One of the most overstated online marketing tips throughout the years has been, “Build a list,” and “The money is in your email list.” Why? Because it’s true. When you have a large list of prospects and customers and then segment that list and learn how to properly market to each, you can print money on-demand.

Our agency’s email list is a prime example. Each time we send out an offer to our list of resellers and customers we generate revenue. While we use several other paid marketing strategies, our list enables us to generate sales without the added costs for each conversion. At scale, this is a massive advantage.

Even though email marketing is constantly praised as one of the most effective forms of generating sales, and responsible for large returns why are so many businesses continuing to ignore it? There are a few reasons I think are responsible for this.

Constantly Looking for the Next Big Opportunity: Many businesses fall victim to shiny object syndrome. They see some guru talking about the next great traffic source or marketing strategy and by always jumping to something “new and improved” they neglect what works.

Afraid of Unsubscribes: Having people unsubscribe from your list is a good thing. If they aren’t interested in your offers then good riddance. It makes room for those that are. Once you prune your list it becomes more active and your open rate increases, your click-through rates shoot up, and you begin to make more money.

Having the “It Can’t Still Work” Mentality: Email marketing has worked well since the very beginning, and some people assume it isn’t as effective now as it was then. It is, and while SMS messaging might get a higher open rate, email should always be a company’s number one revenue producer.

Email marketing continues to be a highly effective way to drive sales and generate revenue. If you aren’t actively emailing your list regularly it’s time to start. If you are experiencing less than stellar results take a look at these nine best practices — they will help you improve your results.

Use these tips to help you send emails that generate revenue..


1. Craft a Click-Bait Inspired Subject Line

There is an absurdly large amount of competition in the inboxes of your recipients. Look at your inbox as an example. Every day we receive nonstop offers, notifications, updates, and spam.

If the average person opened every single email they received they would be left with no time in their day. Email is very effective, which is why every brand and business under the sun sends emails.

The trick is to get your recipients to click on your message instead of sending it to the trash. If your email subject line is boring, predictable, or spammy it’s going to get overlooked and sent to the trash. This kills your open rate and you aren’t going to generate any sales if your emails aren’t being opened.

This is why the subject line is the most important part of the email. You might have a great irresistible offer, but if nobody sees it you are dead in the water. There isn’t a secret formula. You have to see what your specific audience responds best to, and this means split-testing several different subject lines every time and seeing what receives the best results. From there you need to constantly adjust, tweak, and test more.


2. Have a Custom Yet Simple Layout

I receive a lot of emails. I subscribe to as many marketing, SEO, and advertising blogs and newsletters as I can because I like to see what other companies are doing. I know how good email works, so I am constantly looking to improve my results.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that many companies use the standard template when sending out their newsletter and this is a simple yet costly mistake. If you use the Mailchimp template, just like everyone else, you don’t stand out.

You quickly become forgettable. You can have a custom email template designed and integrated with your provider (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Klaviyo, etc.) for less than $100. It’s well worth it and it helps you stay on-brand.

You also don’t want to go overboard when it comes to a layout. I’ve seen some very “busy” templates that have videos, endless blog posts, offers, links, CTAs, etc. This just overwhelms the reader.

Keep your layout visually appealing, yet very simple. Your list is going to continue to open your offers if they know they can do so and quickly see the offer. If they are interested they will bite, and if not they will delete — but continue to open your emails because you make the process simple.



3. Personalize Every Email

It kills me when I receive emails that are generic and aren’t personalized. Something as simple as a “Hey [First Name], we have something special for you today!” instantly grabs your recipients’ attention and pulls them in.

I like going with the first name only as it’s much more personal. The first and last name combo is too formal. You want to speak to your email list in the same tone as you would a close friend. If you get too formal and sound too “business” rather than “casual” it will push many people away.

Again, it comes down to knowing your audience and how to best communicate with them. If you are on my email list you know that I address each one with “Hola Amigos!”

This has proven to be highly effective and in this situation, my list knows that it’s being sent to everyone, so it doesn’t require individual names. This is a list of our customers and top buyers of SEO services and links — I consider everyone that we work with friends and partners — so this type of authentic greeting works well for me.


4. Use Emojis Throughout

Who would have thought Emojis would change the way we communicate. Pull out your mobile phone right now and look at the last few text message conversations. Are there emojis in the message feed?

I’m willing to bet there are — and a lot of them. Emojis allow us to convey messages without typing full sentences or even words. Some people can have conversations using emojis only. Over the years people have become so accustomed to Emojis, and it’s because of this that they are so effective in email marketing.

They work great in subject lines as well as in the body of your email offer. Again, if you are on my email list you know that I love to use Emojis in the subject lines as well as in the offers to draw attention.

After split-testing so many different subject variants over the years I can confidently tell you that Emojis 100% help improve your open rate. Don’t overdo it though. I’d suggest using one — two at max — and make sure it serves a purpose. Don’t just throw in random Emojis without some thought behind why you are using the one(s) you choose.


5. Stay On-Topic and Be as Brief as Possible

If there is just one tip you take from this entire post, make sure it’s this one: stay on-topic and don’t drift off into other lanes. I’ll use my email list again as an example. Anytime I send out a message my list knows they are going to see link building offers inside.

I don’t send out random emails with off-topic information or offers. This is a quick way to disconnect with your audience and lose them. Once they feel that disconnect they might not unsubscribe right away, but they aren’t going to open your messages at the same rate they were before.

Spread this across a large list and sending one off-topic email can have a massive negative impact on the performance of your email marketing. When someone sees the SerpLogic email in their inbox they immediately know there are link offers inside — and since our list is highly targeted everyone receiving the message has an interest in links.

It’s also important to keep your messages brief. Get your point and offer out in as few words as possible. Too much information will push people away. Short and to the point is what they want — so give it to them. Respect their time and watch the response — on both open rates and sales — go up significantly.


6. Have Minimal CTAs

I received an email the other day from an apparel brand that put my mind in a pretzel. It was generic, and just said “Sale” and listed about 30 products for men, 30 products for women, and then 30 products for children along with some accessories.

All in all, it was about 100 different offers in a single email. Not only that, but it wasn’t segmented at all. This is a brand I purchase from, so they know I am a male. There is no reason to send me offers for categories I don’t buy from.

There is such a thing as too many offers. A much smarter approach would have been to send me just offers related to men, and the top three best offers according to my past purchase history.

If you have too many calls-to-action you confuse and overwhelm the recipient and they end up closing or deleting the email. Minimal CTAs allow you to control the flow much better and you will experience much better results.



7. Leverage Segmentation to Send Multiple Targeted Emails

Above I gave an example of an email I received from a clothing brand, and in that email, they had offers for dresses, handbags, and even baby clothes — all items that didn’t apply to me.

If that brand was smart they would have a segmented list that would allow them to send out multiple emails, all targeting recipients that had a high likelihood of being interested in the offers presented.

It doesn’t matter if you are an eCommerce brand or a fitness blog — there are ways to collect enough detailed data that can be used to break your email list up into multiple segments.

Doing this allows you to design the entire email, from the subject line to the actual intro copy and the offers specifically for that part of your list. It helps from every angle — your open rates are better, your click-through rates are higher, and you generate more sales and conversions than you would by sending a more generic email.

Spend the time to first figure out how to segment the best for your particular business and audience, and then begin to test different approaches. Collect data, analyze data, and optimize for improvements.


8. Have a Detailed Email Signature

For some lists, it’s advantageous to have a very detailed signature. An eCommerce brand wouldn’t need to worry too much about this, aside from contact details and a link to special offers or maybe a nice coupon code CTA to push traffic, but a consultant, on the other hand, can take advantage of this real estate.

I’ll stick to the consultant example, as this can apply to several other examples, like a real estate agent. Standard contact information is a given, but a consultant or agent can also have a button that directs the person to their Calendly or other appointment booking platform.

It’s also where you can place a last-ditch CTA effort. If your message is promoting a flash sale, for example, you could even include a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency and instill a little FOMO.


9. Include a Visible Unsubscribe Option

As mentioned before, I receive a lot of newsletters. I’ve noticed a trend, and that is trying to hide the “unsubscribe” option. This is the absolute worst thing you can do. Why? Because if someone wants to leave your list and can’t find the request they will click the “report spam” option.

Too many of these reports and it will kill your deliverability rate. Hitting fewer inboxes means less chance of opens, etc. Many people fear unsubscribes, as it reduces their list size. But this is the wrong way of thinking — instead, you are removing people that aren’t going to help your business.

Trimming the fat and removing uninterested people leads to a much better performing list. You maintain a strong delivery rate, your open rate increases, and you can collect more valuable data that you can then use to improve your list’s performance overall.

Allowing your subscribers to leave using the standard “unsubscribe” option doesn’t hurt your list, but trying to hide it and make it difficult can cause them to take measures to leave or remove themselves that can have a negative impact.


Final Thoughts

In a day and age where many online marketing strategies continue to get more advanced and complicated — like Facebook ads for example — email marketing remains relatively easy to comprehend and execute.

The tips above, while highly effective, are easy to implement. With a little time and some tweaks, you can see a drastic improvement in the return your email marketing is responsible for. Many of the companies we work with notice such a spike in their results that it causes them to put more effort into their list building.

I’m a huge “build a list” advocate, as I have experienced the results first-hand and I’ve seen clients’ success in almost every niche imaginable. There isn’t a single online business or website that cannot benefit from building a highly targeted email list.

Do you have any questions about the best practices mentioned above? If so drop a comment below and I will do my best to reply ASAP. Also, if you have and email marketing tips to share I’d love to hear those as well!

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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