Last time we looked at how to get started with an email marketing campaign, including how to create an email marketing strategy and how to build up your email list. If you missed the first part of this series you can find it here. This time we’re taking a look at email marketing best practices and some regulations we recommend you follow.
Email marketing best practices
Once you’ve built up your email list full of loyal subscribers it’s important to make sure your emails don’t end up in a spam folder or worse, on a blocked list.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind before you start sending out information to your email list:
Email marketing tips
While you probably wouldn’t think twice about the formatting or subject line of an email you send to a friend, email marketing requires a lot more thought and consideration. Everything from the time you send to your email to the devices which your email could be opened on the matter, and should be planned.
The goal of email marketing is to generate more leads and increase ticket sales. This is what makes creating marketing emails a far more involved process than your average one.
The components of a successful marketing email include:
- Copy: The copy in the body of your email should be consistent with your voice and stick to only one topic.
- Images: Choose images that are eye-catching and relevant and optimised for all devices.
- CTA: Your call to action should lead to a relevant offer and stand out from the rest of your email.
- Timing: Based on various studies the best time apparently to email is 11 am on a Tuesday.
- Responsiveness: On average, around 55% of emails are opened on mobile, so your email should be optimised for this as well as other devices
- Personalisation: You should write every email as if you’re writing it to a friend. Be personable and address your reader in a familiar tone.
- Subject line: Your subject line should be clear, actionable, and use enticing language that’s personalised and aligned with the body copy of the email.
Segmentation means breaking up your email list into subcategories that relate to your subscribers’ unique characteristics, interests and preferences.
You need to remember that your audience and your subscribers are human and you should always do your best to treat them as such. (That means not sending out generic email blasts!)
The reason email segmentation is important is without it you can run the risk of sending the wrong kind of content to the wrong people and potentially lose subscribers.
Why you should segment your email list
Each person who signs up to your emails is at a different stage of readiness to convert into ticket buyers (which we’re assuming is your goal).
If you send a discount code for your tickets to subscribers that aren’t interested in attending your latest event due to location/previous commitments etc. you’ll probably lose them. This is because you have skipped the part where you build trust and develop the relationship between you and your audience.
Every email you send should treat your subscribers like humans that you want to connect with, instead of a group of leads you’re trying to fit into the same box.
The greater the level of segmentation in your list, the greater the level of trust you’ll be able to build with your leads, and the easier it’ll be to convert them at a later date.
How to segment your email list
To begin to segment your email list you’ll need to create a variety of lead magnets and opt-in forms (click here for more information on these) that cover each part of the ticket buyers’ journey. This means your contacts will automatically be divided into separate lists.
The majority of email marketing platforms allow you to segment your email list by contact data and behaviour that will help you send the right emails to the right people.
There are several ways you could break up your list including:[Text Wrapping Break]
- Geographical location
- Lifecycle stage
- Awareness, consideration and decision stage
- Previous engagement with your brand
- Job title
In most cases, you can segment your list in any way you wish, but it’s important to be as exclusive as possible when sending emails to each individual subgroup.
Now you’ve established who you’re emailing and what’s important to them, it will be far easier to send emails with plenty of personalised touches. You’ll know you’re speaking to potentially hundreds and thousands of people, but your subscribers don’t need to know or feel that. Studies have shown that personalised emails have a 26% higher open rate and an improved click-through rate of 14% when compared to non-personalised.
Once you have all your personalised data and you’ve set your email marketing platform that allows for personalisation, there’s no excuse to send out generic emails that don’t make your leads and audience feel special.
A few great ways to personalise your emails include:
- Adding in their first name into the subject line or intro greeting
- Include region-specific information (great for running local events)
- Only send emails that are relevant to the last engagement the lead has had with your brand
- Information about personal events like public holidays or birthdays
- Ending your emails with a personal signature from a human, not your business
- A relevant call to action for an offer your audience may find useful
Email regulations are consistent with consumers’ desires to know how and why their information is being used. One of the most important factors in email marketing is complying with what your audience wants and is looking for.
CAN-SPAM stands for ‘Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (because sometimes the two go together). It’s the way to protect your subscribers’ right to only receive emails they’ve requested. The law was passed in 2003 and applies to any commercial emails used for business purposes.
To ensure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant you need to make sure you:
- Include your company/event name in the address of every email
- Place visible unsubscribe link within your emails
- Use real email addresses in the “from” and “reply to” fields
- Write subject lines that indicate the contents of the email
If you’re still unsure about CAN-SPAM there are plenty of resources online for further information.
While there was some controversy when GDPR was first brought in, it actually moves you closer to building long-lasting and trusting relationships with your audience.
GDPR is about giving your audience the right to choose. They choose your emails. They choose to hear updates from you. They choose to buy your event tickets. This is exactly what inbound marketing is about: your customers coming to you because they believe your business and event hold value to them.
GDPR only applies to businesses that operate in the European Union and market to EU citizens. Non-compliance will result in large fees that aren’t worth the risk, so it’s best to read up on GDPR to ensure you are fully compliant.
Here’s a brief overview of how you can comply with GDPR laws:
- Use explicit and clear language when requesting consent to store personal information.
- Only collect contact data that’s necessary for and relevant to your business.
- Store contact data in a secure manner and only use it for the agreed-upon purpose.
- Retain data for justifiable business purposes only.
- Delete contact data on request.
- Make it easy for contacts to unsubscribe from your list or update their preferences.
- Comply promptly to a contact’s request for access to their data.
- Keep company records to prove GDPR compliance.
These regulations should be taken seriously, so it’s a good idea to create a GDPR-compliant strategy for your business before you begin sending out emails.
How to avoid spam filters
After spending your time creating your perfect email and adhering to regulations, the last thing you want is to end up in a spam folder!
You want to avoid the spam folder because:
- It will hurt your deliverability across the board
- Your contacts will miss your emails
- You won’t be able to accurately measure your marketing effectiveness
- Your analytics will be wrong
Some of the best ways to avoid being sent to the spam filter are:
- Getting whitelisted: A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist, meaning it’s a list of approved senders that are allowed to reach a subscriber’s inbox. The best way to do this is to ask your new subscriber to add your email address to their address book. Include directions on how to do this in your welcome email.
- Watch your copy: Avoid using all capital letters and multiple exclamation points, as well as spam trigger words, like ‘opt in’, ‘click below’ and ‘order’. These words are easily detected and marked down by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
- Use a reliable email service provider: Your email service provider’s reputation affects how your emails are delivered, so it’s always best to stick to established and well-known companies for an added level of legitimacy.
- Implement a double opt-in: After someone opts into your email list, send an email asking them to confirm. This ensures that your new subscriber is genuinely interested in your emails and will likely be more engaged.
These are essential steps to making sure your emails are trusted and compliant and will help your audience build trust with your business and your event.
Next time we’ll be looking at how you can keep track and analyse your email marketing results to help make your campaigns as efficient as possible. Keep up to date via our blog as well as on LinkedIn!