Have you started working on your 2021 email marketing strategy? Just as with any other format of digital marketing, you need to base your emails on best practices. To help you out, we’ve put together the 26 email marketing best practices which are guaranteed to drive results in 2021.
After an unexpected 2020, businesses are eagerly looking forward to having a more predictable – and more profitable – 2021. The importance of email marketing for the success of your business in the coming year can never be overstated. That’s why now is the time to learn all there is to know about the best practices for email marketing in 2021.
#1: Automate the Acquiring of New Contacts
The first thing that you need in order to excel in email marketing in 2021 is an audience to which to send messages. That’s why the first step in building an email marketing strategy based on best practices is to automate the acquisition of new contacts. It’s important to continue growing your email contact lists all the time as that’s your source of new leads to convert into customers. The best way to automate this process is to use sign-up forms across different pages of your website. For example, capture the name and contact information of users who are about to leave your website. Do the same with users who visit your blog page as they are obviously interested in the type of digital content that you offer.
#2: Don’t Buy Contact Lists
Speaking of email contacts, one of the absolutely worst things you can do as a business owner or an email marketer is to purchase a readily available contact list. Don’t fall into the trap of the hundreds of companies and individuals who will reach out to you offering lists with thousands of business owners, executives, and managers in your specific industry for as little as hundred bucks. You can get in lots of trouble for sending email marketing campaigns to people who have not explicitly opted in to receive emails from you. You will be severely punished when all these contacts start marking your emails as spam as your domain authority will drop immediately, after which it will take months of hard work to get back on track.
#3: Don’t Email Unsubscribed Contacts
Similarly, if you want to base your efforts on email marketing best practices in 2021, make sure that you don’t send email campaigns to unsubscribed users. This means that you have to regularly clean up your contact lists to remove users who are no longer interested in receiving content from you by email. Alternatively, you risk being reported as spam by these unsubscribed contacts and taking a major hit.
#4: Organize Contacts into Segments
With regards to your subscribed contacts, it is best practices for email marketing to organize them into lists and then further break them down into segments. In this way you can differentiate between various audiences such as registered users (leads) and paying customers, for instance. Having your contacts organized into specific segments will help you always send out the most relevant email campaigns based on users’ stage in your business sales funnel.
#5: Know Your Audience Well
While we are on the subject of email contacts, yet another thing to keep in mind as you are putting together your 2021 email marketing strategy is that you need to be well familiar with your audience or audiences in order to provide them with the best content for their needs. The first step in this process is to gather all the information that you need to place new contacts into the right lists. That’s why you should ask for extra information – in addition to the standard first name, last name, and email address – in the sign-up forms that you use to collect new contacts. For example, you can ask about profession, industry, and location to understand the exact needs of your leads.
#6: Keep Subject Lines Short and Sweet
We are now coming to the really exciting part of email marketing best practices in 2021 – working on the actual email marketing templates. Let’s start from the beginning – the subject lines. It is best practice to use up to 8-9 words and up to 60 characters in a subject line. In this way you will ensure that the content in the subject line will be displayed in full on all website browsers and all email providers. After all, you want your contacts to be able to see right away what your email is all about. In addition, this length allows you to produce subject lines which are punchy and to the point. Your contacts expect to understand the exact subject of your email right away.
#7: Take Advantage of the Preview Text
While you don’t have to include preview text with your email marketing campaigns, it is email marketing best practices to write a top-performing preview text. This is your chance to offer contacts a bit of extra information about your email and to entice them to open it. To that purpose, make sure that your preview text is as attractive as your subject line but a bit longer.
#8: Personalize Email Campaigns
With the tons of emails which they receive on a daily basis, your users want to know that you take them seriously and you really care about meeting their needs and expectations. One of the best practices for email marketing to show that you care is to personalize your email marketing campaigns. Include your contact’s first name in the subject line as well as in the greeting. There’s nothing worse than receiving an email which starts with “Hi there!” or “Hello, Friend!”. This is the most secure way to show your users and customers right away that you simply don’t care. With the myriad of email marketing software tools out there, you have no excuse to skip this important step. You can easily automate this with an email marketing platform.
#9: Share Useful Content
Needless to say, even if you have the perfect audience and out-of-this-world subject lines, your email marketing campaigns will not achieve anything unless you send high-quality content which is in line with the needs and interests of your contacts. There are many different types of digital content which you can use in your email campaigns such as blog posts, dedicated landing pages, YouTube videos, and sometimes even plain text emails. The key is to always choose content which adds real value to your the customer experience.
#10: Pay Attention to the Design
In addition to being useful, your content should also be visually appealing. Even if you have the best written content and share the most useful messages, your contacts will be taken back if your email marketing templates are ugly, for the lack of a better word. Whether you decide to hire a professional graphic designer or to give your own skills a go, make sure that your email templates are carefully designed. For example, don’t use more than a couple of different typefaces. Use images and videos of the right size and proportions which are also of high-resolution. Use bold and italics sparingly. Consistency is really important when designing top-performing email templates.
#11: Avoid Spammy Content
Going back to the content of your campaigns, it is email marketing best practices in 2021 as well as in any other year to stay away from spammy content. There are dozens of buzz words which simply scream that your emails – and even your entire business – are a scam. Avoid using words such as “get rich”, “make money now”, “earn extra cash”, “double your”, “earn $”, “save big”, and “biz opportunity”. First of all, these words are very likely to cause your campaigns not to go through the spam filters of most reputable email providers. Second, even if they go through and make it to the inboxes of your contacts, users might not open such suspicious emails. Third, if they open it, users will not fall for such cheap promises.
#12: Use Clean Code
When creating email campaigns, you can type in the content and add images and videos to readily available layouts provided by most email marketing software platforms or you can use code. Both of these options can be email marketing best practices if implemented correctly. If coding is your forte and you decide to go with the latter, make sure that the code you use in your email templates are clean and straightforward. Overly complicated codes are more likely to end up in the spam.
#13: Use CTAs Strategically
The sole purpose of sending our email marketing campaigns to your audiences is to get them to do something. And the way to do that is through CTAs. However, CTAs that are randomly thrown around in your email templates will not achieve anything. Instead, CTAs should be strategically worded and placed. Create different CTAs for your different campaigns, such as “Learn More”, “Read More”, “Keep Reading”, “Save 20% Now”, etc. The point is that while there is nothing wrong with prompting your contacts to buy your product or service, email marketing should not be all about selling selling selling. You should show that you are there for your users to educate them on important subjects as well through your valuable content.
#14: Create Email Marketing Campaigns According to the Interests and Needs of Contacts
Best practices for email marketing for 2021 says that all your email campaigns should be highly targeted to serve the specific needs of each of your contact lists and segments. They should consider the background of your contacts as well as their position in the sales funnel. Your contacts will greatly appreciate email content which shows that you care to address their interests and needs rather than just sending random content of no real value to them.
#15: Make Use of Time-Sensitivity
When sending out emails with holiday marketing promotion campaigns, make sure to take advantage of the time-sensitivity. For instance, if you are running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale for the next two days, you should mention in your email campaign that this is a limited-time offer which expires in 48 hours. In this way, you will urge users to take action soon without seeming to force them to buy your product. You are simply informing them that this opportunity is not going to be available after a certain time.
#16: Make Unsubscribing Easy and Obvious
One of the most important email marketing best practices in 2021 is to include an easy-to-see link from which your users can unsubscribe from receiving more emails from you. Actually, having an unsubscribe link is a legal requirement, and many email marketing software platforms have this embedded for you. However, it is worth putting some efforts into creating your own link which is really easy to locate and use. The last thing you want to do as an email marketer is to get users who are no longer interested in your emails frustrated because they cannot figure out how to unsubscribe. This will only lead them to mark your email as spam.
#17: Don’t Overwhelm Contacts with Endless Campaigns
Even if you think that you create the perfect email marketing campaigns, you should not drown your contacts into emails. While it is best practices for email marketing in 2021 to have a sequence of a few emails as part of each campaign, your campaigns should not exceed 3-4 emails at the most. If you haven’t been able to deliver the right message to your contacts in the first few emails, chances are you are not going to be able to do it after that either. You just run the risk of getting users angry at your endless emails and stop opening them – or even worse – mark them as spam.
#18: Time Your Email Marketing Campaigns Right
Just as there is the best time to post on social media, there is the best time to send out email campaigns for the highest engagement from users. Monday and Wednesday are generally the best days of the week for opens and clicks. Meanwhile, if you target businesses, you should send emails in the morning or early afternoon. If you target individuals, your email marketing campaign should be sent out in the evening or on the weekend.
#19: A/B Test Everything
The setup and content of your campaigns might all be done based on email marketing best practices in 2021, but you cannot be 100% sure about what’s optimal for your specific audience. That’s why it is really important to run an A/B test on all possible aspects of your email campaigns such as the subject line, preview text, content, and sending time. Make sure that you only run one A/B test at a time, and once you have a definite winner, you can move on to testing another element. Otherwise, your results will be messy, to say the least, if you are trying to test both the subject line and the sending time, for example, at the same time.
#20: Space Out Email Campaigns
In line with best practices for email marketing in 2021, you need to leave enough time between your email campaigns. This refers not only to emails being sent to the same users but also to emails being sent to different users. If you send too many emails around the same time, this might look like suspicious activity, so you might get blacklisted. Make sure to leave at least a day or two between email marketing campaigns sent to a few thousand contacts.
#21: Create an Email Marketing Schedule
To help you out with keeping track of all the email campaigns that you are sending, especially around holiday marketing promotion times, it’s best to have a written down email marketing schedule. Similar to a social media schedule, an email marketing calendar will help you place each campaign at the optimal time without overwhelming your servers or your users.
#22: Make Emails Look Authentic
Another crucially important aspect of email marketing is to send emails which look as authentic as possible. This means that emails should look as if coming from your own domain even if you use a hosting application. This can be easily done through simple integrations provided by the best email marketing tools on the market.
#23: Track Open Rate and Click Rate
It is email marketing best practices in any year and especially in 2021 to track performance. The most important metrics for the importance of your email marketing strategy include opens, clicks, and unsubscribes as these figures will help you evaluate how useful and effective your email content is in meeting the needs of your audience. Depending on the goal of a specific email marketing campaign, it might be worth tracking the ecommerce conversion rate and the revenue you have been able to generate from a campaign. Usually performance can be tracked both on the email marketing software platform that you use to send campaigns and on Google Analytics if integrated.
#24: Base Email Marketing Decisions on Data and Analytics
Of course, you should not track performance for the sole purpose of tracking. You need to know how your past email campaigns have done in order to be able to base your future email marketing campaigns on these results. That’s how you can build your own best practices for email marketing as after all each business and each company is different and deals with different customers. Creating email campaigns and sending them should not be like shooting in the dark. To the contrary, email marketing is a precise science which should be based on performance data and analytics.
#25: Benefit from Email Marketing Automation
The digital marketing industry has become too competitive for you to be able to afford to waste time on manual tasks related to email marketing. You should work on automating and streamlining as many of your email marketing processes as possible. And the way to do that is to use an email marketing software, like Studiorific Campaign. Our email marketing platform helps you:
- Collect contacts’ information through embedded as well as your own hosted sign-up forms
- Grow your audiences
- Organize contacts into lists and segments
- Create top-performing, visually appealing email marketing templates
- Schedule email campaigns
- Set up email marketing automations
- Send authentically looking email campaigns
- Track performance
You can sign up for a free trial of Studiorific Campaign now to discover the full potential of our all-in-one email marketing software platform.
#26: Keep Up to Date with Email Marketing Best Practices
While the above 25 points constitute the best practices for email marketing for 2021 at the moment, the email marketing business is so dynamic and ever-changing that best practices might look quite different in a few months. That’s why you as an aspiring email marketer should always keep an eye on the most recent updates. Staying up to date on best practices is crucial.
These are the 26 email marketing best practices that will definitely drive results for your business in 2021. Just follow these simple rules to create an outstanding email marketing strategy to get ahead of the competition early in the year.