Whether your business is just getting started with an email campaign or is re-tooling its existing efforts, our “best practices” cheat sheet will help you hit the ground running:

#1: Send your email at the right time.

Despite numerous studies and tests, there is no single “perfect” time to send an email. Yes, there are times that certainly make no sense; sending a Friday afternoon email blast to business Contact about a new white paper is a sure-fire way to be ignored at the end of a long workweek. Keep these best practices in mind:

  • Avoid early morning. Don’t get lost in a sea of Groupon, Living Social and other ‘special offer’ emails; recipients that wake up to an inbox of sales promotions are likely to delete all these messages – yours included.

  • Watch your time zone. If your subscribers are international, use smart list segmentation to take time zones into account.

  • Avoid “low activity” periods. Track open rates and use this information to improve your email campaign and better connect with recipients.

#2: Reduce unsubscribe rates.

You may not be able to keep your unsubscribe rate at zero, but these best practices will help stop your recipients from fleeing en masse:

  • Offer customized email frequency. From a weekly highlights email to a monthly digest, allow subscribers to choose their contact frequency.

  • Communicate on a regular schedule. If you send daily or weekly emails, send the email around the same time or day each week; subscribers who anticipate receiving a message from you are less likely to opt out.

  • Be exclusive: Whether it’s a special savings discount or an email-only trial offer, give your customers a reason to stay subscribed.

#3: Write a compelling subject line.

Effective subject lines catch your recipient’s attention and give them a reason to open your message:

  • Be concise: 35 to 50 characters is the optimal length.

  • Don’t “sell” your customers on your product or service (e.g., “ONE DAY SALE!”); instead, tell them about what’s inside the email (e.g., “Top 5 Email Marketing Best Practices”)

  • Watch out for “spammy” words like “free”, “cash”, “sample” and “video”; even an innocuous use of these words may trigger spam filters.

  • Localize and personalize whenever possible (e.g., “John, 3 New MarketingTrends for Texas B2Bs”)