News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

While it is the oldest digital marketing tactic, over the years email marketing has continuously evolved. Mobile adaptation, ever-increasing volume of emails received, and compliance-related factors have created various concerns and re-considerations in the way the channel is utilized. Despite those hurdles, the channel remains a very viable tool for marketers.

Some time back, I covered Common Sense Email Marketing. As we approach 2020, here are five (5) more guidelines to help you maximize its performance:

1. Build an audience based on quality — not quantity.

One of the fundamental challenges with email marketing is having a quality audience to reach. Your website can often be an effective source for expanding your list. However, once you onboard individuals into your email marketing efforts, you need to provide value to them. Otherwise they’ll unsubscribe as quickly as they signed up!

As a marketer, I know how good it feels to see a big list of subscribers. But a highly engaged, small list of subscribers is typically more valuable than a very large list of inactive subscribers who will never purchase from you.

Many email platforms like Gmail and Hotmail can monitor interactions with your subscribers. SPAM complaints, unopened or archived emails, and unsubscribe percentages above certain thresholds can negatively affect deliverability to these email platforms even if your domain name is not on an email blacklist.

If your list is old, make reasonable attempts to update it via other marketing channels. Also consider sending emails to recipients asking if they’d still like to hear from you. This is especially important if you’re not a regular sender.

If an email address becomes inactive, remove it. There are several ‘email verification’ tools that can help make this process easier.

Provide value to your email subscribers and they’ll want to hear more. If you don’t, they will ignore you.

2. Segment your email messaging.

How many emails do you receive a day? Undoubtedly a lot! Now, how many do you actually read? Probably far less than what you receive.

The point is, it’s now even more important to develop an email that speaks specifically to your audience, otherwise your subscriber won’t open it, let alone click through.

Small, segmented lists can achieve this. Think about your circle of friends. They typically value your relationship, but they undoubtedly have different interests. You probably wouldn’t want to routinely speak to your friends about something that doesn’t interest all of you.

The same thing holds true with list segmentation. If you provide value to your subscribers, they’ll want to hear more. If you don’t, they will ignore you.

A simple example of this is matching up your email subscriber database against your customer database. Consider segmenting messages to your subscribers based on those that buy from you versus haven’t bought from you. Categorize your subscribers as needed!

Additionally, segmentation helps with deliverability. I mentioned earlier that select platforms monitor emails in order to determine deliverability. Highly engaged audience segments that open, click, or respond to emails will have a positive effect on your email’s deliverability.

For additional insight on segmentation, check out a previous DMW post, Segmentation Provides The Juiciest Results For Your Marketing.

Much like websites, emails should be optimized to be displayed within various devices.

3. Avoid being phony — personalize your emails when possible.

How many marketing messages have you received that started with “Dear Valued Customer”? That message has always bothered me, because the ‘value’ is all clearly one-sided and it almost always requests you buy something more.

Relationships are two-sided. Value must be apparent to both the company and the subscriber. If I truly value the relationship, shouldn’t I address the subscriber by first name?

In sales, addressing someone by their first name establishes trust and rapport. (Why do you think salespeople like DMW’s very own George Price use first names so regularly within conversations?)

Personalization can be as simple as adding a target’s name to a subject line or opening of a message. Or it can involve segmenting information to develop a personalized email based on some data that’s been provided before.

For example, if someone started to complete a process (like a contact form) but never finished it, send a personalized message from your CRM asking them personally if you can help.

Consider reaching out with a message personalized to the recipient when it’s appropriate (example: Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, etc.). Or tell them their membership is running out and that they need to renew.

There are limitless ways of using personalization, via automated emails that can give the appearance of being authentic and providing value.

CTAs within emails should be bold, prominent and listed within multiple locations.

4. Make it easy to interact with email.

Speaking of authenticity … If the desire is to nurture your audience, carefully consider the use of “noreply@” based emails — because users can’t respond. I am not necessarily suggesting using your personal email address. But if email is to be treated as a tactic that nurtures a relationship with your subscribers, they should minimally have an ability to get in touch with you if necessary.

Also, unless someone clicks or replies on an email, the conversation stops. Much like websites, emails should be optimized to be displayed within various devices. Copy should be streamlined. Don’t say everything in an email. Keep the messaging short to entice the subscriber to go online and read more.

CTAs within emails should be bold, prominent and listed within multiple locations. This ensures that multiple ways to respond can be seen within all devices.

Give your subscribers a reason to click!

Lastly, consider reminding subscribers why they’re receiving your emails. It’s possible they signed up a while back and reiterating the “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) is always a good idea. Consider placing a WIIFM sentence directly above the unsubscribe link. After all, this is where they’ll likely go before receiving your final message.

5. There is no one best time to send an email.

For 20+ years, countless blogs have proclaimed Tuesdays through Thursdays between 10am and 3pm are the best times to send emails. And it may have been at one time … until countless other marketers started following the same advice.

Have you ever noticed that your inboxes are flooded with marketing messages now during that time frame? I doubt it’s made you more receptive to the messaging either. You simply have more junk to filter through on those days.

Test the timing of your emails. Use analytic data to see when the most users are reaching your site through ‘direct’ sources. Or consider sending a few hours before most people convert within your website. Based on the data you uncover, don’t be afraid to send an email on Friday around breakfast time, or Sunday evening.

Being different can result in marketing that stands out to your audience. Once you discover your best time, then be consistent with your messaging delivery times — until you see data showing otherwise.

BONUS TIP: Contact DMW for digital marketing that generates response!

Do you have any questions? Or want a consultation? Send us an email. I promise we’ll read it! In the meantime, download DMW’s 7 Steps To Great Email Marketing.