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This is a guest post from Kevin Payne.

You’ve read the reports that email marketing ROI is at 4,400%, where you earn $44 for every $1 you spend.

But you take a look at your email campaigns lately and see that they aren’t performing as well as the reports promised.

Read on to discover whether or not email marketing is still relevant today in the age of new media and how to move forward with a fresh, more engaging email marketing strategy in 2020.

Is email marketing dead?

With the introduction of social media networks and even search engine optimization, many marketers feared that this would be the end of email marketing. Indeed, advancements and innovation in marketing and sales have also caused changes in consumer behavior.

Generic mass emails might just not be doing the trick anymore. And this is a good thing.

Today, consumers want personalized experiences. In fact, 72% of consumers reported that they’d only be willing to engage with marketing messages if they were personalized and tailored to their interests.

So, if you notice a decline in your email marketing campaigns’ engagement or ROI, it’s time to reevaluate. Are you using an old and outdated way of doing email marketing?

Whether or not you’re sure, read up on these 7 top tips to breathe new life into those outdated email marketing campaigns. And then you can start seeing better results this year.

How to revive outdated email marketing campaigns

Review your data.

First, it’s good to start with where you are.

Look through your analytics dashboards to see data on previous emails and campaigns to see what you’ve done, what worked, and what didn’t.

Pay attention particularly to metrics like click-through rate, which can tell you how engaged your audience or recipients were. Notice which campaigns had higher click-through rates and try to see why they saw such results.

Your open rates can also clue you in on the level of engagement of your audience. If you see a decline in open rates over time, that might signal that many of your emails were losing relevance to more and more customers.

How well do your email marketing analytics fare compared to the benchmark averages?

Also take note of your top-performing email campaigns from the past. You may glean insights from these campaigns, such as preferences of your customers, or any specific email marketing tactics, such as different templates or subject lines that you used that led to these good results.

Consider the evolving world.

New laws and regulations continue to adapt to changes in tech capabilities. You may consider this as you continue in your marketing journey. Read on for a couple of examples of what we mean.

For example, the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union caused significant changes in the way marketers handled data, especially personal data like email addresses.

And, in 2019, the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) brought GDPR-like policies to California, and other states may soon follow.

While certain laws and policies seem like they don’t apply to your business because of geo-location, being aware can be positive.

Add emojis to your subject lines.

Staying relevant is one of the most important things to remember when you’re trying to spruce up your email marketing campaigns.

According to a compelling study by the MyClever agency, they found that businesses that used emojis in the subject lines of their emails enjoyed a 52% increase in average open rates. Not only that, but unique opens, unique clicks, and average click-through rates increased as well.

Some reports also found that certain emojis had better performance than others. For example, one report found that a snowman emoji increased open rates during the holidays by 66%, based on the typical average.

Best and worst emojis and their effect on open rates (Image source)

For your own business, experiment with different emojis and see which your consumers gravitate towards. This may differ between varying industries, but, over time, you’ll see which emojis typically bring higher engagement.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should use the same emoji in every campaign. Instead, use it as a foundation on which to experiment with a similar—or completely different—set of emojis for your next campaigns.

Use your transactional emails to enhance your customer experience.

With everything available at one’s fingertips, it’s no surprise that customers are expecting better and better experiences when dealing with a brand.

For your email marketing, this means one thing: Bring great customer experience straight to your campaigns.

From sending beautiful invoicing templates to using shipping and delivery emails to provide customers with updates about their online orders, it’s important to think of how every transactional email can boost a consumer’s experience with your brand.

These small changes can do well to encourage customers to engage with future emails, especially when they see how streamlined the experience of dealing with your business is.

Some brands don’t hesitate to add some vibrant brand personality in their transactional emails, such as order confirmations. If it suits your brand, take this as inspiration for your own emails, for invoices, and tracking numbers. (Image source)

As a best practice, transactional emails should be easy to read and skim, while containing all necessary information or next steps. Include instructions for how to return products or apply for refunds and add contact information to make it easier to get in touch with you.

Because emails for order confirmations have average open rates of 65%, this could be an important vehicle to deliver excellent customer experiences right in their inbox.

Increase content personalization through behavioral segmentation.

To increase retention and get those customers engaging again, you need to think of personalization.

If you truly want to deliver a personalized email campaign to customers, you’ll need to properly segment them in your mailing list. There are a number of variables you can use as reference, such as geo-location, gender, or even previous transactions with your brand.

It’s important to put up customer segments as early as you can, while also setting up any triggers or conditional rules within your email service provider or CRM.

Once you’ve segmented your list, it’s easier to send them personalized content.

One example of personalized emails you can send would be product recommendations based on previous purchases. You can get to know your customers’ preferences and interests based on things they’ve added to their cart or items they’ve checked out.

This is also an effective way to drive customer loyalty. If customers see that you truly understand their preferences and needs, they’ll be more likely to repurchase from your brand.

Based on the personalized recommendations from this example, the customer must have been browsing for collared shirts and blouses. (Image source)

Combine with other channels.

Next, while email marketing does generate the most ROI, there are still several benefits to investing in different channels to provide a more well-rounded customer experience.

Focus on delivering a great web experience, for example, for ecommerce shoppers. Or create a valuable blog that lets you consistently share high-quality content with your audience.

Perhaps your social media can also give a behind-the-scenes look at what your company’s working on, or be the channel where customers can connect with you in a more meaningful way.

All these channels can provide a synergistic effect on user experience and strengthen customer engagement. So, for example, instead of just sending promotional emails all the time, give your audience other things to look forward to in their inbox.

Many brands are now combining their marketing channels with email by providing sneak peeks of their latest collections, hosting contests and giveaways, or sharing new video content with email subscribers.

Beauty brand Lush shares high-value content on their YouTube channel, sending new content to subscribers and encouraging video viewers to subscribe to their email list, if they haven’t already.

Invest in the right automation tools.

Last but not least, automation tools can do well to provide more streamlined and engaging customer experiences.

These tools let you personalize emails with your subscribers’ first names or locations, for example. Sending welcome emails to new subscribers is one simple way to use email automation. You can also use automation to send a series of emails as part of a seasonal promotion or ongoing sale on your store.

Automation tools can also send retargeting campaigns, particularly useful for ecommerce stores that have high cart abandonment rates. The right tools are also able to help you segment customers immediately based on different variables you set.

Whichever the use case, automation will save you time and help you get insights and trends faster.

Wrap up

In 2020, it’s not enough to just send emails to your list; you need a strategy that lets your customers engage in more meaningful ways.

Using the tips above, you can be on the road to creating new email marketing campaigns that get more opens, more click-throughs, and even more sales, all while building your brand.


Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.

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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