5 Tips for Effective Email Marketing

October 29, 2018
By Joshua Shon
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A computer screen with an email inbox showing six unread messages, the cursor hovering over the inbox tab.

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal — for every dollar spent, it generates an average return of $38.

Targeting your customers’ inboxes doesn’t just offer great ROI. When done correctly, it helps build relationships with your subscribers by providing them with information that they find relevant and valuable.

However, email marketing can have a dark side in the form of clickbait, spam, disingenuous offers and inbox overload, any of which will prompt audiences to click “unsubscribe” on your relationship.


Are you using email effectively?

Here are five (totally non-clickbaity) ways to improve your email marketing campaigns.

  1. Use data-driven email practices

    Every good campaign starts with good data. That means doing away with purchased email lists and encouraging people to give you their email addresses willingly. Those who knowingly subscribe to your email list will be more likely to engage with your brand.

    Once they subscribe, take a page out of the NSA’s book and try to learn as much as possible about each contact. Why did they sign up to receive emails from you? Did they sign up on your website or provide their contact information at a tradeshow? Have they purchased something from you in the past or are they a prospect?

    A good contact database provides valuable insights that will improve the way you market and communicate with your target audience, so keep your information updated. The more you know about your prospect or customer, the more you can tailor your email to cater to their needs.

  2. Customized content is king

    Nothing is more frustrating than getting an irrelevant email. With generic emails, you run the risk of sending irrelevant content to people and losing subscribers. Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

    Using all the information you collected about your contacts, build email segments. By grouping your subscribers by their traits, interests and preferences, you’ll be able to customize your messaging to resonate with them.

    Don’t just customize — personalize your emails by adding a first name in your greeting, mentioning an event the person attended, or ending your emails with a personal signature. Personalized emails enjoy higher open rates and click-through rates compared to others.

    Customizing your emails will build trust with your email contacts. They know your emails will always be relevant to them and cater to their needs, which will make them more likely to become a customer (or stay one).

  3. Be clear and concise

    The average time spent reading an email is 11.1 seconds. That means readers won’t get very far if you email them a novel.

    Long emails don’t grab the attention of readers, but they do attract spam filters. Too much copy is a red flag which could get your email sent straight to the junk folder.

    When building your next campaign, aim for short, but not too short. The sweet spot is 50-125 words, which has the highest response rate of just over 50 percent. You should keep subject lines short as well — under 50 characters is a best practice.

  4. Create a strong call to action

    You have a customized email that’s relevant, short and to the point. Now what?

    Time to add a call to action (CTA). CTAs should be brief, action-oriented and easy to spot — not buried in copy at the bottom of your email. Your customer should be drawn to act based on the strength and visibility of your offer.

    Common CTAs may include asking readers to download a free guide, start a free trial, register for an event or use a coupon code on your website. Whatever you choose for your CTA, it should be a clear next step that will offer value to your subscriber and help fulfill your business objective.

  5. Analyze and adapt

    Some emails will defy your expectations and be a smashing hit. Others, not so much. If you find that a group of emails performed well, analyze them to see how they differed from other sends. Was it the time of distribution, the subject line or the CTA? The only way to achieve lasting success is to test, refine and test again.

    Another way to improve your email performance is through A/B testing. Many email marketing tools now offer a way to run automated A/B testing for your campaign where you can test out subject lines, images, body copy, CTAs, etc. to see what works best for your email list.


Are you using these tactics in your email marketing campaigns? What tactic do you think is most effective?