Top 5 Best Practices for Effective Email Marketing
Article Date: April 28, 2021
Reach Your Audience. Drive Engagement. Generate Leads.
Marketing via email sounds simple enough, right? Choose one of the many readily available platforms, import your list of customers and prospects, and design and send a few emails to keep your brand top of mind. In doing so, you drive users to your website and persuade them to engage with your brand.
If it were only that simple.
Successful eMarketing campaigns for building materials manufacturers take a great deal of preparation and planning before you even consider hitting send.
All that work is worth the effort. According to HubSpot:
- There are 3.9 billion daily email users, and that number is expected to grow to 4.3 billion by 2023.
- The U.S. spent more than $350 million on email advertising in 2019.
- 73% of millennials prefer email communication when receiving marketing material.
- 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.
Compelling content, a slick, on-brand template, and visuals with stopping power are a must when it comes to generating opens, clicks, and overall engagement with your target audiences – architects, specifiers, builders, installers, contractors, and others. That, however, is just the beginning. Your brand needs to focus on the continual maintenance and behind-the-scenes work that will drive greater success as your program evolves.
With that in mind, here are the top five best practices for a successful email marketing campaign.
#1 – Keeping it Clean: List Hygiene
Even if you manage to complete all of the upfront work with flawless execution, you won’t achieve the level of success your organization seeks if you are distributing to a database of bad email addresses.
List hygiene is crucial when it comes to email marketing. Oftentimes, it is a slow build to establish a robust database of names and emails addresses. Patience pays off.
Cultivate your own list. Do not buy lists. Oftentimes, they are unreliable and can end up damaging your brand. According to HubSpot, here is why purchasing lists is never a good idea:
- Reputable email marketing services don't let you send emails to lists you've bought.
- Good email address lists aren't for sale.
- You'll harm your email deliverability and IP reputation.
- Your email service provider can penalize you if your list returns to many hard bounces or unsubscribe requests.
On a regular basis, you need to perform what amounts to a check-up on your email contact database. Check and remove duplicate email addresses, fix any contacts that contain typos, update or remove invalid email addresses, and delete contacts from your database who have hard- or soft-bounced or have unsubscribed.
#2 – Rules and Regulations: CAN-SPAM
In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act into law, a set of standards that established regulations around commercial email marketing. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is still in effect today, and it is important for organizations of any kind to abide by its guidelines. The general rule: Be as candid and honest as possible in your email communications, and don’t mislead readers to generate a greater quantity of opens or clicks. Here are the core CAN-SPAM guidelines to follow:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
The CAN-SPAM Act should not stifle creativity. Best practice: Think of compelling, on-brand ways to get users to engage with your content.
#3 – Time is of the Essence: When to Send?
Think about when you are most receptive or most likely to open and read an email from a company. Is it first thing in the morning at 6 a.m., right when your alarm clock goes off? Is it right when you sit down at your desk at 8 a.m.? Or do you prefer to spend some time over your lunch hour catching up on emails?
Different email marketing services have different takes on the issue.
According to SuperOffice, Subscribers are most likely to read your email at either 10 a.m. after they arrived at work, or at 1 p.m. when they are catching up on emails after lunch.
HubSpot suggest that B2B emails for the average office employee are best sent mid-week around 10 a.m.
HubSpot also indicates that entrepreneurs and executives open email more frequently than the average employee, so day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals based on open and click rates is on Saturday at 10 a.m. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted these norms as more employees are working from home and have changed their email habits.
Ultimately, it depends on your audience and the type of content you’re sending. Don’t be afraid to test the waters, but 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday is a good place to start.
#4 – Mail Motivation: What Prompts Users to Open?
There are a variety of factors that users take into account when they consider opening an email. The key motivators are:
- Sender name
- Subject line
- An offer or a salient industry trend if it’s a thought leadership piece
- The introductory paragraph
Email users gets hundreds if not thousands of emails per week. It is crucial to get to the point as soon as possible, and that begins with the subject line.
According to HubSpot, emails with subject lines of 6 to 10 words receive the highest open rates. It is important to keep the subject line short, but not too short.
The same is true for body copy within the email. Emails consisting of between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50%.
When it comes to eMarketing, readability and brevity are key. In fact, sales emails written at a third grade reading level had the highest response rate, according to a HubSpot study. With regard to open rate, these emails performed 36% better than those written at a college reading level and boasted a 17% higher response rate than emails composed at a high school reading level.
#5 – More Than One Tool: Choosing the Right Platform
There are a plethora of tools available that offer email marketing services ranging from very reasonable monthly costs ($10 a month) to top-tier, enterprise platforms that can cost thousands of dollars on a monthly basis.
Picking the right platform requires you to assess your organization’s needs, goals, and priorities.
If your business is relatively new to email marketing and you have a small contact database (just a few hundred contacts or less), one of the more inexpensive platforms will likely fulfill your initial needs. However, if you have a database with tens of thousands of email addresses from leads to prospects and current customers that you plan to reach with comprehensive marketing automation or lead nurturing campaigns, one of the mid- or top-tier tools may be worth the additional spend.
Of course, your allocated budget and the number of resources you plan on dedicating in your email marketing program are key considerations.
BLD Marketing can guide you through the entire process, which includes developing a content marketing program specific to eMarketing and then recommending the right tool based on your budget, the size of your contact database, use of targeted landing pages, and the overall needs and goals of your organization.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.