Pepper's Badass Advice

9 Email Marketing Best Practices: Newsletters for Creative Businesses

By September 25, 2020 No Comments
Email marketing shmemail shmarketing.

If that’s what you’re thinking, we get it. But email marketing is actually pretty freaking rad!

If you do it right, that is.

If you don’t, your newsletters might not even make it as bathroom reading material. The truth hurts sometimes, we know.

But the good news is that if you don’t eff it up, email marketing can be one of your best friends—and that includes you, small creative business owners! Great newsletters help you stay connected with your audience, build relationships, increase sales…we’ll take all of the above, please.

A person's hands typing on a laptop while looking at recipes in a newsletter, sitting at a white table with a plant, sunglasses and glass of water.

Plus, once you know what you’re doing, they’re kind of fun to make (or at least we think so—thank youuu FloDesk!).

These 9 email marketing tips will help you create rad newsletters that your subscribers actually WANT to read. #fuckyeah.

1. For the love of everything good, don’t spam

This is probably one of the most commonly discussed email marketing best practices—who can you send your emails to?

It may feel tempting to add whoever you can find to your newsletter list, or even to buy subscribers, but we say nah. Not only is it not really CASL-approved (for our Canadian friends out there), but it’s just kind of icky. 

Like, imagine the feeling of being at a party when no one wants you there. Of course, this isn’t super realistic, because you’re probably a very cool human, but just picture it. Ick, right? 

Don’t be the biz who shows up to the already-crowded inbox they weren’t invited to.

While it may feel like a numbers game, it’s way more effective to have a subscriber list full of people who actually want to hear from you—even if that means your list is smaller. This typically includes past and current customers and people who have chosen to subscribe. So put your energy into that, instead!

2. Include a double opt-in

Double opt-ins are a great way to ensure that your subscriber list is, in fact, full of people who want to hear from you. Once someone is subscribed (whether you add them to your list or they sign up online), they’ll receive an email asking them to confirm that they want to be added to the list. 

This also helps to prevent subscriptions from robots or spam accounts (yep, that happens!).

3. Keep it concise, but make sure you’re adding value

People are busy. They aren’t opening their inbox expecting to read a novel.

It’s important to find the right balance of content in your newsletters. You don’t want it to be too long, but you also want to make sure it’s worthwhile. 

An email being designed on a laptop with an email marketing platform called FloDesk

Lots of newsletters share links that people can follow if they want to read more about that topic. For example, providing an enticing tidbit about your most recent blog article and then including a link that people can follow to read the rest (which also brings traffic to your website…awww yeah!).

4. Reward your subscribers with contests and freebies

If your subscribers know there’s potentially something in it for them (other than the information you share), they’re more likely to stick around. 

Offer contests for your subscribers, or include some freebies for newsletter subscribers only. For example, occasionally include a helpful pdf or video tutorial (that you would normally sell), or randomly select one newsletter subscriber every month to receive a fun prize. 

It’s a great incentive, and it’s also just a nice thing to do. ?

5. Set up workflows or drip campaigns

Automated workflows and email drip campaigns can be lifesavers, especially if you’re an e-commerce business. 

Any business can benefit from these features, though! For example, set up your email marketing platform so that every new subscriber receives a welcome email. This email may just be a sweet message, or it may request further action.

Three examples of email marketing workflows for www.meetpepper.ca in FloDesk.

In some newsletter platforms—like FloDesk—you can create full workflows that send specific emails based on timeframes or actions, and you can organize these workflows based on subscriber segments. If you do it right, it can save you a ton of time while also offering a stellar customer experience.  

6. Pay attention to whom your email marketing is coming from

Pay attention to the name and email address that your newsletters are coming from. 

The more personal and recognizable, the better. Make sure that it includes your company’s name (and maybe even your name) depending on the type of business you have.

Avoid using ‘no-reply’ email addresses. Not only can it send your emails straight to the spam folder, but it also feels awfully impersonal. 

7. Create badass subject lines and preview texts 

Your subject line and preview text matter! BIGTIME!

Not only will your subject line help make or break whether or not people open your email, but it can also affect whether or not you even show up in the inbox. 

We recommend experimenting with different types of subject lines to see what works best for you and your audience. A few rules of thumb are to be convincing without sounding “salesy” (salesy words may be marked as spam), be true to what’s in the email (don’t be misleading), and no typos please (but feel free to add an emoji…just don’t overdo it ?????‍♀️??‍?).

8. Check your email marketing insights

Once you have an email marketing strategy in place, it’s super important to check back and make sure it’s actually working.

Check your insights regularly to see who’s opening your email and what they’re clicking on. Here in the Pepperverse, we like to pay special attention to how certain subject lines seem to affect open rates, and which types of links get the most clicks.

9. Preview your newsletter (desktop and mobile)

Pretty much everyone who’s anyone (to your business, at least) is on that email list. So make sure you preview that shit every. single. time. 

Send the email to yourself and view it on both desktop and mobile to make sure everything is where it should be (ensuring that your email marketing is optimized for mobile is non-negotiable, by the way). Don’t forget to double-check your links, too, to make sure you’re not accidentally sending people to a website about something crazy, like satanic rituals or something…oopsy!

Three examples of FloDesk mobile-friendly newsletters for email marketing.

After you’ve created a few newsletters, you may think,  Ah! I’ve got this down. I don’t need to preview this one. But, trust us, that is the one that will contain a mistake. It happens eventually. It’s like a universal rule or something…ya’ll ever heard of that dude named Murphy

These are just a few email marketing tips we follow to create kickass newsletters. 

If you’re brand new to email marketing, or you’re looking for a new email marketing platform to try, you can get 50% off an already-affordable subscription with FloDesk here! It’s easy to use and it’s a great alternative to Mailchimp, especially for small businesses or those just starting out.

Now, what’re you waiting for? Go sling some awesome content into some eager inboxes!