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3 Ways We Improved Our Email Marketing in 2014


Email marketing has proven to be one of the most successful channels we’ve had in communicating (and converting) our own users. Anytime there’s useful content published or a new feature released, we let our audience know about it through email. But getting our email strategy to where it is today took a lot of work, and there are three big lessons we learned along the way.

1. Clean Your List

Having a clean list is so. Darn. Important. We wrote about this not too long ago: email hygiene is tough to acquire but with the right steps in place, you’re ensuring your emails are actually getting into your audience’s inbox. Any email marketing strategy can be doomed if your list isn’t kept clean.

2. Send More Emails

We had the practice of sending our newsletters just once a month, and little did I know that increasing frequency of emails actually helps your IP’s reputation. Whodathunk?

As a first step, we implemented a marketing welcome series to all new subscribers to the newsletter. Our vendor, Listrak, has a module called the Conductor, which easily let us set up the logic and messaging for our welcome series. This was a great way to introduce ourselves to new users, keep engaging them during their first month with us, and keep the updated on our new tools and helpful resources.

More recently, we started sending out weekly updates to our newsletter subscribers and it’s been quite successful. Not only is deliverability growing, but engagement is as well. We increased our open rate by 10% and our CTR by 8%. While we increased our communications, we were conscious to keep providing good content; content that’s relevant and timely to our audience.

3. Test Everything

If you know us, you know we love testing and optimize based on our learnings. For almost every campaign, we test different subject lines and layouts to see what best resonates with our audience. It helps to have a platform that makes testing easy, so if you’re on the hunt for a vendor to use, keep this in mind.

When we test, we’re not just looking at deliverability and opens, but we also pay keen attention to bounces, clicks, and conversions. Some of the neat things we learned in terms of messaging:

  • Using brackets like [Infographic] received more clicks than subject lines without brackets
  • Appending dates or titles like “AddThis Newsletter:” or “This Month:” to the subject line performed worse than subject lines without it
  • Conversational and personalized subject lines like “Your new AddThis dashboard is waiting for you” win more often than not
  • The sense of urgency in a headline, such as “Limited Time Offer,” and special promotions are also great tactics in engaging those readers who usually might not engage

The best part of testing is that you’re not wasting your whole list on things that can fail. You can quickly learn and adjust, and send the winner to the remaining list&#8212lgetting more bang for your buck.

Having the ability to look in-depth into our analytics, segment the data in all sorts of ways, and clearly getting a picture of the landscape that points to the right direction is essential to any email marketing strategy.

This isn’t the end-all of a successful email marketing strategy, but just a few tips that got us going. Anything here surprise you?

  • It’s cool to see that sending more emails had a positive impact on your list. I always hear from clients that they don’t want to be “bothersome,” but people signed up, they obviously want to hear from you!

  • Ifdy Perez

    Totally! As long as the content is really useful and on point with your audience, people are inclined to welcome frequent communications. Of course there’s a balancing act, but this is definitely something to try!

  • John

    Well, I have, today, a total of 60 thousand unopened e-newsletters across my various addresses – maybe I’ve missed a free gold watch – but probably not! In other words, most e-newsletters are irrelevant and distract, and the ones that win* are highly relevant to me today. Next to a website being wired to my brain, there are no certainties or methods that might guarantee a return. Waiting for content shock once everyone starts behaving like BuzzFeed.

  • email marketing is a very good strategy..also very easy ..

  • John Allred

    It took me a really long time to understand how important a list is for
    my marketing efforts. This article had some very helpful insights.

  • Glad you found it useful, John! Thanks for reading.

  • Phil_Stone00

    List hygiene is important than many small and medium-sized marketers realise. Don’t make that mistake of thinking more addresses is always better – better addresses are always better….

  • Nicole Seyfried

    Yeah I agree that list hygiene is very important. We have to remember that sometimes less is more…
    I’m using GetResponse and I always respect my subscribers and never send them too much newsletters.

  • Nicole Seyfried

    Yeah I agree that list hygiene is very important. We have to remember that sometimes less is more…
    I’m using GetResponse and I always respect my subscribers and never send them too much newsletters.