Nov 18, 2013
By Jenna Hanington
Email Marketing, Best Practices

Social media may be in the midst of its heyday, and content marketing has been hailed as king more times than I can count, but it’s email that still remains one of the best communication methods for buyers and consumers. Yet despite the perceived ease with which emails land in your inbox, many marketers have yet to master the art of email marketing. From send times to subject lines, there are quite a few variables to consider before hitting that “send” button, and it’s not uncommon for steps to get overlooked during the email campaign creation process.

To make things easier for the time-strapped marketer, we’ve broken email creation into six essential steps. Take a look at the list below to make sure you’re always on the right track.

1. Segment Your Audience
Before you craft your content or decide on a send time, you need to have a clear idea of your audience. The more targeted your communications, the better the likelihood that your emails will be opened and engaged with. Are you trying to reach a certain geographic region? A specific product segment or job title? Have your target audience in mind from the very start.

2. Create Your Content
No email is complete without content, and once you’ve picked your next crop of recipients, you’re ready to start creating targeted, relevant messaging for them. Tailor your content to their known interests and needs, and make sure you include both a compelling subject line and call to action.

3. Build Your Email
Once you’ve written your email copy, you’re ready to create your email template. If you have an email marketing service, you should be able to use a WYSIWYG editor or HTML interface to build your template. If possible, try including images and call to action buttons to break up text. Many platforms will let you preview your work as you build it, which makes it much easier to see how your changes will impact the overall design.

4. Conduct Deliverability Tests
It’s important to test for email deliverability before sending out your email blast. You don’t want to waste time creating an email that won’t ever make it into your recipients’ inboxes. Many email platforms let you conduct deliverability and SPAM tests to show you where your emails could be improved, and where there might be red flags that could impact your deliverability rates.

5. Choose Your Send Time
Send times are tricky, and they often depend on your audience. As a general rule of thumb, send emails during business hours in the morning or in the early afternoon, right after lunch. If you have any email data to look through from previous email sends, sift through it to see how your various send times might have impacted open rates. It might take some trial and error, but you should be able to find a time that works for your audience.

6. Track and Analyze
There’s no way to build on your email marketing efforts without constant evaluation. Make sure you’re tracking open rates, click-through rates, and email bounces to see what content is resonating with your audience, which subject lines work best, and which areas could use improvement.

And there you have it! Working through the six steps above will have you well on your way to developing successful email campaigns.


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