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This is a guest post from Dana Kachan at ReVerb.

Email marketing competitive analysis involves two things: a little design know-how and a little science. Every marketer needs the ability to get creative like a designer, all while applying data like a scientist.

To create a viable email marketing strategy, you should conduct thorough marketing analysis, investigating your competitors’ best practices.

By using a proper set of email analytics techniques to understand your competitors’ success, you’ll get a chance to drastically improve your future mailing campaigns.

Read on to discover seven tricks that will help you understand what the competition is doing well and how you can emulate their success in your own marketing.

1. Send cadence

In today’s digital space, email marketing is extremely important for business growth. If you’re new to email marketing, try warming up your list and researching a proper email cadence, so you don’t create a contrary effect for your business.

In other words, don’t be obtrusive: That should be your #1 rule.

Email marketing is also a perfect place to start with your competitive analysis. Start by signing up for a few of your top rivals’ newsletters and check the frequency of their emails. Do they send emails weekly, bi-weekly, or less often?

This will also allow you to step into the customer’s shoes and get a feel for whether or not their email marketing campaigns feel obtrusive.

What email benchmarks should you be aiming for? Find out by downloading our industry benchmarks guide.

2. Subject line

The subject line is the first thing we see when an email appears in our inbox. That’s why it’s so crucial to create an eye-catching subject line with clever copy and a good hook.

A competitive analysis will help you learn new, exciting subject line tactics. How do other brands in your field speak to their audiences? Do they use humor? Deadlines? Maybe their emails use an authoritative voice, establishing them as industry leaders.

Let’s do a short marketing analysis of these incredible subject line examples:

1. “The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”—this Groupon subject line made us laugh out loud. Groupon’s marketing is saturated with humor. If it’s appropriate for your brand’s voice and audience, you might consider trying something similar.

2. Another fantastic example is Crunchbase’s subject line: “China Falls, Sleepy Unicorns, And The Deals Aren’t Bigger In Texas.” Crunchbase’s marketers are particularly skilled in wrapping details about a story in one subject line. This odd mashup of words catches the eye and makes subscribers interested in the story.

3. Email design

You should pay particular attention to the email design, especially since images play such a huge part of storytelling.

When carrying out a competitive analysis, pay attention color palette, the use of branded elements, interactive visuals, images, and fonts.

It’s likely that, when you do a competitive analysis, you’ll see that your competitors use branded elements in their newsletters to make their brand look more authoritative. Investigate what placement they choose for their logo.

Below, you can see an example of a beautiful email design created by Carbon 38:

This is a Black Friday email example from Carbon. Look at other emails as part of your competitive analysis.

Carbon 38 has used a minimalistic black-and-white design without excessive decorations. They placed a logo in the email and used its branded colors to maintain the company’s general style.

A good practice is to follow your brand’s logo color palette and incorporate it into email design.

If you plan to use white-label marketing automation tools, you can simply upload your logo in a white-label platform, and it’ll automatically place your logotype in the email template.

Additionally, read up on web fonts in email so your emails can be legible every time.

4. Call to action

Consider how your competitors are utilizing calls to action. Do they use creative copy? Specific colors? How can you do something similar in your own emails?

Consider testing various CTAs to see which ones work best. It’s likely your competitors have done the same. You’ll also want to consider placement and design.

5. Mobile-friendly

Phones and tablets show no signs of slowing down, especially as young people enter the workforce and become consumers.

We know from recent research that Gen Z alone checks their email multiple times a day, most likely because they’re online almost constantly. This means your emails should be optimized for mobile sooner rather than later.

Mobile devices are a huge source of traffic and also conversions. No mobile optimization could mean fewer sales.

So, take a look at competitors’ mobile techniques. Chances are, their emails change quite a bit to suit the mobile user experience. And if your competitors haven’t optimized for mobile? Well, that’s a huge opportunity for you.

6. Landing page

In most cases, marketers design email campaigns for specific landing pages. In other words, your campaign’s success could depend on an effective landing page design.

Analyze this connection between your competitors’ emails and their landing pages. Are they visually similar? Is a landing page a logical continuation of a marketing message displayed in the email?

Clarity is crucial to landing page success, and that starts with copy. Keep the page as short as possible; don’t bombard people with tons of unnecessary scrolling. Minimal text, design, and CTAs could be the key to conversions.

Below, you can see a landing page design from Ouai. This is an excellent example of minimalism in web design.

Minimalism is key in landing pages. Email Marketing Competitive Analysis.

Take a look at competitor landing pages and consider how you can improve upon the experience in your own landing page.

7. Personalization

Don’t miss a chance to check out your rivals’ approaches to personalization. Do they send personalized emails based on web behavior? What custom elements do they use?

Keep in mind that email personalization doesn’t end with “Hi [First Name].” This concept mostly means that an email contains information that a user has been previously interested in when interacting with your website.

For example, you can send different emails to customers according to trigger events that have occurred on your site. They include the following:

  • A person views a specific product on a store
  • A person hasn’t logged in for a long time
  • A user signed up for your mailing list
  • A prospect abandoned a shopping cart

Wrap up

Attractive design isn’t enough to improve conversions: You need a broad understanding of what other companies in your industry are doing. A comprehensive competitive analysis can help you reveal the practices that work best, which you can then creatively adapt to your marketing.

  1. First, investigate the messages that your competitors use in a subject line to intrigue users and make them open the email.
  2. Then, try to understand how other companies get in touch with people who have been searching for specific categories on their website. Take into account user behavior and deliver them exactly what they’ve been looking for in your store.
  3. Surprise customers with your highly personalized approach.
  4. Keep your email and landing page design minimal and don’t overload users with text. Your copy should be clear and concise.

This is how you can easily get the most of your email marketing competitive analysis.

Dana Kachan is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of horror movies, and an enthusiastic marketing strategist with ReVerb

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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