5 Ways to Make Your Email More Awesome


Let’s begin by saying that email marketing hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years.  However in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, tremendous opportunities still exist to improve your email marketing results.  A late 2018 Email Marketing Industry Report from Emma’s found that 25% of marketers plan to increase their email spending.  

The five methods we discuss here will help you reach your potential for customer engagement through the use of your email list.


The best digital marketers consider their email list to be their digital nerve center.

Make Email Your Digital Nerve Center


There are so many things about Digital Marketing which you are unable to control.  Search engine algorithms are constantly updated and frequently change.   Social Media purveyors also are constantly changing their rules and methods and can even fall out of favor with your customers.

Your email list never changes and it is always yours.   You can leverage your email list to improve your ad targeting on paid social media networks.  The best digital marketers, consider their email list to be their digital nerve center.


Email marketing is still is the most flexible, most dynamic way to reach your customers.

Personalize and Micro-target Your Emails


Surveys show that 59% of marketers say that email marketing delivers the best return of investment.  Having 6 out of 10 endorse a specific marketing tactic is significant and can’t be ignored.  To be more productive using your email list, other digital marketing tactics come into play.  

Social media marketing has changed a lot in the last couple years.  I believe most would now agree that the use of social media is now largely an advertising tactic as opposed to an organic reach tactic.  

Email marketing is still is the most flexible, most dynamic way to reach your customers.  When we discuss ad targeting, whether it’s display ads, programmatic ads, social media ads, email opt-ins, email behavior, clicks, opens, etc., can be used to dramatically improve your ad targeting.

If you want to be better at your ads, the best way to do this is to be better with your email and mine your email data.  Roll everything back into your advertising and turn it into a one plus one equals three situation.  


Get Better Results


By personalizing and micro-targeting your email marketing content the results will be more robust and relevant to the recipients and you will reap the benefits from doing so.  That’s why your email list data is so important in deciding who you contact and what they are most likely to respond to.

The people on your email list know you and have asked to hear from you.  They open your content.  They want your content while everyone other door you’re knocking on, you’re trying to get them to allow you to enter.  Your email list is people who have already invited you into their homes.


Boost Authenticity with Personalization


Every business is just a collection of people, and we trust people more than we trust businesses.  Our trust in people over businesses is growing and becoming more true.  


User Generated Content Lends Credibility


In the Instagram age, we can use User-generated content is often used to provide interesting, trust-worthy images and content to humanize your emails and persuade your subscribers to take action.  

The more personal and trustworthy your emails are, the better your results will be.  By using names and being specific in your emails making them personal and human, you make them relatable and memorable. This simple step will certainly get a much higher response rate than an email which is impersonal and generic.


Email is one of the most testable forms of marketing

Always Test Your Emails


The fourth way to make your email more awesome is to test, test, and test.  Email is one of the most testable forms of marketing.  If you’re sending emails, you should be testing.  But where do you begin?

Only 11% of email marketers today always at least A/B test their email, so about 1 out of 10.  Testing isn’t that complicated to do.  We should always be testing and that we should never send an email without a test included.  


Email Results are Testable


Sometimes that doesn’t work.  But that’s probably the optimal idea.  Email is, in my estimation, the most testable form of marketing ever devised.  Email data is the easiest to track.  At some point in this age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, testing will no longer be optional.


Study Benchmarks, Then Ignore Them


The fifth way to make your email more awesome is to examine benchmarks, and then ignore them.  There are more email benchmark data than any other kind of marketing benchmark data.  However, benchmarks will only tell you so much, and if all your care about is averages, you’ll always be an average marketer.

All of the email services publish similar email data.  A simple Google search will find the average email open rate, average click-through rate, average click to open rate according to different industry types.  If all you care about is averages, you will never be anything other than an average marketer.


Make Your Email Unique


To truly stand out you have to do something different with your email.  The best tests that you can perform pit something normal against something which is not normal.  Not a small change, but a major change.  It’s amazing how often really unusual emails work because they break out of the box that most email marketers build around themselves.


Success is Much More Than an Email List


Let’s first examine how you can grow your email list beyond a typical signup form.  There are several different strategies that we’ve used successfully.  One is social media.  We’ve had some success with both paid and organic social media.  

Using different engaging content, putting that out there on social media with a link to a signup form because everything ends at the signup form.  Because we always end up using a signup form, there are different ways to drive people to your signup form.  You can also use referral bonuses.


Practice Email List Hygiene


Email list hygiene is an important point to consider.  It’s not the size of your list that matters, you’re better to have a smaller engaged list.  This matters not only for results, but also from n email delivery point of view.  

Email delivery systems will look at your open rate.  Partly to make decisions about how your email is treated.  The higher you keep your open rate, the better your email will be treated.


Re-engagement Emails can Revitalize Your List


If your emails have gone unopened, it may be time to send a re-engagement email.  The re-engagement email simply questions whether someone who has not been responsive would like to continue receiving your emails.  

This email acknowledges their inactivity and asks them to verify that they want to stay on your email list or take an action that gives you new information.  This engagement helps you to improve the relevancy of what you are sending to them.


Over 50% of our emails are opened on a phone

Don’t Forget Mobile Technology


A final point I would like to make is that over 50% of our emails are opened on a phone.  I would encourage everyone to design emails that work well on mobile platforms.  

We’ve reached the point where we probably should be designing for phones and then adapt them to tablets, laptops and desktop computers.