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2020 Email Marketing Best Practices You Need to Know


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Email marketing is a perennial staple in any B2B marketing plan, and it remains an effective tactic. Most American workers spend an average of five hours per day checking their email, according to Adobe. Businesses and organizations across the globe rely on email to communicate with leads, prospects, and existing clients to provide information, promotions, company updates, as well as other key touchpoints.

Regardless of what some marketing experts might post, email marketing continues to be the most effective one-to-one communication tactic for most businesses—and it’s more important now than ever. In fact, 90 percent of companies use email marketing as part of their marketing mix. Furthermore, 81 percent claim that email marketing is their top channel for customer acquisition. When implemented correctly, email marketing can generate an average ROI of $38 to $42 for every $1 spent.

Although the purpose of email marketing hasn’t changed, the overall landscape of what an effective email looks like has evolved over the years. Let’s review the best practices for email marketing in 2020.

The Top 7 Email Marketing Best Practices 2020

Here are some email marketing best practices for 2020, as well as some tips for implementing them into your current content marketing strategy.

1. Segment Subscriber Lists

Your business might appeal to a specific target demographic or a multitude of personas. Regardless, subscribers, leads, and potential buyers are looking for content and communications that are specific, personalized, and speak to their unique needs. By segmenting your subscriber lists and crafting targeted messages for each segment, you can get up to 100 percent more clicks. 

For example, you can segment your lists according to website clicks and pages visited, form fill-outs or submissions, and link clicks in emails. This will allow you to deliver more relevant content based on your target audience’s demonstrated interests and perceived needs.

2. Test Subject Lines

Subject lines remain a primary key to email success, with roughly half of recipients deciding to open an email based on subject line appeal. Here are some ways to beef up your subject lines:

  • Short email subject lines (between 33 to 43 characters) are easier to read on mobile.
  • Use emojis in subject lines to improve open rates. 
  • Put the subscriber or recipient’s first name in the subject line.

3. Use Pre-Headers

Email preheaders provide the recipient or subscriber with a short summary of the contents of an email. This is also known as “email preview text”, which allows senders and recipients to see how an email appears on both desktop and mobile prior to scheduling delivery. The email preheader can be written using HTML or CSS. Many email marketing software tools allow businesses to write and customize their email preheaders without using code.

By providing email preheader text, recipients can see what an email is about prior to opening it. So, the more informative and enticing the preheader copy, the better it will be for email open rates. 

4. Headers

The email header is a code snippet in an HTML email that always precedes the body copy. It provides the email recipient with information about the sender as well as the email’s route to a recipient’s inbox, email send time and date, and other authentication details. 

The purpose of an email header is to help email service providers identify and prevent spam. Email service providers analyze the details provided in an email header and determine whether or not to send the email. Ensure your email header has the appropriate information to increase deliverability. 

5. Body Copy

In our digitally-driven era, attention spans are significantly shorter than they were a decade ago. Most of us don’t read long emails or large sections of text. To keep readers engaged, the email body copy should be short, sweet, and to the point. Use bullet points, bold text for offers or promotions, and highlight the value prop immediately.

If you want to link to an offer, product, or service, you can A/B test button sizes, copy, and color, or links. You can also A/B test sending emails in plain text instead of HTML to see what works best for your audiences.

6. Don’t Forget the Footer

The footer of your email is located at the very bottom, below your signature. Most email footers contain relevant links and information, such as links to your website, your contact information or business location, social media icons, and email preferences. 

It might seem insignificant, however, the footer of your email is actually very important. It not only provides recipients with the option to link to your website or connect with you on social media, which can boost engagement, but it is also critical for compliance. This brings us to our next point… 

7. Compliance

Over the years, sending emails has become a little more complicated. Collecting names and email addresses and sending communications used to be a simple process, however, the rules have changed. 

After the launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), businesses across the globe now must allow subscribers to first opt-in to receive emails and marketing communications. This has added an extra step or two in the marketing process. 

Additionally, businesses must provide the option for users to unsubscribe from future emails and communications. In addition to including social media links, company information, and relevant links, be sure to also include an unsubscribe link to remain compliant. 

Email Marketing Best Practices 2020

Finally, there are a variety of information, use cases, and opinions as to what the best email marketing practices are today. What works and what doesn’t can depend on recipient or subscriber persona, business type, and industry. 

Although email marketing has evolved over the last decade, it is certainly here to stay. By using this simple outline as a framework for your approach to email marketing, you are on your way to higher open rates, higher conversion rates, and growth.

What email practices have worked for you? We’d love to hear about it! Feel free to comment below.

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