Have you heard the mantra: Don’t build your house on rented land? 

The concept has been around for years, thanks to Wired founder John Batelle. And it makes a lot of sense…

Growing your company on a platform someone else owns is risky business. It puts your success in the hands of the Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn gods — and that makes you susceptible to algorithm changes or blackouts. 

Remember the 7-hour Facebook and Instagram outage in October of 2021? Did it massively disrupt your marketing and sales? If so, then you already understand this problem well.

Then there’s the issue of rising rent…

It’s only getting more expensive to reach your followers on social media, with platforms like Facebook increasingly prioritising a pay-to-play model. 

Here’s the thing:

Social media is a helpful tool, but it should only be one spoke of your marketing flywheel

The vast majority of your business empire? Build it on land that you own and control. 

Enter: Your email database. 

Why your email database matters

The numbers don’t lie…

...email marketing is a timeless trend, one that’s arguably more important now than ever before.

Just take a look at these shocking email marketing stats by Hubspot:

  • Email generates $42 for every $1 spent — that’s a 4,200% ROI!
  • The global email market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027.
  • 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day. 

Simply put, email marketing done correctly works. You get to reach your target audience where they’re already engaging, and you build your business on real estate you own. If YouTube shuts down tomorrow or Instagram suffers another outage, you’ll still have your email addresses list — and that means a direct mode of communication with your audience and prospects. 

Email newsletter best practices you need to know

Now you realise your email database is one of your most powerful assets. So, you hop over to your email marketing service and blast out a few newsletters, only to hear... crickets

Email marketing works, but there are certain best practices you need to follow to get results. Use these email newsletter tips to optimise your marketing and start getting results today:

1. Leverage your social media followers

Let’s put it right on the table: If you want your email marketing to be successful, you need to grow your list. 

Strategically placing opt-ins and pop-ups on your website is always a good idea. If you already have a large social media following, don’t forget to leverage this audience, too! 

Encourage your social media followers to opt-in to your email list with incentives, like email-only content and promotions. Here are a few more tips for converting social followers into email subscribers:

  • Embed “Sign-Up” buttons in your social profiles
  • Host giveaways and contests that send traffic to a landing page with an email opt-in
  • If running Facebook Ads, try out Lead Forms so users can subscribe right from Facebook

2. Share valuable, relevant content

The best email marketers share valuable, helpful, and engaging content to a specific audience.

A welcome series is a smart way to share your most helpful content while creating clear expectations for subscribers. 

Remember, it’s a privilege to get invited into someone’s inbox. So, focus on providing solutions your email database wants and needs — not spamming them with promotional material they don’t care about. You’ll drive customer action and make more sales, too.

3. Obsess over your subject line

47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. 

It makes sense. When skimming emails, the subject line is the first thing to grab your attention — and likely a massive indicator of whether you’ll delete the email or click-through. 

Consider spam trigger words, too. The last thing you want is to labour over an email marketing campaign, only for it to get flagged as spam. Avoid this list of spam words in your subject lines for your best chance of arriving in your reader’s inbox.

4. Don’t forget the preview text

It’s probably not much of a surprise that your email subject line largely influences open rates. But did you know your preview text matters, too? 

Often called the meta description, this is the 100-word preview that shows up beneath your subject line. About a quarter of subscribers open emails based on this preview, so take the time to optimise your preview text accordingly.

5. Use media sparingly

When it comes to email database best practices, to GIF or not to GIF?

My advice is to use media sparingly in your emails and always keep it on-brand. 

Here’s the deal: Sometimes, media can enhance your message and inspire engagement. However, in A/B testing, plain text emails tend to perform best. These plain text emails also have a better chance of landing in your reader’s primary inbox (rather than spam or promotions.)

You don’t need to throw media out the window for good, but always consider the purpose of your email and whether or not the photos, videos, and animations add value. 

6. Write for mobile-first

Think about how many times a day you pull out your phone and check your email. Imagine that email is hard to read, with text scrolling off the screen or graphics that just don’t fit. How likely are you to stay on that email? If you said not very long, then you’re in good company...

70% of email users delete an email within 3 seconds if it’s not mobile-friendly. 

It’s hardly any secret that we live in a mobile-first world. This goes for your email database, too, so always craft your emails with mobile in mind. 

7. Personalisation pays big rewards

Gone are the days of blasting one-size-fits-all newsletters to your entire email list. Today’s reader expects personalised emails catered to their Buyer’s Journey

What’s one easy way to incorporate more personalisation in your subject lines? Adding a reader’s name can increase open rates by 50%

As you grow your number of subscribers, consider list segmentation. Rather than an email autoresponder that serves as a catch-all, you might have separate, smaller email sequences that better meet the needs of your list segments. 

I know this can sound complicated at first glance, but don’t worry — segmentation isn’t as tricky as it sounds. When in doubt, keep your email content relevant to your list segments, and everyone will win. 

To sum it up

Stop building your business on rented land — and invest in your email database strategy instead. You’ll rest assured that you control your assets, plus you’ll reap the benefits of a proven tactic for communicating with and converting leads. 

Now, I know email newsletters can be a tricky concept to nail down with confidence. After all, you didn’t start your business to obsess over subject lines or think up clever personalisation tactics. That’s what we’re here for.