Email Marketing Practices: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Authored by Chaitanya Chinta, Global Head – Email Business, Netcore Cloud

Email marketing has a history of four decades, and as a marketing channel it has been consistently delivering the maximum ROI for marketers for a long time. New technologies have improved engagement and many experienced marketers execute email marketing for a better success rate.

However, there are many who find it a challenge to create effective email marketing campaigns. This is primarily due to wrong practices that make customers ignore your emails or mark them as spam. This brings us to a rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly of email marketing.

The Good

As all marketing activities are now customer-centric, marketers need to understand the importance of a ‘customer-first’ approach while strategising an email marketing campaign. Any brand carrying better recall, personalisation, and a connected story with the user gets better engagement.

Hence, all campaigns should be personalised to the recipient, especially the subject lines. Even while doing this, it is important to consider the different lifecycle stages that the recipients are in.

This is to ensure you tailor the campaign accordingly and send them targeted emails for higher open rates.

Avoid spam-trigger words, and curate the content to make it relevant to the brand and recipients, which will increase click-through rates.

It’s ideal to ensure a democratic relationship with the recipients. Subscribers should get a clear indication of what to expect once they fill out the opt-in form, and the welcome email should explain the nature and frequency of emails. These practices help establish a credible and transparent relationship.

The Bad

In today’s day and age, email campaigns have to be planned using data and emerging technologies to ensure success, failing which, the probability of a successful email campaign drops considerably.

According to the recently released Netcore Cloud Email Benchmark Report 2021, many companies from the Southeast Asia region have adopted AI in email delivery and are strict on their permission marketing policies. It has contributed significantly to their inbox placement.

Send Time Optimisation (STO) determines the best time to send emails to specific recipients. It is an AI-powered feature that uses recipient behavior and interaction with previous emails to predict when they are most likely to engage with the email, improving clicks and engagement.

Failing to implement STO leads to lower open rates and engagement. Also, marketers shouldn’t shy away from implementing authentication protocols like SPF, SKIM or DMARC. This helps genuine senders from phishers and scammers, so that the recipients don’t block them.

An avoidable practice would be buying email lists to grow your outreach quickly. It leaves you with many low-quality contacts, low email open rates and engagement, increasing the likelihood of emails being marked as spam, and shooting the bounce rate up.

Marketers should also ensure that they remove inactive subscribers from their mailing lists. This may seem counterintuitive as one aims at growing the mailing list, but it will improve overall campaign performance.

The Ugly

As marketers, there are some aspects of email marketing which are unacceptable and should be avoided at all costs. It is important to deep-dive into the behavior of the recipients and ensure that they do not receive emails that they don’t actually want.

Getting irrelevant emails can be annoying and they can be marked as spam by recipients. To ensure they remain relevant, understand your subscribers’ preferences and pain points, segment your email lists and create a custom marketing message for each group.

With the plethora of distractions that already plague the consumers, they would never prefer reading long or boring emails. Make emails more interesting by using attention-grabbing subject lines, visually attractive content, and a clear, strong call to action.

Minimalism and clean email design make it easy for the reader to scan the contents. To make emails interesting and interactive, brands can engage by soliciting users to click, fill a form, answer a quiz, or play a game within email, rather than executing an ROI or sales type of campaign.

Subscribers need the freedom to unsubscribe when they no longer wish to get your marketing email. Making it difficult or not allowing them to opt out will negatively impact their perception about the brand. A straightforward way of unsubscribing is beneficial to your email campaign. It ensures you maintain a clean mailing list, gives you a good sender reputation, leading to higher engagement rates.

Bottom Line

Following the best practices in email marketing can help increase your open and click-through rates, give you a good sender reputation and ultimately lead to a higher conversion rate.

Like any other mode of communication, it is important to send the right message at the right time, to the right people.

Marketers need to use creative methods to understand the preference of their recipients. The key to an ROI-driven, revenue-boosting email marketing campaign is still all about getting the timing, frequency and message right.

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