10 Secrets to Powerful and Effective Email Marketing

Brian Honigman on Email marketing,


Email marketing is crucial for your success as a business online, since it is often the advertising channel most likely to convert visitors into customers. Setting up a profitable email marketing strategy is important for the long-term success of your organization.

Many marketers have heard the statistic from Chadwick Martin Bailey that 64% of people open an email because of the subject line. Therefore, every marketer using email to reach their customers focuses on how to improve their email subject line to encourage more people to open their emails. When a person signs up for your email list it is often a powerful signal of their intent to buy. Let’s take a look at ten email strategies that aren’t well known but are highly effective.

1. Make it Easy and Simple to Sign Up

Many businesses can’t help but over complicate both their emails and their email sign up forms, which only really leads to confused customers. Often marketers think that more calls to action, sales, feature sets, images and lots of product features is better for their customers in terms of offering many options but in fact, in can lead to overstimulation and lower click thru rates or even worse, fewer sales.

In a recent study by Columbia University, participants had the option of tasting either six samples of jam from one table or twenty-four samples of jam from another. More people ended up stopping at the table with twenty-four options, but when it came to sales only 3% of customers purchased from the table with more options, while 30% of customers purchased from the table with only six options. Therefore, the study helped to prove that there is such thing as too many choices or a concept known as choice overload.

A simple email, landing page or sign up form will have a higher conversion rate and drive more sales if the each of those aspects of your email marketing strategy are strong enough on their own with concise copy, quality images, strong incentives and a clear call to action. Simplicity is really the key to success, which is highlighted in the example below with one promotion featured, front and center.

2. Remails Really Work – Send the Same Email Again, Just a Different Version

What does remail mean? A remail is when you resend an email to your list that was previously sent, this time with a few changes to alter it enough to provide value. Now, it is never recommended to just duplicate content that you have created and blast it back out to your customers with no thought, effort or care. However, there is a difference between repurposing your content and duplicating it completely.

Look to alter the appearance or messaging of your email content and then send this remail to a certain segment of your list to expand the reach of the original message. In a sense, you’re recycling the first email to extend the reach of the sale, announcement or news you sent to your list in the first place but to members of your list who may not of opened your email or clicked on its content the first time.

Waldow Social originally pointed out this example from Pottery Barn above by sharing the fact they altered the coloration between emails and changed the call to action from “Off Your Order” to “On Your Order.” Look to emulate this practice with your emails by repurposing content to be used again with a segment of your existing audience.

3. Use Pop Up Email Forms, Yes Pop Ups

Everyone knows popups can be annoying on certain websites and can be taken as spammy, reducing the credibility of a website. However, many don’t know that the right popup form can help grow your email list by 75-80%. Popups aren’t right for every industry, but for many they work wonders for converting visitors to subscribers since it captures attentions quickly once you’ve landed on a website.

Setup a popup on your blog or homepage for when visitors first land on your website that encourages them to sign up for your list and the benefits of doing so. In the example above from Lewis Howes, he makes sure to include an extremely simple form with a strong call to action, a list of benefits for people that sign up and the logos of where he has been published to highlight credibility.

4. Add Some Mystery To Your Emails

Some information in your company’s email messaging is best left to the imagination, which is what will help increase your open rates and click thru rates every time. Offer sales and discounts but purposefully leave out which promotions match with what products, forcing users to click and browse through your website. Like mentioned before, DO NOT overcomplicate an experience for your customer, merely bait them to find out more by visiting your website.

5. Auto Responders Should Create An Experience for Visitors

Using autoresponders throughout the experience of your website can help move a lead to become a customer if utilized correctly. Your autoresponder strategy should be focused around personalization, retaining interest in your business, providing value and always remembering to say thank you along the way.

These email triggers should be used to welcome someone to your list, reach out to customers for a phone call once they’ve downloaded some of your website’s content or to help your company stand out. For instance, add your personal voice to each email trigger, especially when an email is sent to someone who didn’t respond the first time.

Customize the message every time to acknowledge they didn’t answer the first message and that this is your second attempt at bringing them value. Share your company’s personality in these autoresponders to help bring the customer’s experience with your business full circle.

6. Timing is Critical

Defining both the timing and frequency can drastically affect your email open and click thru rates. If you have the best offer, content and products but the timing is off, it could all go to waste when it comes to your email efforts. Setup a strategy from the beginning that clearly lays out what time a day and how often you’ll be sending your messages each week. From your strategy, start testing what emails work best at different times and frequencies for the various segments of your list.

Be careful when sending email during the weekends and holidays because they can be both lucrative and meaningless if the right approach isn’t taken. To prevent your best email efforts from getting lost in the shuffle, send your content ahead of time to be seen later on the weekend or holidays.

7. Host Free Webinars or Google+ Hangouts to Grow Your List

One tactic to help build your list that businesses don’t often utilize as much as they should is to host webinars or Google+ Hangouts on Air. By hosting an informative discussion about how to better utilize your products, industry updates or other educational material; you can start to build the trust and credibility with your audience that leads to more email subscribes.

A webinar or Google+ Hangout allows you or an individual at your company to share your knowledge on a particular topic through audio and video, which is more effective then many other channels for driving credibility and loyalty from customers. Experiment with either option to see what works best to drive more potential customers to your email list after you’ve gained your trust.

8. Create the Perfect Email Sign Up Form

The email form is one of the most important parts of your email marketing strategy that can help drive more sign ups to your lists or become a major roadblock to your success. Experiment with color, calls to action, button size, if the button is raised or flat and more to find out what’s the best match for your website.

A/B testing your email sign up forms will help your business decide which form helps convert more visitors. Related to one of the previous points above, always keep the design, layout and function simple to ensure the best reaction from your audience.

9. Personalization Will Work Across the Board

Personalization can work to build your email list and grow your customer base for the long-term. Start small by making a few segmentations in your email list that your company can continue to build upon. Emails that provide a specific context for your recipients will have a much higher conversion rate when it comes to driving open rates, clicks and sales on your website.

Multiple studies can attest to the fact that personalization leads to higher conversion rates overall. Take advantage of tactics like using an email subscriber’s first name in the email, including the recipient’s location in the email subject line or experimenting with unique calls to action with different segments of your list. Last but not least, give your list the ability to customize their own email profile to ensure the most relevant messaging is being sent to them as seen above with this example from Groupon.

10. Don’t Follow the Rules

The biggest secret to email marketing is to not be tied down by all the rules of what should and shouldn’t be done. It is really important to experiment and see what resonates with your audience the best. The emails that have seen the most success for companies are the campaigns that have differentiated themselves from other emails, entertained their audience, drove value, offered the best deals or personalized the email to the right context for their users without regard for best practices.

Breaking the rules is a fine art, but it is possible with the right approach to your customers. ModCloth launched this campaign to help better personalize their future emails by making it fun for their users to fill out their surveys.

By understanding what your audiences likes and dislikes you’re able to customize the content sent to them on a regular basis to increase interactions and drive more sales. ModCloth changed a boring personalization survey into a style quiz, which made the email exciting to customers and extremely value to the company. Break the rules like ModCloth by experimenting and customizing your approach to get more traction from your list and bring more value to your customers.

Images courtesy of Eldin Heric and Brady J. Frey.

Email marketing is crucial for your success as a business online, since it is often the advertising channel most likely to convert visitors into customers. Setting up a profitable email marketing strategy is important for the long-term success of your organization.

Many marketers have heard the statistic from Chadwick Martin Bailey that 64% of people open an email because of the subject line. Therefore, every marketer using email to reach their customers focuses on how to improve their email subject line to encourage more people to open their emails. When a person signs up for your email list it is often a powerful signal of their intent to buy. Let’s take a look at ten email strategies that aren’t well known but are highly effective.

1. Make it Easy and Simple to Sign Up

Many businesses can’t help but over complicate both their emails and their email sign up forms, which only really leads to confused customers. Often marketers think that more calls to action, sales, feature sets, images and lots of product features is better for their customers in terms of offering many options but in fact, in can lead to overstimulation and lower click thru rates or even worse, fewer sales.

In a recent study by Columbia University, participants had the option of tasting either six samples of jam from one table or twenty-four samples of jam from another. More people ended up stopping at the table with twenty-four options, but when it came to sales only 3% of customers purchased from the table with more options, while 30% of customers purchased from the table with only six options. Therefore, the study helped to prove that there is such thing as too many choices or a concept known as choice overload.

A simple email, landing page or sign up form will have a higher conversion rate and drive more sales if the each of those aspects of your email marketing strategy are strong enough on their own with concise copy, quality images, strong incentives and a clear call to action. Simplicity is really the key to success, which is highlighted in the example below with one promotion featured, front and center.

2. Remails Really Work – Send the Same Email Again, Just a Different Version

What does remail mean? A remail is when you resend an email to your list that was previously sent, this time with a few changes to alter it enough to provide value. Now, it is never recommended to just duplicate content that you have created and blast it back out to your customers with no thought, effort or care. However, there is a difference between repurposing your content and duplicating it completely.

Look to alter the appearance or messaging of your email content and then send this remail to a certain segment of your list to expand the reach of the original message. In a sense, you’re recycling the first email to extend the reach of the sale, announcement or news you sent to your list in the first place but to members of your list who may not of opened your email or clicked on its content the first time.

Waldow Social originally pointed out this example from Pottery Barn above by sharing the fact they altered the coloration between emails and changed the call to action from “Off Your Order” to “On Your Order.” Look to emulate this practice with your emails by repurposing content to be used again with a segment of your existing audience.

3. Use Pop Up Email Forms, Yes Pop Ups

Everyone knows popups can be annoying on certain websites and can be taken as spammy, reducing the credibility of a website. However, many don’t know that the right popup form can help grow your email list by 75-80%. Popups aren’t right for every industry, but for many they work wonders for converting visitors to subscribers since it captures attentions quickly once you’ve landed on a website.

Setup a popup on your blog or homepage for when visitors first land on your website that encourages them to sign up for your list and the benefits of doing so. In the example above from Lewis Howes, he makes sure to include an extremely simple form with a strong call to action, a list of benefits for people that sign up and the logos of where he has been published to highlight credibility.

4. Add Some Mystery To Your Emails

Some information in your company’s email messaging is best left to the imagination, which is what will help increase your open rates and click thru rates every time. Offer sales and discounts but purposefully leave out which promotions match with what products, forcing users to click and browse through your website. Like mentioned before, DO NOT overcomplicate an experience for your customer, merely bait them to find out more by visiting your website.

5. Auto Responders Should Create An Experience for Visitors

Using autoresponders throughout the experience of your website can help move a lead to become a customer if utilized correctly. Your autoresponder strategy should be focused around personalization, retaining interest in your business, providing value and always remembering to say thank you along the way.

These email triggers should be used to welcome someone to your list, reach out to customers for a phone call once they’ve downloaded some of your website’s content or to help your company stand out. For instance, add your personal voice to each email trigger, especially when an email is sent to someone who didn’t respond the first time.

Customize the message every time to acknowledge they didn’t answer the first message and that this is your second attempt at bringing them value. Share your company’s personality in these autoresponders to help bring the customer’s experience with your business full circle.

6. Timing is Critical

Defining both the timing and frequency can drastically affect your email open and click thru rates. If you have the best offer, content and products but the timing is off, it could all go to waste when it comes to your email efforts. Setup a strategy from the beginning that clearly lays out what time a day and how often you’ll be sending your messages each week. From your strategy, start testing what emails work best at different times and frequencies for the various segments of your list.

Be careful when sending email during the weekends and holidays because they can be both lucrative and meaningless if the right approach isn’t taken. To prevent your best email efforts from getting lost in the shuffle, send your content ahead of time to be seen later on the weekend or holidays.

7. Host Free Webinars or Google+ Hangouts to Grow Your List

One tactic to help build your list that businesses don’t often utilize as much as they should is to host webinars or Google+ Hangouts on Air. By hosting an informative discussion about how to better utilize your products, industry updates or other educational material; you can start to build the trust and credibility with your audience that leads to more email subscribes.

A webinar or Google+ Hangout allows you or an individual at your company to share your knowledge on a particular topic through audio and video, which is more effective then many other channels for driving credibility and loyalty from customers. Experiment with either option to see what works best to drive more potential customers to your email list after you’ve gained your trust.

8. Create the Perfect Email Sign Up Form

The email form is one of the most important parts of your email marketing strategy that can help drive more sign ups to your lists or become a major roadblock to your success. Experiment with color, calls to action, button size, if the button is raised or flat and more to find out what’s the best match for your website.

A/B testing your email sign up forms will help your business decide which form helps convert more visitors. Related to one of the previous points above, always keep the design, layout and function simple to ensure the best reaction from your audience.

9. Personalization Will Work Across the Board

Personalization can work to build your email list and grow your customer base for the long-term. Start small by making a few segmentations in your email list that your company can continue to build upon. Emails that provide a specific context for your recipients will have a much higher conversion rate when it comes to driving open rates, clicks and sales on your website.

Multiple studies can attest to the fact that personalization leads to higher conversion rates overall. Take advantage of tactics like using an email subscriber’s first name in the email, including the recipient’s location in the email subject line or experimenting with unique calls to action with different segments of your list. Last but not least, give your list the ability to customize their own email profile to ensure the most relevant messaging is being sent to them as seen above with this example from Groupon.

10. Don’t Follow the Rules

The biggest secret to email marketing is to not be tied down by all the rules of what should and shouldn’t be done. It is really important to experiment and see what resonates with your audience the best. The emails that have seen the most success for companies are the campaigns that have differentiated themselves from other emails, entertained their audience, drove value, offered the best deals or personalized the email to the right context for their users without regard for best practices.

Breaking the rules is a fine art, but it is possible with the right approach to your customers. ModCloth launched this campaign to help better personalize their future emails by making it fun for their users to fill out their surveys.

By understanding what your audiences likes and dislikes you’re able to customize the content sent to them on a regular basis to increase interactions and drive more sales. ModCloth changed a boring personalization survey into a style quiz, which made the email exciting to customers and extremely value to the company. Break the rules like ModCloth by experimenting and customizing your approach to get more traction from your list and bring more value to your customers.

Images courtesy of Eldin Heric and Brady J. Frey.

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Brian Honigman
Content Marketing & Social Media Consultant
http://www.brianhonigman.com/