Things we recommend for successful email marketing

Email marketing success depends on positive engagement like opens and clicks. In addition to that, certain paradigms of global email marketing should be known for better email delivery. Go through this simple, but effective Do's of email marketing before building your lists, and sending email campaigns.

1. Send emails to double opt-in contacts

Double opt-ins are one of the safest forms of email marketing communication. Open rates, click rates  , conversions and sender reputation will improve if you send emails to affirmative consent given contacts.

2. Segment and target your emails to interested subscribers

Send newsletters and promotional emails to people showing interests in your product. Exclude those who are not responding and limit your emails toward them.

Remove all inactive subscribers from your list if you find no involvement even after sending re-engagement campaigns.

3. Honor opt-outs promptly

You should have a clear opt-out form in marketing emails as per CAN-SPAM.

Subscribers would click unsubscribe if your emails are irrelevant to them or not having impressive design and content to support the purpose of your email.

If a user clicks unsubscribe then, immediately remove him/her from your mailing list.

4. Build your lists slowly. Avoid interruption marketing

Have a better quality of lists and engage with those subscribers regularly. Don't rush adding contacts to your lists by following email harvesting   practices such as buying and purchasing lists. Let your website visitors sign up and come to receive newsletters.

Interruption marketing is sending without consent. It is an illegal practice and you could get penalized.

5. Authenticate each and every email you send

Want to be a safe sender in this security breached email marketing era? Then, authenticate your domain with SPF and DKIM.

Nowadays, your emails need to comply with DMARC to reach the other side.

DMARC is an authentication protocol that works against spammers. Learn more  .

6. Send content based on time, location and interest level of your subscribers

You should keep three factors in mind while designing your email template. The Time zone of your subscribers to know when they will be able to look at your emails. Location of your subscribers as it can tell about their reachability Interest level namely,

a) Response to welcome email b) Subscription to a particular newsletter c) Sudden engagement for some time, etc.,

7. Ask subscribers to add you to their safe sender list

It is called whitelisting too. Once a subscriber adds you to their address book then, you gain the trust of ISPs. Your emails will have less attention from spam filters. Reaching out your subscriber's inbox is easier when they whitelist you.

8. Follow permission marketing

  • Marketing without interruption is the goal of permission marketing.
  • Email contacts who have signed up for your website. Ask them to whitelist you.
  • Email at the right frequency based upon responses from your recipients.
  • Maintain proofs of signup.

9. Keep subject lines between 6-10 words

Because 6-10 words are always mobile responsive. They fit in all devices. Users don't have to zoom-in and zoom-out all the time.

10. A/B test your email campaign's subject lines

Always have more than one version for your campaign's subject lines. Test the versions by changing the keyword and word count. Use the better version to drag in more open rates and conversions.

11. Give importance to 'above the fold' space area

"Above the fold" area is the first thing subscribers see when they open emails. State the purpose of your email there.

Subscribers spend a mediocre 10 seconds or less for scanning marketing emails. Convey about offers, upgrades, and any important information there.

12. Position your links in multiple locations on email's body

Placing links   in multiple locations increases the visibility of those links, ensuring a definite click. Clicks play an important role in determining your email marketing success. And so, place your links at the right places after a string of tests.

13. Remove inactive subscribers (more than six months)

Remove subscribers who haven't shown up for more than six months. If they have totally forgotten you, send a re-engagement email. And, filter your subscribers based on the responses.

Zoho campaigns automatically remove hard bounced contacts from your lists. We maintain a separate suppression list called "Do-Not-Mail" list.

14. Remove old email addresses from your list

Keep old email contacts, duplicate, invalid email addresses, and non-opt-in contacts out of your lists. Eliminate repeating email addresses and reconfirm all your remaining working email addresses.

Alias email addresses like might contain subscribers who don't want to receive your emails. Target the opt-ins alone.

15. Split your list and find hidden spam traps

Split your lists into sub-lists and handle them individually. By narrowing down, you will be able to find spam traps  , polluting your lists. Throw them away from your list.

Segmentation helps you fetch details about the most interested subscribers, interested subscribers, and uninterested subscribers too.

16. Personalize subject lines and give discounts exclusively

Customers look for personalized gifts. Make subscribers believe they are being treated individually by exclusive offers and deals. Include subscriber's first name, their last purchase details with your email templates to enrich the effects of personalization.

17. Engage with your subscribers regularly

Positive engagement of your subscribers includes opens, clicks, website visits, social media shares, and product purchases. Engagement can be improved by

  • Tracking website visit duration
  • Exclusive gift coupons
  • Using polls and feedback forms
  • Monitoring campaign reports for finding the right frequency.

18. Offer something on birthdays and anniversaries

Time for personalization! Shove interesting offers and special discounts on subscriber's birthdays and anniversaries. Probably, the best time to send re-engagement emails.

19. Craft templates for every special occasion

Be it a "Dragon boat festival" or "X-mas", design emails with accordance to the arriving festival. Insert images related with that festival to create a sense of urge.

Make sure to send off all the templates created before the festival ends.

20. Analyze your reports

Reports show you about the open rates, click rates, bounces, opens based on locations and so forth. For example, consider your reports based on subscriber's location.

Know where you lag and analyze demographics by conducting A/B split tests, polls, feedbacks, and finding reasons for unsubscribing.

21. Design mobile responsive campaigns

To be mobile responsive, simple sentences within 10 word range should be used. Take time to write a perfect subject line that fits in a computer and also in a 5 inch smart phone.

22. Use more than one image and have a good image-text ratio

Campaigns with a single image will not reach recipient inboxes. Have good image-text ratio in your email templates. Keep at least 2 or 3 images with compelling content.

23. Target newbies with welcome emails and follow-ups

The first email sent should go to your subscriber's inbox. From here, your domain's reputation is measured.

Invite your subscribers with a welcome email describing the basics of you emailing them. Start sending follow-ups after that (based on your recipient's response). Segmentation by level of interests starts here.

When your first email (say welcome email) reaches the spam folder then, your follow-ups are likely to get a NDR (Non Deliverability Report).

24. Send at the right frequency without spam-like words

Emailing at the right frequency is nothing but neither over mailing nor under mailing your recipients. Give a fair amount of interval between your campaigns depending upon the expectation of the users.

Never email your subscribers on a daily basis. Only spammers do that. Built a decent reputation and got whitelisted? Fine! Even now, you gotta design your emails cautiously eliminating all the possibilities of getting marked as spam.

25. Stick to a template that showed positive results

Changing your templates regularly spoils your reputation among ISPs. When it comes to monitoring, your templates come into the picture too.

If you have earned enough reputation with better conversions and positive engagement then, hold on. Your template should have contributed to your reputation.

Modify your current templates with minor corrections and use it. If it seems like your customers are bored with old templates, craft responsive templates then.

26. Send surveys and know what your customer likes and dislikes

  • Include all the engaging audience and ask from simple to moderate questions
  • Surveys should be easily answerable. i.e. finishable in minutes.
  • Ask direct questions like, "how often should we email you?". A chance to collect data for segmenting contacts in the future.
  • Don't bother subscribers with personal and lengthy questions.
  • Reconnect with all the respondents of your survey immediately after the survey, promising to make some adjustments in your next newsletters.

27. Address your subscribers with their first name

This is the golden rule of email marketing. The core of personalization is engaging subscribers with their first name. Start with, "Hello John" or Hola "Gracia" to make subscribers understand your relationship toward them.

Their name is the key. Tell how you know them. They might have come from your websites, from trade shows, or events.

Tell about their interests in your product and if possible show their 'search results' from your website.

28. Include the unsubscribe link

As per CAN-SPAM Act, it is mandatory for marketers to keep the 'unsubscribe' button for promotional emails. You should highlight this button clearly.

29. Emailing your contacts without segmenting lists

Split and hit your contacts. Segment customers based on their interests, demographics, and gender. Interact with your most loyal subscribers and send follow-ups for unengaged subscribers.

30. Include your company's logo and information as footer notes

Mention your firm's name and insert logo for adding more originality and trustworthiness in your emails. Your subscribers will easily identify you when you fill in these details.

31. Send follow-ups and re-engagement emails

Follow-ups are useful in bringing back inactive subscribers while, re-engagement campaigns can be used to connect with unengaging subscribers.

Split the interested and uninterested subscribers once again and stop sending emails to those who haven't responded.

Definite don'ts of email marketing

The upcoming dont's of email marketing will help marketers avoid indulging in certain unacceptable email sending practices. The negative aspects involved in the before creation phase, and after creation phase of your email campaigns has been thrown light to keep you away from spam filters, spam traps, and spam folders.

1. Never borrow lists even from reputed sources

Email service providers won't allow you to send emails to borrowed lists. It would only increase complaints. Borrowed lists also bring down your open rates and click rates. Subscribers will not open these emails, and if they do, it'll be mostly land into spam folders.

Learn more about spam folders   

2. Scraping email addresses from websites

Another method of collecting contacts, illegally. Email address like these are parasites which could spoil the whole list of opt-in contacts you have. Also, you are more likely to get trapped into pristine spam traps  .

Note: Marketers find these traps when they scrape addresses from public websites. Avoid this!

3. Emailing your contacts without their Consent

Why? Because most of the countries follow permission marketing strictly. Know about the CAN-SPAM   act of every nation. Do not use "fwd", "re" to trick the users.

Note: Germany allows only double opt-in contacts.

4. Overmailing your contacts

The frequency of your emails should not be the same for all lists. Vary the frequency according to subscriber's engagement. As Seth Godin says, 'make your subscribers anticipate for your newsletters'.

However, start sending lesser emails at the start. It is called IP warm-up where you build the trust of ISPs.

5. Sending emails with deceptive subject lines

Your subject lines speak your heart. Tailor simple subject lines without pompous words and doubtful keywords. ISPs cut off these spam-like entries before they reach the user's inbox.

6. Using ALL CAPS in subject lines

Using CAPITAL letters for all the words in subject lines gets you into trouble. ISPs catches you before the notorious "attention seeking subject line" lands in user's inbox.

7. Using extra punctuation marks

Likewise, using more than one exclamation mark in subject lines can be fatal. Spam filters hunt down punctuations filled emails. Undoubtedly, your sender reputation will go down.

8. Sending emails without spell checks

Typos can be deadly! You need to spell check your email content before you hit the send button.

The quality of your content gets reduced when there are more spelling mistakes.

9. Extra and irrelevant keywords

Use keywords related to your business and product only. Avoid sales related words and jargons in subject lines and be relevant to the information you provide in the email body.

10. Never forget to include the unsubscribe link

As per CAN-SPAM Act, it is mandatory for marketers to keep the 'unsubscribe' button for promotional emails. You should highlight this button clearly.

11. Sending emails without testing them

Test your emails for different components before clicking send. Start and end your test on the same day. Subject lines, color, fonts, and images positioning should be tested.

Note: When you use HTML editor for content creation, close all the tags without fail.

12. Sending emails to unengaging contacts

Save your email credits by ignoring unengaging subscribers. This way you prevent spam complaints from unengaging subscribers.

Also, avoid getting hard bounces. Because those emails addresses could have changed into deactivated mailboxes.

13. Sending emails involving money, porn, dating sites, and other irrelevant topics

Entries mentioned above should be kept away from promotional emails. Images involving adult content should not be used too.

Content unrelated to your business is equally dangerous. A huge reputation spoiler!.

14. Sending emails from multiple organizations

Sending emails from multiple organizations is a poor sending practice. Your campaigns cannot be tracked, can result in mail flooding, and so forth. Learn more.   

15. Designing emails without knowing about your receiver's location

You cannot send an email asking your customer staying in Connecticut to visit your store in LA. Craft your emails based on subscriber's location and send relevant newsletters.

16. Never have more than 10 words in your subject line

Unless required, do not construct subject lines exceeding 10 words. Convey the ideas briefly with clarity and have good open rates.

17. Never use the word "FREE" in your email

FREE! FREE! FREE! may attract users but, they won't be able to see it. Why? Again, spam filters marks this emails as spam. Your emails will sound like a hoarding, demanding to get noticed - A huge reputation killer.

18. Never include videos and attachments in your email

Prohibit yourselves from using videos in email marketing. In some cases, use video merge tags for sending videos.

Never attach any files in your emails instead, upload those attachments into your websites.

19. Never send promotional emails from public domain

Send emails from your private domain. Your contacts can easily identify those newsletters. They will know you are the one sending it.

No marketing emails from public domains are allowed. Learn more  .

20. Never send emails to old email addresses

More emails will be marked as spam, and often you will hit spam traps. Further, your emails will be rejected due to high volume of bounces.

Avoid spam complaints by regularly removing old contacts.

21. Never try to send emails with misleading claims

Avoid puffery language and boasting of your own product. Don't include statements like, "Congratulations, you have won a car, prize, a golden opportunity."

Sales related phrases like, click here should not be used in your promotional emails.

22. Never convey two or more messages in a single email

Don't complicate the purpose of a message. Convey only what that email needs and not more than that. If you want to provide a different information, compose another email.

23. Never send image only versions

Combine both the text and html formats to construct straightforward designs that never looks bad in your recipient's inbox.

Some email clients support text formats only and sometimes, subscribers might have poor connection, and so images may take time to ge loaded. And so, it is advisable to have good image-text ratio.

24. Never forget your country's exclusive email deliverability laws

Although there are several restrictions for commercial email, all the countries have four things in common. One of the most vital checklist for an email marketer.

  • Never send unsolicited emails. Use an opt-in form (have double opt-ins mostly)
  • Never send emails without unsubscribe button. Honor opt-outs promptly.
  • Never use deceptive subject lines at any cost. Keep it simple and straight (KISS)
  • Never have a misleading header information.

25. Never embed forms in your email

Forms are not supported across any email marketing platforms. It causes security level issues and so make use of call-to-action buttons.