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How to create successful email campaigns for beginners

Woman checking her email, surrounded by envelopes

Sending emails can be an effective way to communicate with a large audience, but it’s crucial to follow best practices to ensure your emails are delivered successfully and achieve their intended purpose. In this post, we will cover some best practices for sending bulk emails, from crafting compelling content to optimizing deliverability.

Create engaging content

Your email content should be relevant, engaging and visually appealing. Use design elements or images to help guide the reader’s eyes through your content and draw attention to important calls to action. If you don’t have a designer on your team, take the less-is-more approach. Use simple design principles like contrasting font sizes (for easy-to-skim headlines) and color (for links) to make a clean and functional message.

Organize your content into logical sections with compelling headlines and concise copy to capture the recipient’s attention and encourage them to take action. Try summarizing your thoughts in the email message and linking readers to a website, intranet or other documents for the complete details.

Personalize your emails

If your email tool has the capabilities, personalization is a great way to grab a reader’s attention and make your message more relevant to each recipient. According to Campaign Monitor, using personalization increases open rates by 26%. Use merge tags to dynamically insert the recipient’s name or other relevant information in the email body or subject line.

Something as simple as the recipient’s first name in the subject line can be a great way to increase open rates. More advanced email tools that can connect to your organization’s CRM or databases will allow you to send individualized content, images and links.

Optimize for mobile

Even if your organization doesn’t issue mobile devices to employees, it’s likely email is being read on them. In fact, over 61% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Many modern email service providers (ESP) offer responsive email templates that adapt to different screen sizes. If you don’t use an ESP or don’t have a design team that can build you a template, simple one-column layouts look best on both desktop and mobile.

When designing for mobile, make sure to use a font size that is easy to read and buttons/links that are large enough to tap with a thumb or finger. Keep in mind that some mobile users view emails over a cellular connection. Large images or other files should be optimized for quick loading.

Manage your list

Whatever tool you use to manage your email list, keep it clean by regularly removing inactive or bounced email addresses. Many ESPs have tools available to help easily manage lists. This can be more time-consuming if you manually manage your list in a spreadsheet.

If you have an email list that users can choose to sign up for, consider using double opt-in methods to ensure that your recipients have explicitly consented to receive your emails and include an easy opt-out mechanism in every email to comply with anti-spam laws.

These steps help to ensure that your emails stay out of the spam folders of your active and consenting subscribers.

Test before sending

Always test your emails before sending them out to your entire list. Check for formatting issues, broken links and rendering inconsistencies across different email clients and devices to ensure a seamless experience for all recipients.

There are tools available to help automate testing. If that isn’t something you have access to, find a co-worker that is willing to help you test your email.

Optimize deliverability

Deliverability is critical for the success of your email campaigns. If the email never arrives in the inbox, nothing else matters. Use a reputable email service provider (ESP) with good deliverability rates, authenticate your domain with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and monitor your email sender reputation to avoid being flagged as spam.

If you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of your email domain, reach out to your company’s IT department or connect with the person who manages your website. Oftentimes they can point you in the right direction if not help directly.

Monitor and analyze

Finally, monitor your email performance by analyzing open rates, click-through rates, conversions and other relevant metrics. Use this data to refine your email strategy and improve future campaigns.

If you don’t use an email tool that has analytics available, think of creative ways you can track something. For example, you might explore using your website analytics tool to track links from emails to your website. If nothing else, ask for feedback from recipients.

Employees working together at laptops with notebooks laying out

Email can be one of the most cost-effective ways to communicate with your employees or customers. Following these best practices can help you get the most out of the time you spend building and maintaining email campaigns.

Stressed about sending out all-company emails to the entire team? Check out our downloadable email checklist to ensure success and reduce anxiety.

If you need help taking complex information and making it consumable or communicating significant changes to a large audience, Pivot has the expertise.

About the Author

Paul ConnollyMarketing and Creative Director

Paul has been a design professional, front-end web developer, and marketing leader for over 17 years. His versatile career spans multiple industries, including businesses-to-business, eCommerce, and higher education. Paul has an extensive background in leading in-house design teams and building efficient creative production workflows. A visual problem solver by trade, Paul enjoys using his skills as a designer to tackle just about any challenge that comes his way.

Connect with Paul Connolly on LinkedIn →

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