Email marketing best practices: strategies and best practices to grow your audience online

9 min read
Siew Ann Tan

Let's talk about email marketing best practices.

Is email marketing dead?

Imagine yourself as a consumer. On a daily basis, we receive a ton of emails. From welcome emails to the much-awaited sale arriving in your inbox, you will find yourself opening emails at some point in the day. (No I am not talking only about work emails!)

In 2021, the number of global e-mail users is at 4.147 billion users. This figure is set to grow to 4.37 billion users in 2023. That is a staggering number of people that you can potentially reach with emails! Of course you might not reach that many, but just reaching a portion of these folks at the right time might set you on the path of success.

As a small business owner, building out your email list and developing an email marketing program can be a great way to generate sales.

The beauty of email marketing allows you to continually engage your customers and reach them at the right time with the right message. On top of that, marketing is only a subset of what you can achieve with an email program! By building out a robust email program, you are able to design a superior customer experience that will keep them coming back!

Are you now tempted to get into email marketing? Read on for our guide to learn some email marketing basics and best email marketing tips that you can deploy easily for your business.

What is email marketing?

According to Wikipedia, email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations.

In an era where more users are shopping or going about their daily lives online, email is an important channel that allows you to reach your customers. An increasing number of people are shopping online in Southeast Asia, and email open rates are promising in this region.

According to EC Insider, open rates in Asia are often as high as 26%. However, these can vary according to country. Malaysia, for example, only had an open rate of 16.52%, while Vietnam had a staggeringly high open rate of 45.98% but a click through rate of only 6.38%. Thailand, on the other hand, had a 26.67% open rate and a high click through rate of 10.41%.

What can email marketing do for my business?

Promotional emails are one of the most economical ways for any business to connect with customers. Research shows a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than on social media like Facebook or Twitter. That’s why musicians use email marketing software to share their performance schedule with their fans, non-profits use it to get donations and photographers use it to promote their portrait services. It just works.

To get started, some business owners research email marketing platforms. However, choosing your platform isn’t the only major business decision you have to make.

After all, the soundness of your email marketing strategy is what will ultimately determine whether your efforts are successful. Not the email platform that you’ve picked.

Regardless of whether you’re an email newbie, or whether you already have some experience with email, keep reading to learn five email marketing best practices that can help you grow an engaged subscriber base.

Email marketing tips: 5 best practices to for success

1. Offer lead magnets to incentivise sign-ups

Before you can send any emails, you’re going to need subscribers to send emails to. However, you might not get many subscribers from just adding sign-up forms to your website and social media pages.

As cynical as this may sound, people are typically motivated by self-interest and will ask: “What’s in it for me?” when being asked to do something.

Accordingly, you’ll need to provide users with something of value when trying to attract sign-ups. In other words, use incentives to get them onboard. Here’s a tried-and-tested method of doing so: dangle a “lead magnet”.

This is a free product or service that you give to people in exchange for their email address, such as:

  • An ebook explaining a subject in detail
  • An exclusive video tutorial
  • A printable template

The lead magnets you offer should also be relevant to the context.

For example, if you have a blog post about exercises that you can do from home, then your lead magnet could be a quick checklist of these different exercises.

Offering such tailored lead magnets will help boost sign-ups much more than offering just one generic lead magnet across your entire website.

2. Write an enticing subject line

Red Tulip in the Middle of Yellow Tulips

As you perfect your emails’ contents, be sure to give some thought to your subject lines as well.

People are often inundated by tons of emails every day. They simply won’t have time to read every single email in detail! Hence, they’ll be looking out for email subject lines that suggest that an email is worth opening and reading.

What this means is that if your emails’ subject lines are vague, boring or confusing, then your recipients may just delete your emails without reading them. Ouch.

To save your emails from such a terrible fate, work on making your subject lines:

  • Short: Your subject line should succinctly state what your email is about.
  • Attention-grabbing: Writing a subject line that sparks curiosity can entice people to open your email.
  • Convey a sense of exclusiveness: People love feeling special, and using words such as “invitation” or “guest” can really catch their attention!

3. Prepare various types of marketing emails

If you thought that email marketing just involves sending occasional emails about exclusive offers and discounts, think again. One of the most important email marketing best practices is to not treat it as purely a sales channel!

For sure, sending promotional emails are an essential part of any email marketing strategy. However, there is a variety of email campaigns you can send to:

  • Nurture your subscribers,
  • Convert them into loyal customers and even
  • Encourage repeat buys!

Here are a few examples of such email campaigns:

  • Welcome email sequence: This is an onboarding sequence to welcome new subscribers, and communicate what they can expect from subscribing.
  • Thank-you sequence: Has someone bought something from your website? Thank them for their support! You can even include a promotional code for them to use during their next order with you.
  • Abandoned cart sequence: Some shoppers may add products to their shopping cart, only to not go through with their order. Try to rescue the sale by reminding them of their cart and offering a discount if they complete their purchase by a certain time.

4. Email your subscribers regularly

Alarm Clock and Calendar

Of all the email marketing best practices out there, this one might often be overlooked.

That’s because if you’re busy, then you might email your subscribers only when you have something you’re dying to share with them.

However, if you don’t email a person frequently enough, then they might not remember that you exist.

As a result, if they happen to need something that you offer, they might approach a competitor instead of your business.

To keep yourself at the top of your subscribers’ minds, you’ll have to email them on a regular basis—and not only when you feel the urge to get in touch.

For example, you could email your subscribers monthly, fortnightly or even every week!

Strike a balance between engaging your subscribers regularly, but not emailing them so often that they get irritated and unsubscribe. Experiment with various send schedules to see what works best for you.

Related: How to use a custom domain name for email with GoDaddy

5. Do NOT add people to your email list without their permission

Every person on your email list must have consented to you emailing them. Not only might this be a requirement of your country’s anti-spam laws, but it’s also just the decent thing to do.

After all, would you like it if a random business started emailing you out of the blue, and you have no idea who they are? Probably not.

Accordingly, your sign-up forms and landing pages should state that users agree to receive your emails upon signing up. You don’t need to put such text in a huge font, but it should be clear and prominent enough.

Apart from that, resist the urge to grow your subscriber base by buying random lists of email addresses off the Internet.

For one, some of these email addresses could be spam traps designed to identify senders with illegitimate list-growing practices. Even if they aren’t, though, you can bet that their owners haven’t consented to being added to your email list.

If they decide to mark your email as spam, email providers might then treat all your subsequent emails as such.

The result? Your emails never reach your recipients’ inboxes, rendering your email marketing efforts useless.

Editor's Note: Want more tips? Head on to this article for more email marketing best practices!

Use these email marketing best practices to win new subscribers and customers

While every small business starts off with zero email subscribers, this number doesn’t have to stay at zero for you. By applying the email marketing best practices shared in this guide, you’ll be in good stead to grow and monetise your email list.

First, entice people to subscribe by offering attractive lead magnets. (Definitely don’t buy email addresses, or add people to your list without their consent, please.)

After that, regularly engage your subscribers with interesting and relevant content. This way, they will become loyal email subscribers—and hopefully, customers too!—for weeks, months and even years to come.

If you are ready to get started on email marketing, check out GoDaddy's email marketing plans and set your business up for success!