Email marketing is great — when it’s done correctly. While social media marketing converts at a rate of 1.9%, email marketing converts at a rate of 6.05%.

Of course, you have to know what you’re doing. (Or hire someone else who does.)

But whether you’re an expert email marketer, or an entrepreneur looking for a sales boost, a few free tips never hurt. Here’s a list of 26 tips to help maximize your investment in email marketing:

Tips to Improve Engagement and Open Rates

Simple subject lines

Recent studies show that 47% of mail recipients choose to open an email based upon subject line. This means your email subject lines need to attract. For the best results, use a subject line that is short and sweet. Subject lines under four words have a higher response rate.

Use power words

Power words can increase open rates and engagement. Try using words like: now, tested, rare, or value in your emails.

Get to the point

The average office employee gets 90 emails each day. A good subject line is a great way to stand out from the pack, but that will only get someone to open your email. To improve your response rates, try using shorter emails.

Don’t ask for “too much too soon”

In my experience, some marketers go straight for the phone call in their first email to cold prospects; “Do you have 5 minutes for a phone call today?” Chances are, the first time you email a new prospect they’re not ready to give you their business. For an easier initial ask, try a call to action that leads them to more information about your product, services, or company.

Include a call to action button

When you email someone, that person often wants to know why you’re contacting them, but also what to do next if you’ve caught their attention. That’s where a call to action (CTA) button comes in handy. If you’re already doing CTA links in your emails, recent studies show CTA buttons are more effective.

Watch the hyperlinks

Hyperlinks can be a great addition to an email if you can’t create a CTA button, but in my experience, emails with multiple hyperlinks are confusing and have lower click-through rates.

Add a P.S.

I once received an email from Neil Patel’s marketing team that had not just a P.S., but a P.P.S. too. If you’re familiar with Neil, you know that he has A/B tested all of his emails. That being said, you could learn great email marketing tips from joining his email list.

A/B test

Is this subject line better, or is that subject line better? A/B testing is a process used to figure out what emails are the most effective to send to prospects. In fact, if you need help A/B testing, reach out to SharpSpring’s team of experts.

Employ marketing automation tactics

Email marketing automation is a no-brainer. Why send an email manually when you can automate the process? In fact, marketing automation saves firms 12.2% in marketing overhead, on average.

Yes, signatures matter

People click your signature links. I know, it’s just another thing that you have to think about, but, it’s important. Check out how many signature clicks writer Adam Duvander gets.

Tips to Lower Bounce Rate

Use a sign-up form

Sign-up forms are great. Not just for tracking leads, but for sustaining low bounce rates over time. Sign-up forms give you more reliable email addresses and help you maintain a lower bounce rate.

Get email confirmation

Confirmed Opt-In (aka double opt-in) is less of an issue for bounce rates and more of a recommendation for avoiding the spam folder. When using a system like SharpSpring, once an email address hard bounces we unsubscribe the email address so no further emails will be sent. Forms are a great way to collect email addresses. Non-SharpSpring forms can be abused by bots inputting invalid or random email addresses. Whether you use SharpSpring forms or third party forms, only emailing contacts who confirm their email subscription will result in higher deliverability and lower risk of delivery issues.

Make your email offering so enticing people have no reason to give you a ‘random’ or ‘fake’ email addresses. If they’re looking forward to getting your content they have a reason to give you their real email address.

Avoid purchased lists

Purchasing a list is an outdated practice and a big no-no. Whether purchased, rented, scraped, appended or concatenated, rented, or stolen sending to an email that didn’t ask you to add them to their list is a sure-fire way to ruin your deliverability.

Verify domains of new leads

You shouldn’t trust that all email addresses coming through your sign-up form are real. Also, you shouldn’t trust that older email addresses still work. To verify domains, check out Kickbox, BriteVerify, and Webbula. Some of these services provide APIs to integrate with forms to check on the form fill.

Avoid using lists that are more than a year old

According to recent studies, the average email list diminishes by 25% each year. This means that your bounce rate will increase by at least 25% each year. Scrub your email lists to make sure you’re only sending to active email addresses.

Personalize subject lines

In addition to boosting open rates, personalizing your emails tells mail services that you know who you are sending to. To avoid getting your email bounced or filtered to the spam folder, you should make it as easy as possible for spam checkers to mark your email as safe.

Use readable code

To avoid having your emails bounce, you need to win over the trust of email service bots. One way you can do this is with readable code, offering a plain text and an HTML version.

Tips to Avoid the Spam Folder

Maintain a low bounce rate

Your domain reputation is very important to spam blockers, like Google’s Tensorflow. Domains with a history of high bounce rates lose the trust of email service bots and are often marked as spam.

Address your emails (yes, you’re seeing this again)

While addressing your emails can help your email to not bounce, it can also help your email not be marked as spam. Spam blockers want to know that you know the person that you are sending an email to, and if you show them that you do not, they are less likely to trust you.

Stagger your send times

If you’re using a new IP address, or about to send a mass email, it’s a good idea to stagger your send times. By staggering your send times, you lower your chances of being filtered to the spam folder because you’re sending smaller batches of emails over the course of more time. Also, if your first batch of emails performs poorly, you can improve before ruining an entire list of prospects.

Use a schedule

If a person sends 100 emails every day for a week, spam blockers learn that this is normal activity for that domain. But, if you send 5,000 emails randomly after sending 100 every day, spam blockers will think something is wrong with your domain and flag you. Make sure that you build up to large sends, and that you send regularly so that spam blockers can learn about you and come to trust you.

Send your emails to the right people

The more you’re reported for spam, the more you draw the attention of email client algorithms that would place an email in the spam folder. To preserve your domain reputation, make sure that the people you are sending to are people that are actually likely to open and interact with your content.

Bonus Email Marketing Tips

Study your competitors

A great way to optimize your email marketing campaigns is to join the email lists of competitors. Once enrolled, compare their subject lines, their sending patterns, and their email designs/code.

Study industry leaders

Since mailing services like Gmail tend to sort your emails for you, there’s no harm in joining multiple email lists. When I work with real estate clients, I can always refer to emails I have received from RE/MAX and Sotheby’s.

Think about the buyer’s journey

A great way to optimize your email marketing automation efforts is by creating drip campaigns. Basically, emails are sent to prospects based upon their activity with your digital properties.

Consult with the best

SharpSpring has email experience dating back to 2012. Whenever I have a technical or strategy question, they are the first people I contact.

Nicholas Farmen
Nicholas Farmen
Spire Digital