Why your email marketing strategy needs a makeover

With all of us plagued by emails every day, it’s time to switch it up. Here’s how you can take your email marketing strategy to the next level this year.

Why your email marketing strategy needs a makeover
Written by Will Troup
Email  |   5 minute read

Think about how many emails land in your inbox every day. Some you read. Others you ignore. And some you promise to unsubscribe to when you have some free time and never get around to it - only to get frustrated when that same company sends you a further 63 emails. Your audience is feeling the same way and this year, email fatigue is more real than ever.

We’re at a stage where the world needs to get online, but that means the volume of emails sent to audiences is higher than ever. How do you stand out from that noise? Here are some of my top tips to give your email marketing strategy a new year makeover.

Why your email marketing strategy needs a new year makeover

Low engagement rates, unsubscribes and spam complaints. If you’ve noticed a lot of these after sending emails, it’s likely your audience isn’t too fond of hearing from you right now. Email is just one area where a global pandemic has had a significant impact, with pretty much every brand refocusing on this channel.

Email fatigue can happen for a few reasons. One: the content you send is irrelevant (15% of users actually find email content useful) and two: the frequency isn’t what it should be. You might send one email a week, but to your audience, that’s one more on top of hundreds of others they receive.

Studies show 53% of users tolerate no more than five emails a week from a sender. So if you’re sending out more, it might be time to reign it in.

Hyper-personalisation is more important than ever

Personalisation is always a winner. It can lead to 26x more open rates and six times higher transactions rates - but it goes beyond simply sticking someone’s name in a subject line. Every email you send needs to feel like an exclusive to the person opening it. It needs to feel relevant to them and that you took time and effort to personally send them the email.

By using segmentation and dynamic content, you can start sending out hyper-personalised content this year. Group your email subscribers into smaller segments based on specific criteria - purchase history, interests, location, that sort of thing.

Using these segments, you can create content specifically for each segment, rather than sending the same email to everyone.

Mobile-friendly design must be accessible

Very rarely will people read emails just on their desktop. Everyone has a smartphone with them at all times and 55% of smartphone users have made at least one purchase after receiving a mobile promotional email. That means you need to cater to your mobile audience first and foremost. If it looks unsightly on a mobile device, they’re probably going to hit delete right away.

Here’s how you can make your emails more mobile-friendly:

  • Make them responsive: This optimises the user experience - regardless of the device or screen readers use. A platform like HubSpot is great for this as it means you won’t need to create emails from scratch per device.
  • Make your CTAs stand out: Text links serve their purpose but can be easy to miss if it isn’t obvious. You don’t want to alienate those with smaller screens (or big hands) if the CTA is too small. Keep it in line with your branding but make it noticeable and easy-to-click.
  • Make the subject line short: The subject line is make or break. Keep it short and snappy so the reader knows exactly what the email is about. It’s easier to see a long subject on a desktop, but on a smartphone, a long subject line cuts off, so readers might not want to continue.

A/B test wherever you can

If Barack Obama’s team A/B tested emails during his presidential campaign, it’s probably a good idea for you to do the same. It’s a great way to find out what performs well and what doesn’t - so you can do more of what works and ditch what isn’t getting you the results you need.

Testing gives you actionable data to make those crucial marketing improvements. Here’s what you should A/B test through your email marketing strategy:

  • Subject lines
  • Copy
  • CTAs
  • Design
  • Personalisation
  • Landing pages
  • Target audience
  • Sender name
  • Email length
  • From address

Try them out and see which variations work best. It turns out A/B testing subject lines saw an increase of $2 million in donations for Obama. Decent.

Interactive emails are proving popular

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is huge for creating interactive emails. Using this, you can create interactive content right inside your marketing emails - perfect if you want to add a nifty little carousel to show off products and offer options to buy inside the email, rather than linking to a webpage.

It can get a little frustrating to click on multiple links before getting to the right page or checking out. Giving readers the interactive option of doing everything right inside the email reduces friction and makes the user journey less complicated. If it’s less strenuous, you’re more likely to have readers complete the desired action.

Omnichannel marketing to better nurture leads

Although email marketing plays a huge role in lead nurturing, you can’t rely on this channel alone. Consider adding omnichannel marketing to your strategy instead, as it uses traditional and digital channels to send relevant messages to your consumers, regardless of the channels you use to engage.

Why? Because it helps meet consumers where they are. Think about the last time you wanted to buy something online. The likelihood is you’re visiting different websites before committing. Your readers are the same. Omnichannel marketing helps you engage with potential consumers across multiple channels.

It includes everything from organic search and YouTube videos, right through to podcasts and social media ad re-marketing. By doing this, you answer their questions, meet their needs and remove any hurdles that are in the way of them buying from you. 

Use AI for better engagement

A lot of people unsubscribe whenever they start receiving too many emails. The challenge? Finding the perfect time where every individual in your database is ready to receive and read your content. The manual method involves analysing your audience’s response to find the best day and time to send your emails.

Or, you can use AI to find the optimal sending time and frequency for sending your emails.

As it’s harder than ever to get your emails noticed in a cluttered inbox, an email delivery optimisation system can help you break through that noise. One of my favourite tools - and something we use a lot at Digital 22 - is Seventh Sense. It’s an AI tool that optimises frequency and personalises email delivery times for each individual.

If getting your message out to the right people at the right time is a real struggle for you right now, then you’ll benefit from my in-depth guide on improving your email marketing strategy with intelligent software. Check it out by clicking here.

Yes, COVID has wreaked havoc and everyone is switching up their tactics. From an email perspective, it’s time to go beyond automation and bold, fancy colours and try something different. Once you’ve made some changes to your email offering, it’s time to look at your other channels to see the improvements you can make.

Stay ahead of marketing trends and reach your goals

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