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Best-Practice Email Marketing Tips: August 2016


Email Marketing is Not Dead But It is Evolving

Email marketing still provides the highest return-on-marketing-investment of all marketing channels. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.

So, whether B2B or B2C, you need to ensure email marketing is part of your mix, and that you are following best-practices in order to enjoy the highest possible ROI.


According to Venturebeat.com's "State of Marketing Technology 2015," email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers -- and has been every year for the past ten years. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.


Here are some tips to help you achieve email marketing success in 2016:


List Management

Before we get into topics such as subject lines, content, and so on, here are some tips to ensure you are making the most of your existing list, growing it organically, and engaging in best-practice list management techniques.


Practice Good List Hygiene:


  • First – just to be very clear – NEVER use a rented or purchased list from an outside source! All recipients must be opt-ins.
  • Never use your Outlook account as an email marketing program. There are more than 250 programs available; subscribe to a leading program such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and so on. I have used Listrak for many years and recommend it highly, especially if you are an online retailer.
  • By using an email marketing program, it enables you to manage soft bounces, hard bounces and unsubscribes helping you follow CANSPAM guidelines.
  • Monitor user behavior. If someone hasn’t even opened your messages in six or more sends, try sending a message that asks “Do you still want to receive our emails?” If no action is taken, unsubscribe them.


Maximize Opt-Ins:


  • Be “overt” in your offer to sign up for your emails. Place a sign-up form on every page, and try to keep it “above the fold” (which means at the top of the page, no scrolling needed to see it.)
  • Promise you’ll never share or rent your list, and the recipient’s privacy is important to you.
  • Offer a benefit for signing up: a $5.00 coupon, a free white paper or case study, and so on. For my subscribers, I provide a free “ROI Calculator” that helps users determine the value of each email address.


Get Into the In-Box:


  • Ask recipients to add you to their address book. This helps ensure your message arrives in their in-box.
  • Use a recognizable “From” name – such as “Mark Vogel, Vogel Marketing Solutions” – rather than “info@.”
  • Use a real “Reply” address that is monitored by a real person. Don’t use “noreply@” or donotreply@.
  • Avoid sending “From” generic addresses such as Gmail, Verizon, etc., especially AOL and Yahoo; these have particular issues with spam filters.
  • Don’t use attachments – provide a link to download a document.
  • I won’t get too technical here, but ask your email marketing provider about adding SPF and DKIM records. This helps authenticate your emails and improves deliverability.


Be Relevant:


  • If you know your recipients' buying habits, send messages on similar products. For example, if they bought a pair of women’s shoes, don’t send an offer on men’s shoes.
  • Personalized emails produce higher conversion rates than non-personalized emails.
  • Links in your email should go to relevant landing pages, not the home page.


Design Tips:


Here are some tips to help ensure your recipients read and click through your emails:


  • Lead off with your brand so they know who it’s from. Place your logo at the top, either centered or on the left side. Here's one I created for a B2B client:


  • Place your primary call-to-action “above the fold” – in other words it should be visible in the opening screen shot without the need for scrolling down.
  • Don’t overload the message with multiple choices of links. In the main message body, one or two links is best one on your logo that leads to your home page, and one with the call-to-action.
  • In the footer of your email, add links to your social media accounts.
  • Provide a “View in Browser” option.
  • Good design is important in all your marketing materials – whether it’s in your company brochures or in your email templates. Avoid too many fonts and colors. Keep it clean and pleasing to the eye.
  • Maintain brand consistency. Your emails should match your website, your ads, your collateral materials, and so on.
  • Ensure you have more text than images. Why? Spammers’ messages often have little wording because spam filters are analyzing their text, so they avoid analysis by sending messages that are light in text. A good rule of thumb is a minimum 60/40: 60% text vs. 40% images.
  • Speaking of spam, here’s a list of the top 50 “spam-trigger words” - those that increase the likelihood that spam filters will send your message into the Junk Mailbox. While some may seem like common marketing terms, don’t use them more than once if you need to use them at all:


top 50 spam words

Optimize for Mobile:


This is no longer an option – it’s a requirement. Here are some tips:


  • Find a good template that is “responsive” – which means the email actually KNOWS what kind of device it is being viewed on, and adapts itself accordingly. Test it on all devices to ensure it works.
  • While desktop email programs display up to 60 characters in the subject line, mobile devices only display about 30 characters. Keep working on subject lines so they’re short AND effective. If you must use a longer subject line, be sure the most important content is in the first few words.
  • Include pre-header text. What’s that? It’s the line of descriptive text beneath the subject line that further helps “sell” the benefits of opening your message.
  • Keep content concise. Unlike desktop email viewing, mobile users are often multitasking. Add the small screen size, it makes the need for concise content is more important than ever. In fact, you should design the content for a THREE SECOND read! According to Moveable Ink Q1 2015 Device Report, nearly half of your mobile readers spend three seconds or less with your emails.


Average read times for emails


  • As mentioned above, use more text than images. Ensure your message would still succeed in delivering your call-to-action with all images off.
  • Use a larger type size. Don’t force them to zoom in. This is especially important if some of your readers are over 30.
  • Assume your recipients have clumsy thumbs! Leave plenty of breathing room around your key call-to-action button.


I can help your business run an effective, professional and profitable email marketing strategy. Call me at 717-368-5143 or email Mark@VogelMarketing.net.


Mark Vogel


Mark Vogel, Vogel Marketing Solutions

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