22 Email Marketing Tips That Will Improve Performance

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways of engaging and reaching prospects, retaining customers, and encouraging them to take action. This post offers some tips on how to improve results from your email marketing campaigns and optimise performance.


1. Build A List


Prior to any email marketing campaign, you need to build an audience to send your email to by building an email list. Start by asking yourself why your audience would sign up for your emails,  then use this to build a list.

This can be done any number of ways, from using a lead generation form on your site, offering an incentive such as exclusive content or special offers, and sending the email to your existing client list, to using a pop-up sign-up box on your site, or asking followers to sign up via social media. Find what works best for you to build a list of prospects.


2. Define Your Audience And Goals


The first step to any email marketing initiative is to define your audience and goals for the campaign. Determine who you are sending your email to and what kind of content your audience wants to receive – blog posts? Exclusive offers? Business updates? News? Why would they want to receive your email?

This will help you to define the purpose of your email campaign and envisage how it fits with your overall marketing strategy. Understand the goal of your campaign so that you know what you want to achieve and can measure its success.


3. Segment Your Audience


Once you have built a list and identified your audience, segment this list into more specific audiences so that you can target different groups with custom campaigns. Not all of your list will want to receive the same content, so this allows you to tailor content so you send relevant messages to relevant audiences at different stages of the customer buying cycle.

This will result in fewer unsubscribes, greater click-through, and increased engagement as your targeting is focused on sending users content they want to read.


4. Avoid Spam Filters


If you want your email to be read and acted upon, you need to ensure your email avoids the spam folder, as this negatively impacts deliverability rates. You can do this by avoiding spam filters. This includes avoiding spam trigger words and phrases in your subject line such as ‘this isn’t spam’.

This also involves ensuring you have received permission from the recipient to send them emails. Use a double opt-in form to ensure the recipient has subscribed to receive emails from you and you have been added to their address book.

Users can also flag your emails as spam which indicates to the spam filters that they should mark your emails as spam in others’ inboxes too. To prevent readers from flagging your email, ensure that all elements of your email, including text, images, links, and design, are well formatted, user-friendly, read well, work properly, and look attractive to the receiver.


5. Get Personal


Personalising your email for every individual recipient can improve open rates, engagement rates, and click-through. Write as if you are writing personally to one person by using the recipient’s first name, speak directly using ‘you’, and sign off with your personal name rather than your corporate brand name so that the email is coming from a real person.

You can further make your email more personal by using personalised past purchase data to tailor the email to what the recipient engages with. This will create more impactful emails as you send relevant messages related to their unique interests.


6. Write Valuable Content


Your email should always contain content that is valuable to your reader, as should all of your content marketing. Ask why your audience would benefit from reading your email. What do your contacts gain from reading your email? Why would they open it?

Your content should be positioned with your goal to help you achieve it. Create content that is informative, helpful, useful, entertaining, educational, inspiring, and convinces the user to take action.


7. Write Like A Human


Always write like a human in your emails. This means expressing your personality, using humour, and being friendly. Simply, write to another human in your natural speaking voice. This will make you more trustworthy to prospects and help you build a stronger relationship.

Your email will also be more impactful if you evoke emotion in your reader. This will make readers more likely to engage in your content and compel them to click your call to action.


8. Include A CTA


Every email you send should have an aim that is aligned with your marketing campaign. Hence, every email should have a clear CTA to encourage action.

Whether the action is to read a blog post, get in touch, claim an offer, sign up for a trial, or fill out a form, decipher what the main purpose of the email is, what you want it to achieve, and what action you want people to take. Then, add a clear CTA to direct users to a specific landing page, product page, or web page.


9. Be Wary When Using Images And Videos


Visual media is proven to be more engaging than just text, so your email is more likely to perform better if you use GIFs, videos, and pictures to illustrate your message.

However, you should be wary when using images and videos in your email as not all email providers display images by default and images may be automatically blocked. Hence, use images sparingly and don’t focus on image-heavy design or rely on images to convey main messages as most recipients will not see the images in your email.


10. Insert Links


Insert links in your email to drive traffic to a landing page, send users to a blog post, or send people to a specific offer or product on your site. These will work with your CTA to encourage users to carry out different actions to learn more about what you have teased in your email.


11. Add Social Sharing Buttons


Include links to your social media accounts in your email with social sharing buttons. This will allow you to further promote your email and allow subscribers to share your content to generate new leads and ultimately allow you to access a greater audience than those already subscribed to your list.


12. Write A Subject Line That Makes Your Email Irresistible To Open


Your subject line is key to ensuring your email is opened, read, and acted upon. It’s the first thing that users see and use to decide whether to open your email so you need to use a subject line that readers just have to open. Make your subject line stand out amongst the hundreds of emails you are competing against in subscribers’ inboxes.

Keep your subject line short, simple, clear, punchy, and relevant to the content in your email. Use action words and power words to evoke urgency, emotion, curiosity, and excitement to encourage opens and compel action. Don’t forget to test subject lines by resending your email with a new subject line to those who didn’t open the first time.


13. Make Your Email Scannable


Most readers will not read your whole email and only scan it – 81 percent only skim the content they read online. Hence, you need to ensure your email is scannable and easy to read and the messaging is clear.

Use plenty of white space, subheadings, bullet points, and headings to break up your content into sections. Highlight main points, avoid long blocks of text, and keep your messaging succinct, short, and to the point.


14. Be Consistent


As with all your marketing material, you need to ensure your email branding is consistent in both design and tone of voice. This means using the same fonts, colours, logo, images, voice, messaging, and tone that is used across your website, social media profiles and all other marketing collateral so that readers recognise your brand and know that they can trust you.


15. Optimise For Mobile


Recent reports by Litmus state that 51% of email is now opened on a mobile device. More and more are opening email on mobile so you need to optimise your email for mobile devices.

Ensure your email is mobile-friendly with responsive design, content that is easy to read and engaging, and a clear CTA, and make sure it automatically fits all screen sizes.


16. Send A Test Email


Before sending your email to your list, send a test email first to put yourself in your reader’s shoes and see how it will look to them. Research from Litmus shows that 71% of people will delete an email immediately if it doesn’t display correctly, so use this test email to ensure your email is a high standard and everything is functioning perfectly.

This includes proofreading for spelling and grammar mistakes, fixing technical errors, ensuring the layout is in order, making sure images display correctly, checking that links are not broken and direct to the correct page, and it is functional on all devices.


17. Send Emails Regularly


Send emails regularly. Whether you send monthly, weekly, or daily, stay in prospects’ minds and inboxes through regular updates, news, and offers to increase your success rate. Keep your emails consistent so readers look forward to receiving your email. However, don’t overdo it and overload subscribers with emails or you’ll be sent straight to spam or trash.


18. Make It Easy To Unsubscribe


Make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe from your emails and let them manage their subscriptions with a simple ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘manage subscription’ option in the footer of your email. Let them change their email preferences and decide which emails they want to receive and how often.

It is important to make it easy for users to manage their emails as users can get frustrated and relate this negative feeling to your brand if they find it difficult to unsubscribe. If users cannot unsubscribe they may mark your email as spam or junk instead, making your email more likely to be marked as spam in others’ inboxes.

Giving users the option to manage their subscription gives them the choice to opt down instead of completely out – this way you still keep your customers and they’re happy receiving your emails on their terms. When first building your list you should also provide users with a double opt-in option to ensure they are completely happy receiving emails from you.


19. Clean And Update Your Email List


Regularly clean and update your email list to keep contacts fresh and relevant. Keep your list as maintained and organised as possible by removing inactive users who do not open or engage with your emails and deleting undeliverable email addresses.

Keeping inactive users on your list negatively impacts email delivery and open rates and skews results with invalid data. By keeping your list updated with engaged users you can focus your efforts on those who do open your emails and work on nurturing quality leads.


20. Test Design Elements


Test which email formats get a greater open rate, click-through, and engagement. Does your audience prefer text-only emails or fully designed HTML formatting? Do they interact better with images or just simple text? Which colours and typography? How many sections do they read before losing interest? Do the colours and positioning of your CTA affect its click-through? Send to your audiences to test what works best.


21. Test The Best Times To Send Your Email


Test the best times to send out your email. This will be based on when your audience is most likely to open your email. This will differ from industry to industry and business to business, so think about when your audience is most engaged and most likely to interact with their emails. Weekends? Weekdays? Morning? Afternoon? Night?

The only thing to do is test and send emails out at different times to discover which time is most effective for engaging your audience and the different segmented audiences within this main audience.


22. Track Emails To Improve Performance


Track your emails using UTM codes to record clicks, engagement, conversions, and bounce rate and assess how well your email has achieved its goal. Constantly A/B test subject lines, headlines, featured content, creative design, formatting, CTA positioning, and send times.

Analyse results to discover what resonates most with your audience and which subscribers to further engage with. Then use this data to improve open rates, click-through, and optimise the success of your campaign.


Improve Performance Of Your Email Marketing Campaigns


Improve results from your email marketing campaigns with these 22 top tips. From writing valuable content, adding a CTA, segmenting your list, and writing an irresistible subject line, to formatting for readability, optimising for mobile, updating your list, and testing and tracking results, optimise the performance of your email marketing campaigns to reach and engage prospects, retain customers, and encourage your audience to take action.

If you have any questions about email marketing or any other aspect of content marketing, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. Let me know your top email marketing tips in the comments below.


6 Responses

  1. Hi, Beth! Great tips here. I’m a big supporter of #3. It’s best to ensure that your audience isn’t receiving the same content, especially if they signed up for different categories. You should always have many lists, including a general one for the big announcements. But the rest should be divided by area of interest. I think a few email list builder give you the ability to add a “choose list” option in the form. That way, the subscriber chooses what they want to receive.

    Tip #4 and tip #10 seems contradictory to me. From my experience, I saw that including many links triggers the spam filters. (that’s why commercial emails end up in spam). I wouldn’t recommend using too many links, at most 5 as that should be well enough for whatever campaign you have. I may be wrong, but that’s my 2 cents.

    Thank you for such great content!

    1. Hi Stefan, thanks, I hope you find the tips useful!

      Yep, segmenting lists to ensure subscribers receive the content they signed up for and actually want to receive is paramount and dividing by area of interest is just one of the great ways to do this, and letting readers choose this content will ensure they read what they want to read.

      I think that links can be a factor that indicates spam if not used correctly, like inserting excessive links, linking to unreputable sites, or adding irrelevant links.

      However, in my experience, when used correctly and thoughtfully, links can be used to add value, engage an audience, encourage action, increase traffic, and increase click-through. An email without links is limited and gives your reader nowhere else to go.
      I agree that using links in moderation as you suggest and only when relevant is best. You need to ensure the links add value, are relevant to the content in the email, and link to where they say they are linking to – just like using links on a blog post or website.

      Thank you for your comment, you have some great content on your site too – I like your post on the best blogging tools!


  2. Hi, Beth.

    These are some very useful and well-written tips which will prove to be very useful for any beginner. And I totally agree with the tip that the freedom to unsubscribe is a must since the customers should come and go of their own accord. Thank you for such an amazing post.

  3. Hey Beth, thanks for sharing the email marketing tips to improve performance. It is a cost-effective and most-effective way of engaging and reaching your prospects and encouraging them to take action. IMO subject line is also one tip to improve email marketing performance.

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