Email Marketing Best Practices for 2020

Did you know that 60% of marketers see email marketing as the web marketing channel that generates the highest ROI for them? Indeed, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with a large audience in a targeted manner. Large because more than 61% of Internet users consult their emails every day; and targeted because you have the ability to precisely segment your recipient database.

What is email marketing? Definition

Email marketing, or email marketing, is the regular sending of personalized emails to a customer or prospect base. It can meet different objectives depending on the recipients to whom it is addressed:

For prospects, the goal of a campaign will be to publicize its company and its products as well as to arouse the interest of Internet users.
For people who are already customers, the aim of the campaign will be to retain them, as well as to inform them of new developments in the company and the industry.
The personalization of the message as well as the segmentation of the contacts will be done according to the needs of your company and your Internet users.

Why is Email Marketing Important?

Email marketing remains one of the main tactics in implementing business marketing strategies. According to a McKinsey study, if email is used well, it is 40 times more effective than social media at attracting customers to your business. Indeed, email marketing represents a unique opportunity to directly address several hundred or even several thousand people at a time. The selection of recipients and of the message can be established according to criteria such as consumption behavior, socio-demographic differences, or the degree of interaction of Internet users with your company. This makes it possible to send very relevant messages according to the targeted profiles and to obtain superior results. So, there is no longer any question of doing without this tool.

There are several best practices to follow in order to ensure maximum optimization and return on investment. Here are the 7 key steps for a successful email marketing strategy.

1. Start by defining your goals

As with any content strategy, a good email marketing campaign should start with setting goals. As we saw in the previous point, email marketing can serve different types of purposes. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the goal of your campaign?

  • Attract traffic to your website
  • Promote a specific product or service (during a launch, for example)
  • Offer promotions
  • Promote an event / send an invitation
  • Announce news related to your business
  • Share content (videos, blog posts, etc.)

What performance indicators will allow you to measure its success?

  • Email open rate
  • Clicks obtained on email content
  • Traffic generated to the site
  • Online sales generated after opening the email

There are a number of occasions or reasons that using email marketing can be helpful. Defining them in advance will allow you to structure your campaign in a relevant and effective way.

2. Define your target persona

Just as we explained in our web writing guide, a persona is the virtual representation of your ideal client. This representation takes into account criteria such as the industry in which he works, his demographic characteristics (age, family situation), his income, or his online behaviour.

Defining your target persona from the start will allow you to adapt the tone and content of your message to the needs and interests of your audience. In addition to the quality that you will then offer to your recipients, this step will reduce your risk of falling into spam!

3. Create your email marketing campaign

Now that you know your goals and your persona, you can start building your campaign. There are several important things to consider during this step:

Choose a campaign management tool

There are several professional web tools available to help you create and manage your email marketing campaigns. If there’s one we could advise you, it’s MailChimp. Here are its advantages:

  • MailChimp’s platform is very intuitive and easy to use. So you won’t have to spend hours learning how to use it to set up your first email marketing campaigns.
    email marketing
  • MailChimp saves you time importing and managing your subscribers
  • The tool allows you to segment your subscribers
    MailChimp offers hundreds of pre-built and fully customizable templates
  • Data analysis and statistics is made easy
  • MailChimp is free until you reach 2,000 subscribers!

We will come back to each of these points in more detail in the following steps.

Choose the title of your email

The title is the first thing that will grab your recipient’s attention. It will define whether or not your contact will open your email and will therefore have a direct impact on the success of your email marketing campaign. Here are some tips for creating a punchy and catchy title:

  • A good headline is a short headline. Your readers are saturated with emails every day; their gaze will therefore turn more easily to a title that reads more quickly. In addition, respecting the right number of characters and favouring a short format will prevent your title from being truncated when it is displayed in your recipient’s mailbox.
  • Speak directly to your reader. If they are concerned, your reader will be much more inclined to open your email. Using the words “you” or “your” is therefore very good practice for your e-mail headlines.
  • Use converting words. Some words generate a higher conversion rate than others. Use them! Here is a list of the 5 most converting words on the web:
    -You (like what, it’s a really good idea to speak directly to your reader!)
  • Add emojis 🙂 In 2019, we love emojis! They personalize your headline and make it look eye-catching while breaking up the formal side that can hurt your email marketing campaign. Be careful, however, not to overdo it …
  • Avoid overly advertising formulas. With all the promotional emails circulating, Internet users are understandably wary. If they feel that you want to sell them a product at all costs, they will easily tend to move your emails into spam.

Write the content of your email

You’ve created a powerful and catchy headline: the person you’re talking to has now opened your email. Great! Now, you have to create quality content to keep all of your interest while reading it. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  • Create an attractive design. The visual quality of your campaigns will determine the recipient’s desire to continue reading or not. So remember to keep consistency in the font you use, the colors you choose, the different formats … Do not hesitate to devote time to it! MailChimp can also assist you in this step if you run out of ideas: take advantage of the hundreds of pre-built and completely customizable templates available there!
    email marketing
  • Write a short and effective text. It is well known that quality takes precedence over quantity. Your reader won’t necessarily take the time to read an email that seems too long and time consuming. It is therefore very important to write clear text where users can understand the message in less than a minute. Also, as with the title of your email, it is always a good idea to speak directly to the person you are talking to (“you”).
  • Include visuals. Internet users love to see beautiful images and beautiful photos; the eyes are drawn directly to these elements. So don’t hesitate to breathe life into your email by including several visuals.
  • Include “Call-to-Actions”. The call to action (calls to action in French), as their name suggests, are formulations which encourage your interlocutors to carry out an action. These are one of the key success factors of an email marketing campaign. They ultimately promote the response rate and conversions of your message: it is therefore essential to spend time on this step. Here are a few examples:

Create your email structure

  • Prioritize information well. When you create your campaign and write the content of your message, remember to prioritize the information you put in it: the most important information should be at the top of the email to be directly visible to your readers.
  • Adapt well to the mobile format. Today, more than 2/3 of emails are read on a smartphone or tablet. Awesome, isn’t it? This evolution in the use of email shows the importance that must be devoted to mobile adaptability in your email marketing campaigns. So make sure that the content of your email is “responsive”, and don’t hesitate to do several tests before sending your email to your recipients!

4. Create and develop your database

Creating an email marketing campaign is good … having people to send it to is better! You will therefore need to create a database with the email addresses of the customers or prospects you want to reach. Here are some things to help you collect email addresses:

Via your website

  • Create registration forms. Make sure that people have the option to subscribe to your newsletters directly from your website. Registration forms are the easiest and most essential way to build a base of qualified contacts! Since they sign up on their own, you can be sure that these internet users are already interested in your products or services. They are therefore prime targets for your email marketing. It is therefore very important to ensure that there is a registration form accessible from the different pages of your website, and to make it intuitive and easy to complete. Note: don’t forget to install a ReCaptcha on your forms: a test program aimed at protecting your form pages from bots and spam.
    email marketing
  • Add a live chat module. A chat or live chat module allows Internet users to get in touch directly and instantly with your customer service or with your employees. Thanks to live chat, you can immediately answer questions from visitors to your website and thus understand their interests and needs. Take advantage of it: highlight content in your newsletters that might interest them, and offer to subscribe to it to find more information.
    definition email marketing
  • Create a blog that visitors can subscribe to. Blog posts, in addition to being an integral part of your content strategy and helping you with your SEO, can be a great tool for gaining subscribers. Your blog should therefore be part of your email marketing strategy. Do not forget to include a call to action on your blog and on each of your articles, to make it easier for a reader who would like to subscribe to your newsletter and receive your next blog articles exclusively in their box. mail!

Via social networks

  • Add a sign-up button at the top of your Facebook Business page. The latter can redirect your Internet users to a landing page of your choice, requesting an email address to be able to subscribe to a newsletter.
  • Use Lead Ads. Lead Ads are advertisements that appear while you are browsing Facebook. Unlike regular ads, lead ads don’t redirect you to another site when you click on them: instead, an information form displays directly on the Facebook page you’re on. This form requests several information from the Internet user, which may vary according to the company’s needs: it is up to the latter to decide what it wants to ask the Internet users (email address, phone number, company, area of interest, etc.). Usually, content can be offered in exchange (for example, a company can offer you to subscribe to its newsletter in exchange for sending its new whitepaper). Here is an example:
    email marketing
  • Create a contest. Contests, we love them. So why not ask for everyone’s email addresses in order to participate, and thus receive an email to announce the big winner? Think about it!

Via physical events

Trade shows, conferences, networking events … organizing events is the perfect opportunity to increase the visibility of your business and attract the attention of new customers or prospects. Most attendees are already qualified since they came to your business event. So do not miss the opportunity to collect their information. They can prove invaluable for your email marketing. This can be done in the form of a contest, a content exchange, or even a business card exchange! Once the email addresses have been collected, import them into your database. Don’t forget to send a welcome email to each of the contacts confirming their subscription to your newsletter.

Gather it all on your MailChimp database

MailChimp saves you time in managing your subscribers. Importing contacts is very easy. You can import an excel file, google docs, .csv, .xml … or enter your contacts by hand. You can also connect your MailChimp account to your website so that new subscribers to your newsletters are directly registered in your MailChimp contact list. Very convenient!

5. Segment your database

Segmenting a database is a crucial step in developing your email marketing strategy. According to a DMA study, 77% of the ROI of an emailing campaign comes from the quality of the segmentation carried out. And yes: the more you segment your personas, the more you can personalize your campaigns and adapt them to their specific interests and needs. Each of the recipients will feel concerned and interested in your email, and will therefore have a better chance of reading it and responding to your Call-to-action. However, neglecting this step can send you directly to spam! Here are some ideas of possible types of segmentation:

  • By demographic characteristics: by geography, by age, by gender, by family status …
  • By socio-economic characteristics: by level of education, by type of job or level of seniority, by level of income …
  • By interests: which field, which service or which product interests them in your company? Which pages of your website have they visited the most?
  • By consumption habits: what products or services have they recently purchased? Did they put items in their shopping cart? How often do they shop?
  • By purchase intentions: where are they in the sales cycle? Are they ready to buy, or are they just looking for information?
  • By participating in events: who was present at your last event?
  • By profile on social networks: new at MailChimp, if you activate “Social Profiles” for your lists, you can create segments based on the social data of your subscribers: age, subscriber/fan, gender, influence rating and social network.

6. Choose the best time to send your campaign

When sending your campaigns, you are probably asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is the best day to send my email?
  • What time should I send it?
  • How often do I send my email marketing campaigns?

In fact, the best time to send an email campaign depends heavily on the industry in which you operate. Many sources give different results on when to focus. However, they seem to agree on the fact that sending on weekdays is more efficient than on weekends, and that sending in the morning is more efficient than in the evening. According to a study by Hubspot, the best times to send would be Tuesday morning around 11 a.m., followed by Wednesday or Monday at the same time. For MailChimp, it would be more Thursday mornings, even if the difference is less from Monday to Friday.

In our experience, it is preferable to favor Wednesdays to Thursdays rather than the first and second days of the week; saturated with weekend and Monday emails, your recipients are more likely to ignore your emails at the start of the week.

As for the frequency of sending emails, the ideal number would be between 2 and 4 per month. A happy medium between too infrequent sending which can lead your interlocutors to forget you, and too frequent sending which can lead your recipients to put your emails directly in the spam or in the trash.

7. Analyze the results

Last but not least, the step of analyzing the results of your campaigns is also very important. Management tools such as MailChimp directly give you all the results and data reports of your campaigns. You can even connect your MailChimp account to your Google Analytics account to go even further! So take advantage of it: compare the results of your different campaigns, and see which ones were the most effective. What securities have given you the best open rates? What formats and which call-to-actions brought you the best click-through rate to your website? What day of the week was the most beneficial for you?

Analyze these results and replicate those that worked best in order to always optimize all your campaigns as much as possible.


That’s it! You now have all the keys in hand to start undertaking your email marketing strategies and boost your return on investment. It’s your turn!