Believe it or not, modern email functionality has been around since the mid-70s. And it’s not going away any time soon. In fact, did you know that email is your best marketing channel for getting the most return on your investment? It’s inexpensive, engaging, and direct!
That said, you have to make sure your emails are delivered (and opened) in order to see that return. And there are actually quite a few things to consider when it comes to making sure your email lands in the intended recipients’ inbox.
To ensure your email marketing game is on point (and that you don’t get classified as SPAM), check out our tips for deliverability and opens:
Stay in compliance with commercial communications regulations like CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR. Even if it’s a regulation from a country where you don’t do business, it’s still best practice to maintain compliance with any anti-spam or data privacy regulation to avoid SPAM triggers. (Not to mention, to be respectful of your members’ data and inbox.)
We’ve talked a lot about GDPR in particular because it’s newer, but this article does a good job of explaining the similarities and differences of all three of the above.
DON’T try to get tricky with your “From” field or Sender Name. Give your recipients a clear idea of who the email is coming from. If you’re sending on behalf of the organization as a whole, just use the organization name. If you’re sending specifically about an event, you might use the event name instead. You can be creative, just don’t be misleading.
Words (and characters, and symbols) matter – especially in your subject line. This is actually one of the easiest ways to avoid SPAM filters. Certain words and phrases (“free,” “this isn’t spam,” “order now”), using all caps or too much punctuation, and including a bunch of special characters are all known to trigger SPAM. Hubspot has a great resource for TONS of words to avoid!
“If you want to keep receiving our emails, be sure to add [insert email address] to your address book!” You’ve probably seen that line in a million emails by now, but it’s an important step. A subscriber telling their email client to put you in their inbox is your best bet for deliverability, because they’re indicating that they WANT to receive your emails. That also helps to make your organization a trusted sender overall.
When in doubt, run your email through a tester. There are some tools that’ll quickly identify any potential SPAM triggers. Use these and make tweaks as needed until you start getting comfortable with how avoid triggers all on your own: Mail-tester; Postmark; MX Toolbox.
Congratulations! You’ve navigated the complicated waters of SPAM triggers and your email has landed in the intended inbox. Now let’s get that bad boy opened:
Find the balance between catchy and informative in your subject line. You want to have fun and grab your recipients’ attention, but the subject should also give an indication of what the email is about. Sometimes, something completely off the wall (like “See you tomorrow!” for an event promotion) will get the job done, but you don’t want to do that too much.
Segment. Your. Lists! I can’t say it enough: Breaking your membership (and even prospects) down into smaller groups based on their interests, skill sets, demographics, etc. is a surefire way to get some email engagement. In doing so, you can write your email copy AND subject lines in a way that’ll resonate more, causing them to open it up and take action.
Pay attention to the day and time you’re sending, but don’t get hung up on it. What day is best for opens? What time is best for clicks?? Always asked but never completely answered, the “best day and time” to send an email is a true puzzle. In my opinion, the real answer is…it depends on your audience.
Look at data from past email sends and see if you can identify any trends. That said, don’t wait until that “best” date/time to send the email if you need to get it out sooner. (You can always re-send it to anyone who doesn’t open the first time!)
Solidify your strategy with some A/B testing. In an A/B test, you’re sending two versions of the same email to your list, but with one (just one) thing changed in version B. It’s a great way to test different subject line styles, search for the mythical “best day and time,” and more. By working your way through A/B testing the things that’ll make or break your email open rate, you’ll wind up finding what your audience is most receptive to!
To be totally transparent, this is all something we’re trying to be better about, too! Have you noticed that you aren’t getting any emails from MemberClicks? Comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll get you squared away. And if you are getting our emails, be sure to update your preferences! We want to make sure we’re sending you the emails that YOU care about reading. Access your unique preferences portal through the preferences link in the footer of any email you’ve gotten from us recently.
And hopefully, you’re now more comfortable with best practices for getting your email where you want it to go (and getting it opened). This will come in handy whether you’re sending emails to prospective members about joining, or even trying to engage your membership. And that’s all before they even get to the body of your email! For a more comprehensive look at email marketing, download our free guide: