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Five ways to improve your email marketing

Mailbutler shows you how to know if your email marketing strategy needs improving and shares five tips for improving your email marketing.

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8 minutes

    By Corina Leslie

    Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for the email validation and deliverability platform ZeroBounce. She loves helping businesses grow and has shared her email and PR tips on platforms such as Money, Zapier, Zoho, and Social Media Today.

    More than 4.37 billion people will have an email address by the end of 2023, and in 2024 this number will be 4.48 billion data from the Mailbutler statistics shows. What’s more, email is the channel people prefer when it comes to hearing from brands.

    For companies, the marketing potential of email is tremendous, but so are the challenges:

    • About 15 out of 100 emails don’t make it to the inbox.
    • With inboxes overcrowded, standing out is getting harder.
    • Staying relevant and innovative requires more energy, time, and creativity.

    If your email marketing has been slow lately, don’t feel discouraged. Like every booming industry, email is evolving, so what you may need is a fresh perspective.

    The first steps don’t have to be that hard. Below we look at five tips to refresh your emails, boost your clicks, and make more sales. Using these tactics will also help you reassess your performance – and improve your overall engagement.

    How to tell that your email marketing needs a revamp

    Before you start changing anything about your email marketing, it’s wise to take a look at your current strategy and see how it’s working. Focusing on these metrics will give you a good idea of where you stand:

    • Click-through rates. Checking your click rates is an effective way to tell how your emails are performing. When Apple introduced its Mail Privacy Protection feature, open rates became a lot less reliable. The average click rate, across all industries, hovers around 2.2%, so if you're significantly lower than this, you might want to revamp your strategy.
    • Replies and forwards. They indicate how approachable your company is and how relevant your content.
    • Unsubscribes. An uptick in the number of people leaving your list is useful feedback. What types of emails tend to cause the most unsubscribes? Take note.
    • Spam complaints. Much worse than unsubscribes, they affect your email deliverability and can reflect poor practices, some of which you may not even be aware of. ZeroBounce can help with deliverability!
    • Conversions. The ultimate metric. Strongly tied to your click rates, conversions are a clear mirror of your performance. If this metric makes you unhappy, it’s time to get to the bottom of things.

    Ready to learn how to give your metrics a boost? Here are five easy tactics to refresh your email marketing and see better results.

    Improve Your Email Marketing Results

    Designed for business owners and freelancers using Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail.

    Clean and update your email list

    Clean and update your email list

    Increasing your clicks and conversions starts with using a good, healthy email list. It’s at the core of your sender's reputation and deliverability, so if your engagement is low, your list is what you need to look at first.

    Open your reports and look at your recent bounce rate – is it higher than 2%?

    Then your emails may be going to the spam folder. Pulling them out of there means you need to run your database through an email checker.

    Email verification services help you identify invalid data, which you can then remove and improve your chances of landing in the inbox.

    Apart from bad email addresses, good email verifiers also detect spam traps, disposable emails that will bounce, and even email users who may report you as spam.

    Make your content more relevant and easier to consume

    Once you make sure your email list isn’t causing you to land in spam, it’s time to reassess your content. Are you sending the most useful emails for your audience segment? It’s something all good marketers ask themselves – constantly.

    If you’re not sure, it pays to run a few tests. Here are some tips to get you started:

    • Sometimes, your content could be just what your audience wants, but your subject lines don’t do a great job highlighting it. Run an A/B subject line test to see how two different versions compete.
    • Take a look at your best-performing emails and see what they have in common. Then, isolate and amplify those elements – whether they're certain topics, copywriting formulas, or the design of your email templates.
    • Ask your subscribers. It shows you value their opinion. Who is better to ask for feedback than the people on your email list?

    Experiment with different lengths and formats

    It’s in our nature to get comfortable once we find a routine. In email marketing, having a routine is vital – but so is changing it sometimes. Experimentation gives you precious feedback and allows you to improve.

    You can take any element of your email marketing and test it against a different version of it. Once you fine-tune your content, move on to your email length and the formats you use.

    If your emails are rather short and you feel like your subscribers would enjoy more content, consider adding another section to your newsletter.

    And if your newsletter is rich and meaty, send a shorter email to see how your audience reacts. What matters most, however, is to keep your content awesome, regardless of your word count.

    Send more educational emails

    There’s nothing wrong with selling through email. However, you’ll notice that the most successful companies don’t sell overtly and repeatedly.

    Instead, they attract their audience with inbound marketing tactics.

    These tactics use educational content to attract a target audience, nurture it, and push it down the sales funnel. Getting these steps right can make a huge difference in conversion rates.

    This doesn’t mean you can’t send direct marketing emails, such as discounts and other offers.

    What it does mean is that you should, on top of those, add an educational newsletter to your roster, the goal of which is merely to build familiarity and trust in your business. Make sure your email signature is in great shape so that it entices people to get in touch.

    Address your disengaged subscribers

    Every list will have highly engaged subscribers as well as people who hardly ever click on an email. Moreover, some of your prospects may have signed up and never opened a message from you.

    Are you regularly pruning them out?

    Going back to the first point: keeping your list healthy and vibrant matters so much. Once you’ve removed invalid email addresses, isolate disengaged subscribers.

    Some marketers simply remove them, but if you don’t want to let go yet, you can target them with a dedicated campaign. This campaign can reveal which email contacts you need to prune out.

    Make this a habit and remove subscribers who don’t open your emails. Here are two reasons why:

    • Keeping them prevents you from building better deliverability. By never interacting with your emails, disengaged subscribers tell inbox providers that your content is irrelevant.
    • Some of those email addresses may have been abandoned. They may get deactivated and bounce or, even worse, turned into spam traps. Both bounces and spam traps sabotage your inbox placement.

    Before you make changes to your email marketing

    improving your email marketing

    Keeping things fresh for your subscribers is a healthy approach to email marketing. But before you start making changes, also be aware of best practices. These never change:

    • Build your own list and don’t add people to it without consent.
    • Send the kind of content you promised – and send it regularly.
    • Never repeatedly email users who complain.
    • Use an email address people can reply to, and respond to every reply.
    • Let go of prospects who don’t engage with your emails.
    • Look at what spammers do, then do the opposite.

    At their core, best practices are common sense. You know what’s right and what’s wrong even if you’re just beginning. And if there are things that you’re not sure of, there are so many resources out there. Continue to educate yourself and your emails will keep getting better.

    Bonus tip:

    Practice email list segmentation for better engagement

    We segment our audience into groups by looking at things like what they do and where they are. This really helps us talk to them in a way that makes sense for them. We break down our email campaigns into groups - one for people in the US, one for those in Germany, and a general one for everyone else. This way, we can make sure we're saying the right things to the right people.

    We've had to learn some lessons along the way, though. At first, we sent all our emails based on European time, which didn't work well for our clients in the US. They were getting emails in the middle of the night or super early in the morning, which wasn't great. So, we changed things up and started sending emails at times that were better for each group, and that helped a lot.

    We also make sure our emails feel right for each group. For people in Germany, we write in German. For clients in the US, we make sure prices are in dollars. These changes made a big difference. Our emails to Germany get clicked on a lot more, and making things clearer for our US audience has cut down on confusion and boosted how often they click through. It shows that paying attention to these little things can really pay off.

    Improve your email marketing FAQs

    How can you improve your email marketing?

    You can improve your email marketing by:

    • Cleaning and updating your email list (run your database through an email checker to identify “bad” email addresses and detect spam traps)
    • Creating more valuable and engaging content (share information your audience segment will benefit from and regularly run A/B subject line tests to find the most effective ways to highlight your content)
    • Trying out various email lengths and formats (for example, if you tend to send simple and concise email newsletters, experiment by adding a section or two to your next message)
    • Targeting your disengaged subscribers (send them dedicated campaigns, see who opens your emails, and remove the contacts who ignore your messages)

    Does email marketing still work in 2023?

    Yes, it does. According to Statista, global email marketing revenue is expected to cross the 10-billion-dollar threshold in 2023. What’s more, email marketing’s average return on investment (ROI) is practically unbeatable; for every dollar, you spend on email marketing, you can expect up to $45 in return.

    Email marketing works and will continue to work because people prefer receiving promotional messages in their email inboxes rather than anywhere else.

    What are the most important trends in email marketing?

    The most important trends in email marketing are:

    • Segmentation and personalization. Dividing your email contacts into groups based on their age, gender, education, income, nationality, geographical location, email and purchase behavior, and other criteria allows you to personalize your emails and send the right content to the right subscribers.
    • Interactivity. Making your emails interactive is a great way to stand out from the crowd and engage your recipients. You can accomplish this by incorporating polls, surveys, and feedback forms into your messages.
    • User-generated content. Adding user-generated content to your emails is an easy yet highly effective way to show your readers you care about them and their experience with your product or service.
    • Mobile optimization. Nowadays, most smartphone owners use their mobile devices to check their email inbox, which is why using mobile-responsive email templates is a must.
    • Omnichannel communication. Email is a powerful marketing tool, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t combine it with other channels like social media and SMS. This is how you’ll increase your chances to reach and interact with as many leads as possible.

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