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The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to engaging audiences and nurturing leads, email marketing remains a powerful marketing tool. Email use continues to grow, with Gmail alone hosting more than a billion users. By 2020, that number will grow to 3 million, according to a report by The Radicati Group.

If you’re struggling with your email marketing system, know that it’s possible to get your messaging on the right track. Keep reading to find out how your brand can find success in 2018.

1. Send Emails to the Right Audience

If you have an email list with a low rate of engagement, simply stop sending messages to that group. When you send messages to those unlikely to open them, it only hurts your domain reputation.

People are always more likely to open an email that addresses them by name. A simple personalization can go a long way.

2. Have an Objective for Every Email

Craft every message with a particular goal in mind – if you don’t know what your objective is, neither will the recipient. Some possible goals include the contact filling out a longer form, visiting a blog post, or redeeming a promo code on your website.

3. Create Personalized Emails

Personalization continues to be a successful email messaging tactic, with subject lines containing recipients’ first names achieving higher open rates. When writing personalized emails, stick with the basics – use first names or company names, but nothing more specific.

4. Deliver Emails from a Personalized Account

Remember, personalization applies to your brand, too. Using a “noreply” account appears robotic; adding a real name to the “from” address can boost engagement.

5. Know the Best Time to Send Email

Timing is everything when it comes to email marketing. Most customers are inundated with messages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, which are the most popular days to send email. If you want potential customers to open your messages, consider sending them on Monday or Friday. Calls-to-actions tend to perform well on Saturdays, so don’t forget to include weekends when deciding on a email marketing system.

6. Only Engage With Those Who Submit Forms

Customers who fill out contact forms likely have higher engagement rates than those you’ve imported from a list. This is because these customers want to hear from you and choose to receive your content. This demonstrates that inbound marketing strategies also work for email marketers. Most importantly, avoid buying lists. Purchasing an email list only hurts your credibility and potentially irritates potential customers.

7. Avoid Sending Graymail by Suppressing Unengaged Subscribers

Bulk email messages that aren’t technically spam but remain untouched are referred to as “graymail.” Engagement rates drop if recipients ignore your first email, and they continue to plummet if future messages are unopened. Cut down on graymail by listening to what your subscribers tell you. If they’re not opening emails, suppress these recipients to boost your open rates.

8. Don’t Worry if People Unsubscribe

No matter how great your content is, unsubscribes will happen. Unsubscribing is recipients’ polite way of telling you that they no longer want to receive messages. It’s much better than being marked as spam.

9. If Open Rates are Decreasing, Figure Out the Problem

Always analyze open rates, subscribes, clicks, and adjust your messaging from there.

When your email open rates are dropping, it means that your messaging is somehow missing the mark. It also means that spam complaints and unsubscribes are on the way, so it’s important to immediately suppress unengaged subscribers. Try sending different types of emails to determine what kind of content works best.

10. Investigate Spam Complaints

If you’re being consistently marked as spam, stop sending email and determine why the complaints occur. It could be because of a tedious form, a bad link, or even the content itself. Being seen as spam puts your domain at risk, so it’s critical to pinpoint the cause and make necessary changes.

11. Write Insightful Subject Lines

When recipients click on your email and immediately bounce away, it usually means that the content didn’t deliver. Write genuine subject lines that don’t mislead the reader. Even emojis help establish a friendly, inviting tone.

12. Don’t Forget to Test Your Efforts

As email campaigns evolve, the divide is expanding between marketers who know how to use email and those who don’t. While email marketing is challenging, it offers great rewards to those patient enough to test their strategies. Whether your goal is to improve bounce rates or write better subject lines, testing plays a key role.

Seeing what strategies get results – and the ones that don’t – allows you to create messaging perfectly tailored to your audience. The next time you click “send,” make sure your messages are tested and ready to brighten your


Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He’s worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.


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