Email Marketing Best Practices That Drive Results

While brands have a variety of marketing channels from which to choose, permission-based email is one of the most effective methods for building relationships throughout the customer journey. With a 36:1 ROI and more than 90% of internet users using email, this channel offers hard-to-beat efficiency and scale when managed skillfully.

There are a few key strategic components to consider when planning your email program.

email marketing

Know Your Goals

Why are you launching an email program or a new stream within an existing program? Understanding what you hope to achieve will help you determine the way to develop an email program. Are you nurturing new prospects or leads? Trying to increase purchase frequency? Improving loyalty?

With your goal(s) in mind and an understanding of your customer’s journey with your brand you can determine what type(s) of email will best meet your goals. Trying to keep customers informed about on-going product news and announcements? A newsletter or similar scheduled campaign may work well. Need to convince a new prospect to buy for the first time? Consider a nurture series.

For most brands a mix of automated and ad hoc or calendar-based emails can help achieve a variety of business goals.

Measure for Success

With your goals in mind, determine specific business metrics such as sales goals, increasing household penetration (HHP), driving trial of a particular product, or increasing advocacy. Before you launch any email consider how to measure success and set up appropriate tracking and attribution to ensure reporting on metrics that matter. To provide more insightful measurements, look for KPIs beyond opens and clicks. Even if you cannot measure all the way to sales consider process metrics. For example, coupon engagement and visits to your where to buy page can indicate intent to buy.

Establish Value

Permission based email requires a recipient to sign up before you begin emailing them. Before someone provides their email address and consent you need to convince them they will receive value in exchange for their permission. Consider what value looks like to your audience? Do you need to provide a discount on your product or service or will a piece of exclusive, premium content work just as well? Emails can provide value through offers, information, tools, resources, and more.

Decide on the value proposition of the email program and communicate it clearly to subscribers. Set clear expectations upfront  and be prepared to deliver against them. It is far better to under promise and over deliver than set an unreasonable expectation of value up front that leaves your audience dissatisfied.

Be Relevant

Not every customer needs to be spoken to the same way or about the same subject. Targeted email marketing is sending personalized emails to subscribers based on specific characteristics. This targeting comes from the information consumers have already given through their interactions based on age, gender, previous products purchased, sales shopped, abandoned cart and so much more. Targeting aids in delivering the right message at the right time to consumers. Recipients are much more likely to engage when messages are relevant to them.

However, it is important to balance the benefit of more relevant emails with the increased effort and eventual return. Focus your targeting and segmentation efforts where they have the biggest impact and consider how to vary messaging efficiently. Sometimes unique audiences may need completely different emails. Other times two or three copy versions will have the same impact.

Explore and Learn

It can be tempting to set up an email automation and forget about it or churn out very similar emails month after month. Resisting that temptation and setting up plan to continuously test and optimize your emails will improve your efforts and drive higher returns.

Approach testing in a structured manner just like you learned in high school science class. Have a hypothesis, determine what and how you will test it, and establish your measurement plan. There are many options for testing in email including subject lines, creative, day of week, time of day, frequency, and messaging. When setting up your test make sure you can isolate what drove the difference in results. Keep it simple and test frequently rather than trying to structure a single overly complicated test.

Following these best practices will help create a positive subscriber experience leading to real business results.

Need help creating or managing your email marketing program? Response Media is a full-service customer acquisition and CRM agency with expertise in email strategy, creative, execution, and measurement. We help top brands intelligently grow through data-driven, personalized digital marketing at scale.

For additional information download our White Paper about email best practices



Litmus, The ROI of Email Marketing, 2019 |  Constant Contact, 10 Email Marketing Statistics You Need to Know, 2022 | eMarketer, Email Marketing 2019, 2019 |


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Jennifer Streck
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