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Implementing a successful email marketing campaign can feel like more of an art than a science, but these best practices help you increase your results now. — Getty Images/ izusek

Whether you’re an email marketing pro or just getting started building your email list, there is always room for improvement in your email marketing campaigns.

But should you use email marketing for your B2B or B2C business? Signs point to yes. Consider these statistics:

  • By 2023, 4.3 billion people — half the world’s population — will use email.
  • Marketers report an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent on email campaigns.
  • Email is used by 87% of marketers when sharing information with their network.

Email marketing is affordable, fast, and easy; however, to realize such incredible returns on your investment, you want to create the best emails you can. These six elements can contribute to a successful email campaign.

Experiment with subject lines

If you don’t have a compelling subject line, your subscribers won’t click through to your content. And that spells failure for your campaign.

The best subject lines should be benefit-oriented for your readers. You can also create a funny subject line, as long as it’s on-brand for your company. Whether you take a serious or humorous tone, your subject line should compel people to click by addressing something they care about.

You can create a sense of urgency or use numbers to share specific savings for your customers.

Cloud-based mailing list software Mailchimp recommends following these best practices for subject lines:

  • No more than 9 words or 60 characters — shorter is better.
  • Use one emoji to supplement a word and attract attention.
  • Use no more than 3 punctuation marks.

Most importantly, you’ll want to review past subject lines and use the ones that performed best as inspiration for your next email. Also, don’t be afraid to segment your list and test a few different subject lines to see if certain words, emojis or phrases work best for your audience.

Keep content short

While some marketing masters have great success with long-form emails that go on for hundreds of words or more, most businesses see better results with short emails. For some audiences, 100 words may even be too long.

Get to your point and keep paragraphs short and scannable. One- or two-sentence paragraphs look equally good on mobile devices and larger computer screens. Keep in mind that nearly 42% of consumers prefer to open their emails on mobile devices. Of those, 80% use their smartphones, while 20% use tablets.

Create visually compelling emails

Cloud-based B2B service provider Vero says that email campaigns with images had click-through rates (CTR) 42% higher than those without. Most email marketing software offers options for content creators to download templates and easily plug in images and text.

Experiment with different templates to determine which format and which type of images work best for your audience. Some ideas of captivating visuals you can include might be:

  • Infographics.
  • Stock lifestyle art.
  • Personal photos of your company or team.
  • Product photos.
  • Charts or graphs.

Keep in mind that nearly 42% of consumers prefer to open their emails on mobile devices. Of those, 80% use their smartphones, while 20% use tablets.

Don’t forget a call to action

After your subject line, your call to action may be the most important part of your marketing email. After all, without a CTA, readers have nothing to which they can click through. They won’t know the next action to take. They will close your email and go on with their lives.

As with the subject line and format of your email, experiment with different calls to action. Embed links in text or create a highly visible button. If you’re using buttons, experiment with different colors and shapes to determine if it changes your CTR.

Segment your email list

Once you’ve created a satisfactory email, you want to make sure it gets to the right people. Use email list segmentation to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. There are a number of ways you can segment your email marketing list based on their demographics, past purchases, position in your sales funnel and more.

Test, modify, repeat

The time has come. Hit send on your email and await your results. Benchmark your email against past campaigns and then modify it. You can resend the email, using a different subject line, within the next few days to subscribers who didn’t open it. For those who did open it but didn’t click through, consider using a different approach with your call-to-action or the body of your email and resend it at a later date.

Once you’ve hit on a format that works, replicate the winning elements for future campaigns. Email marketing gets easier over time as you learn what resonates with your audience. But you must always be ready to evolve if your click-through or open rates drop. This capacity to experiment with words and images is what makes email marketing fun and creative for many business owners and content marketing teams.

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