Email Marketing Best Practices for Businesses of All Sizes

Is Email Marketing Dead? Not If You Follow These Email Marketing Best Practices

For years, marketers around the world have been claiming that email marketing is dead. While it’s true email marketing is one of the oldest forms of online marketing, it’s far from irrelevant. According to Campaign Monitor, there were nearly four billion email accounts in existence at the end of 2019. As the cost of purchasing a computer or smartphone decreases, this number is only going to grow.

Your email subscriber list is one of your business’s most valuable marketing assets. Unlike your social media followers or the users you reach in paid ads, the audience you attract to your email list belongs to you. Other than your email provider’s monthly fee, you don’t need to pay to get the word out to this subscriber base. And service outages on major social networks won’t affect your ability to reach them.

Although email marketing is a great way to connect with your audience, it does have some potential pitfalls. Instead of ignoring email entirely, you should use current email marketing best practices to ensure you reach your target audience without annoying them or getting your company blacklisted for sending spam messages.

We put together this guide to help you understand how approaching email marketing from a content marketing perspective can help you get the best results.

What Is Email Marketing and Why Should You Make It a Priority?

Email marketing is the use of email to educate, inform and engage your customers. Many marketing emails focus on persuading subscribers to buy a product or service, but you can also use email to share customer success stories, update customers on your company’s philanthropic efforts or highlight some of your most important projects.

Making email marketing part of your content strategy keeps the lines of communication open between your brand and your customers, increasing engagement. You should prioritize email marketing in your content marketing strategy because it’s one of the best ways to develop personal relationships with people in your target audience.

Blogging, publishing case studies and other forms of content marketing are effective, but they don’t create the one-on-one connections email marketing does. Email marketing also allows you to personalize each message, making it more relevant to the reader.

Benefits of Email Marketing

When you follow current email marketing best practices, this type of marketing has many benefits. 

  • More control over your promotions: Social networks and other marketing platforms have certain limits that make it difficult to roll out new promotions and determine how effective they are. For example, it can be difficult to measure the impact of posting a video on your company Facebook page. When you use email to market your business, you have access to a treasure trove of metrics that can help you create more effective marketing campaigns.
  • Ability to collect feedback: If you publish a blog post, you can ask readers to provide feedback in the comments, but many people aren’t comfortable posting their responses publicly. Even if you do receive a lot of comments, they may not be focused enough to guide your business strategy. When you prioritize email marketing, you can send anonymous surveys to your subscribers, allowing you to get feedback on everything from new product ideas to recent promotions.
  • Keeping your business top of mind: Email marketing makes it easier to build relationships with customers. The more a customer sees your company’s name and associates it with positive feelings, the more likely they are to buy from you the next time they need a product or service you offer.
  • Better timing: When it comes to marketing, timing is everything. You want your customers to learn about new products and discount offers as soon as they’re available, not days or weeks later. And when a promotion is about to expire, you can create urgency and boost conversion with a “last chance” message. Timing your emails perfectly can lead to increased revenue.
  • Reduced marketing costs: Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods available. Even better, it’s extremely targeted. When you send an email, you know it’s going to someone who signed up for your email list, not a random person who has no interest in what your business has to offer. As a result, you have the opportunity to increase revenue without a significant increase in marketing costs.

Email Marketing Best Practices: Applying the Principles of Content Marketing to Email

Before you understand how to make email marketing part of your content marketing strategy, you need to know what content marketing is. In simple terms, it’s the use of online material to attract and retain people from a specific target audience. Many people think of content as written material, but it can also take the form of videos, podcast episodes and other types of audiovisual content. Blog posts, case studies, YouTube videos, white papers and articles are all examples of materials you can include in your content marketing strategy.

The key to effective content marketing is to define your audience carefully. You’re not trying to attract every person in the world, just the people who are most likely to need your products or services. For example, if you sell a supplement designed to ease the symptoms of menopause, your target audience would likely consist of women between the ages of 40 and 60 who are struggling with night sweats, hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

You’d want to develop content aimed at these women and publish it where people in your target audience are most likely to see it. It wouldn’t do your business much good to publish a guest post on a site that attracts mostly men between the ages of 18 and 29 or women over the age of 70. That’s why it’s so important to be clear about your target audience right from the beginning.

Content Marketing for Increased Engagement Scores

Your engagement score tells your email provider whether people in your target audience are interacting with your content. Engagement scores are high when recipients do things like open the email, spend several minutes reading it and then click on a link to your website or another resource. If people delete your emails within seconds of opening them, you’ll have poor engagement scores.

If you follow email marketing best practices and view email marketing as part of your overall content marketing strategy, your scores are likely to be high because you’ll be sending subscribers emails that are targeted to their interests and relevant to their needs.

Content Marketing for Reduced Spam Complaint Ratios

When you mark an email as spam, you’re not just cleaning up your inbox. You’re also letting your email provider know the message is irrelevant, annoying or even fraudulent. Each provider handles spam a little differently, but most of them use a metric known as the spam complaint ratio to determine when to take action against an email marketer.

The spam complaint ratio is calculated by dividing the number of spam reports received by the total number of emails sent over a certain period. If your complaint ratio is too high, the email service may block your emails or send them directly to a subscriber’s spam folder instead of their inbox — even if that subscriber wasn’t the one who submitted the complaint. If you follow email marketing best practices, you’re likely to have a much lower spam complaint ratio than someone who sends overly aggressive emails or messages that aren’t relevant to the recipients.

Content Marketing for Improved Relationships With Spam Filters

Spam filters keep your inbox organized, but they can also prevent your marketing messages from reaching subscribers. One way email providers identify spam is by using content-based filters. These filters “read” each message and determine if the email should be delivered to the recipient, sent to the junk folder or blocked completely.

If you’re following email marketing best practices, your messages are likely to be highly relevant and free of words and phrases that could trigger a filter to mark the message as spam. As a result, your messages are less likely to be blocked. To ensure your emails get to the right place, avoid writing subject lines that make big promises or oversensationalize the content of your email. Content-based filters are on the lookout for phrases like “online biz opportunity,” “one hundred percent free” and “consolidate your debt,” for example.

Taking a Content Marketing Approach

Now that you know how important it is to include email marketing in your overall content marketing strategy, it’s time to start publishing high-quality content. If you need support, consider working with an email marketing agency. Crowd Content has experienced writers available to create publish-ready email content for any industry.

Janna Ryan

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Janna is a marketing specialist at Crowd Content who has a passion for content marketing. She works closely with the marketing and sales team to execute SEO, social media marketing, content creation, and email marketing initiatives.

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