16 Email Marketing Best Practices That Actually Drive Results

This is a guest post written by Jamie Turner, founder of the 60 Second Marketer. He is an in-demand marketing speaker and author of the book entitled Go Mobile with Jeanne Hopkins, former VP of marketing at HubSpot.

While email marketing may not get the attention some newer marketing channels get, it's still a terrific way for you to generate leads and convert more prospects for your business. With that in mind, I want to share some email marketing best practices you can use to generate more leads for your business.

(In addition to the rules for outgoing messages below, check out our new Out-of-Office Email Generator to make your response to incoming messages just as delightful.)

Click here to download our free beginner's guide to email marketing.

1. Don't purchase contact lists.

This first tip should come as no surprise, but given the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it bears repeating. Email campaigns depend on a healthy open rate, and if you're contacting people whose information you bought -- rather than earned from a previous interaction -- you'll quickly see your emails' performance drop.

The GDPR also requires each European recipient's consent before you reach out to them, and purchased email lists usually do not come with that consent.

2. Avoid using 'No-Reply' in the sender's email address.

Have you heard of CAN-SPAM? This longstanding piece of legislation is a popular and important guideline for all email marketers in the U.S. -- and still many companies are trying to comply with it. One major rule in CAN-SPAM is to never use the words "no reply," or a similar phrase, as your email sender's name (for example, "noreply@yourcompany.com").

"No reply" in an email message prevents recipients from responding and even opting out of further emails, which CAN-SPAN protects their right to do at any time. Instead, have even your automated emails come from a first name (for example, jamie@mycompany.com). Your customers are much more likely to open emails if they know they were written by a human being.

3. Stick to fewer than three typefaces.

The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you'll experience. Don't junk up your email with more than two, or a maximum of three, fonts or typefaces.

4. Optimize the email's preview text.

You've seen this link in the marketing emails you receive, and don't get me wrong, it's a helpful warning. But keeping it in the preview text of your email could be a death sentence for the email's open rate, which averages 22 percent across industries, according to a report from GetResponse. In this case, you're basically telling recipients, "this email might not work."

Email newsletter with "can't see images?" listed in preview text, not a marketing best practice

By default, preview text pulls in the first several words of the email body and displays it next to the subject line before the person opens it. The problem is custom email templates often stick conditional statements like "can't see images?" or "not displaying correctly?" along the top banner, allowing it to slip right into the preview when it goes out.

HubSpot users can fix this problem by customizing the preview text themselves in the backend of their email marketing newsletter.

5. Clean your mailing list regularly.

Some of your email contacts might not opt-out of your email campaign, but still never open your emails. It's tempting to email as many people as possible to reach more prospects, but keeping your least-engaged recipients on your mailing list can kill your open rate. People who never open emails make your campaign look worse since you're not analyzing the campaign's quality against your most loyal recipients.

Analyze who hasn't engaged with your emails over a certain period of time, and remove them on a regular basis. This gives you a more accurate email open rate and keeps your email campaign clean of the people who are no longer interested in hearing from you.

6. Keep the main message and call-to-action above the fold.

If your main call-to-action (CTA) falls below the fold, as many as 70% of recipients won't see it. Also, any CTA should be repeated at least three times throughout the email in various places and formats.

7. Personalize the email greeting.

How often do you read emails that begin, "Dear Member"?

You might segment your email audiences by the type of customer they are (member, subscriber, user, etc.), but it shouldn't be the first thing recipients see in your company messages. Personalizing the greeting of your emails with your contacts' first names grabs the attention of each reader right away. For HubSpot users, this is called a personalization token, and creating one looks like this:

An email marketing best practice by HubSpot to insert a personalization token into email newsletters

Then, the address line of your email would automatically produce the contact's first name by fetching this personalization token in the email's HTML, like this:

Hi, !

Don't worry, personalizing an email's greeting line with 50 recipients' names doesn't mean you'll have to manually write and send 50 different emails from now on. Many email marketing tools today allow you to configure the greeting of your email campaign so that it automatically sends with the name of the people on your contact list -- so everyone is getting a personal version of the same message.

8. Keep your email 500-650 pixels wide.

If your email template is wider than 650 pixels, you're asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message. This is even more cumbersome for a recipient who's reading your email on his or her mobile device. Your email pixel width is a critical component of its lead-capturing ability.

9. A/B test different subject lines and calls to action.

If you can't seem to increase your email's open and click-through rates, a couple of things might be wrong: You're not emailing the right people (are you buying your contact list? See the first tip at the top of this blog post), or the content of your email needs to be improved. To start, focus on the latter, and conduct an A/B test.

A/B tests, or "split tests," can be used to improve almost any of your digital marketing content. In an email, this test effectively "splits" your recipients into two groups: Group A receives the normal newsletter, while Group B receives the newsletter with a specific variation. This variation tests to see if your audience would be more or less likely to take an action if your newsletter was different.

HubSpot marketing users can conduct email A/B tests on anything from the subject line to the call-to-action (CTA) inside it. For example, you might change the color of your CTA from red to green to see if your email's click-through rate increases. If it does, the test indicates that you should change your emails' CTA color to green from now on.

10. Put your logo in the center or upper-lefthand side of the email.

Eye-tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos in the upper left-hand side of emails -- often because it's consistent with the placement of a logo on most websites. However, it's also acceptable to put your logo in the center to align it with the email content beneath it.

Whether your logo is centered or on the lefthand side, branding the header of your email reminds your recipients that it came from you and it's part of a series.

11. Use incentives to increase open rates.

When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can increase open rates by as much as 50%. "Free shipping when you spend $25 or more" and "Receive a free iPod with demo" are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.

However, be careful not to overwhelm your readers with savings- or product-related emails. Customer loyalty starts with casual industry insights -- only then can you talk business. Here's an example of an email with an enticing subject line and warm, welcoming body copy:

Email marketing newsletter with incentive in the subject line

12. Allow recipients to subscribe to your newsletter.

You might be thinking, "wait, if they received the email to begin with, shouldn't they have already subscribed?"

Usually, yes, and therefore adding a "Subscribe" button to your email doesn't help those who've already agreed to receive your emails. But great content is shareable content, and if your current subscribers are forwarding your emails to their friends and colleagues, you'll want to help them subscribe, too.

Add a small but visible CTA that allows an email viewer to subscribe to the newsletter if they received this email from someone else. But remember, because your newsletter should already be driving another action, such as downloading an ebook or becoming a community member, make sure this "Subscribe" button doesn't distract or confuse users, weakening your main campaign goal in the process.

13. Write compelling (but concise) subject lines.

A good subject line should contain between 30 and 50 characters (including spaces). Email accounts and mobile devices often cut off any subject lines that go beyond this length. Your email subject line should also create a sense of urgency, while giving readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.

14. Use auto-responders for opt-ins.

Be prepared for your readers to forget they opted in. Set up an auto-responder that reminds people they opted in to your email database. The auto-responder should be sent out one day, five days, and 10 days after the person registers.

Each auto-responder email should also include additional content or bonus material to reward the reader for opting into the newsletter -- or your readers might not feel they have enough incentive to actually opt in.

15. Closely tie emails to landing pages.

Your landing page should match the email in terms of headline, copy, and content. The look and feel of your landing page should also match the email -- consistency goes a long way toward a customer's trust in the content they're receiving.

Just make sure you're using tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages performed the best so you can keep sending what's working.

16. Conduct a five-second test.

Send a copy of the email to a friend or business associate. Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is? If so, you're golden. If not, keep working.

There are a lot of new tools at a marketer's disposal that are getting attention these days. But email marketing has stood the test of time regarding its influence on your users. This old, reliable, and faithful tool can really ensure you get the most out of your marketing initiatives.

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Beauty Blog 101: Makeup Affiliate Programs to Help Get You Started

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I read the title of this post and I hear a collective groan from our male affiliate marketers. Beauty Blog? Beauty Blog!? Like, what is that? 

For all of those not in the know, a beauty blog is a blog with a focus on fashion and makeup. It's really all about makeup, but some bloggers have expanded to include fashion in their content. After all, a pretty face goes perfectly with a pretty frock. 

Beauty blogs publish makeup reviews like this and feature how-to articles or videos like this one. The average blog starts out as a personal repository of one's experience, likes and dislikes, adventures and misadventures. 

I can see a few of our gentlemen readers cringing. I'm sure you're going to hit that red "X" on the top right of your browser any minute now, but please hear me out. Beauty blogs are big these days, and they're going to get bigger. You might want to pay a bit of attention (and get your wife or girlfriend to read this post with you!). 
 

So Just How Big is the Makeup Niche?

People love to look good, and it shows: The cosmetics industry is HUGE. 

The cosmetics industry is definitely a large one, with an estimated annual worldwide turnover of USD $170 billion. You can see the consistent growth of the industry on this graph by Statista:

Yep, those numbers are in the 50s and 60s of billions of dollars. In the U.S. alone, that much money is being poured into these products every single year. And it just keeps growing! This infographic from MapsofWorld.com, "Are We Obsessed With The Way We Look?" details how much the global population spends on beauty.

There's a strong need in all of us to look good, and this is why these types of blogs are growing in numbers. They're not limited to women, either: There are beauty blogs for men, too. 
 

What's the Competition Like?

A high level of demand often means a high level of competition. That doesn't mean you can't do it, you've just got to be savvy with your keywords. 

You can skip this part and jump right into the makeup affiliate programs you can promote, but I suggest you don't. There's plenty of competition in the cosmetics/skincare niche, and it pays to look at how you can outsmart the competition by targeting the right keywords. 

To start, we must ask a common question: Is it "makeup" or "make up"? The two are similar; however, "makeup" refers to lipstick, eye shadow and all other things applied to the face, while "make up" is a verb that can refer to the act of applying makeup. 

In AffiloTools, though, they mean the same thing, and variations of both have a medium-high difficulty:

So we need to get more specific. Just from this search I've managed to find some keywords that are commonly searched for but don't have a great deal of competition. 

The types of keywords you'll want to home in on for your website content or ad campaigns should revolve around specific terms with a lot of searches but less competition. In this case, for example, you might want to consider "Makeup looks" or "Wedding makeup" or "natural eye makeup" as keywords for blog topics. 

If you go ahead with any of the affiliate program options that I've outlined below, make sure to do some further keyword research to ensure your success. If you're generating keywords to use as content topics, try this method here. The AffiloTools Keyword Research module makes keyword research like this easy, so feel free to check it out and have a play around. 

When coming up with keyword ideas for this niche, don't forget to try "how-to" phrases, such as "how to put on eyeliner." 
 

10 Affiliate Programs for Your Beauty Blog 

Here they are! The 10 best makeup affiliate programs for you to choose from to promote on your blog. 

I've tracked down some of the most popular brands and products in the cosmetics industry so that you can find out everything you need to know about them here and now. In no particular order, here are the top 10 makeup affiliate programs: 

 

1. e.l.f. Cosmetics

About e.l.f.
e.l.f. Cosmetics is a makeup brand well-known all over the world. The company offers everything from lipstick to makeup brushes to nail polish.

How much can I make?
Affiliates receive a 5% commission for each sale. 

How do I apply?
The affiliate page is outdated, as it links to the CJ Affiliate network where the program is no longer active. However, I found e.l.f. on the Rakuten Marketing (LinkShare) affiliate network, so if you'd like to sign up to promote produs an affiliate you can apply to do so there. 
 

2. Sigma Beauty

About Sigma
Sigma Beauty is a fast-growing cosmetics company recognized not just for its makeup line, but for its innovative makeup brushes as well. There's a neat 'affiliate spotlight' page here where you can see how other makeup blog affiliates are doing. 

 

How much can I make?
Sigma offers a 10% commission on all sales. If you do really well the program has rewards systems, with giveaways and cash bonuses.   

How do I apply?
You can apply for the Affiliate program via the Sigma affiliate signup page here
 

3. Benefit Cosmetics

About Benefit 
Benefit Cosmetics is a San Francisco–based makeup manufacturer popular for its pretty, original packaging. The world-famous "Benetint" is a rose-colored cheek and lip tint.

How much can I make?
Benefit offers affiliates a 4-7% commission on sales.

How do I apply?
You can find the affiliate information on the Benefit affiliate page here. You can apply through the Rakuten Marketing (LinkShare) network here
 

4. BH Cosmetics

About BH Cosmetics
BH Cosmetics is a manufacturer of reasonably-priced cosmetics. Like other makeup brands, it offers everything from eye shadow palettes to makeup brushes.

How much can I make?
At 15% per sale, this is one of the higher commission rates for makeup products. The program also offers monthly incentives. 

How do I apply?
Once again we have a brand that operates through Rakuten Marketing. You can search for BH Cosmetics there, or get more information about the affiliate program here
 

5. ULTA

About ULTA

ULTA is a group of beauty stores in the US. The company offers skincare products and fragrances for both men and women, on top of its extensive makeup line. 

How much can I make?
Ulta affiliates get between 5 and 7% commission depending on the total amount they have earned in the month.

How do I apply?
Ulta runs its affiliate program through CJ Affiliate by Conversant. You can signup and search for the program there, or learn more about the ULTA affiliate program here
 

6. Avon

About Avon
Avon has been marketing through word of mouth and third parties for longer than just about anyone. Does the term "Avon lady" bring anything to mind? There is a huge range of makeup products here that you can promote as an affiliate. 

 

How much can I make?
Avon offers a 6% commission on all sales, with opportunities for bonuses. 

How do I apply?
You can apply to join the Avon affiliate program on the Rakuten Marketing affiliate network
 

7. Black Opal Beauty

About Black Opal
Black Opal is a cosmetics company that specializes in "issues specific to skin of color". These products would be great for a sub-niche site or blog post that addresses makeup techniques for darker skin tones. 

 

How much can I make?
Black Opal offers a 6% commission on all sales. 

How do I apply?
You can apply to be an affiliate with Black Opal on the Rakuten Marketing affiliate network
 

8. Pür Minerals Cosmetics

About Pür Minerals
Pür Minerals has a range of cosmetics and skincare products that are made without animal testing and manufactured mostly made in the USA. The company prides itself on being eco-friendly, and the best sellers are foundations and other skincare products. 

 

How much can I make?
There's a 5% commission to be made here. 

How do I apply?
You can find more information about Pür Minerals and apply for the affiliate program under "Astral Brands" on the CJ Affiliate network
 

9. Colorescience

About Colorescience
Colorescience is a "premier luxury mineral makeup line." It focuses on makeup products with high-quality ingredients that are easy to use and great for the skin. 

 

How much can I make?
Colorescience offers affiliates a 10% commission. 

How do I apply?
You can find all that you need to know about Colorescience on their Affiliates page or apply for their affiliate program on the CJ Affiliate network
 

10. Elizabeth Arden

About Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Aden is a very prestigious beauty company with everything from anti-aging skincare products to perfumes. The company also claims to offer "trend-setting color" with its cosmetics. 

 

How much can I make?
Elizabeth Arden offers affiliates a 5% commission. 

How do I apply?
You can learn more about Elizabeth Arden and apply for its affiliate program on the CJ Affiliate network.

11. Nanshy

About Nanshy
Your makeup palette is no use if you do not have the right brushes and sponges to apply them to your face. Nanshy offers well-crafted makeup brushes to promote along with the other make up affiliate programs here.

How much can I make?
Nanshy affiliates get 10% commission on all sales. It may not be much but as their affiliate, you get 25% on your own purchases of Nanshy products.

How do I apply?
You can register as an affiliate through the Nanshy Affiliate Program page.

12. Scentbird

Scentbird is a subscription service for perfumes and colognes. Scentbird was created for the pickiest girl (or boy), allowing you the chance to “date” luxury fragrances before “marrying” them. With Scentbird, you get access to a 30-day supply of over 450 top designer fragrances delivered right to your door

How much can I make?
US$14 per sale.

How do I apply?
You can sign up from their affiliates page

 

Found these beauty blog affiliate programs useful? Share the news! :)

How to Promote Your Beauty Blog

No blog promotes itself. These are the best methods for promoting a beauty blog. 

A beauty blog is like any other website or blog, and you can promote it through most conventional methods, such as social media marketing. You can't use every tactic at once, so like I've always said, have a link-building plan or strategy guide to get you started. This will help you define your SEO and link-building goals and determine which methods work best for your site. Here are some other methods you can use to promote your beauty blog: 

  • YouTube Marketing

Put all those how-to videos to good use. Make sure your videos are properly optimized and contain either your affiliate link or a link to the related content on your site. You may refer to this excellent information on video marketing: "Video Content: Super Fun! Super Effective." You can also learn how to link back to your website (if you have one) from YouTube with this lesson on associated website annotations

  • Blog and Forum Posting 

There are a lot of other beauty blogs. Don't be a snob! These blogs may be competition, but they are still in the same niche, so participating in discussions will do a lot more good for your site than harm. 

Participating in blogs often leads to guest posting, since the website owner or blogger gains enough information about you through your comments to trust you. A guest post is great because it not only brings traffic to the site, but also gives you a backlink or two. 

We actually teach you how to promote your site on websites and blogs in AffiloBlueprint, so if you're interested in this method I'd check that out. It also teaches you how to build your blog, so if you're thinking you'd like to build a beauty blog but haven't yet, then I'd most definitely recommend it. 

  • Content Strategy

It's important that your site is always up-to-date with the current makeup trends as well as popular products. Reading up on what's new will help with the planning and research of your posts so that you will be able to publish on a regular basis. 

We have a whole variety of free lessons on content creation right here, but first I'd check out the blog post about building a strong content strategy here

Remember that there are also other forms of content, like videos and infographics, that you can create for your site so as not to bore your readers. Keep a working schedule of where and when new posts are published and what they contain.

Having a few make-up tutorials as your core content with some updated info coming out regularly on a blog is a great way to go. This might sound like a lot of work, but new beauty products are coming out all the time. The more you keep your website up to date with the latest and greatest, the more you'll encourage a following of people looking for MORE MAKEUP. 

  • Email Marketing

Speaking of new products coming out all the time, if you build a mailing list you can make sales to people over and over again rather than losing them when they leave your site. This is especially useful for any niche that has a high rate of new products and deals, and luckily for you, this is one of those niches. You can check out our free lessons on email marketing here
 

Can Beauty Blogs Give Way to Pretty Profits? 

There are some low commission rates and high competition here which provides a challenge, but there's a lot of demand for these products so there's definitely potential. 

 

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Looking at the commissions these makeup affiliate programs give to affiliates, this isn't going to be as lucrative as other niches unless you can get a lot of traffic and sales. In saying that, the popularity of this niche means that there is potential for you to do just that with the right marketing techniques. 

You want to aim for a target audience of the kind of readers who like to go for a beauty "haul" (where they purchase lots of products at one time). 

To beat out the high competition and conquer the low commission rates of these products, you really will need to constantly update your site with new content so as not to lose your readers and their interest. That's going to be a major challenge, particularly if you're not a writer. 

Despite all this, a beauty blog is very appealing to me. For one thing, this is a niche where lady affiliate marketers with a passion for makeup and fashion can really dominate. You may not get paid much as far as commissions go, but some of those makeup affiliate programs offer freebies and/or affiliate discounts on makeup purchases that can more than make up for it.

This niche is definitely for those with a love for fashion and makeup. If you're such a man or woman, then go for it! I'm sure that it's going to be an enjoyable, rewarding endeavor for you. 

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GET THE 5-STEP FORMULA TO EARNING $10,000/MONTH ONLINE
WITH YOUR BEAUTY BLOG

Note: I HATE spam as much as you do. Your email address will never be given out to any 3rd parties.

 

Before you go I'd love to ask, do you know of any good makeup affiliate programs that I've missed? What types of makeup products are you interested in promoting? Let me know in the comments below.

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