9 Email Marketing Tactics to Try in 2020
by Aden Andrus • November 4, 2019
With 2020 just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to make the most of your online marketing. Possibly one of the easiest ways to do that is through email marketing.
Now, email marketing is great for a lot of reasons, but many businesses struggle to get the performance they need out of their email campaigns because they simply don’t understand how to put together a solid email strategy.
And that’s why we’re here.
This month, we’re running a webinar on email marketing tactics, publishing a free eBook on email marketing and covering a variety of strategies you can use to set up, run and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
In this article, we’re going to talk about # email marketing tactics that you can use to improve your email campaigns (or set them up right to begin with, if this is your first foray into email marketing). Not every tactic will apply to every business, but you should be able to find a variety of tips that you can use in the coming year. Let’s get started!
9 Email Marketing Tactics to Try This Year
A lot goes into setting up and running effective email marketing campaigns. Whether you’re creating an email drip or a newsletter, you need to keep track of and think about a lot of different variables.
To help you out, here’s a list of 9 different tactics and things to keep in mind while creating and evaluating your marketing campaigns.
1. Rethink Your Target Audience
Often, when you set up your email marketing for the first time, it’s easy to make a lot of assumptions about your target audience. But, as time goes on, you start to get data on what people actually like and respond to.
Unfortunately, if you don’t regularly evaluate how your campaigns are performing, you’ll miss out on that data…and miss the mark with your email marketing.
So, one really simple email marketing tactic you can use is to set a regular schedule for when you’ll evaluate your campaigns. Depending on your business, this might be once a week, once a month or once a quarter. The important thing is to make sure that you’re checking in your campaigns regularly.
As you evaluate your campaigns, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Do particular headlines or emails get a great response? What can you learn from them? What sort of topics or even language does your audience seem to like? The better you come to understand your target audience, the easier it will be to create emails that they love.
2. Test Your Emails
If you really want to get to know your email marketing audience, though, you’ll want to test every part of your emails: subject lines, calls-to-action, body copy…everything!
To properly test your emails (aka, in order to learn something from your tests), though, you’ll want to make sure that you only test one element at a time. Otherwise, it won’t be clear which change(s) your audience was responding to.
In a nutshell, the ideal way to test your emails is to look at your old emails, identify winning emails, come up with hypotheses about why those emails performed so well and then test those hypotheses in future emails. This approach takes some time and effort, but its the surest way to get great results from your email marketing.
3. Create a Pre-Send Checklist
Ever launched an email campaign and then—to your everlasting shame and horror—discovered that you missed a big typo, forgot a link or put the wrong date for an upcoming event?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
The best way to prevent these sorts of mistakes is to create a pre-send checklist. This checklist should cover all of the important things you need to make sure are in place before you hit “send”.
For example, here are some of the areas we include on our own checklists at Disruptive:
- Is the “from” name and email address correct?
- Is the email subject line clear, concise and compelling?
- Have I read through the email out loud to ensure that the content is free from typos and reads smoothly?
- Is the content interesting and approachable?
- Are all of my links in place and do they point to the appropriate place? (and do they include any relevant UTM parameters?)
- Does the email have an interesting and relevant call to action?
- Does the email have a functioning unsubscribe option?
You can either borrow and modify the list above or create your own checklist. It doesn’t really matter how you create your list as long as it works for you.
Once you’ve created your own pre-send checklist—stick to it! It can feel like an annoying waste of time, but those 5 minutes of extra effort can save you hours of headache.
4. Talk to Your “Regulars”
Every email list has a group of “regulars”: the people who almost always open, read and even click on the links your emails. These “regulars” are your real fans and one of the easiest ways to get more out of your email marketing is to specifically reach out to them.
Now, if your group of “regulars” happens to include thousands of people, you probably can’t reach out individually, but you can build out some specific campaigns around them.
What exactly those campaigns entail will depend on your business. Ecommerce businesses may want to offer coupons or get feedback on upcoming products. Services businesses may want to send targeted emails encouraging “regulars” to bite the bullet and talk to a representative.
Additionally, your “regulars” can be a great way to test new email templates or calls-to-action. If your “regulars” respond well to your new approach, odds are that the rest of your audience will, too. If not, it may not be worth trying with your whole list.
Business works best when you create a sense of community between you and your customers. Your “regulars” already feel that sort of bond to you, so anything you can do to reinforce that connection through your email marketing can only help your business in the long run.
5. Segment Your Email List
For decades, most businesses have approached email marketing the same way they approach direct mail marketing. You get a list together, create a message and send it to everyone on that list. This can work, but it really isn’t the best way to do things.
If there’s one great advantage that email marketing has over direct mail marketing, it’s the ability to segment your list. Because you can actually link data on opens, clicks, purchases and anything else that happens online, you can use that data to segment your list and send specific, relevant content to your subscribers.
And, in marketing, specifics sell.
Rather than hitting everyone with the same message, take the time to break down your lists, think about who you’re emailing and what sort of content would provide the most value to them.
6. Clean Up Your List
As marketers, we work so hard to build our email lists that we really hesitate to get rid of anyone. Sure, they might not have opened one of our emails for two years, but today could be that day!
The problem is, when people don’t open your emails, it decreases your delivery rates. That tells internet service providers (ISPs) that you’re sending unwanted emails and can lead to your email account getting flagged for sending SPAM!
To make matters worse, old dormant emails are sometimes picked up by Spam Traps—fraud management tools ISPs and blacklist providers use to identify spammers. If you repeatedly send email to Spam Traps, you can get flagged as a spammer and have your ability to send emails revoked—even if those emails originally came from real, authentic subscribers.
So, as painful as it is to clear out old, inactive subscribers, it’s important to make time on a regular basis to clean up your email list. A clean list is one of the best ways to get good results from your email marketing, so schedule time every 2-3 months to clean up your list!
7. Update Your Email Design
Email templates are great. Whether you created it yourself, downloaded one from the internet or your email marketing tool or asked a designer to create a template for you, email templates can save you a ton of time and energy.
After all, when you’re sending out email campaigns on a regular basis, designing each email from scratch can be overwhelming.
However, all of that ease can come with a downside. Much like banner blindness, your subscribers can get used to the way your emails look and start to ignore the actual content.
The easiest way to prevent this? Change things up every so often.
As we’ll get into in a moment, any design changes you make should remain consistent with your brand voice (and any best practices you’ve identified through testing), but periodically sprucing up your emails can go a long way towards improving their performance.
8. Rethink Your Brand Voice
Let’s face it, most people—even marketers and business owners—aren’t professional copywriters. You may not have a clear sense for what the voice of your brand is and how to use it in your email copy, and that’s okay.
The idea behind brand voice, though, is fairly simple. Your brand voice is the tone of your emails. It’s the way you write and talk about things.
For some businesses, a very formal tone works. They’re trying to talk to academics, lawyers or Fortune 500 CEOs, so anything less than formal and professional will offend their target audience.
For other companies, however, that sort of formality can actually be off-putting to their customers. This is especially true the younger your target audience is. Instead, you may get better results from a more casual writing style.
Once you’ve identified your brand voice, stick with it! Consistency is the key to branding, so make sure that your voice is consistent between emails, across marketing platforms and throughout your buyer journey.
Now, if you’re like most businesses, you probably didn’t put a whole lot of thought into your brand voice when you first started marketing. That’s okay, but there’s no time like the present to start doing things the right way.
Think about your current advertising and email content: are there any consistent themes you’ve already identified? How can you incorporate those into your brand voice? What do people respond well to? How do your customers talk? Once you’ve figured out your brand voice, change how you write your emails to match and watch your results improve.
9. Pick a Sending Cadence
For many businesses, email marketing tends to be something of an afterthought. They get to it when they get to it, which often leads to a ton of inconsistency in sending volumes and strategies.
That in and of itself is a problem, because it’s very hard to learn anything without consistency. However, there’s another, hidden downside to inconsistent email marketing. ISPs pay attention to the volume of your emails and a sudden uptake in send volume is a red flag.
If you irregularly hop between sending no emails for a few months, sending a few hundred emails and sending thousands of emails, you can get marked as a spammer.
Similarly, if you suddenly go from sending no emails to sending two emails a day, your customers will probably think you’re a spammer, too. Either of these situations isn’t good for your business.
Instead, take some time to think about how many emails you want to send and how often. Come up with a goal and then work out a strategy for naturally increasing your send volume and frequency towards that goal. Email marketing tends to work best when you take a long view of things, so come up with a plan, goals and work consistently on achieving them.
And there you have it! 9 email marketing tactics you can use to improve the performance of your email marketing in 2020. Whether it’s figuring out your brand voice, figuring out your target audience or coming up with a clever way to segment your list, each of these ideas should give you a good way to take your marketing to the next level.
By the way, for even more email marketing tactics and advice, keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming email marketing eBook. Or, if you’d like some direct help from our expert team, let us know here or in the comments. We’d be happy to help you put together and implement a solid email marketing strategy!
What are some of your favorite email marketing tactics? Have you tried any of the email marketing tactics mentioned in this article? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!