6 Tips to Optimize Your Email Marketing Campaigns

7 Tips to Optimize Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Digital marketing has transformed the traditional forms of customer outreach. There may be a hardware store somewhere that sends out promotional flyers and converts prospects the old-school way, but the rest of us attract and nurture buyers online, convert them into customers online, and keep them engaged online.

The most effective digital marketing forms are social media and email campaigns.

Both approaches can get incredible results, increasing customer interactions and creating a stream of conversions. They allow for highly targeted outreach, and in the case of email newsletters, recipients opt-in to get the content first, so they’re more likely to become customers than prospects engaging with other marketing channels.

In this article, we’re setting our sights on email marketing. We’ll present seven tips for email marketing optimization so you can boost your newsletter’s performance.

Let’s ease into the topic with a quick review of email marketing best practices. This information might help refresh your memory about email marketing basics, laying the groundwork for the campaign tuning tactics we’ll address later.

A Quick Overview of Email Marketing Best Practices

There are some baseline characteristics that most successful email marketing campaigns have in common. Before we optimize, let’s look at a set of best email marketing practices.

Use an Email Marketing Service

An email marketing service is, most of the time, the best choice. When your newsletter is up and running, you may send content to thousands of recipients weekly. Manually executing that task is out of the question. While using email marketing software like Active Campaign is an option, the required person-hours and in-house expertise make that option less than ideal.

There are many providers, including popular options like MailChimp and Constant Contact. Such easy-to-use, cloud-based services will help you administer email lists, schedule the bulk sending of emails, create forms, and manage responses. Plus, you’ll have access to analytics that will help you track the performance of your campaigns. You still have to put your writing cap on and come up with catchy subject lines, but remember, making it easier than it looks is your main priority.

Send Content Your Audience Wants

The content you send to your email subscribers can’t just be in the ballpark of their interest. It has to be hyper-relevant. But relevance is in the eye of the beholder. That’s a fancy way of saying different people like different things. The people you want to engage with, your prospects, have specific preferences that drive their behaviour.

The key to sending them content they’ll find relevant is to learn everything you can about them, which involves establishing the audience’s demographics, figuring out what that demographic group is into, and tailoring your content to that group.

Optimize your Email Marketing with these tips
Image Credit: Planeta ttandem

Use Personalized Emails

Create emails with customizable fields to automatically fill in the recipient’s name. This can help you be as efficient as possible in your marketing efforts.

If your email is addressed to “Dear valued customer” instead of the recipient’s name, there’s a good chance it will end up in the trash. Your opt-in form should collect the user’s name, so use that info to personalize your messages.

Focus on Your Conversion Rates

Email marketing puts a massive emphasis on getting your email opened and read. We test subject lines, fine-tune message content, and track email open rates as a metric. Another thing that gets a lot of attention is the click rate – how many times the recipient clicks from the email into your landing page.

Those are crucial factors in email marketing, but they’re a couple of steps removed from the end game – conversion. Ultimately, you want the recipient to respond to your CTA. Make your message short, your landing page campaign-specific, and your CTA obvious.

Make Your Email Visually Interesting

It’s crucial to capture the attention of your subscribers the moment they open your email. Luckily, email allows you to take advantage of all the design capabilities of HTML. That’s why most of the marketing email we get looks more like a web page than an email.

With optimized background images, custom fonts, eye-catching graphics, and other forms of rich content, your email can be just as visually attractive as your landing page and the rest of your site. A familiar look and feel to your email and website adds continuity, creating a better user experience.

Be GDPR-Compliant

If your email marketing campaign serves anyone in the European Union, it must be GDPR-compliant. The GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation) is a government regulation that requires all websites servicing the EU to be secure and follow prescribed “data privacy breach” protocols.

If you send newsletters or any other marketing email to an EU audience, you need to ensure you’re GDPR compliant, which means having a comprehensive privacy policy and proving you have user consent to send the email. There are several other GDPR requirements, so if you market to the EU, know and follow all the rules.

Even if you have a few successful campaigns, reviewing email marketing fundamentals like these never hurts. It can help keep your focus where it should be, plus adhering to these practices can be considered a prerequisite for the optimization techniques we’ll go over next.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns

This section will go over seven common ways to optimize your email marketing, starting with an often-heard but rarely-understood suggestion that your emails should “tell a story.”

1. Be a Storyteller

Storytelling is a core principle of customer engagement. People respond better to a campaign if it presents a relatable concept that aligns with their interest in your product or service. Knowing how to convey human emotions is paramount. It can help people seeing your company for the first time become long-attached members and customers.

For many business owners, storytelling in an email newsletter can be confusing. How can you tell a “story” in what’s supposed to be short, compelling marketing content?

The key is to shift your thinking about what a story is. In email marketing, a story creates the need around a product or service, making people want to have it for themselves. 

Believe it or not, this can be done in just a few sentences!

An admittedly simple example proves that point – imagine a lawn care business telling the following story:

“Last week, we got a call from a hard-working single mom in {local town}. She didn’t have time to keep her yard in shape and needed help. Our mowers were on the scene that afternoon, and we set up an affordable schedule with a new, delighted customer!”

If your story taps into the needs of your target audience, they’ll subconsciously put themselves in the narrative, and we all know how the story ends – with a sale!

2. Write Compelling Subject Lines

Subject lines are probably one of the first things you should begin with optimizing your email marketing.

Everything starts with an eye-catching title that will stick in the minds of your audience. People tend to read the title of something before opening it, which also applies to emails. If you don’t have anything important to say, the users will delete the email and forget about it a few moments later.

An enticing subject line and carefully selected words ensure the user will open the email, sending your open rates through the roof. And that’s the first part of a solid email marketing campaign.

3. Target User Segments to Maximize Engagement

Sending an email tailored to specific user groups is called segmentation. It’s one more way to use information about your target audience to predict the most relevant, compelling type of content. This is one of the top tips for email marketing.

When you get users to opt-in to your email newsletter, you can ask them about their preferences or, more directly, find out what interests them in your products or services. You can find out the information users would like to receive the most. In a welcome email or any time after a user has subscribed, you can ask for the details you need by inviting users to complete a user profile.

It’s important to note that a user segment doesn’t have to be based on preferences the user tells you about. Segmentation based on demographics and purchase history is expected and helpful. Also, targeted emails triggered by specific customer behaviours have proven highly effective.

For example, you can have an email aimed at people who didn’t open your first email and another designed for people who clicked through to your landing page but didn’t respond to your CTA.

In the first case, the prospect may need proof that your company is trustworthy. In the second case, the user went further down your sales funnel but didn’t purchase. A candidate like that may need more details or a compelling story to convince them to take advantage of your offering. Following up on an ignored email with one that includes a testimonial can help build confidence in your business.

4. Consider Email Send Time and Frequency

How often you send emails to subscribers and the time of day those emails reach their inboxes can significantly affect campaign performance. Your customers may prefer a predictable email schedule, but receiving a message daily might be overwhelming. A weekly message at 9:00 AM every Monday will likely get overlooked due to more pressing matters.

To find out how often subscribers want to get your emails, you can add a section to your email’s footer asking them to provide that information via a link to their user preferences.

When determining the best day and time to send a marketing email, there are some reliable stats you can use. For example, there’s solid evidence that emails sent on Saturday or Sunday won’t perform as well as those sent on weekdays, with Tuesday as the best day to send emails. The time of day matters, too. Data indicates that emails sent between 10 AM and 2 PM will get the best results.

According to the email marketing agency Inboxarmy, sometimes, it’s better to wait a couple of days until the optimal moment than to send your emails straight away and struggle with a low response rate. Try to avoid dates close to national holidays, when people may be taking days off, as your message will be lost among hundreds of urgent emails upon their return.

Another good way to determine optimal send time is through testing, a point we’ll elaborate on in the next section.

Email Marketing segmentation for your campaigns
Image Credit: Call Center Helper

5. Perfect Your A/B Testing, CTAs, and Send Times

Data about how many recipients opened your email and how many clicked through to your landing page is of vital importance. This can be very insightful when comparing the performance of two versions of an email.

A/B testing allows email marketers to know what works best in their email marketing strategy. You’ll be conducting an A/B test by splitting your recipient list in half and sending the “A version” of an email to one half and the “B” to the other half.

The results will tell you which email generates a better response. You can use that information and the results of additional A/B tests to incrementally fine-tune your content until it’s exactly what your audience wants to see.

You can use this analysis to optimize several aspects of your email, including subject lines, CTA, send times, and many more.

However, you should only test one thing at a time. If an email with Subject Line A is sent at noon and another version with Subject Line B goes out at 3:00 PM, when one email gets a better response, you won’t have any idea if the improved performance is due to the subject line or the send time. 

If you A/B test one element of your email at a time, you’ll be able to pinpoint which subject line, CTA, and sent time gets you the best response.

6. Don’t Let Your Emails Be Filtered Out as Spam

Every email service has features to protect users from spam. They employ spam filters to flag and remove suspicious emails that might be a mechanism for distributing malware or used as part of a scam. If spam filters wrongly flag your messages as spam, a good portion of your audience will never see your newsletter.

One vital step to keep your email out of recipients’ spam folders is to avoid using “sales language.” A spam filter uses advanced algorithms that scan your email for the content often found in spam emails. You should avoid using all caps, triple exclamation points, and words like “free,” “bonus,” or “sale.” Also, leave out classic hard-sell phrases like “Act now!”

Another effective way to keep your email from being misidentified as spam is to get safelisted, that is, to get added to the user’s list of pre-approved email senders. You can casually request it in the footer of your email, perhaps leveraging the user’s FOMO (fear of missing out). If your user feels the content is relevant to their interests, it’s more likely they won’t want to miss it. This will lead to fewer spam complaints.

Do A/B tests for your email campaigns
Image Credit: Workana

7. Measure Results to Reveal Opportunities for Improvement 

We discussed A/B testing, but that’s focused more on the top of the sales funnel than the bottom. Email open and click-through rates are instrumental in tweaking the early steps of prospect grooming. Still, customer behaviour over time can give you a better overall picture of campaign performance, revealing areas that could be improved.

Post-campaign analysis can also expose new customer segments to target. For example, if you track the number of people who have opened at least one of your emails in the last 30 days, you’ll end up with a list of active and inactive subscribers.

To maximize engagement, you need to send those two groups very different messages. Without taking a long-term view of your campaign performance data, you’d never be able to take advantage of a segmentation opportunity like that.

Once you have campaign results data that reveal subscriber behaviour over time and expose the true impact your emails had on sales, you can take the opportunity to overhaul your approach before beginning a new campaign. 

Your opt-in form should collect the user's name you can use that info to personalize the messages you send

Boost Your Email Marketing Campaign Performance

Email marketing is effective because it targets people who, as subscribers, are qualified prospects, fully primed to consume your content and make a purchase.

Beyond fundamentals like using an email marketing service, sending personalized, relevant content, and focusing on conversion, there are ways to tweak your email newsletter to maximize its effectiveness.

Engaging your audience with a compelling story, splitting recipients into segments, testing your content, writing alluring subject lines and avoiding spam complaints can give you results immediately – and provide a lasting impact on your campaigns.

With these email marketing optimization techniques at your fingertips, we hope that you create better content for your customers and boost the performance of your next email campaign!

María is an enthusiast of cinema, literature and digital communication. As Content Coordinator at HostPapa, she focuses on the publication of content for the blog and social networks, organizing the translations, as well as writing and editing articles for the KB.

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