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Every savvy business has an email marketing strategy, but to set your business ahead, you should be constantly thinking of ways to improve your email marketing. Follow these simple strategies to refresh your e-marketing campaigns and boost readership.

Step 0: Manage Your Email List

Pay attention to your email list so that it doesn’t get stagnant. That list is not a one-and-done thing; it needs to be treated like a living, growing organism. “Always be growing your email list. It can never be checked off as ‘done,’” says Scott Kindred, Director at SafeHouse Web. Make a plan to go through your list quarterly, paying attention to repeated bounce backs and unsubscribes. Monitoring and improving your opt-in forms and the wording in their calls to action is vital to growing your list; if the opt-in forms are not effective, your list will not grow.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience

Clean up your list and go through your metrics to identify the core characteristics of your target audience. Keep them in mind as you move through your marketing plan. Some of the core factors can include open rate, click rate, and the most successful day of the week and time of day for delivery. Another very telling factor that should guide your content strategy is the metrics that show the most clicked links in the email you send; most clicked usually means “most popular.”

For example, we partner with a higher education client for their monthly email newsletter production. We often see that stories about the professional success of alumni are the most popular. Stories about particular instructors also do well. Being aware of these kinds of trends can help you start looking at why the story was popular.

  • Was it the headline?
  • Did that headline include an enticing keyword or phrase or the name of a person?
  • Was it the image that accompanied the story?
  • Was it the teaser text or subheading?

Step 2: Improve Your Subject Lines

Again, this is about considering your target audience. Are more of your readers viewing your content on mobile or desktop, and how might that difference (specifically the difference in attention span on these two mediums) affect your open rates? Are you making use of email metrics to glean real-time data of your open rates from past subject lines? Use the tools you have and build on past successful campaigns.

One of the subject-line exercises we recently completed here at SafeHouse Web was for our own media placement of a Q&A article with the company’s director. Cutting to the short of it, which of these headlines (or email subject lines) is best?

  • SafeHouse Web: Boosting Engagement & Profits for Clients with Website Design & Digital Marketing
  • SafeHouse Web: Boosting Engagement & Profits with Website Design & Digital Marketing
  • SafeHouse Web: Boosting Engagement & Profits with Digital Marketing

Granted, all three of those are weak in the catchiness department, but they are offered here to show the idea behind getting as accurate and concise as possible.

Step 3: Use Strategic Keywords

SEO should play a significant part in your marketing strategy, and a smart move is to get your most important words to the front of your email headers or at the top of your paragraphs.

Remember to avoid clickbait titles. You can be strategic without resorting to sensationalism. Misleading titles or opening lines can devalue your content, so be thoughtful about your approach to SEO.

Step 4: Consolidate Your Content

Some content will be too long for your newsletter. Keep in mind that the meat of your information can be housed on your website, with a short and sweet teaser link in your newsletter. There’s no need to take up valuable space in your newsletter by replicating content that is permanently housed on your website.

Also think about the visual representation of your newsletters. Eliminate fluff such as useless ads, unreadable flyers, and disconnected imagery. A clean and well-designed newsletter will add value to the content within.

Do hone in on your key reader takeaway. Unless you’re an organization whose readers already have an expectation that your newsletter contains news or a recap of stories, focus on just one or two takeaways. But remember that if your goal is for readers to take specific action, you should make that one action be the single call to action in your newsletter. (Look to the end of this article for more tips on making your call to action strong and mobilizing for your readers.)

Step 5: Optimize Mobile

Tailor your campaigns for desktop and mobile users alike. Using a platform such as MailChimp will allow you to preview your email on different mobile devices. MailChimp has a savvy and user-friendly test model that allows you to optimize and personalize your campaign for better results. Testing is important, because you can see exactly what your readers will see, such as how an email looks in preview or whether Google trimmed your content.

Step 6: Track and Test

As mentioned above, you need to be diving into your analytics tools regularly to see what works and what doesn’t stick with your audience. Employ A/B marketing and other tests such as those for timing and from lines to improve open and click-through rates.

Step 7: Give a Call to Action

Every marketing piece needs a call to action. Make it clear what you want your reader to do next. Focus the call to action on the customer, not the product. Your call to action needs to make it clear to them how this specific action will best serve their needs.

As an example, here is one of our own CTAs: SafeHouse Web can take the guesswork out of your search engine optimization. Ask us how we can create a solution that is right for your needs.