A Year’s Worth of Email Marketing Tips From Blue Sky Factory (part I)

With a brand new year, it’s probably a good way to kick start your online marketing efforts. And if you’re doing any form of email marketing, then don’t continue doing it the same way you’ve been in the past – especially if it isn’t working. Don’t just sit around and wonder how you can do a better job…because here are 52 tips on how you can help create an effective email marketing strategy & campaign, courtesy of the fine folks at Blue Sky Factory.

Created in 2009, these 52 tips were sent out once a week, each with a different tip and information. While it might be easier to simply lump them all in here, it would be pretty overwhelming. So I present part one of this three-part series here for your use.

Happy reading!

Blue Sky Factory's 52 Email Marketing Tips

  1. Don’t buy or rent your list. Build your list organically by collecting business cards at industry events, including an opt-in form on all pages of your website, and asking subscribers to forward your email newsletter to friends and having them sign up as well.
  2. Include a clear call-to-action in your email. Make sure it stands out and will catch the recipient’s eye.  Include a link to a contact form, phone number, or another way for them to follow through with the action.
  3. Use HTML emails to boost your branding and enhance the visual experience for the recipients. Text emails are forgettable, but HTML emails can be designed to be memorable and effective.
  4. Use holidays and other important events to your advantage. With Valentine’s Day, tailor your message around the themes of love, candy, flowers, or Cupid.  For Thanksgiving, send a message of thanks to your subscribers – maybe give them a discount or another kind of offer.  Your subscribers will appreciate the fun, festive vibe of your emails.
  5. Add a personal touch to your emails by using personalization. Whether you use their first name, company name, or even their previous order date, your recipients will appreciate this extra effort!
  6. When someone signs up to receive your emails, send an instant confirmation email telling them what you will send them and how often you will send it.  Setting proper expectations with your recipients up-front can help increase subscriber activity and cut down on complaints and opt-outs later on.
  7. Be as interactive and engaging as possible. Allow recipients to explore any options you may have in your specific type of business, including: ordering additional products or services, requesting more information, asking a question, seeking assistance, upgrading to a higher level of membership, updating their account, or receiving a discount or coupon.
  8. Stay consistent when it comes to branding. Not only will your email be recognized in a crowded inbox, recipients also prefer and appreciate a familiar look so they know where each element of an email can be found.
  9. Find a balance with your email frequency. Sending too often may cause the recipients to unsubscribe, but sending too infrequently may cause subscribers to forget about you and move on.  Set realistic expectations based on your audience and content.
  10. After finding a balance with your email frequency, make sure you stay consistent. Whether you send your emails daily, weekly, or monthly, make sure you stick to that schedule.  This will allow your subscribers to know exactly when to expect your email, and they will look forward to it!
  11. Take advantage of the A/B split testing feature that your ESP provides. A/B split testing allows you to test the effectiveness of an email by sending two separate versions of the same email campaign to a small test group.  You can test based on different factors including: subject lines, date/time, creative designs, or landing pages.
  12. Integrate your website with Google Analytics. This tool enhances your email software’s ability to measure your campaign’s ROI by generating comprehensive reports that illustrate your campaign’s impact on your website activity and organizational bottom line.  Google Analytics measures page views, landing pages, exit pages, funnel paths, and conversions.
  13. Whether it’s through sending a special offer, educating your subscribers about your products or industry, or telling your subscribers how your services will help them, recipients want to know what you can do for them. By making sure your copy is benefit-oriented, it will keep your subscribers happy, and they will look forward to hearing from you again.
  14. Websites like iStockphoto or Stockxpert are low-cost tools for web-ready art that can greatly assist you with your creative design.  These catalogs include an abundance of stock photography and video choices.  Some even allow members to contribute to the library.
  15. Create landing pages that fulfill the email copy’s promise. If the recipient is taking the time to click through to your landing page, continue to engage them with what you promised in the email.  This can be accomplished through information in the form of copy, graphics, and/or a form to fill out.
  16. Don’t include any pre-checked subscription boxes on your email opt-in form. You want to make sure subscribers are actively choosing to be added to your email list, and are not added by default.  This will not only make you appear more trustworthy in your subscribers’ eyes, but it will also ensure you have a true opt-in list of subscribers who genuinely want to receive your emails.
  17. Set up domain authentication. This gives assurance to the ISPs that the email you are sending is, in fact, from you.  Helping the ISPs to confirm your identity will ultimately improve your email deliverability.  For a more in-depth look at setting up domain authentication, click here, or contact us with questions.
  18. Don’t send your emails from someone at your company. Most likely, your subscribers won’t know your CEO’s name, but they will recognize your company name.  They’re expecting to get an email from your company – not from a person at your company.  If you want your emails opened, make sure you keep your friendly from line familiar to your recipients.
  19. Take the time to meet with your email service provider (ESP) face-to-face. Your ESP is there to provide you with valuable insight on what works and what doesn’t.  If you take the opportunity to build a relationship with them, they can get to know you, your company, and your overall marketing goals, which will ultimately help make your email marketing program stronger and more effective.
  20. When you’re ready to design your email, there are numerous coding practices to keep in mind. Use these Email Design Guidelines as a reference for do’s and don’t’s in regards to layout, copywriting, and HTML production. Other online resources, such as the Email Standards Project, can help you determine what HTML and CSS properties will work in each email client. Reference these resources to build a better email, and ultimately have a more successful email marketing campaign.