email marketing best practices

18 Email Marketing Best Practices To Maximize Conversions

Email marketing is still very lucrative nowadays with an ROI of 4300% if done correctly.

But many business owners either don’t know how to get those conversions they heard about or wonder if it even works for their specific business.

And sometimes, it’s tough to pinpoint the exact problem with your email marketing, whether it’s your strategy, your message, or even your deliverability metrics.

So when people realize that just mass spamming your entire list with your offer doesn’t convert…

That’s when most people call it quits and just say that it doesn’t work for them… Which is not true in most cases.

That’s why I wanted to compile a list of the best email marketing practices to help create a foundation on how you should structure your email campaigns so that you can build a foundation on the right principles for converting emails.

Sure, you may not get those amazing conversions right off the bat…

But with the proper foundations and right strategy, you will see results with email marketing.

Because it’s all about conversions in the end, right?

So let’s get started.

What Are The Top Email Marketing Best Practices For Your Business?

1. Split Test Your Subject Lines

split test

The very first thing you want to consider is the subject line of your email.

The subject line is the most important of your email because this determines whether it catches the attention of your reader to make them click on the email.

If it doesn’t capture their attention in the sea of their inboxes (and some people never clean it up…) Then your whole email is worthless because no one will read it.

Read that line again.

If your email doesn’t get opened, it won’t give you conversions.

It’s as simple as that.

This is because over 64% of people make their decisions based on the subject line while the rest probably open it after either looking at who it’s from or people clicking it so that it shows you “read” it.

If you write a bad subject line, then you are losing a huge portion of your customers not reading the actual contents of your email.

Therefore, you want to split test your subject lines and do an A/B test to see over time which subject lines your audience best responds to.

It depends on many factors including:

  • Your niche
  • How engaged your audience is
  • Your customer’s awareness stage
  • The email and value you provide

And so on…

The subject lines that your customers best respond to will be different depending on who you’re targeting and which industry you’re in.

For example, it’s going to be very different messaging if you are a local organic ice cream shop selling ice cream than a fitness influencer selling their course in 2021.

Maybe all it takes is just saying “Ice Creaaaaam Sale WOOHOO” for the local ice cream store whereas you may have to get more creative with the fitness influencer and go at a different angle like “How Tom lost 10 lbs. With this 30 second ‘Magic’ Smoothie.”

Go experiment and see what works for you.

Here are a couple of guidelines for creating engaging subject lines to test for you:

  1. Make it engaging by asking them a question
  2. Create contradictions that arouse curiosity
  3. Use a story from your company or personal life that’s interesting
  4. Go outside the box and break all the rules, like using all emojis in your subject line

Remember, the purpose of your subject line is to catch their attention and open their email. It’s not to sell them on your product or service.

If you can catch their attention, then the subject line did its job.

Preview Line

If the subject line is to catch their attention, then the preview line’s purpose is to arouse their curiosity.

The preview line is the little grey text next to the subject line that gives your email a bit more context…

And if you are like some people who genuinely forget about it then most ESPs just take the snippet of your first sentence of the email.

Think of crafting your preview line like a movie trailer for your emails. You want to entice them to read the email by giving them a “preview” *ba dum tss*

It’s assisting the subject line to get your emails open.

Here are some examples of how to make your emails with preview lines more enticing:

  • I can’t believe i got fired… My boss actually said this to me…
  • The 5 Misconceptions To Getting Rich… Saving your money is actually terrible advice
  • AHHHHHHHH… Why the hell is my toothbrush in the toilet…

If I received those emails in my inbox, I would most likely open it because it creates a curiosity I want to know more about.

I want to know why saving money is terrible advice since it’s been always told it’s great for building wealth, and the twisted person (or cat) who dropped that person’s toothbrush in the other email.

That’s why you want to create engaging subject lines and preview lines while split testing every single campaign.

Without the data, you don’t know what your audience best responds to, so all you can do is assume and test things out.

And over time, when you keep split testing subject lines, you will see what does and doesn’t work and keep repeating what does work to slowly get more conversions.

That’s the importance of the A/B split test and why it’s necessary to do so to get the results you want.

2. Add a P.S. To Your Emails

A P.S. is a powerful way to add another snippet or message to the end of your email.

This is because whether they want to… most people are going to skim to the end of your email and read the last sentence (which would be your P.S.)

This is because before emails existed (I know it’s hard to believe) people used sales letters where they would create a P.S. at the end so people can skim all the way to the end to know what the offer or letter was about.

Now it’s used in emails where I have seen people use it like:

  • P.S.
  • ps –
  • Ps.
  • Ps –
  • p.p.p.p.s

Now, the point isn’t what type of “PS” you should use, but how you use it.

You want to create a strategy to use your PS, whether it’s to build engagement with your audience or sell your offer.

Here are some of the best ways to use the PS:

  • Creating a CTA to your email
  • Rephrasing what you said in the body
  • Asking them for feedback or to reply in the email
  • Having a “lol” moment of something funny or random

These play a role depending on what your goal is for that specific email campaign. If you are trying to sell something, have a CTA on your p.s.

If you’re trying to build a relationship or make the readers chuckle and add value to their lives, maybe talking about how you made chicken for the first time and no one told you that searing the outside doesn’t mean the chicken is finished… (Yes, that happened to me…)

And leading that to ask your audience what was the first meal they messed up.

It all draws back down to the strategy you want to use in email marketing.

So start incorporating ps messages when it makes sense and don’t underestimate the power of them.

3. Use Lightweight Images

lightweight emails

Lightweight images are important for emails for Y’all who use HTML and image emails.

This is because email clients can block heavy email images, so people won’t see the email at all.

And sometimes, your emails will go to spam or the promotions folder because it’s assumed by Gmail and Apple, and Hotmail that you’re spamming them.

Plus, it takes forever to load images if they decide to see your images.

You know that moment when you can’t use Wi-Fi or your cellular data and your phone has low reception with a 3g network.

That’s what it feels like when they have to open a massive email image.

Most people don’t have any attention spans nowadays, with it shorter than a goldfish.

Whether that’s true, it is in fact true that our attention span has been dwindling because of social media.

This leads us back to the point of having lightweight images. If your emails are lightweight, that means your emails will load faster, letting people see your email faster without it annoying them and taking forever to render on their screen.

You can use free image compressors like compressor.io or resize your images to make sure it works.

You also want to make sure that your images work on every device.

This is more of a problem if you code HTML emails yourself but what you will realize is that if you don’t use the drag-and-drop template builders, then you will code like it’s 1998 and make sure that each email works on all 100+ clients since things can get a little gimmicky.

Some images won’t load, other images would not render properly, and others would just completely disappear.

So just take that with some caution if you are creating custom-made HTML emails while keeping in mind to make your emails light.

4. Use A Welcome Email Sequence

The welcome email sequence is arguably one of the most important emails you can send to your customers?

Why?

Because it’s your first email!

It is not only one of your highest opened emails but is setting the stage as it’s your first impression.

This is showing your audience what they will expect from you if they decide to subscribe to your newsletter.

The welcome email is a chance for you to do so many things like:

  • Sell something
  • Introduce yourself and your brand
  • Get connected with you on social media
  • Deliver a lead magnet (ex. Coupon code, checklist, etc.)

And so many other things.

The best way to craft your email is to think about it as you are emailing a close friend.

You want to give them so much value upfront that it’s crazy not to sign up to your newsletter.

There are many ways to craft your welcome sequence, but here are the general flows to go for:

  • Email 1, 2, 3 – Telling them who you are and why you do what you do
  • Email 4, 5, 6 – Showing people your offer and slowly warming them up

Or you can just go straight for the sale if your offer is that strong.

Just remember, there is no best welcome email set in stone.

Experiment and see what works best for your niche and audience.

5. Use An Abandoned Cart Sequence

abandoned cart

The abandoned cart sequence is probably one of your most converting sequences if you use one.

This is because there is buyer intent when they trigger this flow.

What this means is that these people have asked about your product enough to click on it but aren’t ready to buy yet.

It could be:

  • A window shopper snooping for discount coupons (Probable)
  • A person who genuinely forgot since something more urgent came up and forgot to purchase (probably)
  • A person like me who likes to check out my other competitors to see what they are doing (rarely)
  • Or a bot (Yes, bots are becoming a problem nowadays…)

An abandoned cart sequence is important because it gives the chance who genuinely forgot a chance to recover any sales for someone who attempted to purchase your product.

We’re forgetful creatures (Do you remember what you had for lunch last Tuesday?) so if we don’t get reminded we will forget.

Never assume your customer is going to finish the cart if they abandon it on your own.

For example, let’s say some cool-looking dude called Brian purchased some custom socks from you.

Now let’s say he had really wonderful tastes and wanted some Mario Kart socks (cause that’s what all the cool kids like me do nowadays…) But after adding it to the cart online, he left.

Now you don’t know the reason he left.

He could’ve:

  • Been distracted by his phone and forgot
  • Was just casually browsing and wasn’t ready to buy
  • Had an emergency and had something more important to do than buy some socks

You don’t know.

And that’s the point. In case he wanted to buy but genuinely forgot it then you can save the sale by reminding him about his Mario Kart socks.

You want to craft your abandoned cart emails for the people who asked about the item by gently reminding them it’s in “their cart.”

This does two things:

  1. It saves them time from adding the item back to the cart
  2. But it reminds them again of the product they were interested in.

So if you’re an eCommerce store (or even someone selling a course), include some sort of abandoned cart sequence into your flows.

6. Encourage Replies From Your Email Subscriber Lists

This is something I don’t see very often with many email subscribers, but you want to encourage replies to your email lists.

Now, this might be difficult for people with lists of over a million subscribers, but the reason I believe this so deeply is that email is all about building a relationship with that person.

Having an engaged list who wants to reply to you and build that human connection is the difference between an impressive list and an awesome list.

I would choose a list of 1,000 highly engaged subscribers over a list of 5,000 of moderately kind of engaged subscribers for three reasons:

  1. Your email deliverability is going to be amazing
  2. Your list of 1,000 highly engaged subscribers are your ideal customers
  3. Engagement helps build brand loyalty that will make them stay your customers for a long time (or even forever…)

That’s why you want to build relationships by encouraging replies in your email.

People are human too and they love it when they feel heard, especially from a brand they like.

And when they feel heard, they will like you more, which will eventually lead to more sales and a customer loyal to you.

Think about it this way.

It’s like your favorite creator on Youtube commenting back on your channel even if he has thousands of comments.

You are more likely to watch his videos because he made enough time to comment back despite maybe not having enough time to answer everyone, so you value it even more.

It’s the same way with email.

When someone responds to you via email, it’s amazing the feedback and conversations you can create.

So start encouraging replies in your email whether it is to:

  • Ask their opinion
  • Ask for some feedback
  • Or just to say hello

Your audience (and your wallet) will thank you for it.

7. Segment Your Audience Based On Their Interest And Actions

audience segmentation

One of the best ways to increase conversions with email is through segmenting your audience based on their interests and actions.

When you can create a specific action for a user intended for them, conversions will skyrocket.

Think of it like this.

If you are a coffee place that sells regular and CBD coffee, it would make sense to send CBD related coffee emails to those customers and emails on regular coffee to your other customers.

But this is just the starting point for segmenting for conversions.

If we want to take our example further, then you would want to slowly segment based on the actions they took.

For example, if a customer purchased CBD coffee before, then you would probably want to market the same product he bought before (since he already knows about your product and hopefully enjoyed it…)

But if someone who is a CBD coffee drinker browsed through a selection of coffees but didn’t add them to the cart, send a browser abandonment instead (so it depends on the flow of the action…)

Now, if you want to get more advanced, imagine someone who browsed your site before adding some CBD coffee to the cart but decided not to purchase it and go back to browsing on Facebook.

You can set up some re-targeting ads into their newsfeed to send them back to your store or even offer them an incentive (15% off first-time users) to later send them emails on that specific CBD if they sign up.

The possibilities are endless.

But to get you started, here are some examples of how to segment based on their interests:

  • What they bought
  • Gender specific items
  • Specific categories
  • Upselling or down selling based on a previous purchase

And here are some examples of segmenting based on their behavior:

  • Browsed through your site
  • Abandoned their shopping cart
  • Purchased a product and offered a similar product

Think about ways on how to customize it for your audience in a way that makes sense to boost conversions for your site.

8. Split Test Your Form Sign-Ups

One of the best ways that most people don’t consider is to split test your email forms.

There are many form sign-ups on your website, and optimizing them will help you increase the size and quality of your list.

There are different email pop-ups from:

  • Extent intent popups
  • Newsletter sign-ups on the bottom
  • The DM Slide pop-up (I don’t know what its called)

You want to split test all the different ways from:

  • The copy of your text
  • The image
  • The timing
  • The different pop-ups

And see what works for you.

My personal 2 favorite ones are the exit intent email pop-up and the one that appears when you scroll a certain amount of page.

The reason the exit intent email pop-up is my favorite is that it’s nonintrusive.

Instead of being bombarded over and over, it’s sort of like the last-ditch effort.

When someone comes over the mouse over the back button, that most likely means that they are done with your page and they are ready to move on, so you give them another chance to sign up with you.

If they don’t, well you had nothing to lose and if they sign up well, you just recovered a potential email for your list!

The second one is when you scroll a certain amount of your webpage when it starts (usually I like around 50-70%).

This is because when they are reading your long-form blog post, there is intent that they are interested in what you offer.

Sure, it’s annoying when you get interrupted once, so that’s why it might be better if popup starts later down on the page to know if you’re legit and have good information.

That’s why I prefer it when it’s way down rather than right away since that will most likely annoy people (since it annoys me…)

Then the things that you can split test with form is:

  • Copywriting
  • Design
  • CTA’s

The more likely the message resonates with them and the lead magnet you send them, the more likely they will sign up.

And if the emails provide enough value to them, they like the value, whether it’s your lead magnet, messaging, or advice…

The longer they stick.

But it all starts when they sign up on your website via your form.

If you want to collect information quickly, I recommend just collecting their email and potentially their first name, but that’s really about it.

However, if you are running a B2B, then you will probably need a lot more information, like information on their business, what they do, the size of their organization, etc.

To customize the forms to see what works best for you.

9. Split Test Your Automations

split testing

It feels like I’ve been yapping about “split testing this” and “split testing that” but split-testing your automations and triggers is something that most email marketers overlook.

It’s something they know they should do but never actually implement.

What split-testing your automation means things like:

  • Different timings
  • Split testing the emails within the automation
  • Split testing potential triggers
  • etc.

This is perhaps one of the most arguably things because this is how you generate passive income strategically without worrying about it.

For example, if you just put up an abandoned cart and just let it run without knowing if it resonates with your audience, you’re potentially leaving money on the table.

And that’s because you don’t know if what you are running is even converting!

This is because our assumptions never always play out with what customers actually want.

Maybe putting that emoji in that subject line was actually a pretty bad idea and was tanking conversions…

Or that snippet about how the time I abandoned cart, and it mercilessly spammed me got them to laugh and hop back onto their cart.

You just never know.

That’s why it’s important to consider split testing your automations when the time comes.

10. Whitelist Your Emails

Whitelisting your emails is a great practice to improve your email deliverability.

What does whitelisting your emails mean?

It means the customer takes the effort to show that your emails are not spammed by saying that they have opted to read your messages…

And the reason Gmail and every other email provider look for this is because whitelisting your email takes a lot of effort.

Just think about it.

Many people don’t know what whitelisting emails mean and for the people who do, and it feels like 10 extra steps.

So that person has to really love your emails, or it’s someone you know where you will take the extra effort to whitelist your emails.

It’s worth asking your audience to whitelist because the potential consequences of someone getting to do it (cause your emails are so valuable) will make it so much easier for your emails not to get into spam.

Which means more emails sent to the right subscribers and potentially more value (and cash) for you and your customers.

The best way to get someone to whitelist you is to genuinely ask them in your emails.

Show them step-by-step instructions if they want to continue to receive your emails via email and show that you provide so much value that they wouldn’t want to miss your emails.

This shows that you will make the effort for your email marketing.

11. Write Your Copy For Your Audience

copywriting

Writing copy specifically for your audience is another email marketing best practice you should think about for conversion. This is because you know what your email is about, so you should also write specifically for them.

This means that you wouldn’t go off tangent and try to sell someone who doesn’t want any CBD coffee or anything like that, since your email marketing copywriting should be focused on the one audience that matters to you.

And for email marketing, your email copywriting should be targeted for a specific audience.

This way you can make sure that no matter what else is going on in their life at the time of receiving the email, they will always know who it’s from and why it’s important to them right now.

So write specifically for your target market, since you know what they want and where they came from.

This is the importance of email marketing to maximize conversions where it feels like email is directly for them.

Those will convert the best.

12. Measure The Right Metrics For Your Goals

Measuring the metrics for your goals is essential for any email marketing campaign. This is because email marketing is sort of like email sales and if you can’t measure your email metrics, then it becomes pointless.

This means that the number one email marketing metric to consider measuring is what we call opens, but also clicks and unsubscribes as well, since those are important for future campaigns too.

You want to make sure that you know how many email opens you get and how many email clicks to make sure that your email marketing copywriting is effective.

And open rates are definitely important, but they’re not the only email marketing metric to consider measuring because what if someone just read through your email without clicking? You won’t know unless you measure both metrics or at least one of them for future campaigns.

13. Review Your Landing Page From Your Email

landing page

Once they clicked on your email. You want to make sure that they click and land to a converting landing page. 

This landing page will usually be your email sign up page and it’s important to make sure that you review this landing page. 

This is because the landing page is part of the funnel to help increase your conversions.

Think about it this way.

If you had an amazing email where everyone got excited to your email and you sent them to this old, dingy landing page with squeaking sounds as you scroll down the sound (the horror…)

You will not get your conversions.

Or if you promised them how to fix a boat in 5 easy steps and your landing page was about fishing on a boat.

Your landing page has to make sense and continue that hunger for that audience to go with the purchase.

So make sure your landing page applies to the emails you are sending to your audience and you will be in a much better spot to increase your conversions.

14. Only Have One CTA

One thing to keep in mind in your emails is your CTA.

Your CTA is the action that you want your audience members to take.

Your CTA could be anything from:

  • Selling your product or service
  • Asking them to reply to your email
  • To even sending them cute photos of their dogs to you

Whatever your CTA is, keep it to a minimum of one.

When you keep it to a minimum of one, you are taking away potential distractions from your audience where they have the only choice of clicking on the one link or not.

For example, let’s say you are selling a course on how to sell toilet paper and you want to make some good money (since toilet paper is amazing…)

And in your email you write about the benefits of toilet paper, how toilet paper changed the surrounding lives, and even how it helped you in a dire situation.

If you want people to click on your landing page and learn more about your course, why would you potentially link them to a YouTube video talking about the benefits of toilet paper?

Or a news article about how toilet paper is in the rave nowadays?

Once people click somewhere else, they are unlikely to go back to your email to click on your real landing page.

If you truly think that those things will convert, then you can always put it on your landing page, but you should always have one CTA to keep the distractions down.

Here’s another example of why you should have only one CTA.

Imagine a friend of yours said something like, “Hey would you mind checking my Instagram and following me? Oh yeah, check out my Tik-Tok, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and follow me there. Oh yeah, check out my website and let me know how it is, and I almost forgot…”

That’s what many people are doing in email marketing nowadays without even realizing.

It creates decision paralysis and most people don’t know what to do, making them not take any action at all!

So focus on just one CTA cause it works.

15. Clean Your List Regularly

mailing list

One thing I cannot stress enough is that you want to clean your list regularly.

In email marketing, numbers are impressive and there are people who strut about how amazingly “big” their list is.

And you know what they always say, it’s not the size that counts but the…

*cough cough* Anyway, it’s incredibly impressive if you have a list of over 100,000.

But in that case, if only 10,000 are truly your fans and only about 30,000 somewhat engaged while the rest only signed up for the discount and never interacted with you…

That’s hurting your deliverability.

That’s why you want to clean up your list. One of the easiest ways to clean your list is to add them to engagement automation that shows when they last engaged with you.

If they have:

  • Never opened an email
  • Never replied to you

Then you want to put them back into a “win a subscriber back.”

This is like the exit intent pop up where you truly have not much to lose.

If they subscribe back to you and engage, that’s amazing!

But if they don’t engage, then it’s time to say goodbye since your emails are relevant to him and it’s hurting your deliverability score, so it’s again a win-win situation.

I know it hurts when you take so much effort to build a huge list, but it’s about sending quality, personalized messages to your customer that makes it profitable.

So clean your list out regularly.

16. Double Opt-In Your Email Subscribers

Double opt-ins are when you send them another email to confirm that they will join your email list.

Double opting in to your email subscribers is an important thing to do an email marketing.

This is because when you do so, what you want to reinforce is that you are trying to build a quality list, not a quantity list.

When you build a quality list, it makes it easier to sell to them and keeps your deliverability high because your list is clean.

Double opt-in is just another “barrier” so that you stop receiving bots and people signing up for your newsletter since it’s easy.

You actually want to make it harder so that people who really want to join have to go through a couple more steps.

Sure, you will get fewer emails but at the cost of a better and more profitable list.

17. Keep Your Email Design On Brand

design

If you are creating HTML emails for your business, you are going to want to keep your email designs on brand.

This means that if you have a set of core, brand colors, you want to use those for your emails as well.

This can include things like:

  • Color
  • Font
  • Writing style
  • etc.

You want people to have a seamless experience and reinforce the brand whenever you have the chance to do so.

You don’t want to sign up for an American Eagle’s email newsletter expecting teenagers and young adults and have something weird like Death metal rock stars posing.

Now, that is extreme, but it’s the little things like your messaging that reinforce your brand and value to your customers.

If you want email marketing success, then it’s essential for your email designs to fit into the look and feel of your core branding strategy so that customers know where they are in terms of what they should expect when interacting with email from an email marketer or business.

18. Follow GDPR

Some things that I see some people neglect are that they don’t follow GDPR best practices for email marketing.

And in theory, it makes sense. When you make things harder for people to join and confirm their email about what they’re doing with, it’s going to make it harder to collect email addresses.

But there’s a couple of reasons I urge you to follow GDPR.

The most important reason is that you are following laws in Europe opening up a new market for Europeans to sign up.

This makes it so that you won’t be in violation if you end up on European servers, so you don’t have to pay those high fines for your business.

But the next important reason is that it shows who your most loyal fans are.

Think about it. You’re deterring everyone who wants a freebie from your discount by putting hoops and hurdles in front of your email sign-up.

It sounds counterintuitive, but the harder it is for people to sign up, the more likely they are going to be a strong follower.

That’s because now they have to put in effort to sign up, check the box, do the double confirmation, etc.

And they are aware of everything that you could do if they actually do, which gives them a heads up of things like “Hey, here’s a list of things I’m going to but 99% of the time I’m just gonna email you weekly” kind of thing.

Plus, it makes your email list a lot cleaner since you don’t have bots or random people signing up with the more things you do.

Plus, people appreciate it. So do it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, email marketing best practices are essential to email marketers and businesses trying to get more sales from email. 

You want your email list of people who actually care about what you do, know that they signed up so they can trust you with their email address, and will open emails because it’s relevant for them rather than just another piece of spam in the inbox.

Let me know in the comments below what is your favorite email marketing trick to increase conversions?

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