Quick Answers for Your Fundamental Email Questions

Online stores receive a $43 average return for every $1 that they spend on email marking. That's what makes email marketing the perfect tactic for entrepreneurs working with small budgets who are looking to grow their customer base.

In order to maximize the outcome of your email marketing efforts (and minimize your time investment), we've compiled and answered the most important email questions in one place.

Drive impressive engagement on your next email campaign by adhering to these email best practices.

How do I get an email marketing list?

Build a list of qualified leads by getting real people to intentionally sign up to receive your emails (as opposed to buying a list of email addresses).

Start by collecting emails with a lead capture form on your website. A lead capture form prompts visitors to add their information in order to receive emails. Only collect the information you absolutely need, like name and email, to increase the likelihood of visitors completing your form.

Add a headline to your form that makes visitors want to hear from you. Real estate in a lead capture form is limited, so incentivize visitors with a concise message that explains exactly why they should sign up for your emails. For example, if recipients will receive promotions via email, then the headline could be "Sign up for our emails to be the first to hear about exclusive discounts."

Once a visitor signs up, send them a welcome email to reinforce their decision. Welcome new additions by sending them a warm note letting them know what to type of content to expect in your emails and how frequently. After the welcome email try not to spam your precious list by emailing them too often or with useless messages that crowd their inbox. This can cause unsubscribe rates to skyrocket.

To build an even more engaged email list try using a double opt-in. A double opt-in requires a confirmation step when the recipient receives your welcome email in order to be added to the list. The benefit of a double opt-in is that it typically yields higher open rates. The disadvantage is that it takes more time to grow your email list.

What makes a good email subject line?

The subject line is your chance to capture recipients' attention and spur them to open your email.

Choose your words carefully by keeping your subject line under 130 characters. Successful subject lines should use strong verbs that inspire desire, emotion, empathy, or curiosity. Words like: 'become', 'take', 'discover', 'come', 'earn', or 'try' perform well because they inspire action. If you're sending an offer, create urgency by letting recipients know when the deal expires.

Your emails are exciting, but avoid symbols like exclamation points and dollar signs, capitalizing all words, and including numbers. These signals can all increase the likelihood of emails being flagged as spam and never reaching your email subscribers.

How do I get people to click-through on my emails?

Your contacts have opened the email, now it's time to get them to engage with your content.

Select a primary call-to-action (CTA). Boil it down to the one action you want your readers to take. The CTA should stand out from the rest of the email. You can make the CTA button or hyperlink visually distinct from the rest of the email by using bold or underlined text formatting or attention-grabbing colors.

Use copy that is clear and action-oriented ('download', 'register', 'shop'), urgent ('now', 'today'), and inviting ('join us', 'get your').

When should I send my emails?

Industry standard is that the best day of the week to send emails for the highest open rate is Tuesday. Readers are also more likely to open emails after 12pm (open rates peak around 3pm). After 24 hours, an email's chance of being opened is less than 1%. To maximize your open rates, send emails on Tuesdays after 12pm.

Keep in mind every business is different. Test sending emails various days of the week at different times to see what works best.

What does success look like?

Understanding what email metrics to analyze will help you understand what your contacts are most interested in.

Here are the key email marketing performance metrics:

  • Open Rate: The percentage of people who opened your email. Low open rates can be caused by poor subject lines, poor delivery time, and high bounce rates.

(Number of email messages opened ÷ number of email messages sent, excluding those that bounced) x 100

  • Click Rate: The percentage of people who clicked within your email. The click rate provides insights into how many people on your list are engaging with your content.

(Total clicks ÷ Number of delivered emails) x 100

Conversion Rate: The percentage of people who clicked on a link within your email and completed a desired action. If you have a high click rate but a low conversion rate try testing alternative CTA messaging, placements, and treatments.

(Number of people who completed a desired action ÷ Number of total emails delivered) x 100

  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be delivered to the recipient's inbox. Soft bounces are the result of a temporary problem with a valid email address. Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address.

(Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) x 100

Unsubscribe Rate: The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients that unsubscribed from receiving your emails. If your unsubscribe rates remain high try using a double opt in to validate email addresses.

(Unsubscribe number ÷ Total emails delivered) x 100

What else should I know about email marketing?

  • Write clearly. Email copy should convey exactly what you're offering and why it's valuable. Tell a story, use statistics to emphasize a point, and don't be afraid to be concise.
  • Use images that stand out. Select images that are not blurry, dark, or confusing. If you have images that demonstrate what the copy is selling, like your product, use them.
  • Get personal. Let your contacts know you care about who they are with personalization. Use their name, birthday, company name, or location to make your emails feel customized.
  • Create a sender profile. Build trust with your readers by choosing your sender profile/name carefully and using that name consistently.

These email fundamentals are a strong starting point. As you become most experienced in email marketing, try optimizing your sends based on what drives opens, clicks, and conversions. There's no one-size-fits-all email strategy. Test sending emails at different times, playing with your subject lines, and including a variety of content to find out what drives engagement with your unique audience.

For more ways to stay on top of your business in 2019, check out our resolutions that will propel your online store to new heights.