Email Marketing Best Practices: 11 Tips for 2022

The Email Marketers
November 17, 2021

Email Marketing Best Practices: 11 Tips for 2022

If you have an eCommerce business, email marketing campaigns are one of the most valuable tools you have in your marketing toolkit. Sure, social media marketing and Google Ads get a lot of airtime in marketing circles these days, but they aren't about to supplant the original, most direct, and highest-ROI marketing strategy. As we like to say here at The Email Marketers email isn't dead.

Email marketing is tried and true: emails continue to outperform social media when it comes to marketing campaigns, and over two-thirds of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. In 2021, 4 billion people use email daily, and that number is expected to increase to 4.6 billion people by 2025.

It's clear that email marketing is essential for a successful marketing campaign. So what are some go-to best practices when it comes to this marketing must-have? Well, it's almost a new year, but 22 tips for 2022 seemed a little excessive... so I halved it and put together 11 simple but highly helpful strategies to keep in mind as you craft your email marketing campaign and devise your own email marketing best practices for the next 12 months.

Use Welcome Emails

Yay! You just got a new subscriber--but don't kick back yet, the job isn't done. The welcome email helps seal the deal and turns new subscribers into loyal customers. It's the first email you send to a subscriber and perhaps the most important one. The numbers don't lie: recent data tells us it translates to open rates of over 80% and click-through rates of 22-25%.

In a way, the welcome email is the first step in your relationship with your new subscribers, and consider adding the double opt-in to your welcome email best practices. The double opt-in allows new subscribers to effectively double down on getting your marketing emails. It's a courteous way to confirm that they indeed want to receive your email campaigns and a fantastic way to get the relationship off to a good start.

Another great thing about welcome emails: they help keep your email list current. Your first welcome email will bounce if the recipient's email address is incorrect, and you can then remove it from your email list. And you want current and clean lists full of valid email addresses to ensure your future email marketing campaigns have the best possible results.

Timing Matters

When is the right time to send your email? It's that old question that keeps email marketers up at night. Here's a little secret: there is no right time to send. Your emails can be sent at any time!

Repeat: there is no universal "right" time to send in email marketing. A recent study found that email open rate is largely a matter of personal preference, and variables such as location play a strong part, so it's almost impossible to standardize. So how do you figure out the best send time for your brand and customers?

Enter send-time optimization algorithms. These algorithms (GetResponse Perfect Timing is a good example) correct for these variables and optimize open rates by automatically keeping track of subscriber preference and adjusting the send-time for each subscriber. Super handy, and a must-add to your email marketing best practices list.

Personalization is key

Personalization goes a long way. Subscribers tend to open emails that feel tailored exclusively to them. You can personalize your email list by using subscriber names and creating target audience groupings. Ask your customers and prospects what information they'd like to see in your emails when they sign up for them. Do they want to know about upcoming sales? That data can be used to target specific audiences and give each group exactly what they desire.

Does this sound daunting? Don't worry, AI to the rescue! AI-powered email service providers use machine learning and other similar technologies to automatically personalize email content depending on subscriptions. Investing in an ESP like Klaviyo will make your email marketing efforts easier, more effective, and give you a higher ROI.

Segment your email list

The savvy email marketer generally considers segmentation one of THE most vital marketing best practices. Segmenting your database allows you to better target your audience. And the more an email reaches its target audience, the higher the open rates. Email segmentation has been shown to increase open rates up to 203%.

But segmentation isn't a one and done, the needs and desires of the audience are in continual flux. To make sure segmentation is working for you, keep it updated. Sending out a survey in your email can help you get to know your audience and tailor accordingly. To hone segmentation further, segment your email list into more granular target groups, known as micro-segments, based on factors such as buying history, location, or buyer journey stage.

Nail Your Email Subject Line and Preview Text

Your email subject lines and preview texts are the first things your subscribers will see in their inboxes. As such, they play a huge part in the subscribers' decision to open the email or not. Getting those email subject lines and preview texts on point is crucial. Is there some sort of subject line secret sauce out there? Yes, but... there are a lot of delicious subject line and preview text recipes out there. Your job is to find the right recipe for your target audience.

There IS email marketing data showing subject lines with six to nine words had higher click-through rates, while those with four to five words had higher open rates. But subject lines are HARD to write. When you feel stuck, try using an A/B test on different subject lines to see which resonates with your subscribers best. Keep in mind email accounts and mobile devices frequently truncate any subject lines that exceed 30 and 50 characters (including spaces), so you'll want to keep characters in that range.

Another trick to increase open rates (by as much as 50%) is including an incentive in your subject line OR in the preview text. For instance, you might write "Free shipping on all orders over $25," or "Get 30% off your first purchase," etc. Additionally, the subject line of your email should convey a sense of urgency and the preview text give subscribers a peek at what's inside.

Maximize for Mobile Devices

It's the age of the mobile device, and you can be sure that more and more people will first glimpse your email marketing campaigns on their phones. Therefore a non-negotiable email marketing best practice is optimizing your email campaigns for mobile devices.

You already know the importance of optimizing your subject lines for mobile devices. Another way to get on that is with Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a fast-growing trend in email marketing and design. AMP makes your site load much faster and allows subscribers to take action without getting redirected to any third-party website or app. For example, subscribers can fill out a form, respond to a survey or easily complete a purchase from the email itself.

Clear Links: Call To Action, Subscribe Link, and Unsubscribe Link

Every email should contain a call to action (CTA). Otherwise, what's the point of sending it? But just having a CTA isn't enough--you need to make sure the call to action is prominently displayed. Keep it above the fold! 70% of people will miss out on your main call to action (CTA) if it's below the fold. And make sure that longer emails have at least three calls to action throughout; repetition helps give a sense of urgency.

Just as you have a "Subscribe" link in your email, you must have an "Unsubscribe" link. Legally, customers must always have the option of opting out of receiving your email campaigns--neglect this link and you can also expect to incur some subscriber complaints. And if they do use the unsubscribe link, you can utilize an automatic form to gather useful information about what is potentially not working in your email campaign.

Embrace the Test! A/B Testing

If you find that your email open and click-through rates aren't increasing, you likely need to improve the content of your email. Testing is your friend here.

Your digital marketing content can be improved by conducting A/B tests, or "split tests." Your email recipients are effectively "split" into two groups: Group A (a test) receives the regular email, while Group B (b test) receives the email with a particular variation. This can show you if a new variation results in a better open and click-through rate. The A/B test can have a variety of uses: from experimenting with the subject line to changing the color of the calls to action inside the emails to seeing whether an email campaign performs better with or without images.

Match Emails and Landing Pages

Consistency is a huge part of branding and creating a successful email marketing campaign. The headline, copy, and content of your landing page should match that of your email. If your landing page doesn't look and feel consistent with your email, customers might feel confused or even misled. Maintain customer confidence by giving exactly what you promised in the email: landing pages that make sense.

Offer real value in your email content

If you want your email subscribers to eagerly anticipate your emails and newsletters, make content that is valuable. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to include a special offer or incentive in every email you send. It means that your email should be rich in information, useful, and interesting to the subscribers.

To add value, you might offer more free content in your email campaigns. We're not just talking about the standard "free shipping." Try offering free resources such as templates or e-guides. Get creative! Suit your value offerings to your unique product or service, this is what differentiates your company.

Track! Do those reports

You need to be able to tell if your email marketing strategy is working or not. In other words, you need to keep track of data and utilize reports. Opens, clicks, bounce rates, and unsubscribes are all metrics that you can use to track your email marketing campaign's effectiveness.

For more detailed feedback, you can use a heat mapping platform that shows you exactly where your audience clicked. Using this data, you can adjust your email marketing and allow your best practices to evolve based on what the data has demonstrated works.

Takeaways for Email Marketing Best Practices

Your email marketing best practices will always be subject to adjustment, and that can be overwhelming. But the more strategic your email marketing foundation is, the more your emails will do the work for you. Nailing the basics such as personalization, segmentation, testing, offering value, and AI tools are proven methods for effective email marketing campaigns.

Most importantly, think of your email marketing best practices as a way you can make your company and brand stand out: experiment and see what resonates best for your mailing list. Make 2022 the year your email marketing campaign numbers skyrocket.