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Best practices email marketing

Email Marketing: best practices to grow your company

In order to make your email marketing strategies effective, you need to adopt some of the best practices in this field. Bearing this in mind, you will probably need to get acquainted with:

  • the definition of email marketing;
  • how sending emails works in reality;
  • the importance of understanding privacy and security protocols;
  • the role of design;
  • the necessity of an email list management culture;
  • many other aspects related to emails.

Besides giving you a background on email sending, we will also present email marketing best practices. These strategies can make your company grow, helping your marketing team achieve the established goals.

We prepared this article to introduce and explain all these definitions, and much more, so you can become a better and more conscious email sender. Keep reading to learn all about the best email marketing tips.

  • Design & Content: best practices
  • Authentication & Protocols: best practices
  • Email Marketing Data & Metrics
  • Email List Management

1. Design & Content: best practices

One of the most important aspects of email marketing is deeply linked to the content and design of messages.

Content and Design are not relevant just because of the user’s readability or receptivity, but these elements define if the email is even delivered.

In light of this fact, ignoring content and design can ruin marketing strategies. That’s why we decided to raise awareness of such important elements at the beginning of the article.

We will reveal everything you need to know about content and design, as well as their email marketing best practices.

2. Explore Cross-Channel campaigns

Cross-Channel strategy happens when companies approach their subscribers through different channels of communication. To connect with its customers, a company can use:

  • email;
  • social media;
  • SMS;
  • mobile apps;
  • desktop platforms,
  • and other channels.

It’s also possible to switch from online to offline platforms, for a more immersive experience.

An email marketing campaign based on the Cross-Channel approach can build a more cohesive and more engaging/responsive relationship with a target audience.

If you are uncertain about using mailboxes in Cross-Channel campaigns, we will give you some ideas to work with:

  • send emails with an abstract of your posts, trying to convince people to visit your homepage;
  • reward new leads with discount coupons to be used in online or physical stores, surprising them when they open their mailboxes;
  • integrating email accounts with mobile apps can also provide a cross-channel experience;
  • sharing links on social media or through email can help attract traffic to your landing pages.

The combination of platforms can make marketers understand the origin of new leads, the profile of the most engaged users, the most profitable platforms, and many other aspects that can help in the planning of future campaigns.

Exploring Cross-Channel campaigns can improve the user experience because people have the power of choice when communicating with you.

The interactivity in these email marketing campaigns is another element to be praised. Reaching more people, with different profiles, is another advantage.

The best place for a company to advertise is everywhere, as long as you can organize yourself and keep the conversation with subscribers always flowing.

3. Reward loyal customers

Loyal customers ought to be recognized. Among all the options available in the market, they chose your brand.

They are always opening your messages, sending suggestions, buying products, or hiring services. In short, they are always engaged and ready to listen to you.

In return for such gratitude, engagement, and loyalness, you can give them some discounts, little gifts, or even special or exclusive content. Planning referral programs is also an idea to create a feeling of fidelity as well.

Moreover, when launching a new item, faithful clients have to be the first ones to see it. These subscribers must be treated with exclusivity and priority.

To incentivize loyalty among subscribers, make sure to do your part, by keeping your content relevant in email marketing campaigns, and the same goes for services, products, and customer support.

Appreciate the people who make your business be in constant growth. It’s because of them that your company exists.

When they feel like an important part of your project, subscribers feel encouraged to stick around for more than a while and also they can indicate your company to their friends, providing you with a free advertisement.

4. Ensure customer data privacy

When you have new subscribers, it means people gave you some of their personal information, such as:

  • name;
  • last name;
  • email;
  • place of birth;
  • location;
  • profession.

In case they buy something, you need to collect financial data and the specific location of these buyers. These pieces of data are now in your power, and you must be careful how sensitive information is stored, managed, and used.

If anything unpredictable happens to the data you are supposed to protect, a leakage, for example, your company’s name is put at risk. More serious than that is the fact of putting your customers in an unfortunate situation.

Because of that, ensuring customer data privacy is not only recommended but you are obliged by law to do so.

The GDPR, in Europe, and the LGPD, in Brazil, are examples of laws related to the security and privacy of people online.

They determine how companies are supposed to act when dealing with sensitive data, as well as establish fines in case of data misuse and poor treatment or crimes of fraud, identity theft, and unsolicited alterations of data.

Following you can check some tips for you act under the law:

  • when collecting data, the purpose must be clear and specific;
  • collect and process only the necessary data by minimizing information requests;
  • keep your data updated and have accuracy when collecting information;
  • store sensitive data for as long as necessary for the purposes specified;
  • data processing must be done to ensure security, integrity, and confidentiality;
  • use encryption to protect data
  • get consent, which must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. 

If you have a strict policy in relation to data collecting, storing, management, and use, which includes all the characteristics above, your company is on the path to GDPR and LGPD compliance. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about during your email marketing initiatives.

In case you lack any of these aspects, you must change that immediately. Companies are held accountable when they are careless with the privacy and security of users.

5. Send personalized emails

When new visitors subscribe to your channel, they expect to receive content based on their interests and tastes. If the content you are currently sending is not matching these expectations, you are going to get low engagement levels and further unsubscribe requests.

To prevent this from happening, you must elaborate personalized pieces of communication. This concept goes even further than calling customers by their names, because the personalization must be evident in the body of the email too.

We are strictly talking about the content in these messages. When subscribers read an email marketing article, they need to relate to its messages on a personal and intimate level.

It’s the only way to call people’s attention, considering the many other emails that the subscribers receive every day.

In this sense, make sure to collect the information you need to get a notion of what users like, what captivates them, and what their interests are. After you are aware of the content subscribers expect to receive, create your content accordingly.

Another idea is to send personalized emails, which might bring some kind of gift or award, on the user’s birthday, the anniversary of first purchase, or any other festive date. It shows gratitude and proves that your brand values each of its customers.

Finally, the email design is as important as its content. You want users to recognize your brand as soon as they have your message opened.

So, make sure to use your brand’s colors, logo (on the top of the page), and information (this part appears on the bottom of the page, alongside the unsubscribe option button).

Having a good balance between images and text, together with content personalization, is going to make your engagement rates increase. The email marketing design should be important as its own content.

6. Authentication & Protocols: best practices

The content has an important role in the deliverability process, especially concerning its relevancy and design.

However, some technical aspects interfere in the deliverability too. Your content can be awesomely crafted, but if you do not follow and respect the email sending protocols, your message will never find the target audience.

To help you find your way to subscribers’ mailboxes, we will explain the email sending protocols that must be followed to have your messages successfully delivered.

Being recognized is relevant to determining if your messages are going to be opened or not. To make brands easily recognizable, even before emails are opened, there is a protocol named BIMI (Brand Indicators for Brand Identification).

The BIMI protocol is an identification method that is in its early stages, so it is not applied and functional for every email server. It can make companies use brand-controlled logos in emails, which appear like a profile picture for those messages.

If companies want to include this “profile picture” in the emails, they have to be approved in all DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) tests, in order to prove they are authentic and legitimate email senders.

This is a safety step to certify their domains haven’t been violated. Being compliant with authenticity and legitimacy protocols increases the quality of the user experience on your platforms.

That happens because when subscribers need to give you personal information, such as names, locations, and credit card numbers, they are doing so confidently. They know that they are communicating with a real and responsible company. This is essential for email marketing campaigns.

To conclude, BIMI is a powerful way to boost your visibility, and trust in your brand. This protocol makes the company’s logo recognizable. Not only that, it helps to build a reputation as a legitimate email sender, in the perspectives of both audience and ISPs (Internet Service Providers).

8. Set up SPF records to authenticate emails

The SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is one of the most effective approaches to protect your online reputation. This protocol keeps your subscribers from receiving spam, phishing, and spoofing.

The SPF is a TXT record that is included in a DNS (Domain Name Service). This file brings a list of each authorized IP address and hostnames that you have permitted to send messages on your company’s behalf.

This is extremely important in email marketing campaigns, as some email services are used to optimize the sending process.

For example, if you use email platforms to send promotional emails to your subscribers, integrated through email software (such as MailChimp or RD Station), your campaigns might be more successful with the assistance of SPF records.

This happens because the ISPs are going to recognize these third-party emails as legitimate, thanks to the SPF protocol. This way, your email deliverability  can be protected.

You must remember that when you don’t authorize these email services to send emails under your name, they can be blocked or marked as spam. Configuring SPF records is utterly urgent to protect your deliverability rate.

These SPF text files are one of email marketing best practices, and will ensure you are using authentic email services to send email marketing campaigns.

9. Check your sender reputation

Having a bad sender reputation should be something to be avoided at all costs. If you can’t have your messages properly delivered, it will be impossible to achieve your goals for your email marketing campaigns.

Among other things, a terrible email reputation will be the cause of many email bounces , low opening and engagement rates, and most unsubscribe requests. Sometimes, you can even appear on a public blacklist.

As a consequence, your conversion and sales will drop. In short, a bad reputation can deeply damage your company.

There are some positive strategies to save your reputation as a sender, such as:

  • have consistency in your sending volume;
  • try to understand why your emails bounce, fixing any trouble you can find;
  • clean your email lists regularly, to remove unengaged and inactive users;
  • adopt an Opt-in policy on your landing pages and registration forms;
  • have an email checker to prevent invalid addresses from reaching your database.

As you could notice, these strategies are habits easy to follow. They involve low-budget investments, and they can make huge returns, boosting your ROI.

After all, your email reputation is priceless. You must do everything to keep it healthy, starting, for example, with the above-suggested actions.

10. Email marketing Data and Metrics

Data is an important source of knowledge. In marketing, metrics should be analyzed because they reveal how your strategies are reacting in relation to your target audience.

What is working? What isn’t? Data analysis will provide direct and straight answers to these questions, allowing you to increase your performance in every email marketing campaign you put out.

Quick decision-making processes, the accuracy of decisions, the insights for the next campaigns, improving the quality of your communication, and protecting your online reputation are some of the advantages of studying data when coming up with new strategies.

Following you can check some useful and practical tips to learn how to use data and metrics related to marketing in your favor.

11. Define metrics and KPIs

Nowadays, data is easily generated. A simple action can result in hundreds of pieces of data. In this sense, you have to know where to look.

Let’s suppose you are interested in knowing if your database is increasing or not. So, you have to keep track of the List Growth Rate.

On the other hand, if you want to understand the status of your engagement levels, you should look at the Conversion Rate. If you look at the Forwarding Rate, you will understand if you have faithful subscribers.

Do you want to know if you are letting your subscribers down, making them upset or disappointed with your messages? Inspect the Churn Rate.

The Bounce Rate and Spam Complaint Rates will reveal how your deliverability and online reputation are, respectively.

Email Marketing Metrics and KPIs tell you everything you should know about your online performance. You must collect and study these numbers if you want your company to be successful.

12. Optimize the landing page

Designing and writing copy for your platforms is a complex activity, which demands a great chunk of your time.

Making new visitors find your platforms through landing pages is as important as elaborating them. Spending a lot of time only on your platforms is not enough. A part of this attention should be given to landing pages.

Landing pages must instantly present email marketing campaigns. They must be simple, but complete at the same time.

The secret ingredient to a successful landing page is its straightforward feature. If you are introducing a specific product or service, stick to it. Don’t include information that is irrelevant to the item you want to advertise.

Too much information on landing pages will lead nowhere. Remember, if visitors want to know more about your company, they will look for your homepage in search bars.

Optimizing your landing pages is another of email marketing best practices and it’s the key strategy in email marketing campaigns. The simpler the advertisement is the more single access and attention you will get.

13. Improve your CTA

Do you have the ability to persuade people or convince them to take the desired action? If your answer is positive, this skill should be applied to your Call To Action sentences (CTAs).

If you don’t have this ability, you can follow some tips to improve your CTAs. To start with, the CTAs have to bring only one specific action. Including too many requests will get the visitor confused.

This way, you will end up not taking the action you prefer or not convincing people to take any action at all, which is even worse.

After you decide on the desired action, think about design and writing. It must be visible and easy to find. Concerning the writing, CTAs match imperative and short sentences.

When CTAs are straightforward, pointing out only one specific direction, it’s easier for you to achieve more success in your email marketing campaigns.

14. Decide the best sending time

A lot of marketers overlook the sending time. However, it shows relevant information about users’ behaviors. Interpreting users’ routines can make your email marketing campaigns even more successful.

Sending emails during working hours can make your Open Rates increase, as the users will immediately be notified when your email arrives.

Nevertheless, your audience is composed of many different groups, and they all open their mailboxes at different times. Study these habits and patterns to establish what is the best sending time.

For example, many companies avoid sending emails during the weekends, because they think users spend most of these days offline. This might be the same situation at your company.

Another thing to pay attention to is the timing of your content. Writing about “Hot Topics” or “Trends” can turn an opportunity into a nightmare. Trends are delicate and can change overnight. It’s all about the timing.

There is no recipe to get both the sending time and timing correctly. When it comes down to these topics, the best approach is to study the habits of your audience, and never leave trendy content for the next day.

Setting the best time to send email marketing is a challenge that most companies face, so register and study the timing patterns of your audience very closely. This way, you may be able to come closer to the right answer.

15. Conduct an A/B test

An experimentation culture can work wonders in your email marketing approaches. A/B tests can help you define what the best sending time is, the quality of subject lines, the most efficient approach in CTAs, among other things.

A/B tests can be pretty enlightening if carried out the right way. We are talking about analyzing only one aspect of each test, having a significant sample size in the testing process, and adapting the changes according to the users’ responses.

You also have to be aware that your audience changes, as well as products and services. In this sense, A/B tests never cease to exist. They are a constant activity that makes your email marketing strategies[4]  more engaging.

16. Email List Management

Managing your contacts is necessary to ensure your email marketing messages are reaching the right audiences.

It’s very common having poor engagement levels in lists filled with hundreds of email addresses. Email List Management is not about quantity. It’s about quality.

It’s no use to you a list with a million or more email addresses if these users don’t interact with you nor are interested in what you have to say or offer.

Thus, we have some tips for you regarding email list management. These suggestions will help you administrate your email contacts, and reveal the best alternatives to build a healthy and responsible email list.

17. Don’t purchase email lists

Here’s a fun fact: many of the purchased email addresses don’t even belong to real people. How do companies ever expect these emails will respond? It’s a waste of resources, time, and effort.

Never purchase email lists. They are useless if you want to increase your engagement rates. Moreover, they can even hurt your online reputation, making it worse.

Your account can be shut down as a consequence of buying email lists. It’s a risk that isn’t worth taking.

Building your lists organically is tough and requires a long time to do so. However, you will be rewarded in the form of engagements, conversions, and sales. Keep reading to learn how to build an email list.

18. Build your own list

Building an engaged email list is not simple, especially if you are beginning from scratch. It might take years to finish your first list.

Despite being difficult, an email list that was built organically is going to make your business grow.

The most important part when building your own list is to get informed consent from users, which was given by the subscribers themselves by free choice.

After that, you can curate content for an engaged audience. As they are interested in what you have to say, it’s easier to get high Open and Engagement Rates, which has a positive impact on your deliverability.

Everything starts with an email list carefully built. Don’t take any shortcuts. Taking the long path is challenging, but rewarding. Think about that, and get informed about how to build an email list.

17. Send welcome emails

Among the many types of email, there is the group of welcome messages. The Welcome Emails have an important role in building a solid and lasting relationship with users.

They allow your company to greet new users, introduce your brand one more time, explain the content they will receive from you, and, last but not least, express gratitude.

Use these emails to show the preference center to new subscribers, so they can adjust their wants and needs as soon as possible.

It’s recommendable to go even further. Take this opportunity to encourage action, giving new subscribers a special offer. This strategy will speed up their advancements in the sales funnel.

Welcome emails are quite important in email marketing campaigns because they define the pace and nature of the relationship with each subscriber.

Many professionals say these emails are the most important ones, due to their organizational approach. Welcome emails belong to the email marketing best practices that you must follow. 

20. Use an opt-in process

Adopting the Opt-in process when building an email list is highly recommended. This is the perfect opportunity to get the user’s consent to send commercial emails. This is an important step to becoming a GDPR and LGPD-compliant email sender.

The Opt-in process is also necessary for ensuring only active email addresses get to your subscriber lists. Opt-in strategies are just what you need to achieve good deliverability.

21. Keep your email list clean

Over time, your email lists can get filled with uninterested users or even invalid addresses, which is terrible for your Engagement Rates.

Having too many invalid email addresses can even hurt your online reputation, which adds unnecessary obstacles between your company and recipients.

That’s why you must consider cleaning your mailing lists regularly. Unresponsive users must be removed (after a re-engagement campaign, of course), and the same goes for inactive and disposable addresses.

Verifying email addresses and validating it are initiatives you must have to keep your subscriber lists clean. A common way, but not recommendable, to do so is to send test emails to all the contacts of these lists.

Cleaning your lists is a must-do activity to protect your online deliverability.

22. Segment your list

Your marketing strategies should be adapted to specific features that you know about your customers. Segment your lists, by asking yourself some simple questions, such as:

  • what region do my subscribers live in;
  • what were the last purchases they made;
  • what is the best time to send them emails;
  • what is their average age;
  • how long have these subscribers been customers of the company;
  • what stage in the sales funnel are they in.

Understanding that, your lists will bring real people with different interests and can help you design more responsible email marketing campaigns. Never treat subscribers as if they were all the same person.

23. Use an email validation service

Every time a new email gets to your database, its validity should be checked. The verification process can start even before that, by equipping your landing pages and registration forms with a real-time email validation service.

This is an important measure to assure only valid emails get to your lists, protecting your deliverability and online reputation.

You can count toSafetyMails to the email marketing best practices using their email validation service that can scan your lists, in order to remove any invalid email addresses, or even check emails in real-time through our API.

Essential tools for email marketers

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