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Best Practices

Email Marketing

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Email Marketing Gets Results
If your marketing strategy relies on email communications, you’ll be glad to know that email marketing is alive and well. According to research firm Econsultancy, “Email continues to be a vital component of the marketing mix and the vast majority of companies (72%) rate email as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ in terms of ROI.”

But you’ll need a sound knowledge of email design best practices, an eye for email deliverability, and a flair for developing engaging content that targets specific audiences.

Getting Started with Email Marketing
If you’re delving into email marketing, you should first determine how you’ll send messages, track responses, and keep up with unsubscribers. You may also need to choose an email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation vendor. Your choice will depend on your budget, feature requirements, and the number of contacts in your database (and don’t forget to allow for database growth).
Building Your List
Once you’ve chosen a solution for sending messages and managing responses, you’ll want to focus on building your email list. To be clear, email marketing is not spamming – it usually begins when website visitors voluntarily “opt in” to be added to a database of marketable names.

Targeting Your Audience
Once you have your database and a growing list of opt-in subscribers, you’ll need to monitor your communication volume and ensure that the messages you send are targeted and relevant. This is how you’ll increase your conversion rates and decrease opt-outs.

Designing for Today’s Devices
It’s not just what you send, and it’s not just who you send it to – it’s how you design it. As more and more B2B and B2C prospects adopt mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, best practices for email design are evolving rapidly. That means you should design your messages using basic HTML elements that will adapt easily to widely diverse email clients, which may or may not display the images in your design.

Ensuring Email Deliverability
Email deliverability is the art of making sure your emails actually reach their recipients without being flagged by spam filters. It’s an important topic, with many specific design requirements. Taking the time to implement email deliverability best practices will boost the overall results of your email campaigns. You should also look into the deliverability ratings of your ESP, email marketing software, or marketing automation vendor.

Using Analytics and Reporting
Using the detailed analytics built into most email marketing systems, you can thoroughly test new email campaigns and analyze the results before sending them to a larger list. The most common metrics marketers look at are open rates, click through rates, unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates. It’s also interesting to look at the open-to-click ratio (or "effectiveness") of your email, which will help you understand how compelling your content was for the people who opened it.

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