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Email Blast: Best Practices & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Email can be a great marketing tool for sending out communications to many people at the same time. In this lesson, you'll learn more about email blasts and some best practices for utilizing this technique.

Blast Away

If you have an email account, chances are you've received a few dozen email blasts today alone. That email from your favorite boutique showing this month's top sellers. An email from your favorite blog highlighting a new post to check out. Another email from a company who wants you to sign up for a contest. Email can be a great way to communicate a message with your customers and keep them engaged in your brand or business.

What is an Email Blast?

An email blast is an effective way to communicate your message to many recipients.
An email blast is an effective way to communicate your message to many recipients.

An email blast is, simply, an email message sent to many subscribers at the same time. It's a quick way to send out information from your brand or business, such as promotions, sales, blog posts, newsletters or more, to your email list subscribers.

That sounds simple, right? But, there are a lot of things that go into that little email message, to make it an effective and efficient way to reach your customers. Let's take a look at some best practices for making the most of your email blast opportunities.

Best Practices

Subject line: It's always best to start with the first thing people will see upon receiving your email - that is, the subject line that tells them what the email is all about. Crafting a good subject line is no small task; it can mean the difference between a recipient opening, viewing, and engaging with your brand or deleting it without even checking the contents. A short subject line is good, and a short subject line that is clever, funny or intriguing is better. If you're offering an incentive in your email such as a limited-time promotion, sale, coupon or special offer, making that clear in the subject line can be key to getting the rest of your message seen.

Text: This is where the message you're trying to convey should shine through. What is the purpose of your email? Is it to entice people to make a purchase? Showcase a new feature on your website? Whatever the reason, fill your email with appropriate text, graphics, and photos that drive home the point of the email. Don't try to do too much or cover too many topics. Keep the text short and engaging. Explain how the new feature or product you're trying to sell can benefit the viewer. Use visuals to enhance, not detract, from your message.

Call-to-Action: A Call-to-Action button is just a clickable button in your message that drives viewers to do whatever you want them to do. For example, it might say 'Buy Now!' or 'Sign Me Up!' depending on whether you're trying to sell a product or earn more subscribers, respectively. The Call-to-Action should be clear, enticing, and easily spotted. Don't bury your Call-to-Action button at the bottom of the email, make it too small or have it blend it too closely with the rest of your email.

Other things to include: It's always a good idea to include your social media buttons in your emails, as well as your contact details for more information. Also, consider adding a feature so that viewers can share your email with their friends and family. You might earn new business along the way with this one simple addition. And, though you never want someone to unsubscribe from your email blasts, always include an option for recipients to opt-out. It's the responsible thing to do.

Timing and Frequency: There are best times and worst times to distribute an email blast, and those will likely be different for every business. You can test this for yourself by sending the same message to two different groups at different days/times. The analytics tools in your email marketing program should help you track which performed better in terms of open rates (who opened your email), click-through rates (who clicked on your Call-to-Action button or another link), if anyone unsubscribed and emails that could not be delivered due to an incorrect email address. In addition, regularly schedule blasts as part of your ongoing communications. Many experts say that monthly blasts work best, but that frequency is certainly up to you.

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