You can’t surprise anyone with running an email campaign nowadays, but it’s those, who try new things and test them, who get the most results.
To have a flawless campaign and get the most results from your efforts, read this guide to learn how to:
- get more opt-in subscribers
- write great e-mail messages
- design effective emails
- make sure your emails reach your audience
- increase open rates and click-throughs
- improve your landing page conversion rate
How to Get More Opt-in Subscribers
- Place a Signup Form on Your Home Page
Place a signup form on your homepage, so that visitors could leave their contact information immediately. Be sure your web form is impressive and at the same time simple enough to attract people and make them fill it and press the ‘Subscribe’ button.
- Link to a Signup Form from Every Page of Website
While exploring your site visitors may consider to signup at any time. That is why it is useful to place a link to signup form on every page.
- Include Subscription Checkbox on All Website Forms
Besides the usual way to subscribe to your newsletter, you can place newsletter subscription fields in your site registration forms, trial forms and any other forms, where visitors should fill in their contact information.
- Do Not Ask For Much Information
People usually hesitate, when they need to fill in personal information online. Your web form should make visitors complete the subscription process, so since no one wants to spend hours filling lots of fields, don’t ask too many questions, this may scare your visitors.
- Make It Clear What Visitors Are Signing Up For
Provide visitors with all the necessary information like what they get, why they may want it, and how often they will be contacted. It should be a brief (but detailed) explanation of what you are offering.
- Make It Easy to Sign Up
You need to make the subscription easy. At the same time you want to get some basic info about each visitor. Some signup forms are too long and people don’t like to describe all their life online. Make your form simple and short, this will attract your visitors.
- Include Email Subscription as a Requirement to Get Download
People are usually ready to fill in signup forms to get downloads, so you can make your visitors subscribe to your newsletter to get the download. Or you can offer download as a bonus for signing up.
Offer a free download as a bonus for subscribing to your e-mail.
- Welcome Each New Subscriber
If the user confirms his subscription, you should send him a welcome letter. It helps to establish a relationship with your potential customer. It also confirms that you have received the information from the signup form and that your appreciate visitor’s attention and time he spent on your site.
- Never Add an Address to Database Unless You Have Explicit Permission
Always send a confirmation email to validate address accuracy. This is the essential rule of permission email marketing. Send a message that repeats the subscriber’s opt-in data to be sure you get the right e-mail address in your database.
- Add a Benefit-based Invitation to Subscribe
Don’t simply invite people to subscribe to your newsletter: add a reason or two in the form of benefits, based on the main values of your customers and newsletter.
- Offer Free Giveaways to One Lucky Subscriber
People like to receive something for free. You can encourage visitors to sign up by offering them a free gift, such as t-shirt or a gift card, to a random subscriber. It can also be a free portion of your service or your product.
- Update Your Button Text from “Submit”
As you offer your subscription or even offer a free gift on a landing page, you can use benefit-driven labels in your button, such as “Subscribe to learn the latest news” or “Get your e-Book right now”
- Send a Re-opt-in Message to Subscribers Who Haven’t Acted on Your Emails
You can send messages with special offer to those subscribers who haven’t acted on your emails for a long time. You can delete the addresses that don’t respond to this reminder or move them to a separate list.
- Send a “Re-Introduction Email”
If you have a list of email addresses you haven’t send messages for a while you need to send them a Re-Introduction email first. Remind them how you’ve got their address or how they’ve bought something from you. Attract their attention so not to be marked as ‘spam’.
- Add the Link to Signup in All the Invoices
You can add a link to subscription form in the invoices or other brochures that your company sends.
- Add the Link to Signup in Email Signature
Add a link to your signup form below your email signature in emails. It may describe the benefits of your newsletter, some promotions or special offers.
- Promote Email Communications in All Printed Materials
You can add a call to action to sign up to your free newsletter in any brochure or postcard. Even a business card is a great place for it.
- Setup a Subscription Computer at Tradeshows
Tradeshows and special networking events give you a great chance to enlarge your emails database. Tell people about special offers you have and benefits they can get after signing up. They can subscribe immediately using the subscription computer.
- Ask Your Customers for Their Email Addresses and Permission
Don’t waste any chances to tell your customers about email communications. You can ask them to signup personally, for example, in a physical store or over the phone.
- Invite Your Readers to Share Your Emails
Make it easy for people to share some information from your newsletter with their friends and colleagues by inserting the link to share and a call to action in your newsletter.
- Create a Facebook Fan Page With a Standing Subscription Invitation
Promote your Facebook Fan page in your email messages and on your Web site. Update it frequently with fresh content such as Facebook-only news and offers.
Write Great E-mail Messages
- Make E-mail Messages Stand Out in the Preview Pane
People get lots of emails daily, so you need to make your messages unique to stand out from the crowd. As emails are usually viewed in the preview pane, you should make your messages clear and brief, including a link to register and your call to actions.
- Make Content Easy to Scan
People usually scan their e-mails in seconds. You should write your message with clear content, clickable links and the message should be attractive enough to make people click the links.
- Put Your Copy on a Single Screen Above the Fold
If you want people to read your emails until the end, you should pay more attention to your email designs. One of the points is that the copy of the email should be on a single screen above the fold.
- Take Longer Sections of Copy and Link to Them on Separate Pages
If your readers are interested in your information, they will want to read the whole email and go to your site to find out more, so link out to more useful information on your site.
- Have a Strong Call to Action in the E-mail Subject Line
The first thing people read in the message is its header. It should be attractive, impressive, and unique to call the reader into action.
- Persuade Them With Your Words
Write naturally, be clear when explaining the subject. To persuade people to do something (to click the link or to accept your offer), you should know what problems your readers want to solve and describe what your offer is, why they should use it, how it they will be able to use it and who exactly will benefit from the offer.Learn more how to persuade with your words.
- Tell Them Why They Want To Take Action
You need to explain people what will happen if they accept your offer. They need to see what benefits they will have and how their life will change.Learn more how to tell them.
- Don’t Waste Your Readers’ Time
Make sure that you emails are worth reading. Start with the table of contents so that reader may choose which point to read first. Show the key points in the subject line, so that reader could see all the important information in the preview pane.
- Make Unsubscribing Easy
Don’t wait until reader mark you letter as spam, place the link to unsubscribing option at the beginning of the letter. Be sure to make the unsubscribing process obvious and easy.
- Use Accurate and Descriptive Subject Headings
People want to know who is communicating with them, so include your company name in the heading. The subject should make readers curious and interested in the topic of the letter. As the space of the heading is limited, keep it short but informative.
- Don’t Forget Your Plain Text Version
Remember that not every e-mail client can display HTML text, so it’s better to use a plain text version of your message.
- Make a Link to a Web Version
Sometimes readers may have such email clients that can’t display your email properly. In this case, you should provide the possibility to view the content of the letter online on your web site.
- Do Not Rush
You shouldn’t be in a hurry with sending emails. Make the proper design of your messages, think carefully of the content, and plan the subject line. Make sure all the people from your email database opted-in and gave the permission to use their email address.
Design Effective Emails
- Email List Segmentation Starts with “Welcome!”
List segmentation is the key to your success and profit. Welcome new campaign visitors by sending them special messages. You can use automated welcome programs to send such messages.
- Fine-Tuning Email Rendering
As your customers have different email clients, your message will be displayed differently. Users also have different computer preferences. It’s important to optimize email rendering so that clients could see your message correctly.
- The Top of the Email is Not for Pretty Pictures
The top of your letter isn’t the best place for your logo or some picture. It is better to start your message with call to action information as it will be the first thing reader sees in the preview pane. You can put your logo or some graphics below the message.
- Web-like Navigation is Murder on Mobile Devices
Many mobile devices have problems with rendering HTML correctly. To avoid it make a text version of your HTML, place it on your Web site and put a link to this version in your email message.
- Graphics Don’t Work – No, Really, They Don’t
Don’t have much graphics in your letters as many email clients block images by default. All the readers will see is empty boxes instead of pictures.
- Images Should be Posted on Your Publicly Accessible Web Server
Focus on your message, not graphics. Post images on a fast, public web server. Don’t use a secure connection or an external server as it is too slow.
- Don’t Code Emails Too Wide
You should design an email so that it will fit in the viewing area of most email clients. A width of 650 pixels will fit in most email client windows.
- Invisible Calls to Action Don’t Get Clicked
Don’t put any important information that readers really need to see in graphics. As graphics is not displayed in some email clients, reader may loose interest to such a message.
- Use Stronger Call to Action
Call to action in your letter should be clear, concise and visible to the reader in any format. Make it easy for the clients to understand why to click through, and what they can expect on the other side.
- Email Clients Don’t Honor Cascading Style Sheets
Many popular email clients don’t honor CSS, so 99% of your CSS won’t work. That means no CSS-positioning, DIVs, etc. Webmail services usually disable CSS, because it can override the rest of their page.
- Use HTML Tables for Layout
The main idea is to is divide your web page into sections and columns to give it a professional view and to make it more user friendly. HTML tables will make layout more complex.
- Use Animated GIF If You Desperately Need Some Kind of Video
The best way to include a video in your email is an animated GIF. But if you need sound or video of better quality you should place a link from your email to the video.
- Consider Using Free Templates
Sometimes it’s efficient not to use a web designer. There are many automated free templates and site wizards which can create a simple message.
- Brand Your Emails
You can strengthen your brand with email marketing. When you send email, include your logo and locate it in the same place each time. Use the same colors and fonts in your messages as you do on your site.
- Test Email in Lots of Different Email Application
Before sending your emails to clients it is better to test how it will look like in the most popular email applications such as Outlook, Lotus, Apple Mail, Eudora etc.
- Test Email in Lots of Different Webmail Services
It is better to test your emails before sending in different email services such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail.
Improve Email Deliverability
- Avoid High Bounce Rates
Usually about 10% of your mailings can be reported as bounces. Avoid high bounce rates as the delivery rate to correct addresses is slowed. That is why try to keep your subscriber lists clean. Also include special fields for phone or address so that you can update the address of those clients that bounce (but keep in mind that forms with less fields are more effective, too).Learn more how to avoid high bounce rates.
- Have the Email Software Manage and Clear Out Bounces
Use email software to detect and process all bounced emails. You can view bounced reports for each email campaign to see who bounced and why.
- Ask Subscribers to Add to Their Whitelist
You can add your add-to-sender-list request in your subscription form. So you can get to person’s white list even before you send him a welcome letter. In your welcome message, repeat the request to remind those, who didn’t add you to the whitelist while subscribing to your newsletter.
- Ensure You Have an Unsubscribe Link in Each Mailing
It is important to include an unsubscribe link to every message, because people may simply mark your messages as spam without contacting you.
- Ensure Your IP Address is Not on a Blacklist
Your IP address can get on the blacklist, if a reader considers you are a spammer. It is important to be aware of such blacklists and to monitor them in case you are added to such a list.Learn how to make sure you are not on a blacklist.
- Be Careful About What Attachments You Include
Be aware that most email systems have an attachment limit, so you shouldn’t send large attachments, also because some people may have slower Internet connections.
- Consider Using a Reputation Service
Many providers rely on white lists provided by reputation services to help separate responsible senders from spammers. If you appear on a white list that is used by your most important providers your chances of making it to the inbox increase. And with good deliverability comes higher response rates.
- The From Address, the Sender Name, and the Subject Line Should be All Recognizable
You should make every message clear to the recipient. Make your reader confident that he received a letter from a responsible sender.
- Set Up a Sender Policy Framework
You can improve the relationship between your server and the receiving servers by setting up a Sender Policy Framework (SPF). By specifying which computers are allowed to send e-mails from your domain you can avoid using your domain by spammers.
- Run Your Message Through Spam Filters
Your newsletters may be deleted if you don’t use spam filters. There are some Spam Filter programs that may stop recipients from receiving certain email messages.
- Buying Email Addresses Can Buy Trouble
Never send email to people who didn’t request your messages. Remember that a purchased email list does not consist of people who want to receive your emails.
- Email List Rental: Watch for Red Flags
If you don’t have your house list it is better to rent it instead of buying. The company you got this list from should explain how it acquired these email addresses and how old are they.
- Beware of Spam Traps
Spam traps are email addresses that receivers use for the purpose of identifying spammers. If you get to spam traps, internet providers will put a permanent block on your IP address that is they will refuse to deliver your messages at all.
- Implement a Double Opt-in Confirmation Process
It is better to use double opt-in or confirmation method to build your email list. The double opt-in method is the best solution to the problem of single opt-in subscribers that don’t want to be on your mailing list. When they confirm that they agree to receive your letters you are protected against sending unwanted mails.
- Focus On Growing Your House List Organically
If you don’t have a list, you need to get it, even if you plan to make just one newsletter campaign. If you already have a list, start optimizing it, make more people sign up every day.
- Avoid Spammy Content
Remember that your messages can be mistakenly moved to the junk folder. To prevent it use anti-spam filters before sending your mails.
- Maintain Frequency Until Requested Otherwise
Don’t send your mails, offers or requests too often, this will likely alienate your prospects. It’s important to remember that your target customers receive many other messages every day. You should have a plan that customers agreed to unless they tell you different. Or use common sense.
- Don’t Trash Your Sender Reputation
You spend a lot of time on building your sender reputation and you can spend only day destroying it. To avoid it, don’t use old or purchased addresses, send welcome emails and don’t send nonauthenticated emails.
- Do Not Use Old or Purchased Lists
When you use old list, there can be addresses that are no longer active, and those who may not remember about you at all. So your message can easily get to junk mail. If you use purchased list, be sure subscribers have confirmed to receive your newsletters.
- Use a Static IP Address to Send Emails From
If you share your IP address with one or many companies you probably don’t know who these companies are. But your reputation depends on them as you have the same IP address.
- Ensure Your DNS for Your Domain is Complete and Error Free
DNS is an important way of establishing identity on the Internet, spammers will often forge domain names or IP addresses to hide where their mail is coming from.
- Ensure Your Server Allows Reverse DNS Lookup
A reverse DNS lookup takes the IP address that is trying to make the connection and checks to see if there is a registered domain associated with it. Performing these types of DNS lookups is an easy way for ISPs to differentiate legitimate email publishers from those who are out to scam their customers.
- Make Sure You Are Sending Authenticated Email
Providers use an authentication protocols to verify that you’re a legitimate mailer. You need to verify that your “From” address is properly authenticated.
- Use a Valid Reply-to Address
If you have a valid email address, your subscribers can easily contact you, so don’t be afraid to receive lots of automated responses to your email campaign.
- Include the Street Address
Your subscribers will like to know where you are located. Your message should have your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address or a post office box.
- Don’t Send Bulk Emails Using the BCC Field
You shouldn’t use the BBC field while sending your newsletters, because that is another chance for a spam filter to discard your message. The best thing is to send one letter to one subscriber.
Increase Email Open and Click-through Rates
- Write a Strong Subject Line
You should write the subject that could get your reader interested enough to spend some time and read the whole email. Don’t focus on yourself in the subject, focus on the people and their needs.
- Subject Lines Should Tell What’s Inside, Not Sell What’s Inside
The most important thing for the subject line is that it should describe what’s inside the letter. Put the name and issue of the newsletter in the subject. Don’t write your subject lines like advertisements.
- Grab Subscribers Attention With an Engaging Subject Line
When people sign up, they are usually aware that they will be receiving updates and news from your site. But that doesn’t mean they will read all your letters. Getting people to open your mails is not easy. By providing an engaging subject line you can persuade your clients to read the whole text of the message.
- Personalize Email With Such Information as Name
Personalized email address lets you get a personal email account that is totally unique and memorable. Also, it makes you seem more legitimate.
- Personalize Email With Conditional Content
For example, different products to different age groups.
- Use Email Split Testing
To improve the number of response to your newsletters, you can start split testing your email sales with measurable scientific methodology. You can evaluate the effectiveness of the mailings with number of opens and clicks.
- Pay Attention to Snippet Text
Snippet text is important, because it is the first line of your message that appears in the preview pane. It should describe the content of the letter and include hyperlink to the offer.
- A Clear Call to Action
The readers of your letters should clearly see what you expect them to do. They should know where to click and what to order. That is why every letter must contain a clear call to action.
- Breaking Your List into Segments
By dividing your subscribers into groups with distinct needs you will get higher response rates to your letters. You will also lose fewer subscribers, if your mailings are relevant.Learn more how to break your email list into segments.
- Target Your Best Customers With RFM Segmentation
RFM Segmentation is based on the idea that your potential customer is the one who has bought something not long time ago, who purchases frequently and who spends a lot of money. So you can increase responses rate by sending your messages to these particular segments of people.
- Honor Your Subscriber’s Preferences
Stick to the conditions of sending your letters that your subscriber has agreed to earlier. Don’t change the content of your messages or frequency of sending. Ask for customer’s permission if you want to change anything.
- Watch Your List Statistics Carefully
Watch your list statistics to determine bounces, unsubscribers and inactivity. That is especially important, if you want to start a new email campaign or add new lists.
- Stay in Touch by Occasionally Emailing Special Offers
Or other useful content or survey or preferences-update invitations.
- Combat List Stagnation
Time after time segment inactivity within a certain period. Find people in your list who have not opened or clicked on your emails for some time after subscribing. Send them a message with an offer either to come back or to unsubscribe from the list.
- Perform List Hygiene Regularly to Weed Out Invalid Addresses
Avoid invalid addresses and those that have not responded to your mails even to follow-up or query email messages.
- Focus on Value, Not Fluff
Let people experience the value of your information and offers. You can achieve it when you identify wants and needs of the customers and deliver content that is expected. Letter design helps to make valuable information easier to understand. You should keep messages short and simple.
- Be Confident
Be confident when you communicate with people. Customers will respond better to emails that are fact-based and relevant.
- Define the Goals You Expect the Readers Had When They Signed Up
You should align the goals sender’s message has with the goals you expect the readers had when they signed up. These goals should match. If not, you aren’t meeting your readers’ expectations.
- Define the Audience
You need to understand clearly who your customers are, and whether your mails go to the whole mailing list or just a segment of it. Learn as much information as possible about your targeted group: its likes and dislikes, needs and wants, any important data and anything else that appears relevant.
- Explain the Call to Action
Don’t think that a “click here” link is sufficient and is self explanatory. You should clearly explain you call to action. Give as many details as possible, introduce your offer. The readers will take action only if you tell them definitely what is in it for them.
- Vary Call to Action Expression
Call to action can be explained in different ways depending on the purpose of your email. Don’t use “Click here” in all your letters. Vary your word usage and you will keep your email messages unique and impressive.
- Give Your Readers More Ways to Connect to Your Website
Besides a call to action link, your readers should have more ways to connect to your site. The more options you will give to the reader, the better total call to action you will have.
- Monitor Your “Reply-To” Inbox
You should monitor reply mailbox for unsubscribe messages, challenge-response requests or bounces.
- Review and Calculate the Average Click-through Rate
You can determine the best email marketing campaign using the click-through rate (CTR). The click-through rate is determined by your target audience, message relevance, persuasion, frequency, links etc.
- Experiment With Date and Time of Send
Don’t just ask what the best time/day to send email is. Instead, look for combinations of email content and targets that let you better time your emails to the needs and responsiveness of your subscribers.
- On Time, Every Time
When you send a message to your subscribers, always make sure that it’s sent on the same day, at the same time. Your subscribers will be expecting your email to arrive in their inbox on the same day at the same time every week. Unless you are testing, of course.
- Consider Using A Hosted Service
Using our hosted service (where we manage everything) allows you to focus on your email content and building your lists rather than dealing with delivarability issues.
Improve Your Landing Pages Conversion Rate
- Don’t Just Send Them to Your Home Page
When you run email marketing campaigns, landing pages are of great importance for you. Help your visitor to your landing page, explain what you are offering quickly and easily, use short paragraphs.
- Prefill Fields on Landing Pages
For the visitors, who come from your email campaign, forms should be simple and pre-filled, when applicable.
- Design a Specific Landing Page for Each Offer
Avoid using the same landing page for different offers. Eliminate additional links to other resources or to other pages on your web site because they can pull a subscriber away from your offer.
- Repeat the Headline from E-mail at the Top of the Landing Page
This will tell your visitors that they have entered the right page. Keep the content “above the fold”, as it is not convenient for your visitors to scroll to find what they’re looking for and they may give up.
- Don’t Be Redundant
The landing page should contain more information than it was in the letter. It shouldn’t have exactly the same content. Send your readers to the next step after they click a link in the email.
- Align the Landing Page With the Main Goal of the Email Message
The design of a landing page should be specific to the goal of the email message. Remember, your landing page should be highly focused. Think about your clients and what you want them to do. After that design your landing page according to this goal.
- Make Sure that Visitors Finds What They’re Expecting
When visitors find themselves in the right place, they will be pleased and this will increase their satisfaction, which will increase your conversion rate.
- Support Your Offer with Every Page Element
If every element of the landing page doesn’t match the details on your offer – if your message is irrelevant or confusing – your conversion rate will suffer.
- Perform A/B Testing
To compare the effectiveness of different landing page versions you can perform A/B testing on your landing pages. Google Optimizer is a good way to start, not to mention your email marketing software to test your messages.
- Match the Landing Page to Call to Action
After reading your email readers should have some expectations for what they’ll find when they click through. It’s a good idea to include multiple calls to action in an e-mail. But be sure that all calls to action lead to the end goal.
- Consider Using Call to Action With Looming Expiration Date
When you give your readers calls to action with an expiration date “:for the next 24 hours” they will be less likely to leave that offer without attention. On the other hand, nowadays such a strategy isn’t a new one and sometimes it may not work.
- Design for Scanability and Lead the Eye
When the person scans the letter, he usually looks for information that will force him to take action. So your headlines, sub-heads and graphics should be simple. This can be done using different fonts and colors.
- Test Different Elements on Landing Pages to Learn What Works Best
You should test different elements on your landing pages to learn what works best. With web analytics software that allows running A/B tests you can track the results of each page variant.
- Keep the Exact Words in Subject Line, Email Headline and Landing Page
When you have picked the most suitable words for your newsletter lead article headline, keep the exact same words in your subject line, email headline and landing page. Though this may not be easy because of different amount of space, but if you use the same words, you’ll probably get better results.
- Keep Less Visually Distracting Items as Possible
Use on your landing page as few visually distracting items as possible. Focus your visitors on the path you want them to take. The fewer distractions you have, the more chances are that your visitors will spend more time on the page or leave it without converting.
- Snare E-Mail Addresses on Landing Pages
You can capture the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not buy anything. You can use different methods to capture visitors addresses, most of them are based on offering free content.
- Create a Single Path to Your Offer
If you want to prevent visitors from leaving the path you want them to take in your campaign, avoid such elements as links to irrelevant pages on your website.
- Keep It Short and Sweet
Try to keep all the content above the fold on the landing page. Don’t make visitors have to scroll to find what they’re looking for, as they cannot find it. And if they don’t find it, they won’t convert.
- Lead the Eye
Use graphics and color thoughtfully. Be careful with big images – they will demand a lot of eye time. Place some important stuff in the middle of the letter, and don’t distract your user from the main point. Don’t put interesting material in sidebars. This pulls the eye away from the main body.
- Try to Use Relevant Images
As eye tracking studies have shown, relevant images draw attention to them and the surrounding content, while irrelevant images simply occupy your valuable page real estate.
- Keep It Brief
If your want the visitor to fill in a form, keep it brief and simple. You can scare clients by asking for too much information.
- Track Subscriber Clicks and Reads With Analytics Integration
You can use web analytics to track the page views of the subscribers. It gives you valuable information about your visitors’ habits. You can use these facts to develop more relevant email campaigns and landing pages in the future.
- Track Results
You should track results to be able to tell exactly what worked and what didn’t work and thus make necessary improvements to increase performance. Your email message and landing page should work together to achieve better results.
All of these techniques can be implemented easily using ActiveCampaign’s own email campaign software. If you know more ways to make your email marketing campaign sizzle, please share them with us in the comments. Thank you.