experimenting and scaling them as you see fit from now on! Also, don’t forget to set up your CPA!
*** Black Friday ad ramp up should begin by September 20th. October 15th is the BIG day when everyone enters the Meta Ads marketplace and auction pressure increase***
11. Prepare your customer support service
Answering questions from possible customers in less than 24 hours increases their possibility to make a purchase by 50%, that’s why it’s important to invest in effective customer service to help users get a clear understanding of your business and build trust.
With Facebook and Instagram Shops, you can get an email every time someone asks specific questions and reply by using the feedback tag on Commerce Manager. These replies become publicly available helping future customers see that social proof to make better buying decisions.
However, this feature is only available if you have enabled checkout and are an admin to the commerce account.
When should you start?
The peak of users eager to get Black Friday deals starts from October 15th to the big date *yes, more than a month before Black Friday*, so it’s crucial that you start optimizing your Instagram and Facebook Shops ASAP.
And, if you feel like this long list may overwhelm you and already give you a headache, at Mongoose Media we have a team of experts that will take this task from you and make the most out of your shop to go from plan to bestselling during the holidays!
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