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12 Email marketing best practices for sales

Everybody may be talking about witty tweets, quick-tip videos, and memorable memes, but there is one marketing tool that remains powerful after all these years: emails.

But an effective email marketing strategy in the 2000s may not work in 2019 anymore. Chances are, sales offer sent to inboxes will be marked as spam and forever left unopened. In March 2019, spam messages accounted for 56% percent of global email traffic. The challenge is to develop email campaigns that are as appealing and informative as other marketing tools heavily consumed in this age of social media and apps.

Times have changed, and so are email marketing trends. Know what works and what does not. Here is a roundup of 12 effective email marketing tactics you should know about.

1. Truly connect with your audience

At one point in your online life, you may have received tons of offers to buy to join a matchmaking community for veterans or something that’s not even remotely connected to you or your interests. Random mass email blasts like these don’t benefit anyone.

Create an email marketing campaign that connects with your readers. You can do this by dividing your email list into more targeted groups. The Annual Email Optimizer Report by Lyris found numerous benefits of email list segmentation including increased open rates, greater email relevance, and lower opt-out or unsubscribe rates.

You may segment the readers based on age, gender, and location. This will help ensure that you’re sending the right communication to the right people.

Check out this example of a geographically segmented email by UBER for Chicago

Uber email marketing best practice example

2. Customize your blasts

Email marketing tools, like tweets and Instagram ads, should speak directly to a specific reader. There is no better way of doing this than by customizing the content of your emails.

After segmenting your email recipients, get to know them better. What appeals to them? What are they looking for when browsing for products and services? How do they define good customer service? What made them visit a website and subscribe? By familiarizing yourself with your readers, it’ll be easier to customize your emails, follow-ups, and reminders.

For instance, your millennial recipients would love to receive informative yet concise messages with appealing images. The best way to do this is via infographics, which they can also easily share with their circle.

3. Grab your audience’s attention, and keep them interested

Today’s consumers are multi-taskers. They are scrolling their news feeds and checking for work-related emails in between. You are in for a cutthroat competition for your reader’s attention.

Craft creative ways to grab their attention, and hold it until you have delivered your message. You can use witty headlines, visually-appealing images, and straightforward emails. Strictly no click-baits.

You can create urgency, tapping on today’s culture of “FOMO” (fear of missing out). Try using “You’re missing out on amazing rewards”, or “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to read this…”.

Humor never fails. The Muse has used the subject, “We like being used” while OpenTable cracked “Licking your phone never tasted so good” in one of its email campaigns.

Example of adding catchy CTAs to marketing emails

Source: Artem Beliaikin via Pexels

4. State a clear call-to-action

So you have successfully earned the attention of your target audience. They also read your message in its entirety. Now what?

Your emails should have a clear purpose which you could achieve with a call-to-action. Do you want your readers to visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter? Do you want them to “Like” your Facebook page or make a purchase in your online store? Lead them to these goals with an effective CTA.

Researchers at Marketing Experiments recommend offering your visitors value at low or no costs in exchange for a click. Avoid asking too much too soon. The researchers found that tweaking commonly-used CTAs have amazing benefits. By changing “Find your solution” to “Learn more”, the clickthrough rate rose by 77%. Using “Subscribe and save” instead of  “View subscription options” led to a +181% clickthrough rate increase.

To encourage a purchase, you can use these CTAs like the ones given below

  • Shop now
  • Save today
  • Yes! I want one
  • Claim your coupon
  • Get 20% off now

To promote content, here are sample CTAs

  • Curious? Read on
  • Read the full story
  • Download now

5. Limit your email blasts

Do you know that an average office worker receives 121 emails per day? That’s a lot. You wouldn’t want your message to be sent to the infamous spam folder for sending too many emails to your subscribers.

People signed up for your updates and newsletters because they are interested in your brand, products or services. They want to stay connected. But this doesn’t give you permission to bombard them with emails. Limit your messages once a week.

6. Craft catchy subject lines or headlines

Email subjects or headlines are deal-breakers. Readers can easily ignore or delete your email with a boring or clickbaity headline. MailChimp conducted an email marketing study and found that short and descriptive subject lines could entice readers.

You can include words that suggest urgency, ask a question or challenge a common notion. Use your segmented email list to craft direct and catchy headlines customized to your readers.

7. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly

recent study suggests that the number of mobile Internet users will hit five billion in 2025. More people are browsing the web, scrolling through social media pages and checking their emails via their handheld devices. Make sure that your email promotions are mobile-optimized. To create a mobile-friendly digital asset, consider the length of texts and visuals. Some image files may not display on smartphones, and others may slow downloading time.

8. Write professional emails

How would you perceive a business that sends out emails fraught with typos and grammar errors? These mistakes will definitely reflect badly on the sender. Always prepare your messages well. Email promotion is no different from any other marketing campaign. Take the time to plan out and draft an outline. Write a copy and proofread it several times. Use a voice that is consistent with your brand.

9. Build an inclusive community

People no longer surf the internet to just get quick information online. They meet others, join groups, and essentially create a world that is as real as their offline sphere. Go the extra mile with your email marketing campaign by letting your readers in an inclusive community. You can share personal updates about your life that don’t necessarily relate to your usual promotions. Perhaps a sneak peek into your work routine or a photo of your puppy or cat? Make your audience feel at home.

Another tip is to keep the conversation going by sending email notifications to users every time someone replied to their comments or whenever a new topic of interest is opened. You can also send updates on community stats such as a list of top users, top comments and most popular topics. These can encourage your users to play a more active role in the community.

10. Giveaway rewards

Giveaway rewards keep subscribers excited for your next blasts and increases the chances of them even sharing your promotions with their network. Budget airline companies are a great example of this as they’re winning the email marketing game through amazing rewards and promos. Their email subscribers get the latest updates on promos and the chance of winning all-expenses-paid trips. Giving away rewards and gifts is a smart way of acknowledging your loyal subscribers.

11. Stay consistent

You may not hit your target email subscribers right away, but that shouldn’t put off your email marketing campaign. Run your campaigns according to schedule. If you promised a special promo to your current list, make sure you deliver on time.

You may get 50 new subscribers this week and only 10 the next, but that should be no reason for you to hold off. Stick with your schedule and the effort will pay off.

12. Run a regular assessment of your campaigns

Know what’s working and what’s not by running a regular assessment of your email marketing campaigns. Wield the power of analytics in deciding how to proceed. You can choose the appropriate metrics, based on your goals. You may measure the clickthrough rate or the rate of readers who clicked on links in an email promotion or the conversion rate or the percentage of readers who completed the desired action such as purchasing a product.

Consider using analytics tools such as EmailAnalytics, Sortd, or Todoist. EmailAnalytics provides pertinent data such as the number of emails received in all your Gmail folders, the number of emails you send every day, who you email and how the conversations proceed. Sortd primarily helps organize email inboxes. It allows you to create categories and set priorities for each. The email workflow you can make in Sortd gives info on how you are performing at each stage of the email campaign. With Todoist, you may convert your inbox into a to-do list in relation to your campaign. It allows you to identify, organize and complete tasks, and run reports on your daily performance.

For sure, email marketing isn’t dead. It just evolved over time. As an entrepreneur or a marketer, it is your task to keep abreast of trends in digital marketing. Consumers today want you to speak to them on a more personal level. Get to know them. Engage them. Reward their loyalty. Remember that your email recipients are people, so connect with them in the most natural way possible.

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Are Sales Slipping Through Your Fingers? Close the Deal with Logical Benefits

Emotional benefits of your offer trigger the “me-want” response. They create desire — but creating desire isn’t usually enough. Unless…

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More Sales in Less Time (without Sleaze): How to Automate a Successful Sales Funnel

I still clearly remember the first sales position I had when I was in college. Picture this: I was selling…

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What You Need, When You Need It: Vital Digital Marketing and Sales Training

Copyblogger has always been a place that encourages creativity. We want to help people have creative careers and do meaningful…

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How Non-Amazon Retailers “Leaned Into” Prime Day To Increase Sales

“Retailers and brands took advantage of the buzz, the demand, the awareness, that Amazon has created and really rode that wave for great growth,” says Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy and Insights for Salesforce. “Retailers didn’t just ignore Prime Day, but they leaned into it. They really recognized this manufactured holiday, recognized the demand that was being created, and really took advantage of the consumers and their willingness to look for a good deal.”

Rob Garf, VP Industry Strategy and Insights for Salesforce, discusses how retailers “leaned into” Amazon Prime Day, taking advantage of the buzz and overall consumer interest, to initiate their own Prime marketing. Rob was interviewed by Owen Milbury, Senior Manager, Analyst Relations for Salesforce:

Retailers Didn’t Just Ignore Prime Day, They Leaned Into It

What we saw is that this manufactured holiday, Hallmark has to be proud, really rose all ships if you well. The tide has risen where we saw 37 percent year over year growth for global retailers other than Amazon. What’s really interesting is that it just didn’t take place over those two days, but rather the entire month of July. We saw July having a ten percent higher growth rate than any typical month. Retailers and brands took advantage of the buzz, the demand, the awareness, that Amazon has created and really rode that wave for great growth. 

Retailers didn’t just ignore Prime Day, but they leaned into it. What we found was that emails were at a heavy double-digit increase week over week. The other really interesting thing is our team stepped back and we actually looked at the Internet Retailer 500. We subscribed to all of their email lists and we went to their homepages over the last week. What we found was 51 percent of the IR 500, more than half, did some sort of promotion either on their home page or through email. 

They just didn’t ignore it, they leaned into it. We found that 17 percent of the IR 500 mentioned either Prime Day or Black Friday in July as part of those promotions. They really recognized this manufactured holiday, recognized the demand that was being created, and really took advantage of the consumers and their willingness to look for a good deal. 

We Saw Two Breakouts, Apparel, and Footwear

Consumer electronics was certainly big. But we also saw two breakouts, apparel, and footwear. That’s really important because Amazon is leaning into their own private label. So these brands need to think how to differentiate. They didn’t just go to market and give deals. They also promoted limited edition products, special assortments, customizable merchandise, and even looking for subscriptions to be able not only to attract but to retain them over time. 

The other one was consumer product goods. What was interesting about that was typically what you find in a grocery store they use the retailer as the intermediary, they’re looking generally to leapfrog these retailers. According to Salesforce research, 99 percent have some sort of active direct to consumer (D2C) type of initiative underway. That was no different this Amazon Prime Day. They were taking advantage of the buzz and really looking for ways to engage the consumer directly.

49 Percent of Order For Non-Amazon Retailers Were On Mobile

When you think about the time of the year, most of Europe was on holiday, most of the US was taking time off as well, they’re not tethered to their computer. They don’t have the luxury of sitting down and searching that way. That showed in our data. In fact, 49 percent of orders for all non-Amazon retailers were done on a mobile device. This just speaks to the fact we’re on the go, the phone is the remote control of our daily lives. 

We’re using it to break through the friction that usually exists between inspiration—I like something and I want to buy it—and then actually purchasing. Just for a point of context, that was a 20 percent increase year over year. It’s become a bellwether for shopping not only during the rest of the year but in particular on Prime Day.

Retailers Saw Prime Day As a Test Run For the Holiday’s

Retailers are seeing this as really the test run for the holidays. They’re looking at their mobile strategy. How are they going to breakdown their friction? They want to make sure that they have mobile wallets so that they can really get through the checkout process. They are incorporating artificial intelligence so not forcing the consumer to swipe five times down the phone to find if you like this you might like this. Instead, putting it right above the fold. 

They are also looking for fulfillment as well. As you are thinking through towards Cyber Week and the overall holiday season, and with it being five or six days shorter between Thanksgiving and Christmas, how are we going to use the store as a fulfillment center? You really bump up against that shipping deadline and need to also be able to fulfill that for several days after. Retailers are really cutting their teeth. They’re really bearing down. They’re looking at Prime Day as a way to get ready and gear up and go full force to back to school, Halloween, and through the holiday season.

How Non-Amazon Retailers “Leaned Into” Prime Day To Increase Sales – Salesforce Execs Explain

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Google Ads store visits, store sales reporting data partially corrected

Google says it is making progress, but there are still days for which reporting is inaccurate.



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The New Rules to Win Customer Loyalty and Increase Online Sales

Live Webinar: Thursday, April 11, at 1:00 PM ET (10:00 AM PT)



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How to Leverage Testimonials From Social Media to Make More Sales

Getting new customers to buy from you is a challenge you’ll likely have to deal with for as long as you own your business. However, a good testimonial goes a long way in swaying a person’s opinion about a product. People feel more confident buying from a brand if they see that other consumers purchased similar items and were satisfied with them.

Research by Nielsen showed that 92 percent of consumers will trust a recommendation given by a peer and that 70 percent of shoppers trust a recommendation or review even if it’s from a stranger. Amazon and eBay understand this phenomenon well. The two online retailers have built their entire platform around customer testimonials and reviews.

Why are Testimonials Effective

The smart marketer understands that the most effective sales messages come from happy customers. Here’s why:

Provides Social Proof

Every shopper is a skeptic. They wonder whether your product really works or if other companies have already worked with you. Testimonials let satisfied customers answer the shopper’s questions. They have less doubt when they know that other people enjoyed doing business with you. This is “social proof” and it’s very powerful. It’s why advertisers use messages like “9 out of 10 doctors trust this brand.”

Connects With Customers Emotionally

Testimonials also help connect you with your target market on an emotional level. This is crucial as studies have shown that most shoppers make buying decisions based on their feelings. If a review or testimonial made a prospective client laugh or teary-eyed, you can bet they will remember that brand and be more open to buying it.

Tells a Good Story 

Testimonials are essentially stories, with the customer as the main character; the search for what they want or need is the conflict and your product or service as the resolution. A well-written review or testimonial is like a story with a happy ending; people really love happy endings. 

5 Ways to Leverage Testimonials From Social Media

1. Highlight Positive Testimonials on Your Website

Put your testimonials to good use by highlighting them on your website’s service or product pages. They can help create leads and drive conversions. Prospective buyers will be more amenable to making a purchase if they see testimonials from satisfied clients while browsing through your products.

You can actually integrate reviews and testimonials on any page, like the home page, About and Contact pages. But make sure that the testimonial you’ll feature is relevant. For instance, a testimonial applauding your team is better suited in the About page than the landing page.

2. Incorporate Testimonials into Your Blog

Every visitor to your blog is a prospective customer. Incorporating testimonials within the content can capture the reader’s interest. However, they should be placed where they won’t detract from what the visitor is reading, like in the sidebar. In their own way, testimonials also add content to your site. They also make your brand appear more trustworthy and valuable to first-time site visitors.

3. Utilize a Variety of Formats

There’s no law stating that testimonials should only be written. Audio or video testimonials are considered to be more effective since they feel more personal and real.

Don’t be afraid of asking a loyal and satisfied customer to record a review or shoot a small video. You can even join them and make it appear like an interview. But regardless of whether it’s a sound clip or video, make sure you coordinate with the client so they know what to expect and prepare accordingly. The testimonial should also be short and concise.

4. Add them to Printed Material

Print marketing still carries a lot of punch today, and one study explains that this is because printed material feels “more real to the brain.” Handling something solid, like flyers or brochures, involve deeper emotional processing, which is vital for brand associations. Including client testimonials to your print marketing materials will add more weight to them.

5. Have a Testimonial Page

Even if you have included testimonials on your website, blog, and social media posts, it’s still a good idea to have a separate testimonials page where you can place the most positive reviews. Prospective clients will see these are further evidence that they are making the right choice in choosing you.

Testimonials are a powerful marketing tool that you should not be afraid to use. Ask your customers to vouch for you. Satisfied clients are only too happy to provide a good word for a brand that they like. Integrate these testimonials in your different marketing strategies so more people will see why they should choose your brand.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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How Copywriters Can Leverage the Power of Feelgood Chemicals to Make More Sales

Sometimes we feel in two minds about things. For example, imagine you’re out for dinner. Fabulous meal. Wonderful company. And…

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NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

Posted by Dr-Pete

In June of 2017, Moz launched our entirely rebuilt Site Crawl, helping you dive deep into crawl issues and technical SEO problems, fix those issues in your Moz Pro Campaigns (tracked websites), and monitor weekly for new issues. Many times, though, you need quick insights outside of a Campaign context, whether you’re analyzing a prospect site before a sales call or trying to assess the competition.

For years, Moz had a lab tool called Crawl Test. The bad news is that Crawl Test never made it to prime-time and suffered from some neglect. The good news is that I’m happy to announce the full launch (as of August 2018) of On-Demand Crawl, an entirely new crawl tool built on the engine that powers Site Crawl, but with a UI designed around quick insights for prospecting and competitive analysis.

While you don’t need a Campaign to run a crawl, you do need to be logged into your Moz Pro subscription. If you don’t have a subscription, you can sign-up for a free trial and give it a whirl.

How can you put On-Demand Crawl to work? Let’s walk through a short example together.


All you need is a domain

Getting started is easy. From the “Moz Pro” menu, find “On-Demand Crawl” under “Research Tools”:

Just enter a root domain or subdomain in the box at the top and click the blue button to kick off a crawl. While I don’t want to pick on anyone, I’ve decided to use a real site. Our recent analysis of the August 1st Google update identified some sites that were hit hard, and I’ve picked one (lilluna.com) from that list.

Please note that Moz is not affiliated with Lil’ Luna in any way. For the most part, it seems to be a decent site with reasonably good content. Let’s pretend, just for this post, that you’re looking to help this site out and determine if they’d be a good fit for your SEO services. You’ve got a call scheduled and need to spot-check for any major problems so that you can go into that call as informed as possible.

On-Demand Crawls aren’t instantaneous (crawling is a big job), but they’ll generally finish between a few minutes and an hour. We know these are time-sensitive situations. You’ll soon receive an email that looks like this:

The email includes the number of URLs crawled (On-Demand will currently crawl up to 3,000 URLs), the total issues found, and a summary table of crawl issues by category. Click on the [View Report] link to dive into the full crawl data.


Assess critical issues quickly

We’ve designed On-Demand Crawl to assist your own human intelligence. You’ll see some basic stats at the top, but then immediately move into a graph of your top issues by count. The graph only displays issues that occur at least once on your site – you can click “See More” to show all of the issues that On-Demand Crawl tracks (the top two bars have been truncated)…

Issues are also color-coded by category. Some items are warnings, and whether they matter depends a lot on context. Other issues, like “Critcal Errors” (in red) almost always demand attention. So, let’s check out those 404 errors. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of “Pages Crawled” with filters. You’re going to select “4xx” in the “Status Codes” dropdown…

You can then pretty easily spot-check these URLs and find out that they do, in fact, seem to be returning 404 errors. Some appear to be legitimate content that has either internal or external links (or both). So, within a few minutes, you’ve already found something useful.

Let’s look at those yellow “Meta Noindex” errors next. This is a tricky one, because you can’t easily determine intent. An intentional Meta Noindex may be fine. An unintentional one (or hundreds of unintentional ones) could be blocking crawlers and causing serious harm. Here, you’ll filter by issue type…

Like the top graph, issues appear in order of prevalence. You can also filter by all pages that have issues (any issues) or pages that have no issues. Here’s a sample of what you get back (the full table also includes status code, issue count, and an option to view all issues)…

Notice the “?s=” common to all of these URLs. Clicking on a few, you can see that these are internal search pages. These URLs have no particular SEO value, and the Meta Noindex is likely intentional. Good technical SEO is also about avoiding false alarms because you lack internal knowledge of a site. On-Demand Crawl helps you semi-automate and summarize insights to put your human intelligence to work quickly.


Dive deeper with exports

Let’s go back to those 404s. Ideally, you’d like to know where those URLs are showing up. We can’t fit everything into one screen, but if you scroll up to the “All Issues” graph you’ll see an “Export CSV” option…

The export will honor any filters set in the page list, so let’s re-apply that “4xx” filter and pull the data. Your export should download almost immediately. The full export contains a wealth of information, but I’ve zeroed in on just what’s critical for this particular case…

Now, you know not only what pages are missing, but exactly where they link from internally, and can easily pass along suggested fixes to the customer or prospect. Some of these turn out to be link-heavy pages that could probably benefit from some clean-up or updating (if newer recipes are a good fit).

Let’s try another one. You’ve got 8 duplicate content errors. Potentially thin content could fit theories about the August 1st update, so this is worth digging into. If you filter by “Duplicate Content” issues, you’ll see the following message…

The 8 duplicate issues actually represent 18 pages, and the table returns all 18 affected pages. In some cases, the duplicates will be obvious from the title and/or URL, but in this case there’s a bit of mystery, so let’s pull that export file. In this case, there’s a column called “Duplicate Content Group,” and sorting by it reveals something like the following (there’s a lot more data in the original export file)…

I’ve renamed “Duplicate Content Group” to just “Group” and included the word count (“Words”), which could be useful for verifying true duplicates. Look at group #7 – it turns out that these “Weekly Menu Plan” pages are very image heavy and have a common block of text before any unique text. While not 100% duplicated, these otherwise valuable pages could easily look like thin content to Google and represent a broader problem.


Real insights in real-time

Not counting the time spent writing the blog post, running this crawl and diving in took less than an hour, and even that small amount of time spent uncovered more potential issues than what I could cover in this post. In less than an hour, you can walk into a client meeting or sales call with in-depth knowledge of any domain.

Keep in mind that many of these features also exist in our Site Crawl tool. If you’re looking for long-term, campaign insights, use Site Crawl (if you just need to update your data, use our “Recrawl” feature). If you’re looking for quick, one-time insights, check out On-Demand Crawl. Standard Pro users currently get 5 On-Demand Crawls per month (with limits increasing at higher tiers).

Your On-Demand Crawls are currently stored for 90 days. When you re-enter the feature, you’ll see a table of all of your recent crawls (the image below has been truncated):

Click on any row to go back to see the crawl data for that domain. If you get the sale and decide to move forward, congratulations! You can port that domain directly into a Moz campaign.

We hope you’ll try On-Demand Crawl out and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your case studies, whether it’s sales, competitive analysis, or just trying to solve the mysteries of a Google update.

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