Email Marketing Checklist: 12 steps that will improve your results! (Part one)
This post is the first in a two part series (click here to skip to part 2). The two posts will cover 12 steps you can take before you send out your next newsletter that will increase your email marketing campaign performance.
Email marketing is big business. In 2011, email marketing brought in an average of $40 for every $1 spent and US retailers are expected to send more than 258 billion emails in 2013. A recent survey held by MarketingSherpa asked respondents to estimate their email marketing campaigns return on investment, with marketers claiming an average ROI of 119%.
It’s no surprise then that as a consumer, you can expect to receive 2.5 promotional emails per week. And with 77% of consumers choosing email marketing as their preferred method of communication from brands, email marketing is not slowing down anytime soon. You need to ensure that your email stands out, but above all is to make sure your email is reaching your audience.
A successful email marketing campaign provides value to your customer base. The number of tools to measure, track, and report email marketing campaigns continue to increase as do the strategies behind them such as marketing automation, personalization and target segmentation.
Small-to-medium sized businesses may not have the budget to automate their email marketing efforts and this process will be manual. To reduce the chance of human error, SuperOffice has put together a 12 step check-list to review before each email marketing campaign is launched.
Next time you send out a newsletter to your subscribers, follow the 12 step checklist below and you will see your email marketing results improve.
1. Get familiar with the Spam rules
Email deliverability is the single most important metric when it comes to email marketing. If your emails are not being delivered, then you are wasting your time! Stay away from spamming your readers and each time you send an email, make sure you are following the rules of Spam. Once you are flagged as a spammer, you will have a long hard battle in front of you to get back on the white-list.
Staying off the Spam list is easy if you follow the rules. Instead of reading through hundreds of blog posts and articles, most of the Spam rules are common sense. The best ways to avoid the Spam lists are:
- Do not use word like FREE, Viagra, $$$ or CAPITAL LETTERS in the subject line
- Do not send emails to subscribers who have opted out of your subscriber list
- Do not buy email lists (they never work)
2. Use headlines and font to make it easy to read
When it comes to reading an email, most readers scan it for key points that may interest them so try not to make your email one long block of text. Doing this will only get your email deleted and thus, increasing the risk of being caught by the spam filters when you send future email campaigns.
Keep your content short by cutting the crap and use bullet points, and make use of bold and italics to highlight keywords and phrases that you are trying to get across to the reader.
3. Use Alt Text, Titles and linking correctly in images
If email settings do not show your images, then no content can be read and your email will look like one long white space. No reader will task action on that.
All of your images within the email marketing campaign must have the correct alt text and title text to ensure that content can be read. You will also need to link out the images so that even if they cannot be viewed, they can still link to your landing or product pages.
4. Make your Call-To-Action clear
Each email campaign will have a different goal. You may want to drive product purchases, webinar registrations or white paper downloads. By hiding your call-to-action amongst a long wall of text or behind buttons that do not display will result in campaign failure. Try to minimize the number of call to action buttons you use as fewer CTA’s drive higher click-through rates!
You will want to include multiple links within your email campaign. Include at least one link per paragraph. There is no such thing as over-communicating so don’t be afraid to push your reader into taking action by including “Click here to download the White paper” or “Limited places available – Register here!.”
5. Create a plain text version of your email
Most email service providers (ESP) now convert HTML emails to plain text versions within the process of sending an email campaign. There is nothing like receiving a HTML email and not being able to read any of the content because the entire email is one big image and your email settings do not display them.
By having a plain text version, mobile users can read the email without having to wait until they can access a desktop. If you plan on sending a plain text only email campaign, you may not want to create a HTML version of the email.
6. Remove any spelling mistakes
Spelling mistakes (or typo’s) are incredibly common. Before you send out a test, make sure you have spell-checked your content. Spelling and grammar mistakes only make you look lazy.
A great way to avoid this is to create the email content in a Word document before you upload to your email service provider (ESP). This way, you remove any spelling mistakes from the beginning of your email campaign process.