Will Cannon
Author: Will Cannon  |  

Will Cannon heads the team at UpLead, a B2B sales intelligence platform that caters to businesses looking to expand their audience.


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Looking for email newsletter best practices to improve your campaigns?

Email marketing is one of the best and most cost-effective marketing channels at your disposal. It’s a great way to guide your audience across the marketing funnel and get more sales at a low price.

However, knowing how to craft your email campaign will drastically affect your open rate and your success.

Here we listed what we consider to be the ten definitive email newsletter best practices, along with examples and tips to take your email campaigns to the next level.

Let’s get started.

13 Email Newsletter Best Practices You Should Follow -

Here are 13 email newsletter best practices you can apply today in your email campaigns.

1) Start With An Irresistible Subject Line

You may have the best content in your email, but no one is going to see it if they don’t see an attractive title!

Well-written email subject lines catch the eye and give the reader a taste of what they could get if they decide to click. Crafting a perfect subject line is so critical that, according to research done by Business2Community, 47% of email recipients open an email just because of the subject line.

Barack Obama’s email campaign had memorable subject lines, including this three-lettered word:

That email was the one that got the most amount of clicks in a digital campaign that got almost $700 million dollars of funding.

How to craft good subject lines:

Remember that, while you’re probably crafting your email on a computer, most people will read it on their mobile devices. Therefore, optimize your title for mobile, making it short and appealing so the readers can read it fully.

Get creative and don’t be afraid to throw emojis and questions to keep your users interested.

2) Use welcome emails to build strong relationships and deliverability

Welcome emails are emails sent to thank users for subscribing to your email campaign. They’re not only the emails with the highest open, they’re also one of the most effective messages you can send.

Why?

Welcome emails give users a very clear idea of what to expect from you while they’re still engaged with your brand. They prepare them to receive new emails from you so they can look forward to the next one, instead of them getting surprised or annoyed by it.

Finally, the welcome email assures them that they registered correctly and helps you keep your subscriber list clean by generating a hard bounce if it’s being sent to a wrong address. That way, you can quickly remove that email from the list.

Michaels, for example, clicks all the boxes and keeps the users engaged by giving them a reward: a 20% coupon:

This welcome email isn’t just a “thank you”, it makes the new subscriber feel like a part of something exclusive. It also helps you build up how your company is perceived by setting the tone from the beginning. If they got a coupon in their first email, maybe they’ll get a better coupon in the next one.

How to create good welcome emails:

Keep it simple and personal. Make sure to offer value and to make the new subscriber feel like part of your company. Keep visual consistency and give them a reason to open your next email.

3) Have a consistent schedule for consistent results

Humans are creatures of routine. They like to walk their dog at 8 p.m. and have pizza on Fridays. Sending a consistent amount of emails during a fixed day of the week is a great way of incorporating your brand into their routine. Figured out the best day/time for sending to your list? Then stick to it.

Quora, for example, sends its daily “Quora Digest” every day at around the same time:

How to find your own schedule:

Once you’ve found the optimal day and time for your emails, stick to it. Most successful email campaigns are made of just 2-5 emails per month, so plan your emails ahead and let our customers get used to your schedule.

4) Test your email content

Always go through every step of the testing before sending an email. Make sure all images are responsive, all the links work and all your text is well written.

You don’t want to send your email just to realize later that your CTA link is broken!

Most emailing companies know how important testing is. Mailchimp & SendX, for instance, allows you to preview your email on desktop and mobile, check for broken links and send test emails before you finish your campaign:

How to test your emails properly:

Have a checklist of the tests you’ll do and never send your email before going through the whole list. Send a test email to yourself and check every single link. Run the content through a grammar check.

You can first send an early batch to a small part of your audience and to your coworkers. That way you get a bit of time to fix any issue that you may have missed.

If you’re late, remember: it’s better to send a delayed email than a flawed one.

5) Choose A Good Sender Name

A lot of people don’t give a second thought to their sender’s name. However, a great sender’s name is critical if you want people to open your emails.

Think about it.

Would you open an email from someone you’ve never heard of? Probably not!

The sender email is the only thing right next to your subject line, so it’s just as important. People will read your sender’s name along with the subject line. Failing in either of those will mean your subscribers won’t open your email.

And making your sender name the same as your brand may not cut it either.

Oberlo, for instance, sends their emails under “Caitlyn from Oberlo”:

Why?

Because it’s harder to reject a person than to reject a faceless company.

How to pick your sender name:

If you decide to add a personal name, make sure you add your company too and don’t remember to use the same name to sign off. You can make it even more personal by ditching the “no-reply” address and even inviting your subscribers to respond to create better engagement.

6) Have One Clear CTA

Your email campaign’s success will come down to the number of clicks it gets. That’s why you need to have a very clear CTA that’s attractive, pops out of the screen and invites to be clicked on.

Casper, for instance, makes it. In the end, the success of your email newsletter design will come down to whether it wins the clicks. The call to action (CTA) is a critical part of getting subscribers to engage:

The text poses an issue with a simple answer: the CTA. After all, who doesn’t want to stay clean? And, if you do want to stay clean, shouldn’t you click on the blue button?

How to design good CTAs:

Make sure your CTA is very clear and visible. If your text is an issue your CTA should be the solution. Include it at least three times, once as a button and a couple of times as a link directly on the text. Use attractive and contrasting colors to make sure the CTA pops out.

Finally, try to stick to the one CTA per email and put every effort to make it compelling to click on.

7) Send Emails At The Right Time

If you want to be at the top of your audience’s inbox, you have to send your emails at the perfect time.

The perfect time will vary depending on your audience, their location and their routine. However, it’s worth finding out the best time to send your email. After all, it’ll play a huge part in if your audience will end up feeling like opening your email, or not.

How to find the best time to send your email

According to a study done by GetResponse, most emails are read and opened between 9-11am during the week. However, your audience may not necessarily open your emails then. To find out when your audience will open your emails, you’ll have to experiment with timing to find the best one.

Platforms like SendX have powerful features like Smart Send that can give you access to complex algorithms to help you determine the best time for your particular audience.

  1. Use The Right Colors

Your color palette is very important when designing your newsletter. It provides instant brand recognition, makes it stand out and can even help you increase sales.

Choosing the right colors can also help you set a mood. You can use it to portray a celebration, a holiday spirit or big news.

You can see how, even with a serious brand line The New York Times, playing with color can highlight the most important parts of your texts and break it for easy reading:

9) How to pick the best colors for your emails:

The best place to start is your logo and corporate pallette. Find variations of your official colors that you can use in your email design. Learn a bit about color theory and don’t forget to use each holiday’s colors when writing about them.

You can start with some newsletter templates and play with the colors to fit your brand and tone.

Offer Exclusive Incentives And Great Content

Your subscribers are only there because they want exclusive content from you. They may have signed under a promise of coupons and sales and other benefits. To keep them, you need to deliver on that promise.

Kohls, for instance, understands this very well:

They not only filled up the email with coupons but made them seem exclusive to their email subscribers with special barcodes and codes. That way, they deliver huge value and can keep their subscribers opening their emails.

How to add value to your emails

You don’t have to give coupons in every single email. However, it’s important to use customer empathy to keep in mind why they subscribed to you in the first place.

Ask yourself: “What will my subscribers get in exchange for opening this email?”

To provide value, you can give your subscribers an early private view of your new collection, or keep them informed of your latest content. It's always a great idea to share truly exclusive content offers in your newsletters. As an example, the folks from edX, a giant online learning platform, give their subscribers free access to some of their previously paid webinars. So, if you subscribe to their emails, you can get a pass to some of their online language courses.

Test your content and stick to the version that people like more. Make sure your subscribers feel like they’re part of an exclusive group and that they’re getting what they signed up for — or even a bit more. That way, you can easily craft content for your subscribers that is valuable enough to turn them into ambassadors.

10) Keep It Short

The main point of your email is to get them to your landing page. That’s why you need to keep it short and scannable so your readers can immediately see what you’re offering and how they can get it.

But how short should they be? Well, according to Boomerang’s marketing data, emails that were between 50 and 125 words had a response rate of over 50%, well above the rest.

MVMT has amazing marketing campaigns. One of their most successful emails was this one:

The text has less than 30 words, which can be read in a few seconds. That way, clicking to “see the video” is just a split decision.

How to write short emails:

Your readers already know what to expect when opening your email based on your subject page. Your promotional emails should expand on your subject line’s pitch and guide them to the CTA in a way that’s easy to read and takes as little time as possible.

Remember: Don’t ask your readers to invest time reading your email, instead give them a reason to invest time in your landing page with your email.

Conclusion

Crafting a successful email marketing campaign doesn’t have to be hard. All you need to do is avoid common newsletter mistakes and follow these newsletter best practices.

Which one will you apply first?