Email is an efficient and effective strategy to reach your audience, but there are several things marketers should consider before hitting ‘send’.
Continue reading to dive deeper into email marketing trends and best practices and discover ways to make your email marketing strategies effective and up-to-date.
Email Marketing Trends
Even in the changing landscape of marketing, email continues to remain prevalent because it offers the opportunity to form direct customer connections.
Email allows marketers to measure if and how often their audience is engaging with their content and offers a space for meaningful engagement.
HubSpot’s 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends explores the latest benchmarks, insights, and resources to curate strong and effective marketing strategies. The report found that 95% of marketers believe email is still an effective way to reach target audiences and business goals in 2023. Good news for those looking to revamp their email marketing strategy!
Effective methods to improve email in 2023 include:
- Email personalization
- Strong subject lines
- Ensuring emails are accessible across all devices
But there are more pieces to the email marketing puzzle. Read on to explore important topics marketers should focus on when it comes to building a robust email strategy that motivates readers to open emails and stay subscribed.
Understanding Your Data
With major companies such as Google phasing out the use of third-party cookies, marketers need to find new ways to gain zero and first-party data. Luckily, email provides marketers access to user data and preferences. Zero-party data, or individual-level data given directly from your audiences, such as email and account preferences, can be obtained from email marketing. Similarly, email marketing can provide individual-level data collected from your audience on your own channels, like email engagement and website activity, otherwise known as first-party data.
Utilizing tools like email preference centers are a great way to gain a better understanding of subscribers’ interests and allows marketers to gain crucial data to send relevant and customized email content to their followers. Take the time to understand user preferences to send personalized content, which leaves your subscribers feeling valued. Dig into your analytics tools and consider how you can use user data to send tailored messages to your audience.
Email Metrics That Matter
Traditionally, brands use metrics like open, click, and bounce rates to track the success of their email marketing campaigns. However, several metrics get overlooked when evaluating the effectiveness of an email, and if you’re not using them you’re missing out!
Alternative metrics include revenue per subscriber, email read time, and spam complaint rate.
- Open rates still matter, but not for the reason you think. Email open rates signal the strength of your email subject line. Low open rates doesn’t mean viewers don’t want to read your email, it means your email subject line did not entice or interest them. Consider the benefit of tracking opens, and A/B testing subject lines to see what your personas are interested in.
- Tracking email ROI can be a valuable tool in your campaign, and according to Litmus’ State of Email Analytics Report, less than a fifth of brands measure their email marketing ROI.
- Similarly, only 12% of brands measure subscriber lifetime value, which some refer to as the king of metrics. If you’re not already using them, consider including alternative metrics in your campaign measurement strategies to help identify content that resonates.
When considering metrics, you should account for Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). While marketers have traditionally relied on metrics like open rates, MPP has made obtaining this information more complex than in the past. MPP was created to allow users to gain more control about who can view their data, and once obtainable information, like IP addresses, is now hidden. Apple’s MPP applies to any emails opened on the Apple Mail app, regardless of what device or email provider is used. While MPP doesn’t apply to emails opened on apps such as Gmail, Litmus estimates the number of MPP impacted opens has exceeded 50%. Due to this, alternative metrics are a great way to obtain data and gain a better picture of the effectiveness of your emails.
Evaluate Email Engagement
Understanding how your audience engages with your content is an important piece of email marketing. Knowing what devices and apps your audience is using can provide insight into how likely your message will be viewed. Understanding this information can improve your targeting and confidence that your message will be delivered as intended.
Take the time to inspect what devices are being used to view your content, what environments users are viewing your emails in, what email clients are used, and how much of your audience is using Dark Mode. Accounting for these things allows you to create content that is easily accessible to all users.
Here are some key ways to evaluate audience engagement:
- Look at the most popular email clients used by your audience. Are your subscribers using Gmail or Yahoo? Analyze the differences in email clients and test ways you can improve user experiences.
- Evaluate how much of your audience is affected by MPP. What percentage of your users are using Apple devices or the Apple mail app? What version of iOS are they using? What percentage of your viewers are using a mobile device vs. a desktop?
- Monitor trends in devices and reading environments. 55% of emails are opened on mobile, so take the time to optimize emails for both mobile and other devices. Test to make sure your messages will deliver across devices and environments.
- Determine what percentage of your audience is using Dark Mode. Accounting for this allows you to design emails that look great across Dark and Light modes.
Benefits of Marketing Emails for B2B and B2C
Companies use email for a variety of reasons in 2023, including:
- Improve customer loyalty and retention: Email can build relationships through personalized engagement which can help readers succeed in their goals.
- Increase revenue and sales: By marketing your company, you boost brand awareness and promote your products and services.
- Generate leads: Motivate your subscribers to provide their personal information in exchange for a valuable asset.
- Generate website traffic: When more people view your website, there are more potential customers.
With 95% of marketers agreeing email marketing helped them reach their business goals in 2021, there’s no question email marketing works. Although B2C brands are more likely to find email marketing to have a larger impact, B2B brands can still reap the benefits of reaching their audience via email.
There are several benefits email marketing provides:
- With over 4 billion email users worldwide, email is an effective way to reach your target audience.
- As of 2020, email generates $36 for every $1 spent, making it a cost-effective strategy to promote your content.
- Email is ranked in the top 3 most effective marketing channels by 79% of marketers.
- Email visitors are the most likely to convert to customers on forms.
If you’re not sold on the benefits of email marketing yet, perhaps one of the best reasons email marketing is effective is because you own the channel. Other than compliance regulations, there are no factors limiting how, when, or why you send messages to your subscribers.
While the email marketing statistics for B2B and B2C slightly vary, there’s no question both can find success with email marketing. Current marketing trends for B2B and B2C to follow:
- Email is the third-highest owned media platform B2B marketers use to distribute their content in 2021.
- 31% of B2B marketers agree email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.
- B2B marketers found the fourth most informative metric was email engagement when evaluating performance in 2021, topping social media, search rankings, and lead quality.
- 37% of B2C marketers send emails to their subscribers daily.
- Personalized emails based on previous purchases are utilized by 60% of e-commerce, consumer goods and services, and retail companies.
Email Best Practices
There are several tips you should apply to your email marketing strategy to keep content relevant and interesting. By incorporating these practices, you can create content your subscribers want to read and feel confident about what you’re sending. Let’s dive deeper into email best practices.
Use good IP addresses and choose services that have active IP management
Any device that connects to the internet uses a public IP address. IP addresses allow devices to connect and communicate with one another, which is a crucial aspect of internet usage. IP addresses are important to marketers because email providers assign an IP reputation—sometimes referred to as a “send score” or “sender reputation”—to anyone sending high volumes of emails. A good IP reputation offers a much higher chance for your messages being delivered to the intended mailbox of your recipients. With a poor IP reputation, messages are much more likely to be directed to spam folders or blocked from delivery entirely.
It’s important to choose services that have active IP management. For example, HubSpot is extremely protective of its IP addresses. If a user has a spam or bounce rate of 5% or higher, HubSpot turns off the ability for a user to send emails. So make sure you’re aware of your IP reputation!
If you do find yourself in the situation of having a poor IP reputation, there are a few things you can do to recover your send score.
- If you’re blacklisted: Return Path has a service that allows you to see if you’re on a blacklist. Visit the sites you’re blacklisted from and search their information for ways to be removed from their blacklist. If you reach out to the company you’re blacklisted from, they will provide information about why you’re blacklisted in the first place and what you can do to prevent this in the future.
- If you’re caught in a spam trap: A spam trap is an email address that was once valid, but now is not, and creates a hard bounce notice when you email it. When an email server sees emails repetitively being sent to an invalid email address, these emails can be turned into a spam trap that will stop returning a hard bounce for the address, and accept the message as spam instead. To prevent being perceived as a scammer, make sure you’re monitoring your hard bounces and removing these email addresses from your active list.
Send emails from a genuine address
Studies on email open rates show trusting the sender is the most important factor when determining if an email will be opened. Because of this, choosing an authentic “From” name and email address is crucial when messaging your subscribers. Your messages are much more likely to be received the way you intended when using an authentic email address.
- Use an email address that’s registered at your organization. Avoid free webmail addresses such as Gmail or Yahoo. People are more likely to read your message if it comes from a sender they trust.
- Never use generic email addresses such as info@, contact@, or no-reply@. This may come across as uncaring to your subscribers and it is frustrating for users trying to reach out to you. While using an email that users can reply to may result in a decent amount of auto-replies and bad responses, it does allow genuine replies and legitimate conversations with your customers.
Segment your emails
Segmentation is the process of breaking down your large email list into smaller sub-categories that cater to your subscribers’ unique interests and preferences. Every subscriber and new lead will be at a different stage of their journey, and as a marketer, it’s your job to know which stage each user is in.
Segmenting your emails builds trust with your leads and gives you a higher chance of converting readers into customers. Avoid generic email blasts and segment your lists from the beginning to provide relevant information and offers for the appropriate stage of each user. Use these tips to segment your email lists:
- Create separate lead generation assets and opt-in forms for each stage of the buyer’s journey. This automatically divides your contacts into separate lists.
- Marketing platforms allow you to break up your email lists by contact data and behavior to help you send the right information to the right people.
- Consider segmenting your list by some of the following ways: geographical location, industry, language, product, service or lifecycle stage.
You can segment your list in any way you please, as long as you’re sending unique and customized content to each sub-group.
If you’re not sending by timezone, you’re sending incorrectly!
If you’re sending your subscribers content in the middle of the night, it’s less likely to be read. Based on data from 20 million emails, the best time to send your emails are at 11 AM EST.
Use automation to send email content your users are interested in and consider scheduling emails to be sent in batches based on recipients’ IP timezones.
Because it takes a full day to schedule an email consistently across time zones, only schedule an email based on time zones more than one full day in advance.
Create a schedule to plan how often and when you’ll send emails. Consistency is key here. For example, sending weekly emails on Tuesday at 11 AM allows your subscribers to expect when your content will be sent to their inbox. Ignoring consistency in your emails can lead to high unsubscribe rates and get you sent straight to spam.
Give the people what they want
Don’t make your subscribers jump through hoops to unsubscribe from an email list. Your unsubscribe link should be clear, easily accessible, and allow users to unsubscribe in one click.
While having a long list of contacts is desirable, a large email list with low engagement is a sign something’s not quite right. Having a smaller contact list with high engagement is more effective than a long list with low engagement. Today’s audiences prefer tailored content, and having a laundry list of contacts steers you in the direction of sending high volumes of generalized content, which is what you want to avoid.
Narrowing down your list allows for segmentation and targeted emails. Start with clean lists of contacts who are genuinely interested in receiving your content, and work on growing your list from there.
As a marketer, your goal is to add a steady stream of fresh contacts to your email lists to keep them growing. While purchasing an email list may seem like a shortcut to expanding your contact list, it’s not the best way to gain customers. Email is about value, and buying email lists will not help gain your subscribers’ trust. While your goal may be to have a large subscriber list, you may start off small when organically growing your contacts, and that’s ok! Rome wasn’t built in a day, people. Having a smaller contact list allows for easier segmentation and customization. When growing your subscriber numbers, use lead magnets and opt-in forms cohesively to attract new users.
Lead generation or lead magnets:
- Lead magnets or lead generation assets attract prospects to your email lists, usually in the form of a free offer. Examples of lead magnets are ebooks, templates, webinars, or a course.
- Lead magnets can take many formats, should be valuable to your prospects, and are given away for free in exchange for users’ email addresses.
- Make your lead generation content is solution-oriented by providing practical information that helps users achieve solutions to their problems in a realistic way.
- Your lead gen should be easy to consume and delivered in digital format. PDFs, webpages, and videos are all formats that are easy for users to consume.
- Create your offer with future content in mind. Your offer should be aligned with the value you’ll provide your customer later on.
- Consider your lead magnet as a stepping stone that will lead you to a paid offer. Demonstrate the value of your business to motivate your viewers to buy your products or services.
- Opt-in forms allow you to gain a prospect’s valuable information to add to your list.
- Create an attractive design and grab viewers’ attention with your header. Your offer should excite readers and motivate them to sign up.
- Your offer should be relevant and truthful. Don’t deceive people to get them to sign up.
- Keep the opt-in form simple. An email and first name are the most essential information you should collect from users.
- Consider sending an opt-in email for double confirmation. While welcome emails are great, research on open rates suggests some customers prefer a confirmed opt-in message (COI) compared to a welcome email.
- Test your opt-in forms to ensure they’re working as intended. Always double check your form and page are working and that your offer is delivered as promised.
To be successful with your email marketing campaign, you need to gain the trust of your readers and create content that resonates with them. Analyzing your email metrics, making your content digestible for all viewers across all devices, and following email best practices will help you create valuable and tailored content for your viewers.