4 Questions You Have to Answer Before You Send Your Next Email Campaign

Mary Kearl By Mary Kearl May 31, 2018

Whether you’re not currently sending customers emails, you’re struggling to connect meaningfully with your audience via email, or your email marketing is starting to feel stale (and performance is taking a dive), you’ve come to the right place.

Before you send out your next email campaign, here are four questions you should be able to answer in the affirmative. If you find yourself answering “no” to one or more, we’ve got you covered with tips to turn things around.

1. “Is my email list ‘clean’?”

Email Marketing Example

To be able to answer yes, your list should be made up of (valid) email addresses of customers who have engaged with at least one of your emails within the last 6 months.

Focusing on vanity metrics, like subscriber count, without paying attention to engagement or conversions is a trap. If you’ve been handed a mess like this or your list is a little bit like your neighbor’s untended lawn, overrun with who knows what, here’s how to get on the path to list hygiene.

  • Validate emails at sign-up — check for human error, such as writing, instead of
  • Force a double opt-in — after signing up, ask users to OK their email addresses via a confirmation email
  • Say goodbye to unengaged users — If your emails are going unread, it’s time to send a breakup email and sunset those users

Why does this matter? Not only do you not want to waste your time on unengaged users, ISPs may begin to see your mail as irrelevant to all and send your email straight to spam instead of recipients’ inboxes.

2. “Will my customer really want to open this email?”

Answer yes with confidence if you’re including:

  • Personalization — People are 27% more likely to convert when you use personal touches, such as including their first name, in your marketing campaigns
  • Segmentation — What’s one of the most sure surefire ways to increase engagement? Sending campaigns to custom tailored segments, by any of the attributes or behaviors below, can increase conversions by 200%
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Language
    • Age
    • Device
    • OS
    • Favorite ____ (you fill in the blank, based on data you’ve collected)
    • Engagement or conversion activity
  • Send-time optimization — Using historical engagement data, this is a predictive way of figuring out when to send messaging at the individual level and brands like Urban Outfitters have leveraged this kind of AI to increase opens by 100+%
  • A winning subject line — keep it short and surprise and delight
  • Your secret weapons that drive open rates:
    • Preheader text (aka the Johnson Box) — the summary that appears before your subject line
    • From name (sender) — You can personalize your email sender so that instead of [email protected], the email displays NAME OF COMPANY EMPLOYEE

Email marketing example

3. “Will my email look good on my user’s mobile device?”

Email marketing example

Since more than half of emails are opened on mobile devices, the answer better be yes. But if the answer is, “I’m not sure” or “Maybe not,” you’ve got company. More than a quarter of businesses don’t have a mobile-first email marketing mindset and only 17% are using mobile-friendly responsive design in their customer-facing emails. To master mobile email, here are some pointers to get started:

  • Keep a clear call to action, ideally in the subject line, body copy or graphic, and button
  • A mobile-friendly layout is “finger-friendly” — large text, images, and buttons; white space is your friend (Hint: Keep the width below 500 pixels to be readable on mobile and desktop)
  • Test your emails on multiple devices and browsers

4. “Will I be able to tell if this campaign is ‘successful’?”

Email marketing example

You’ll need to know if your marketing platform can provide you with these 10 essential email marketing metrics at the campaign level.

From there, you’ll want to start establishing benchmarks by category—welcome emails tend to perform the best and re-engagement campaigns (sent to your least engaged audience members) tend to perform the worst. To get started, average unique open rates are generally in the 10-20% range and unique click rates are often in the 5-10% range for traditional marketing messages. Remember, marketers should (almost) always keep testing.

What can you do next?

Advice on avoiding email unsubscribes from Braze Director of Email Deliverability Andrew Barrett

For a deeper dive into the modern email marketing playbook, check out our new Email Marketing Guide.

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip

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