Email Marketing

5 Salesforce Marketing Cloud Best Practices to Follow in 2023

Email marketing is a highly effective and high-ROI marketing channel. Through email, you can target your audience with personalized and relevant messages, which can improve customer acquisition and retention, improve customer loyalty, and drive higher revenues and profits. Of course, high-ROI email marketing does not happen automatically. For great results, you must a) invest in the right email service provider (ESP), and b) implement proven best practices to use and optimize that ESP.

If Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is your ESP, you’re already on the right track with (a). This article will help you with (b). Keep reading to discover five Marketing Cloud best practices to increase your email marketing ROI in 2023. 

5 Salesforce Marketing Cloud Best Practices to Boost Your Email ROI in 2023

In one survey, 59% of respondents said that marketing emails influence their purchases and 50% said that they buy from marketing emails at least once a month. In another 2021 survey, 77% of marketers said that they had seen an increase in email engagement over the previous 12 months. This explains why 90% of them plan to either invest more in email or maintain their current investment in 2023.

But many of them will not be able to capture high ROI from their email programs. You will – if you follow the Salesforce Marketing Cloud best practices highlighted below. All these tips are validated by the expert Marketing Cloud email specialists at Email Uplers!

1. Clean up your email list

Your email list determines who will receive your brand’s marketing messages. It also determines your sender IP reputation. You can damage your IP reputation by:

  • Purchasing an email list rather than building it organically
  • Emailing people who did not explicitly sign on or “opt in” to receive your messages
  • Send irrelevant or generic messages to the people on your email list

All these mistakes will also affect your email open rates and affect your email deliverability, meaning many of your messages will end up in spam folders. For all these reasons, it’s crucial to maintain your email list and keep it as clean as possible. List cleanup is about removing duplicate, fake, or temporary email addresses from your subscriber list so you only message real people who want to hear from you. A clean email list – which will be smaller than a larger but cluttered list – is also important because it can give a huge boost to your email marketing ROI.

Follow these best practices to optimize your email list:

  • Review your email list every few months
  • Periodically email everyone on your list to confirm that they still want to hear from you
  • Retain only those email addresses that show the maximum engagement and open rates
  • Remove disposable email addresses
  • Include attractive offers to entice more subscribers to sign up for your messages and thus build your email list organically

2. Plan your email design

The design and layout of your emails will determine whether readers are attracted to it or whether they will simply ignore, delete, or worse, unsubscribe from them. SFMC provides numerous tools to help you create responsive, mobile-optimized designs for every email. Mobile optimization is important because research shows that 42.3% of users delete non-optimized emails.

You can also leverage built-in email templates in Salesforce Marketing Cloud  and make each template super creative with custom content blocks. Other capabilities like drag-and-drop functions, personalized scripting language, and interactive content like carousels and weather reports are also possible with SFMC for creating memorable designs that will delight your subscribers.

To make the most of SFMC, make sure to put some thought and planning into your email design. Add engaging elements to enhance the design and increase your email marketing ROI. Add animated visuals, GIFs, and live content to entice more subscribers to open your messages and improve your open and clickthrough rates.

But at the same time, don’t add too many elements that will clutter the email and confuse your readers. Make sure your textual and visual content are properly organized and every email is consumable and easy to navigate. Also, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use a limited number of typefaces and simple, readable fonts.
  • Use a controlled color palette that matches your brand’s overall esthetics.
  • Include an attention-grabbing headline, sub-headline, and pre-header.
  • Add an unsubscribe button.
  • Include your brand’s logo, website link, and social media links.
  • Include relevant and brief calls-to-action (CTAs) and a catchy signature.
  • Include white space strategically.

3. Segment your audience

Segmented campaigns have been shown to drive a revenue increase of 760% or more. Segmentation is about identifying the subgroups within your target audience. The goal is to understand the demographics and needs of each subgroup so you can create tailored messaging that is more likely to increase their brand engagement.

High-quality data is the key to effective segmentation for email marketing. Analyze this data to create relevant segments and adjust your email strategy accordingly. You can create various segments based on their locations, genders, ages, interests, jobs, and other characteristics that are common to one segment but not to others.

Following these best practices will help you make the most of SFMC’s segmentation capabilities, tailor the content in each email for each segment, and increase your email ROI:

  • Collect and integrate customer data from a variety of sources to inform your segmentation efforts.
  • Segment subscribers based on current engagement levels to better focus your email marketing efforts.
  • Segment customers based on their shopping behaviors and target them for upsells or cross-sells.
  • Use data about past behaviors to predict future behaviors and design new campaigns.

4. Personalize messages for your segmented audience

When it comes to email marketing, personalization matters. One survey found that brands that never or rarely include dynamic personalized content see a ROI of only 12:1 from email marketing. In contrast, brands that do include dynamic personalized content see ROI of 43:1.

After segmenting subscribers into relevant categories, it’s vital to craft and deliver personal experiences to each of them. Personalization will increase the likelihood that they will stay with your brand and reward you with their loyalty. Personalization will make your messages more relevant. By creating accurate segments and personalizing each email, you can nurture relationships with your audience and earn their trust. You will also see a positive impact in email opens, clickthroughs, conversion rates, and ultimately your email ROI.

Leverage demographic, behavioral, and other types of customer data to create segments and add personalization to email content. Also follow these Marketing Cloud API best practices for email personalization:

  • Address subscribers using their names in the greeting or in the subject line.
  • Personalize content depending on the subscriber’s lifecycle stage.
  • Send birthday, anniversary, and holiday messages.
  • Personalize content to address specific subscriber needs or concerns.

Leverage SFMC’s automation and AI-powered analytics capabilities to scale up and simplify your personalization efforts.

5. Test and optimize

SFMC includes numerous tools and features to create stunning, highly effective emails. Even so, it’s important to test every campaign and continuously optimize your email strategy. A/B test every email. Create two versions of each email and send each to a small subset of your larger audience. See which version performs better in terms of engagement and send that to the entire email list. In SFMC, you can A/B test subject lines, greetings, design, text, CTA, and many other elements to determine the “winning” version and increase the chances of campaign success.

Also preview and test all emails internally. Per one report, testing every email before sends can generate an average email marketing ROI of 40:1. If you don’t test emails, your ROI could fall to 34:1. Make sure to test all these elements:

  • Are images loading properly?
  • Did you add alt text to every image?
  • Are links working?
  • Is the copy error-free?
  • Do messages look OK on every device and screen?
  • Is the subject line correct and concise?
  • Is the CTA specific, benefits-focused, brief, and easy to read?
  • Did you add an Unsubscribe button?

You should also optimize your SFMC email marketing program by identifying some metrics. These tangible numbers will help you assess performance and uncover areas of improvement to increase ROI. At the very least, track all these metrics:

  • Open rates
  • Clickthrough rates
  • Deliverability
  • Bounce rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • List growth rate
  • Email signup rate
  • IP reputation
  • Conversion rate

Set goals for yourself before each campaign and track how it is doing so you can take appropriate steps to maintain (or increase) your ROI with SFMC and email marketing.

Make SFMC Work Harder to Boost Your Email Marketing ROI

There’s no perfect formula to ensure the success of your SFMC email marketing program. However, by following the Marketing Cloud best practices highlighted here, you can create more winning campaigns in 2023 with SFMC.

If you need 1×1 support to capture the highest possible ROI from your SFMC email marketing program, talk to the SFMC email team at Email Uplers. Click here to get started.

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