1. Check the conversion rate of your sign-up form once a month
Your newsletter sign-up form is an important part of any strategy for expanding your subscriber database. It plays an important role as a kind of business card for your company while at the same time delivering information that will be used to create communication with a particular focus on subsequent segmentation and personalization.
I encourage you to carefully monitor the effectiveness of your online newsletter sign-up form and consider how clearly it communicates the benefits of joining your mailing list.
Check the conversion statistics of your sign-up form on a regular basis. Ask yourself if it is optimized in terms of its design and content. Things like small changes in its placement, the information it asks for, capping, the amount of time it displays can make a huge difference in the results you get.
2. Patiently build you database one address a time
Speaking of subscriber databases…
When it comes to growing your database, patience and adherence to the principles of permission marketing pay off in the end. Perseverance gives you a chance to develop your business based on delivering your message to an audience that is aware of your brand and convinced of the value of the communication that you send them.
Bear in mind that a subscriber database built in compliance with legal regulations is the foundation of your marketing activities. An attractive sign-up form, welcoming emails and the use of autoresponders enhance and deepen the relationship between your brand and your subscribers.
3. Maintain database hygiene with the double opt-in model
Sending a confirmation message to new addresses in your database is part of what is known as the “double opt-in” model. It helps to confirm that only people interested in receiving messages from you are added to your mailing list. The confirmation process keep your database free from non-existent or improperly entered addresses and spamtraps. Sending a welcoming message also gives you chance to remind new subscribers of the benefits of your newsletter.
4. Don’t hide your resignation link
Using resignation links in every message you send is a basic component of database hygiene and a requirement of professional email marketing. It’s a mechanism that lets subscribers resign from your mailing list whenever they choose to. When you make it clear that the option to unsubscribe exists, you show that you respect the wishes of your subscribers and treat them fairly as a partner in communication. If you fail to do so, you risk having your messages labeled as spam and threaten the deliverability of your campaigns.
It’s obvious that building a quality database is a time-consuming process that demands your active engagement and acknowledgement of the fact subscribers sometimes lose interest in your offer and wish to no longer get receive your emails. Your only option is to let them go. If you notice an unusually high percentage of unsubscribes in a given time period, look at possible causes including insufficient personalization and sending campaigns too often.
5. Get to know more about spam filters and test your campaigns
Your message should be thoroughly tested before being sent. Starting the process in the creation stage helps to ensure that your time and effort don’t get wasted by sending a message that gets directed to spam folders. Remember that spam filters are ruthless in their evaluation of emails – as they should be – and they check multiple elements of your campaign. Not being aware of what spam filters are looking for, rushing through your campaign creation process and skipping tests can result in painful consequences and a poor conversion rate.
6. Check your sending time once a month
Finding the best time of day and day of the week to send your campaign is a never-ending challenge for all email marketers. Subscribers expect communication that is made just for them and extends beyond optimized content to the time when your messages lands in their inboxes. Use tools that let you use statistics that tell you the best time to send to a particular group of subscribers. Remember that the engagement of your recipients is dynamic and so you should regularly repeat these tests to keep in line with what they are doing.
7. Experiment with subject lines
Professional email marketing systems give you the ability to run tests to compare what kind of response different subject lines get from your subscribers. This is how you learn what words and phrases are more likely to get the results you are looking for. Bear in mind that recipients who consider opening your message in their inboxes base their decision on the information contained in two fields – the message sender and the message title. Take the time to run small experiments on segments of your database to find out more about what works for you. Send two versions of the same message but different subject lines and wait for the results. You will soon be able to access reports with specific numbers to show you which version was better received. Then it’s just a matter of sending that winning version to the rest of your database.
8. Teach more, sell less
Delivering valuable content related to the interests of your subscribers helps to solidify their loyalty to your brand. Think about what they are interested in and what kind of content can be use to them rather than focusing strictly on selling all the time. Recipients can be demanding partners but it’s their right to expect that messages from you be of some value to them.
9. Ask for reviews and use testimonials
Do you like to share your opinion, take part in discussions, give reviews, engage in social media or write articles? Or maybe you’re a bit shy but enjoy listening to the opinions of others? Either way, email marketing can provide a useful forum for you.
Use your communications to share customer reviews about your product or service. Autoresponders sent after a subscriber clicks on a link or a few days after a sale has been completed can help you gather lots of feedback. Encourage as many people as you can to tell you what they think with a dedicated page on your site and post the reviews next to products in your online store.
10. Not sure what your subscribers want? Ask them
You design your campaigns based on information that you have about your subscribers, so the more information, the better – right? You can start gather such data right on your sign-up form with a questionnaire about what they are interested in or would like to see more of. Be careful, though, not to ask for too much information right away because it can turn a lot of people off. Alternatively, you can ask for feedback somewhere on your site, in a welcoming email after sign-up or a future campaign. Just make sure that it’s easy for subscribers to answer your questions (use checkboxes, for example) and try to offer something in exchange for making the effort, like a discount, ebook or access to premium content.
11. Use dynamic content
You can’t talk about email marketing today without talking about personalization. This isn’t surprising given the fact that everyone now expects to receive content that is relevant to them and their needs. Contemporary email marketing systems provide tools to help you create newsletters that contain text and graphics that appeal to different subscribers. Based on information you have about them, you can use tags in systems like FreshMail to create messages composed of parts that are assembled automatically.
12. Times change so update your strategy often
I’ve already mentioned several good practices related to creating your messages, building databases and relationships with subscribers as business partners. Planning should be part of your strategy regardless of what field of business you’re in. Not everyone has a plan to develop their email marketing in the future although they should because it is the basis of all actions you will take.
Depending on your needs and the frequency of communication, you need to determine what you want to send, when you want to send it and to which group of subscribers. Try to predict the path new subscribers might take to your mailing list and plan appropriate welcoming messages. Lead nurturing programs also deserve consideration since they can educate your subscribers to the point where they become your customers.
Every well-planned email campaign demands the proper amount of time for the preparation of the template, segmentation of subscribers and testing. Bear in mind that all changes should be based on a sober analysis of previous results. If this sounds complicated, remember that you can always count on the support of experts. They can advise you and even take on the task of building creative strategies for communications for your brand.
13. Make new subscribers feel welcome right from the start
Welcoming emails are like saying hello to someone who has just walked into your store. In email marketing, they are automatically sent to new subscribers to your mailing list. They have a unique opportunity to communicate with people who are particularly interested in you at that moment in time and they often determine how your brand will be compared with others.
Remember that welcome emails have a significantly higher open rate than other messages. Apart from thanking new subscribers for signing up, you should also use this chance to convey other information they should know like details associated with your products, your store hours or the frequency of your newsletters.
14. Move quickly with autoresponders
Autoresponders are a powerful tool for increasing the potential of the communication of your brand. They can help you build relationships with subscribers, deliver educational materials, nurture leads and increase sales by drawing attention to promotions. They also free up a lot your time by executing processes automatically, letting you concentrate on other aspects of your online promotions.
Autoresponders make it possible for your subscribers to get messages in response to specific actions taken by them. By using this feature and using established paths that you set, you can automate your email marketing communication and let it proceed without the need for your direct intervention.
15. Say goodbye to addresses that bounce more than 4 times
Building a database is a process that demands a lot of care, attention and patience. Adding significant numbers of quality addresses is a testament to the effectiveness of the activities of an email marketer. Given the work that goes into gaining new subscribers, it’s not surprising that so many of us are reluctant to say goodbye to the ones who aren’t getting our messages. For hard bounces, the situation is clear enough – two of them are all the reason you need to remove that address from your database. For most marketers, the same number of soft bounces isn’t conclusive proof that all hope is lost and there’s still a chance of getting through.
16. Email Marketing Automation – reaching the right person at the right time
Thanks to Email Marketing Automation, FreshMail lets you expand the range of data you use based on the activities of your subscribers. After integration your site with Google Analytics, you will gain insights into the behavior of your subscribers after clicking on links in your newsletters. Clicking on pricing, downloading premium content or visiting a particular page will all be part of the history of a specific addresses in your database. The data is transferred to FreshMail within 72 hours and can then be used for further action like sending autoresponders related to actions of your subscribers on your web page.
17. Constantly monitor what sparks interest and what doesn’t
Behavioral data gained from your subscribers and knowing how to use has a huge influence on the how successful your sales campaign will be.
Effective email marketing systems offer mechanisms like link tagging that let you identify subscribers that are interested in a particular product. Creating a segment of subscribers will similar interests and sending a targeted message is a great way to increase conversions. Always keep an eye on what gets the attention of your subscribers when they engage with your messages. Use personalization mechanisms and dynamic content using information about what gets the most interest.
18. Loyalty should be important for you… always
Remember to target subscribers on the basis of how they responded to previous message they received from you. Extract the most active and engaged recipients from your database and create campaigns just for them. How to reward them for their enthusiasm for your messages is up to you.
For less responsive subscribers, you need to come up with something that make them open your messages so experiment with titles and preheaders. If they continue to ignore your messages, it might be time to consider removing them from your mailing list.
19. All people are not the same and your message shouldn’t be either
Personalization is the “queen of email marketing” for a reason. Together with segmentation, it’s a basic mechanism of modern methods of email marketing and every year it takes on a bigger role in the success of any campaign.
This is a positive development. For years, FreshMail has recommended that you always send campaigns based on the needs and interests of your recipients. Personalization started out with simple things like using someone’s name in the subject line but is far more advanced now. Use all of the possibilities that professional email marketing systems offer and create highly personalized content based on data that you gather from subscribers.
20. Always ask to be added to a list of contacts
As you know, when new subscribers sign up to your newsletter you have a brief moment when they are completely focused on you. This is a unique opportunity to enhance your deliverability by asking them to add your address to their list of contacts. Remember that you achieve the same effect if a subscriber replies to your message so it’s worth encouraging them to do so.
21. Always ask subscribers to store your messages
Another way of increasing your deliverability is to ask that subscribers set up a special folder to keep messages from you. You can explain that it’s the best way to make sure that nothing from you is lost, whether it be newsletter content, educational or training materials or special sales promotions.
22. Follow your stats, especially the OR and CTR
Reports and statistics are sources of valuable information about marketing activities and it’s important to quicky get the data in an accessible form. That’s why FreshMail reports are generated in real time – so you can get up to the minute information about important metrics like the number of your messages that have been opened and links that have been clicked.
This data can be analyzed and compared with previous campaigns or, if you’re just starting out with email marketing, with industry averages. It’s important to not focus on one particular parameter and always look at the bigger picture of other things that influence your campaign like the use of segmentation, personalization, sending time, testing and newsletter design.
To sum up, develop the habit of carefully following the results of your campaigns with specific attention to your OR and CTR. Compare them with the results from your past campaigns to see if you are headed in the right direction or if something needs to change.
23. Be visible on social media
Use the synergy between email marketing and social media every day. The reach of platforms like Facebook and Twitter offers you additional opportunities to expand your subscriber database. Using new advertising formats like Lead Ads on Facebook or Twitter Cards, you can place your signup form on your wall posts. This lets new subscribers join your newsletter without having to leave the platform they’re on.
24. Integrate and use plug-ins
Leading email marketing systems constantly develop new tools and features. By carefully watching the needs of the marketplace, they recognize which improvements can best serve the needs of their users. Always pay attention to changes and enhancements to the tools that you use and how they can make your work easier or more effective.
New tools and plugins are usually presented in terms of how they can benefit the user, so anyone can make an informed decision and apply the tools he really needs. At FreshMail we constantly add new plugins and integrations like Zapier and Magento, which enables you to automate the adding of data from new signups to your newsletter without the need for high tech knowledge.
25. Don’t let being offline stop you from growing your subscriber database
Marketers should always be on the lookout for new ways to build their databases. This includes times and places where you might be offline but still in a position add new subscribers. That’s where FreshForm comes in. It’s an application for tablets that lets you gather addresses for your email marketing database when you don’t have access to the internet. The days of messy paper sign-up forms and wasting time entering them one by one by hand into a computer are over. So now it doesn’t matter where you might meet potential new subscribers – all you need to have ready is a tablet with FreshForm installed and you are ready to go!