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15 email marketing best practices to observe in 2024

Email Marketing Best Practices
6 email marketing best practices to keep your data clean
6 email marketing best practices to manage unsubscribes effectively
3 email marketing best practices for avoiding abuse reports
The path to marketing excellence

Effective email marketing pivots on the dual fulcrum of best practices and data integrity. Ignoring these elements can lead to poor engagement, high unsubscribe rates and damaged sender reputations.

On the flip side, a well-maintained email strategy fosters robust customer relationships and bolsters brand image.

In this guide, Pipedrive’s Head of Email Delivery and Compliance Juris Vucans offers industry-leading insights, robust strategies and email marketing best practices to help you maintain pristine email data and optimize your email marketing endeavors.

6 email marketing best practices to keep your data clean

Keeping your email marketing data current and accurate is an important part of any email marketing strategy. Here are six ways to maintain clean email data.

1. Observe good list hygiene

Engage in regular maintenance, like removing hard bounces immediately to avoid negative impacts on deliverability rates. Hard bounces occur when emails are sent to invalid addresses and should be added to a suppression list to prevent future emails from bouncing.

Most email marketing platforms offer list cleaning automatically, but in order to protect your ESP (email service provider) platforms’ sending reputation, we highly recommend also making sure that your backup data is cleaned regularly so that there are no invalid emails in your list.

Make sure to set up a schedule for cleaning your lists every three to six months.

Here’s one example of what could happen if you don’t clean your data at least once every 6 months: Some email providers turn their inactive emails into spam traps, which usually happens between three and six months from when an email became inactive (i.e., there are no logins into the email).

The provider then shares the emails with anti-spam organizations. If you have inactive email addresses in your list and you continue to send emails to them, this service will place your domain and IP into a blocklist and your delivery rates and deliverability will be impacted – your emails may land in the spam folder or not be delivered at all).

2. Send out re-engagement campaigns

Even if your clients have subscribed to receive your newsletters, there might come a time when they stop opening your emails, the information is not relevant anymore or perhaps your emails are simply not engaging. Don’t pay extra for the contacts who aren’t engaging with your content. Instead, set up a re-engagement campaign. For example, you could create a segment containing subscribers who’ve not opened your emails in the last three to six months and create an engaging campaign to try to win them back. If they don't engage, you can remove them from your list.

3. Set up double opt-in

Double opt-in is when a contact signs up for a subscription and then verifies their subscription in a subsequent confirmation email they receive. You might not get as many subscribers if you use double opt-in, but the ones that go through the process are more likely to engage with your campaigns, increasing open rates.
Double opt-in will also prevent you from unintentionally collecting fake and misspelled emails that could generate high bounce rates and damage your reputation in Google – one of the things Google tracks is the volume of incorrect emails you’re trying to reach.

Use double opt-in emails to help keep your database clean.

4. Segment your lists

You might have a huge database with a variety of contacts, all of whom have different needs and interests. Create segments based on criteria like purchase history or engagement level. Using a targeted approach ensures that your emails are relevant and engaging to each specific group.

5. Don’t use purchased lists

If you have a chance to buy a subscriber list, don’t. The seller might make it seem like a tempting offer, but the only things you’ll be buying are problems.

Purchased lists often lead to poor engagement rates, damaged sender’s reputation and deliverability issues. They can also violate an ESP’s terms and conditions. Many ESPs don’t even enable you to use these lists, so if you find one that does, be suspicious.

Email Marketing is not a shortcut to selling something, it’s a channel where you have to develop a relationship with your subscribers and build trust. Focus on organically growing your email list with sign-up forms, pop-up forms, landing pages, social media and more. Create a community and respect it.

6. Use cleaning services

In order to keep your lists clean, consider using a cleaning service like Zerobounce, DataValidation, Bounceless and Kickbox to remove invalid or risky email addresses and enhance your list’s quality and deliverability. These services weed out invalid email addresses, spam traps, abuse, toxic and catch-all emails so you can focus on making sales with your campaigns.

6 email marketing best practices to manage unsubscribes effectively

1. Maintain regular email frequency

If you send newsletters to your contacts every day, they might get tired of you and reach for the unsubscribe button. On the other hand, sending a newsletter every three months might mean your contacts don’t even recognize you or understand why you’re sending them emails.

They might even report you as spam and, based on new Gmail and Yahoo requirements, abuse rates can’t exceed 0.1%. When they subscribe, tell them how often you’ll send them emails and what kind of emails they can expect from you.

2. Craft consistent email subject lines

You don’t want to use a subject line about “cats” when the email is actually about “dogs”.

Ensure that your subject lines accurately reflect the content of your email to maintain subscriber trust and avoid misleading them, reducing the risk that they’ll unsubscribe.

3. Optimize emails for mobile

According to an Econsultancy research, 73 percent of companies prioritize mobile device optimization. Why? Because more and more people are using their mobile to open emails. In fact, according to Litmus, 46.3% of all emails were opened in the Apple Mail app on the iPhone.

When you create a campaign make sure you optimize it for mobile, otherwise, although it might look good on the web, it could look out of proportion on mobile devices – this experience isn’t comfortable for a mobile user and might cause them to unsubscribe. So make sure to optimize your email for both web and mobile devices.

4. Personalize your email

It’s pretty simple to create an impersonal email, but it doesn’t take much effort to make it personalized. The email can speak to the recipient directly thanks to personalized merged tags that pull their first name, last name, job position or even their last purchase into the body and subject line of the email. Personalizing your email will help you build connections with contacts and decrease your unsubscribe rates. We recommend using automation tools to make it even simpler.

5. Try marketing automation

Use marketing automation software to segment and remove inactive subscribers, or those who’ve not engaged with your content over a set period.

You can set up an automated email sequence to try to win them back, but if they’re not engaging with your emails after a specific period, adjust the automation sequence so that unresponsive contacts are automatically unsubscribed. It might take longer to set up the automation, but it will save time in the long run. Plus, you’ll potentially decrease your contact list’s unsubscribe rate.

6. Include visible unsubscribe options

Sometimes, no matter the effort you put in, the contact won’t be interested in receiving your newsletters.

So make it effortless to unsubscribe (and potentially avoid generating abuse rates) Include an easily accessible unsubscribe link in your emails to provide a clear opt-out option for your subscribers – whether they’re using desktop, tablet or mobile devices.
Remember: from 2024, Google and Yahoo will “require bulk senders to authenticate their emails, allow for easy unsubscription and stay under a reported spam threshold”.

3 email marketing best practices for avoiding abuse reports

1. Add a permission reminder

Sometimes your contacts might not remember how and when exactly they subscribed to receive newsletters from you, especially if you start sending emails to older databases (older than 6 months). In this case, include a note at the top of each email reminding subscribers how they were added to your list to enhance transparency and trust.

2. Make sure your campaigns look legitimate

Mix email copy with visually appealing elements to create engaging emails that are less likely to be mistaken for spam. Also, make sure your sending email domain is the same as, or at least the sub-domain of, the main domain your clients signed up to receive emails from. People might get confused if they signed up to receive newsletters from the company www.example.com, but they are receiving emails from [email protected].

3. Avoid spammy subject lines

“Offer expires”, “Money back now”, “Deal ending soon” and many, many more – subject lines like these don’t sound professional, and you can understand subscribers who report these emails as spam… because, well, the subject line is spammy.

Subject lines like these could also trigger spam filters, landing your email in a spam folder.

raft email subject lines that are engaging and increase conversions. As well as observing email subject line best practices, you can also include a call to action that helps drive conversion.

Also, I can suggest testing out some online AI tools to generate suggestions for good subject lines – some are free and made especially for subject line generation.

The path to marketing excellence

Successful email marketing is about precision and respect. By adhering to B2C and B2B email marketing best practices and maintaining clean email lists in your email marketing tools, you can significantly enhance engagement rates, build lasting relationships with your subscribers and achieve a strong ROI from your email campaigns.

Remember, it’s not just about the quantity of your email list; the quality of your interactions is what truly counts.

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