10 ways to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing

There are 269 billion emails sent every day. And the average office worker receives 121—almost three times the amount they send. The challenge is to find ways to get your emails noticed, remembered and acted upon!

Email marketing is still one of the most immediate and measurable ways to connect with customers.

But only if you get the basics right.

First, think about your campaign’s relevance to your chosen audience.

For email to work well, it needs to avoid falling into the ‘junk’ category.

Junk email is only junk because it’s badly targeted.

The more personalised—and relevant—you can make your email marketing, the better the results will be.

Personalisation means gathering as much data about an individual as possible. The individual data can then be grouped into lists based on known areas of common interest.

This will gain a higher response than, for example, segmentation based on geography or demographics. For example, not everyone in their 30s and living in the Lake District is interested in hill walking!

Once you’ve decided that you know who you’re talking to—and this is imperative—you should ensure your email follows the industry’s acknowledged ‘best-practice’.

Remember that emails are ‘read’ differently to printed matter. Follow these ten principles and you shouldn’t go far wrong.

  1. Wherever possible make your emails personalised—ie. addressed to the individual—and have an engaging subject line. These two elements alone will increase engagement and open rates hugely. In addition, give thought to who the email is ‘from.’
  2. A good headline is imperative. The purpose is to get your copy read. Start by saying why you are writing to the recipient—this will improve follow-on.
  3. Your ‘offer’ should be mentioned immediately and with clarity. Try to avoid unnecessary, mealy-mouthed copy that sounds insincere, forced or self-centred. Avoid being too clever; instead be as direct as possible. Use simple language—don’t try to impress with complicated language; this will merely reduce comprehension.
  4. Your copy should be a dialogue. Read out aloud, it should feel natural and believable. Use ‘action’ words. Use the word ‘”you” as often as possible.
  5. Add personality, emotion and sometimes, appropriate humour. Dull, overly-logical or imprecise prose will only serve to slow down your message, lowering comprehension and response.
  6. Where there are pictures, give them captions. Pictures as headers should add impact and engage. They should entice the reader into the email, not try to tell the whole story. Remember pictures will be glanced at, not studied in detail. Keep them simple and avoid distraction from the key purpose, which should be to convey or ‘frame’ your message. Consider the use of dynamic images that match a respondent’s location or gender (Adidas do this perfectly).
  7. Add sub-headings to pull out or reinforce your key message or sub-messages.
  8. Readers ‘browse’ so you should check that your message is communicated even if you ONLY read the headline, sub-headings or captions and call to action. Remember that a typical email takes about 90 seconds to read fully. But people receiving your mail will ‘scan’ for only 4 seconds before deciding to read further—hence the importance of headings and sub-headings to deliver the key points fast.
  9. Have a ‘one-click’ response mechanism. Make it as easy as possible for people to take up your offer.
  10. Repeat your offer or call to action at the end.

If you find your email still isn’t working, re-evaluate your database, your offer and your subject line. Integrate your campaigns to your CRM system, eCommerce platform or accounting package. Test and measure a different list. Test and measure a different subject line. Test and measure a different offer.

Whatever you do, don’t keep sending more and more emails in the hope that eventually something might ‘stick’.

There’s no magic wand.

But there’s certainly a few basics that you can’t afford to ignore.


If you need support with your current email marketing, give us a call and we’ll see if we can improve things. You might find that your customers thank you for it.

Rowan (Creative Marketing) Ltd.

Think. Design. Deliver.

01829 771772