26 Aug 23 insanely easy ways to propel your email marketing before 2023
When was the last time you
shook up reviewed your marketing emails?
So much has changed in the world of email marketing in recent years. And with each passing day, we have access to more and more data that tells us what works… and what doesn’t.
That means it’s not a guessing game anymore, you guys.
But I won’t sugarcoat things either. Fighting for attention in your customers’ overflowing inboxes is only getting harder and harder.
For one, your mailing list is likely weaker than ever (thanks to The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle – whatever you want to call it). And with Apple’s latest software release, you have even less visibility into who’s opening your emails.
Yup, the times, they are a-changin’. The question is, is your email marketing strategy changing with them?
Here are 23 things you can do to propel your email marketing – before 2023 rolls on in!
[BEFORE YOU READ: I’ve quoted lots of stats in this piece. All from (what I consider to be) reputable sources – such as Forbes, HubSpot, Shopify and Mailchimp. However, stats will always vary from source to source, so let’s not get too hung up on the specific numbers. It’s the sentiment that matters. Or as Dennis Denuto once put it, it’s all about the vibe.]
Okay, let’s do this.
1. Personalise from the get-go
Emails with a personalised subject line are 26% more likely to be opened. So, if you have their first name, don’t wait for the body of the email to use it.
Also don’t overlook who your email is from.
Whatever you do, avoid generic email addresses (such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) at all costs. It’s a surefire way to make your email look less personable.
2. Fight the spam filter – proactively
Get this: 45% of the world’s emails are spam. Think about that for a millisecond.
Nearly every second email sent is unwanted. Scams. Promos. And yes – pushy, salesy eDMs.
So how can you help your emails survive the spam filter?
- Ensure you have permission to send them an email (okay, that’s a given!)
- Create content segments they can opt in or out of (like product updates, flash sales)
But here’s the big one: 68% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. So steer clear of words and phrases that could even remotely smell of spam.
Words and phrases like:
- 100% satisfied
- Limited time offer
Still not sure? Then test your subject lines using an email subject line tester tool.
3. Make it easy to sign up
What’s the point of having a list if you’re not making it easy and enticing for people to subscribe?
For starters, ensure the sign-up link is conspicuous on your website (rather than hiding in the bottom right hand corner in size 8 font). Then, make sure your wording is customer-centric.
How? By focusing on the customer benefits. For example:
- Instead of: Subscribe to our mailing list
- Try: Get exclusive offers in your inbox
Also, be sure to have several sign-up forms and talk about your newsletter across your other channels.
4. Fill the pre-header text
Otherwise called the Johnson Box, the pre-header text is a snippet that doubles up as a secondary subject line.
It’s a smart way to convey things left unsaid in the subject line. And another opportunity to entice your recipients to open the email and read it!
5. Embrace the emoji 🥳
Remember when using emojis in business communication was considered unprofessional?
Not so much nowadays. They help an email seem more personal – as if it was sent from a human rather than some business entity.
In fact, using an emoji in your subject line increases the 📧 open rate by about 25% – so one clever emoji could be just what you need to edge out your competition.
Just be careful that they don’t come off the wrong way due to a misinterpretation.
And avoid boring ones that everyone else is using. (Here’s looking at you ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ 😂 – the most popular emoji on Twitter.)
6. Hike up the humanity
We’ve all navigated a turbulent few years (and many people are still in the thick of it).
So if you haven’t already done so, consider adjusting the language in your emails – by writing in a more conversational, empathetic tone.
Also, be sure to pause email automations, including push notifications and text messages, for people who are facing a regional emergency or unrest. Your subscribers might be followers of your brand, but they are humans first – and expect a considerate marketing approach.
7. Design for success
The design of your email determines the fate of your campaign.
And when it’s a mere afterthought – or, gasp, overlooked altogether – you’ll be sacrificing conversions.
The design doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated (in fact, the opposite is true – see point 8 below). Just make sure the colour palette works well, the copy is concise – and the final email downloads in a flash.
8. Maximise minimalism
It’s the age of minimalism: where uncluttered, well-structured emails with a single objective and minimum distracting information are reigning supreme.
So, always remember: white space is golden.
How do you achieve it? Start with these easy formatting principles:
- Single-line paragraphs
- Image padding
- Distinct section breaks
Cleaner, shorter and well-formatted marketing emails? Yes please!
9. Think mobile first
At work, we use large monitors. Which is great for productivity. But they can blind you to how your email content will look on smaller screens.
Over 64% of emails are read on mobile devices. While over 70% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are reported to come from mobile.
Thankfully, mobile devices have grown from 3.5” with the original iPhone, in 2007, to over 6” in 2022. Giving you plenty more screen space to work with.
Some topline tips for mobile design:
- Structure elements vertically
- Harness plenty of white space to separate the content
- Build larger CTA buttons (not all fingers are dainty!)
Before you hit send, run a few tests to make sure your design looks good on smaller screens.
10. Make it visual – and don’t overlook video
Our minds are programmed to rapidly process visuals.
And by including visual content – like photos and infographics – you can increase your conversion rate by up to SEVEN times.
Perhaps you can find a novel way to include a GIF, like animating your product in use.
But don’t overdo it either. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience by having too much going on.
And what about video, you ask?
Good question – because as good as words and images may be, videos are even better. That’s because people are THREE times more likely to click on links in emails with embedded videos.
11. Write and design for people of all abilities
It’s tempting (and easier) to take a one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing.
But, with 1 in 6 Australians living with a disability (18% of the population), you must be mindful of best practices in email accessibility. Here’s a start:
- Add supporting alt-text so screen readers can read the image description
- Ensure the flashing rate of GIFs is between 2 Hz to 55 Hz as this can harm people with photosensitive epilepsy
- Use distinctive colour contrast to assist people who are colour blind (e.g. light yellow text on a white background is a big no-no)
- Add semantic tags like <p>, <h2> and <h3> to guide the reading flow of the email
- Consider including a dark mode option (it’s less strenuous on your reader’s eyes)
12. Trial it on a Tuesday
Forget about manic Mondays: people are simply too busy to read marketing emails at the beginning of the week.
But they tend to be less frantic, less grumpy – and therefore more receptive to promotional content – on Tuesdays.
That said, also consider whether you’re targeting businesses or everyday consumers.
While 10am may be the golden hour to hit send for businesses, an email sent at 5:30pm – while people are on their commute home – will be more effective for consumers.
So test different times and days to find out when your audience likes to engage with your content.
13. Test (like you’ve never tested before)
I’m here to champion trying and failing. Wait, what?
Let me explain. Unless you try new ideas and experiment, you’ll never know if your marketing is as convincing as it could be.
But don’t do so randomly.
The key is to gather performance data – like click and conversion rates – and then optimise your next email campaign off the back of it.
So A/B test different elements to see what works. Learn more about your audience and pinpoint what they resonate with. Elements to test:
- Subject lines, headlines and introductions
- CTA placement and wording
- Plain-text vs HTML emails
- Shorter or longer copy
14. Align and integrate your channels
No email marketing strategy is an island.
You’ll get much stronger results by connecting with your customers at multiple times in multiple places. Especially if you’re delivering a consistent experience across channels. Social media, push notifications and SMS.
Businesses with a single-channel strategy retain 33% of their customers.
But those with omnichannel strategies? That figure jumps to 89%.
Aligning each channel enables your brand to remain consistent and provide a seamless experience – everywhere.
15. Invest more time into your subject lines
A perfectly pitched subject line can make all the difference to the success of your email campaign. So, if you have four hours to write an eDM, spend at least one of those hours on your subject line.
Brainstorm a range of options. Walk away. Brainstorm some more. And then get feedback from your team before choosing the best one or two.
Although there’s no perfect formula, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep it short: With most opens taking place on mobile, your subject line should be fewer than 50 characters. So don’t waste valuable space with words like ‘update’ or ‘newsletter’ in the subject line.
- Make it active: Subject lines that begin with action verbs are a lot more enticing – and more clickable. Book, join, register, visit, dine, trial… and so on.
- Leverage the power of a number: Using data and numbers will help get your emails noticed, demonstrate a clear and straightforward message about your offer, and set the right expectations.
- DON’T YELL: Avoid ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation (!!!!!). It looks amateurish and can turn people off in a millisecond. See?!?!?!
16. Create quality landing pages
Too often, marketers put all their effort into creating the perfect marketing email – without giving their landing pages a second thought.
Your landing page should reinforce your email and provide value to the customers that make it there.
So when you include a CTA in your email, don’t squander that click-through with a sub-par landing page.
17. Respect and protect your customers’ data
People are concerned about their privacy – and rightly so.
That means you need to do whatever you can to reinforce their confidence in your integrity. How? Through open communication.
For example, you could send an email explaining to your customers that their information is safe and that all your processes are compliant.
And always include clear, easy-to-find links to your unsubscribe page. People will lose even more faith in your brand if you make this difficult.
You may also consider asking people to fill out a short questionnaire (either on a landing page or welcome email) to specify their preferred content and mailing frequency.
Don’t pressure them to decide on the spot, though. Instead, link them to the preference control centre in every email so that they can update theirs whenever they want.
18. Include interactive elements
Interactive elements boost customer engagement. For example:
- Animated buttons and CTAs
- Rollover effects to showcase your product offering
- Interactive image and product carousels, controlled by the user
- Accordion features designed to make long-form emails more compact
- Surveys, polls and user-generated interactive content
All of these are connected with another interactive email marketing trend – email marketing gamification.
Gamified solutions offer a competitive advantage by standing out among the rest of the emails in a subscriber’s inboxes.
19. Stop using open rates as your measure of success
Since Apple released iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey and watchOS 8, it now preloads all email content.
This means your email will still appear ‘opened’ – even if your reader never opens it.
So how should you measure success?
It’s all about the click-throughs – to your website, landing pages, blog and so on. And of course, if you’re in the ecommerce game, sales.
This issue is also a good reminder that email marketing is not a one-way form of communication. So why not encourage replies, and when a reader sends you a message, write back.
20. Embrace AI
Many marketers are still reluctant to incorporate AI into their email marketing because they don’t understand how they can benefit from using it.
But you need to remember that AI isn’t meant to replace you, but to optimise your workload – and help you scale your email marketing efforts.
How can it help?
- Suggest ideas for subject lines
- Optimise your campaigns (like frequency, send times and days between sending)
- Clean up your mailing lists
(In fact, we recently wrote an entire article on AI-powered copywriting.)
21. Draw on user-generated content
Many consumers (82%) state that user-generated reviews are extremely valuable. In fact, 70% of all consumers base their purchasing decision on reviews and ratings from other users.
So look for opportunities to include content created by your end-users. It could be text, videos, images or even audio.
This content acts as social proof for your brand by showing new customers how real people are already interacting with and enjoying your product or services.
22. Don’t become a victim of data decay
On average, about a quarter of an email list goes bad in a year. In 2020 and 2021, email lists have been churning even faster.
Why did this happen?
Many people’s employment situation changed. The lockdowns resulted in thousands of companies going under. Some people were laid off. And many of those left jumped ship.
Periodic email list cleaning is an email marketing best practice that is only intensifying in 2022. Keep an eye on the quality of your list and remove outdated contacts with an email verifier. If you have a dynamic list and get lots of sign-ups, you may have to validate them monthly.
23. Make it a team effort
Email marketing is continually evolving. And trends come and go.
So to stay on top of the ‘latest thing’, enrol the help of your wider team. Collaborate across departments to source a variety of inputs and ideas.
What shifts are they seeing in the market? And what tips do they have to offer?
As consumer needs and expectations evolve – and technology advances – so too must your marketing. Staying still simply isn’t an option.
The good news is, elevating your email marketing doesn’t have to be costly or onerous. So sit down with your marketing team at the next opportunity, and discuss what small changes from the list above you can put in place. Right away.
The results might just surprise you.