Email Marketing Best Practices: 15 Actionable Steps To Grow Your Email List and Send Emails That Sell

It’s proven.

When you stay in touch with your customers, they buy from you over and over again.

Email marketing works, but most stores aren’t getting the full benefit from email marketing because they just wing it.

Today, you can stop winging it.

I’ve put together 15 quick email marketing best practices that you can implement today to grow your email list and know exactly what to send to them.

Let’s dive into these email marketing tips.

Tip #1: Grow Your Email List From Twitter Using Twitter Lead Generation Cards

When you tweet, less than 2% of your followers will see it.

Which is why Twitter IS NOT the best place to communicate with your customers or to promote your products.

Instead, you should drive your followers to sign up for your email list.

While sending your followers to a landing page is a great way to get signups, there’s an even easier way that doesn’t even require your followers to leave Twitter or even type in their email address.

Is it magic?

Nope, you just have to use Twitter Lead Generation Cards.

Here’s what they look like:

Here’s how to use Twitter to start growing your email list today:

1. Resize a high quality product photo to 4:1 aspect ratio (800px by 200px).  If you can’t do this yourself, you can use Fiverr.com ($5, usually 24-48 hour turnaround times) or 99Designs Tasks ($19, 1 hour turnaround)

2. Sign up for Twitter Ads and add a credit card.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to actually spend any money to do this.

3. Once you sign up, you’ll be brought to this Campaign Objective page, just select ‘Leads on Twitter’ as your goal.

New_campaign_-_Twitter_Ads

4. You’ll then be brought to a Campaign Creation page, you can just exit out.

New_campaign_-_Twitter_Ads 2

5. Once you exit, you’ll be prompted to add a credit card.  You have to do this to be able to use the Lead Generation Card feature.  Don’t worry though, you won’t have to spend any money.

Campaign_overview_-_Twitter_Ads

6 After you’ve signed up and enter your credit card, you’ll see new tabs available.  Go to Creatives > Cards

7. Click on Create Lead Generation Card

8. In the “Short description” section write an incentive or a reason why your follower should sign up for your email list.  Here are some examples of powerful incentives:

“Sign up to be the first to know about new products”

“Sign up to get exclusive email-only discounts”

9. Upload the image you created or had a freelancer create

Keep the “Call to action” simple like:

“Sign Up”

“Join Now”

10. Post your Privacy policy URL, if you do not have one, create one by using this tool.

11. Card Details (Fallback) URL can just be your store’s homepage

12. If you’re an email marketing pro, you can set up the Lead Generation Card to automatically send new subscribers to your mailing list by completing the optional settings; however, you don’t have to do that.  I’ll show you how to extract the emails manually in a bit.

13. Name your card and select Create card

14. Post your Lead Generation Card so you can start collecting email addresses by clicking on “Compose Tweet with this card”

Instead of just posting the Lead Generation Card, add some context to the tweet like this:

15. Hit Tweet

16. Go to your profile page and pin the tweet with the Lead Generation Card to the top of your Twitter profile.

Now anyone that clicks on your Lead Generation Card sign up button will be added to your mailing list.

By the way, they don’t even have to be your followers to sign up through your Lead Generation Card.

Here’s a Twitter Lead Gen Card Bonus: Twitter does not allow you to Direct Message new followers with a link to your site or landing page to collect email addresses; however, you can send followers a link to the Lead Gen Card tweet.

Obviously don’t spam new followers with links to your Lead Gen Card tweet, but after you’ve spoken to your new follower, it’s perfectly reasonable to direct them to sign up for your email list.

Once you have this set up, continue to tweet as normal while your Lead Generation Card collects email address for you.

After a few weeks, you can start extracting some of the email addresses you’ve collected.

Note: You only need to do this if you didn’t connect the Twitter Lead Generation card directly into your email marketing software.

1. Go back to http://ads.twitter.com

2. Click on Creatives > Cards which should show you the Lead Generation Card you created

Cards_-_Twitter_Ads

3. Click on the Download Leads icon and you’ll get a CSV spreadsheet of all the email address you’ve collected.

Cards_-_Twitter_Ads

You can now upload those email addresses into your email marketing software and start email marketing to them.

 

Tip #2: Become an Industry Expert By Using The Curated Email Technique

Give your subscribers information they can use.

You can create highly valuable monthly emails by including links to popular blog posts with information about your product or industry.

People are busy and will appreciate that you curated the best content for them.

This conditions your subscriber to recognize that your emails are valuable and they are more likely to open future emails including emails that are pitching a sale.

Bonus points if you can include some of your own content.

Even if those newsletters send your subscribers to other sites, your subscribers will be more likely to open your emails if they can count on getting insider tips and good content in the email.

If you’re stuck on what email to send to your subscribers, you can create a Curated Email today, follow these steps:

1. Go to Buzzsumo.com.  Buzzsumo is a great tool to find out the most shared content on social media.  Which is also content that your subscribers will find valuable.

2. Search your industry (I searched ‘makeup’)

3. Filter for the Past Month because you want recent popular articles

4. Go through and find content that’s useful.

I recommend avoiding entertainment or funny articles, but look for articles that will teach your subscribers something.

In my experience, subscribers value emails that teach them something over than emails that are trying to entertain.

Here’s an example of an article I would share:

Here’s an example of an article I would probably not share:

5. Open a new spreadsheet and copy down the Article Title and URL

6. Read through each article and pull out the top 3 things you learned and put it in the spreadsheet.

Click here to view the spreadsheet and copy it for your use: Email Curation Worksheet.

Once you have the spreadsheet filled out, you’re 90% of the way done creating a highly valuable curation email.

7. Here’s the last 10%.

Open up a new email and use this template, filling in with the information you put together in the spreadsheet:

Hey,

I just read the 3 most popular articles about [your industry] this past month and wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them.

I learned a lot from them and think you will too.

To save you the time, I already took a couple quick notes from each article.

Article #1 Title
Tip #1:
Tip #2:
Tip #3:

Article #2 Title
Tip #1:
Tip #2:
Tip #3:

Article #3 Title
Tip #1:
Tip #2:
Tip #3:

Email me back and let me know which article you liked the most.  I read every email sent to me.

Talk soon,

Felix

This is a great way to provide value and really doesn’t require too much work on your end.

And the Curated Email gives you a reason to open up a conversation at the end of the email by inviting your subscribers to write back to you about the articles.

 

Tip #3: Get Your Subscribers To Do What You Want Them To Do With Clear Calls to Action

You should do everything in your power to highlight exactly what you’re asking your subscriber to do when you create your emails.

A wishy washy call to action is no call to action at all, so make sure that when you ask for engagement, it’s to the point!

And most importantly: only ask your customer to do 1 thing.  That means you should only have 1 call to action for each email.

People really don’t want to have to think hard about these things, so the best call to action will state your request and include a link to the place you want them to go without a lot of preamble.

Here’s how you can improve the emails in your autoresponder or if you don’t have one, here’s the first step into creating emails that motivate your customers to take action today:

1. Open up a Word/Google Document or old fashioned pen and paper

2. Write down the 5 actions you want each subscriber to take.  Here are some examples to help you get started:

  1. Like/Follow you on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram — remember the key is to only have 1 call to action, so pick the social media platform that you want to focus on
  2. Read one of your most popular blog posts
  3. Download an ebook or guide
  4. Think about what you’d like their next step to be, then tell them what their next step should be! It’s very simple.

3. Each of the 5 Call-to-Actions you come up with are going to be the purpose of each email.

4. Work backwards.  Open up a new email draft and write your call to action first.  Then hit enter.  And then start creating the content on top of your call to action

5. The rest of your email should be written in a way to convince the reader that they need to take the Call to Action.

Simplest way to do this is to list the benefits of taking the Call to Action.

For example, if my CTA is to get a Facebook Like, I would show the reader that my Facebook group has:

  • Sneak peek photos of new products
  • Behind the scenes pictures
  • Screenshots of the Facebook community discussing products

Then mention that all of this is waiting for them on the Facebook page: “Don’t miss out on all this fun on our Facebook page.  Click here to Like our Facebook page.”

6. Each time you write a new line in your email, ask yourself: “Is this going to help convince my reader to take the CTA?”  If the answer is no, remove it!

If you don’t have an autoresponder series set up yet, this can be your first autoresponder.

All you need to do now is tack on another email right at the front that welcomes them to the mailing list and the other 5 emails gets the reader to take actions that gets them more involved in your community.

There are event-based call to actions, too.  

Once you have the more simple call to actions planned out and scheduled in your email marketing software, you can then look into triggering emails based on the customer’s actions on your site like:

  1. Did they register for an event? Suggest that they add it to their Google Calendar.
  2. Did they order something? Link to the UPS tracking page so they can keep track of the package.
  3. Did they get their package? Send them an email and ask for feedback on how their experience was. Or even better, ask them to write a review

Don’t worry about this for now, this is just to show you what’s possible with CTAs in emails.

 

Tip #4: Decrease Unsubscribes and Increase Engagement By Asking For Feedback

When you get your readers to email you feedback, you begin a conversation with them.

Conversations do three awesome things for your email marketing:

1. Decreases your unsubscribe rate.

My unsubscribe rate went down by 30-40% after I started asking subscribers to email me.

This makes sense because readers that see that you’re a human are less likely to cut you out of their life.

2. Improves your chances of NOT being marked as spam.  

When email providers like Gmail see that their user replied to a sender, the sender and their future emails appear less like a promotional email and more as a personal email.

3. Improves the relevancy of your emails.

You don’t want to send email after email, only to realize that your content isn’t useful or even worse, not loading properly in a viewer’s mailbox.

Here’s how you can create an email to get feedback from your subscribers today:

You can do this a number of ways, but essentially, you want to create a survey and send a link to the survey right in the body of the email.

The shorter you can keep the survey, the more likely you are to get people to complete it all the way.

Ask the easiest questions first.

1. Go to Google Forms and create a new blank form

2. Leave all the Form Settings untouched

3. Title the form: <Your Store Name> Feedback Survey

4. Form Description: “Tell me more about you”

5. You always want to start off with super easy questions that your customer WANTS you to ask to get the momentum going

Once you have momentum, it’s hard and maybe impossible for your customer to not complete the survey

Here are the first 3 questions you should ask: Name, Gender, Age.  

Everyone can rattle these off easily and will start building momentum right away.

6. 4th question to ask should be: “What are your favorite brands?”  

This is a great question to ask because people love talking about themselves and talking about things they love.  

Again, this question is a softball so it builds even more momentum and I also value this question because the answers will tell you what other brands to study to attract more customers.

Make sure to get specific with the question so that your customer gives you brands in the same industry as you.

Examples:

  • “Which brands make your favorite dresses?”
  • “What are some of your favorite drinks?”
  • “What are your favorite watch brands?”

7. Now you can start asking more questions of your own that you’ve been dying to find out.  

Here are some more examples that I recommend brands ask in their survey:

  • How would you rate our service/product?
  • Would you recommend us to a friend?
  • Have you purchased from us before?

8. Once you’re done with the questions, hit Send Form

9. Select the Short Url link and copy and paste the link to your email

10. 
Create your survey email.

If you don’t know how to phrase the subject line or body of the email, here’s a template you can work off of:

Subject Line: “Tell me more about you”
Body: “Hi!  Can you do me a favor and answer a few questions that will tell me more about what you’re like? Click here: http://surveylink.com”

I use a very close variation of this email and I get awesome open rates and CTR:

Some people don’t like taking outside surveys, so be sure to mention that people can simply reply with their thoughts via email if they prefer.

 

Tip #5: Bump Up Your Open Rates By Optimizing This Often-Ignored Part of An Email

After you’ve snagged their attention with your snappy subject line, turn your attention to the preheader.

The preheader is the 50-100 character snippet displayed after the subject line in most email clients.

The preheader gives the reader a quick sense of the content of the email; if it looks spammy, your viewer may not even open it.  

Here’s how you can write high-converting preheaders in your emails today:

1. Give the bottom line up front.

The best thing you can do with your preheader is to give the critical facts right away so that the viewer will get your message even if they don’t open the email.

This Walgreens Rewards email does a good job linking the subject line to the preheader.

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Four days only! November 22 – 25th

You understand the what, then when, and the how of the offer right away. Even if you didn’t open this email, you’d know the gist of the offer.

This Trello email lists everything in the email right away, letting their subscriber know what they’re in for. A great, to point preheader.

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Productivity tips, vacation planning, and spring cleaning galore!

2. Don’t be spammy.  

If your preheader content is a slew of caps-locked, meaningless keywords, or total nonsense, it’s not going to get their attention and may turn them off from opening it altogether.

This BetterRecipes.com preheader is a string of words already in the subject line, which wastes time and looks poorly thought out.

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ad Hamilton Beach Griddle Hamilton Beach Griddle Th…

3. Be interesting.  

Try to connect with the reader in your preheader! It’s a quick and easy way to get a connection with them, so make the most of it.

Don’t be afraid to try a little humor, as the legendary marketing department behind Cards Against Humanity did with their preheader (although they lose points for using too many characters).

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Please click on this email to improve our open rate or else we’ll lose our…

Memorial Hospital uses an emotional appeal to connect, and it packs a punch in conjunction with their powerful subject line.

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Our ER care is always ready for you or a loved one.

 

Actionable Tip #6: Motivate Subscribers to Consistently Open Your Emails By Sneaking In Discounts

If you provide something valuable to your subscribers, then they’re going to want to keep opening your emails.

If your emails are purely self-serving then you’re going to lose engagement and end up in a spam box, because your readers will write your emails off as not beneficial to them.

Offering a discount is a great way to benefit both you and your customers.

They get a bargain and you make a sale.

Here’s what you do when you create a deal/discount email:

1. List the discount or sale in the subject line and elaborate in the body of the email.

Don’t forget to link to the landing page for that deal (if there is one).

2. Most importantly, add an element of urgency.  

Customers are unlikely to act on a deal unless they know it won’t be around forever and the potential pain from regret of missing a sale will drive them to take action

3. This 1-800-Flowers promotional email is a great example of an effective subject line working together with a good deal.

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This email can be improved with urgency:

“Buy 12 Assorted Roses, Get 12 Free + Free Premium Vase… but you only have 48 hours before the deal closes” is more compelling than just offering a discount without a deadline.

 

Tip #7: Build Credibility For You and Your Brand By Sprinkling Data Into Your Emails

A powerful punch of data gives your words authority.

Which statement would motivate you more?

There are many homeless animals entering shelters this year. Please donate!

There are 7.6 million companion animals going into animal shelters nationwide every year. Please donate!

Data puts the force of research behind your emotional appeal, and you should add it to your marketing toolbox when you really want to motivate your reader to do or feel something.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate data and then how to find data to include today:

Tip #1: Open with your data…

The best way to do this is to start your email off with data.

In my example, the statistic of about 7.6 million animals entering shelters every year would go right at the top, and my appeal would follow.

Tip #2: Then interpret it.

While the best data will speak for itself, don’t forget to integrate the body of your appeal into the fact.

With our homeless animal fact, for instance, the copy after would speak to the immense need for support for the shelters that receive these animals, the importance of shelters, etc.

The fact should support the appeal.

Tip #3: Use a reputable source

In this case, I used data from the ASPCA website because it’s an authority on homeless animals and shelters, and it’s .org site.

You’ll look more credible if your source comes from an established resource.

Reference the source so your subscribers trust you and the information you’re providing.

Include a link to your data in the body of your email, or risk looking like you’re making it up.  

Tip #4: Make it personal, but don’t be creepy

You can also pull data from your site to suggest an action to your reader that’s tailored specifically to your customers.

If you’ve got a database of facts, take advantage of it!

Suggest a site wide buying pattern, for example, as Selz does here:

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Selz captures your attention in their subject line and then explains the data in the body of their email.

Now here’s how to find data to back up what you’re saying:

1. Open up a new document to keep track of all the data and facts you’ll extract

2. Start by finding industry-specific magazines.  

To do that, go to Issuu.com which lets you read 25+ million free publications and easily searchable

3. Search your industry if you’re just looking for general facts or get specific and search the particular phrase or fact you want to back up.  

I recommend combining your search term or industry with the word “facts”

I searched “makeup facts” and found an awesome infographic I can extract data from:

4. Copy down some facts and data you can use into the document and make sure to copy the source.  

Usually you’ll find the source in Issuu in the description:

 

Tip #8: Become Your Subscribers Close Friend By Writing In Your Natural Writing Voice

Stiff, jerky language makes your business seem faceless and lacking in personality.

Without personality, your content will blend together with every other marketing email your subscribers get,

Make sure to save this checklist for when you start writing your next email so you can get in the right mood to write naturally and not sound like a corporate robot.

Here’s a checklist to follow so you can sound natural when you’re writing your next email:

1. Start writing and don’t stop to revise or fix any grammatical errors.  

The goal at first is just to pour out all your thoughts and emotions and then we piece it together later.  

The first draft always sucks and you won’t get the right message across right off the bat.  

In this first step, the goal is to get an outpouring of emotions and thoughts — that’s it!

2. Read your first draft out loud.  

Loud enough for you and anyone else in the room to hear it.  

When you hear what you’ve written out loud, the corporate-speak and unnatural phrases will jump right out at you.

What I like to do is imagine my most cynical friend sitting next to me and each time I say something that doesn’t sound like something I would normally say, he’ll punch me in the face (if you want something more non-violent, imagine your friend rolling their eyes instead).

Remove any words or phrases that sound uncomfortable when read out loud.

3. Read through the draft (quietly this time) and remove any cliches.  

Remove hackneyed phrases like revolutionary, unique, best, and other overdone superlatives that have lost their punch.

Replace them with more interesting phrases.  Get to the point, but don’t be afraid to swap out stiff phrases for more modern ones.

Dear X” can be swapped out for a friendly “Hey, X!”

Visit our website for details” can be updated to “Check out our site for more info.”

4. Read through the draft again.  

Remove negative language and replace it with positive language.  

When you read anything, the tone is negative, neutral, or positive.

When you write marketing copy, you want that tone to read as positive.

Negative copy is a turnoff for readers looking at your email and neutral is boring.

Positive copy is uplifting and associates positive feelings with your company.  

If you’re not sure, send a copy to a friend for a quick proofread and ask them their impression of the tone.

If it’s anything less than cheerful, keep revising!

 

Tip #9: Make Your Emails More Readable With Content Hierarchy

When your subscriber opens your email, they’ll immediately (and subconsciously) decide if your email LOOKS readable or not.  

Subscribers are lazy (we all are).  

Your email requires too much mental work if it’s just a huge block of text without clear and frequent breaks and sections.

When your email requires too much work, subscribers just won’t read your emails.

If a reader decides that they’ll give your email a chance, they’re going to first skim your email before reading line by line.

An email that reads with no clear hierarchy is an email that’s difficult to follow and easy to ignore.

The email should do as much of the interpretive work for the reader as possible, and that means telling them in advance what’s the most important point in your email by making it bigger.

You want your message to have a natural flow that quickly identifies the most important actionable items so that any reader who only skims will get the point immediately.  

Here’s how you can make your email super easy to read today:

1. Open up a new email draft and build the skeleton of your email first by using bullet points.  

Bullet point the main points of your email, and then write your email around them.

2. Start fleshing out one bullet point at a time.  

Don’t try to cram too much into one email. Stick to your key points and keep your paragraphs short.

3. Now go through your email and add in visual cues.  

Whether you’re using a text only email or you’re integrating photos, make sure that your header and subheaders visually reflect the important points within the body of the email.

Make your subheaders larger, change their color, underline them, or use a different font, but do something to tell your audience which points are the critical ones.  

Here’s an email that now has visual cues to reflect the hierarchy of importance.

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I’ve used bolded letters and increased the font size of the call to action.

If you’re doing HTML formatting, your email will look much nicer than my plain text-only one, but it demonstrates the basics pretty well.

 

Tip #10: Increase Your Sign-up Conversion Rate With Exclusivity

Joseph Sugarman, one of the greatest copywriters of all time, said that the emotional trigger, the Desire To Belong, is one of the strongest ways to motivate people to action.

Humans will go far to join an exclusive group.  Like buy the same products the cool kids bought or join the mailing lists that the cool kids joined.

Here are ways you can make your subscribers feel exclusive and how to motivate non-subscribers to join your mailing list today:

1. Make sure the exclusivity is obvious.  

If you’re giving deals to your email subscribers, make sure that your email subscribers know that you’re playing favorites!

Draw attention to the favor you’re granting them by telling them in the subject line.

Here are some examples of language that works in subject lines and openers to remind the audience how special they are:

  • Email exclusive! 50% off today
  • Just for our Facebook friends: free shipping!
  • Surprise! Here’s a discount just for you

2. Make it invite-only.  

Make your list invite only.  

This is a good way to generate both hype and interest in your product.

It requires visitors to take action, and they’ll want to be on your email list instead of you having to ask them.

Casper, a mattress startup, does a good job with this by making their Labs section request only. When you get the email saying you’ve been accepted, you feel important.

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3. Give first access.

Giving subscribers a preview of products or a blog post before it’s widely available to everyone at a later day is a free way to generate interest and make people feel like they’re in a club.

People love feeling like they get a deal that others don’t know about, and people also hate waiting for things. A recipe for success!

Check out some examples:

Cub Foods gives access to their weekly ad in advance to their email subscribers:

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J. Crew leverages the sneak peak attraction in their pop-up on their landing page:

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Tip #11: Maximize Readability By Optimizing For Different Email Providers and Devices

You might have the best marketing email in the universe, but if it doesn’t work in mobile browsers or the formatting gets messed up, it won’t matter at all how valuable your email is; nobody will read it.

Your subscribers expect to be able to read your emails in browsers and mobile devices alike, so your email content must be optimized for both formats.

Follow this checklist to make sure your emails are mobile-optimized the next time you write an email:

1. Check the email size.  

Gmail limits an email’s size to 25 mb, so be sure that your email isn’t bigger than that, or Google will cut it off. Your email will look stunted and your readers will be confused.

This usually won’t be a problem unless you have a lot of large images or attachments.

To check that your email is small enough for Gmail:

  1. Send a test email to a Gmail account you own
  2. Log in to your Gmail
  3. Use this search phrase to find if your email is more than 10 mb: “size: 10000000 subject: <email subject line here>”.  For example, I would search “size: 10000000 subject: 10% off discount” if I sent an email with the subject line “10% off discount”
  4. If you DO NOT see your email appear then your email is under 10 mb.  You can filter for larger or smaller emails too by adjusting the ‘size’. 25mb – 25000000, 5mb – 5000000

2. Check the file format of your images.  

When you’re saving your image, remember that .gif, and .jpg files are better than .png for emails, because some older mail clients don’t process .png files.

If you want to convert a file to a different format you can use Online-Convert.com’s Convert to Gif tool

3. Make your clickable links big enough for thumbs.  

On your call to action, make sure that your font size is big enough that someone on their phone can easily click it.

To test this, send yourself a draft of the email and see if you can click on it without difficulty.

It also helps if your link isn’t surrounded by nearby links that your client could click accidentally.

I usually include links on their own line with a blank line above and below the link.

 

Tip #12: Hold Your Subscribers’ Attention Longer By Making Your Emails Scannable

The average reader isn’t going to pay exact attention to every word of the emails you send.

Think about the marketing emails you receive: you scan through them to get the gist and decide whether or not you’ll take action after you have a sense of the content.

Very rarely do you read word for word.

Optimizing an email for scannability will keep your readers engaged even if they don’t read the whole thing.

An email that is unscannable is likely to lose most readers, who won’t want to sink their valuable time into deciphering a complex block of text.

Follow this checklist when you write your next email to make your emails scannable:

1. Identify 1 to 2 key points.  Bold them.  

Your argument essentially boils down to a few critical points, or, if you’re really good, just one key point.

Use bolded text strategically to give a skimming eye a path to follow along the main points.

Don’t overdo it or the bold will become meaningless.

Bold a few key terms and your call to action.

2. Break up each sentence into it’s own line.

A major scannability sin is writing in big blocks of text.  

If you break up your sentences into their own lines and it still looks like a paragraph (more than 3 lines), you should re-write the sentence to be more concise.

Usually this means that the sentence is being too redundant or has too many flowery words.  

Don’t repeat yourself unless it’s a key point and remove flowery words and cliches.

Here’s an example of an email I wrote that breaks up each sentence into it’s own line.  As you can see, plenty of white space:

3. Read it out loud.  

When you read something out loud, you get a real sense of the flow.  

Reading aloud will also quickly highlight any awkward areas that need smoothing.

4. Put your call to action someplace visible.  

Your call to action is the whole point of the email, so make sure people can see it!

Bold it, make it standalone from the rest of the text, or make it a clickable image, but do something to emphasize the end goal of your message.

Try to have it someplace highly visible that will show up without the reader having to scroll (above the fold).

This Adobe ad puts their call to action right at the top, just next to the logo of the product they’re promoting:

Macintosh HD:Users:GracejBlack:Dropbox:Work:Brent Jones:Marketing Email:Images:Call to action someplace visible .png

 

 

Tip #13: Avoid Any Email Mistakes By Testing Each Email

I’ve touched on this earlier in this post, but an absolutely critical step in your email marketing process is proof-reading.

When you go through your email and check for inconsistencies, grammar mistakes, and formatting errors (as you should do!), it all may look just dandy on your end.

But when you send it out and it encounters the different browsers and devices of the real world? Things could look very differently.

Follow this checklist when you write your next email to make sure your emails are getting delivered and your message is clear:

1. Get a test group.

Send a quick test version of your email to friends and ask them if the email is viewable.

If you’re going to do this regularly (and you probably should), it’s better to simply ask them a yes/no type question like:

“Do all the images on this load?”

“Can you read this?”

Rather than asking for their opinion, which will take more time for them to reply and less likely to reply.

2. Open your email in different browsers and email hosts.

Make accounts on different email hosts and send your email to them to see how it looks and if it loads on different email clients.

This will let you see if any images are too big or if any elements don’t load.

Here are the top email clients according to Litmus Labs:

Email_Client_Market_Share_and_Popularity_-_November_2015

3. Check it on different devices.

Check how the email looks on your desktop, tablet, and cell phone.

Make sure that the font doesn’t get too small or too large, and that your images and text resize naturally within the body of the email.

 

Tip #14: Know Exactly What Your Subscribers Want From You By Tracking Where They Signed Up

When you know where your subscribers are signing up, you’ll know what they value.

If you know what they value then you’ll have a much better idea of what kind of content to send to them.

If a group of your email subscribers are past customers, it makes sense to email upsells to complementary products.

For subscribers that signed up after reading a blog post about applying the smokey eyes makeup look, you can send them more tutorials on applying makeup.

Here’s how to keep track of where your subscribers are signing up today:

1. Go into your Google Analytics and find out your 5 most popular pages or blog posts by clicking in Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and sort by Pageviews (it’s sorted this way by default).

2. Go into your email marketing software and create a new form

3. In the first form, add a Hidden Field and set it’s value to the name of one of the 5 pages or blog posts.  The user will never see this field or it’s value, this is for you only.

4. Paste the form at the bottom of your blog post or page.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remaining four blog posts/pages.

Now whenever someone signs up you’ll know exactly where they signed up from.

If you don’t know how to create a Hidden Field just google your email marketing software + ‘hidden field’.  Ex: “mailchimp hidden field”.  Here are directions from some of the most popular email marketing software:

Klaviyo

MailChimp

AWeber

 

Tip #15: Send Emails That Get Opened With Benefit-Rich Subject Lines

The subject line is critical to capturing their attention, so don’t fail to make it the best it can be.

In the three seconds you have to convince a subscriber to read the email or delete it based off of the subject line.

Here’s a formula you can follow to create email subject lines with high open rates today:

1. Focus on the benefits.

Answer this question: “Once my subscriber finishes reading my email, they’ll be able to ______”

2. What you put in that blank space is going to be the keystone of your subject line.

For example: if I’m selling makeup I might send my readers an email teaching them how to pick the right foundation, so at the end of the email they’ll “know the perfect foundation for their skin”

3. If you’re having trouble coming up with a benefit, steal/borrow/get inspired by Google.

Search the purpose of your email.  If it’s to teach the reader how to achieve the “smokey eyes” look Google: “smokey eyes tutorial” or “how to get smokey eyes”

High CTR headlines affect Google search results rankings, so the top results will naturally have really effective headlines.

Here are some benefits I extracted from these search results:

  • “get smokey eyes”
  • “8 makeup hacks”
  • “5 must-have makeup tutorials”

4. Now that I have my benefit, I need to provide a timeline.

People are more likely to open emails that either create urgency or that tell them exactly how soon they can achieve the benefit (the sooner the better).

Use exact words like:

  • “today”
  • “in 15 minutes”
  • “by tonight”
  • “this weekend”

Avoid using words that are either not believable or not exact.

Avoid these kinds of words:

  • “in seconds”
  • “instantly”
  • “fast”
  • “quickly”

Vague words are not convincing and will not get people to open your emails.

5. Put the benefit and the urgency/timing together in this formula:

[benefit they’ll get from reading your email] + [urgency/time].

Here are some examples based on my makeup example earlier:

  • “How to get smokey eyes in 15 minutes (step-by-step)”
  • “8 makeup hacks you can use today”
  • “5 must-have makeup tutorials you can use this weekend”

Conclusion

Following these steps will grow your email list and will help you create emails that speak directly to your subscribers.

Getting your subscribers to want to read every email you send.

That’s the key to an email marketing strategy that gets email subscribers to buy from you over and over again.

Pick just 1 item from this list that stands out to you and do it today.

Start small and in no time, your email marketing will be leaps and bounds above your competition and you’ll have more customers and sales to show for it.

If you found this guide useful, please share it on Facebook or Twitter on the left-hand side.

 

  • What an excellent blog! Packed full of great advice, easy to read and summer helpful – way to go Felix!!

  • Awesome article. Have shared with my twitter followers.

  • Ty

    Felix, great post, full of actionable tips! I’d add resegmentation as a must for taking email marketing to the next level. This is something that I am starting to work on right now and will help us re-engage our audience and hopefully help us hit a sweet spot. I’d also point out that for those in eCommerce, creating order confirmation emails that add value is also another fantastic way to keep current leads/customers to continue opening emails and actually acting as brand ambassadors.

    • Great points, Ty.

      Those order confirmation emails and receipts have the highest open rates so while you have their attention, definitely use it wisely.

  • Melissa R

    UI changes?

    I’ve been around in circles. Cannot find a way to get to steps:

    2. Sign up for Twitter Ads. Don’t worry, you don’t have to actually spend any money to do this.
    3. After you’ve signed up, go to Creatives > Cards

    Help 🙂

    • Hi Melissa – You have to add a credit card before you can see the Creatives tab/section. Try that and let me know if you have any issues still. By the way, as long as you’re not launching any campaigns (which you won’t using the method above) you won’t be charged on the credit card.

    • Melissa – I updated the guide to make it clearer. Check it out!

      • Melissa R

        Felix, you rock! Thank you for the clarification.

  • Whoa! Awesome resource.

  • Thanks Chandru!