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6 Email Tactics to Leave Behind in the New Year

Adrian Fisher
Adrian Fisher

Changing your email marketing strategy in 2020 could pay big dividends.

It's no surprise that most businesses use email marketing. After all, it's the most effective marketing channel. And as 2019 comes to a close, it's clear that email marketing is far from dying.

According to Statista, in 2019, there were more than 293 billion emails sent per day, a number that continues to grow. Statista predicts that by 2023, more than 347 billion emails will be sent each day. As emails increase, it's become more challenging for businesses to stand out among all of the other messages flooding their customers' inboxes. The competition is stiff, and there's little room for email tactics that no longer work. 

As the new year approaches, here are six email tactics marketers should leave behind.

1. Using dull subject lines

Email subject lines can make or break an email. While an email may have a well-written message and all the right call-to-action buttons, if the subject line isn't compelling enough, customers won't give it the time of day. According to OptinMonster, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. Marketers can no longer get by with uninteresting subject lines. They must be creative and nail the subject line to get customers to open their email.

Effective email subject lines tend to be short and sweet, relatable and conversational. For example, instead of "Ways to Boost Your Home Value," try "Want to Increase Your Home's Selling Price?"

The best way to improve email subject lines is to try different options, A/B test, measure open rates and repeat what works. Try using emojis (depending on your audience), asking questions and using statistics. Most email marketing tools will offer an in-depth look at how many opens each subject line received, which can help improve campaigns in 2020. Most email platforms will allow you to A/B test a small group of emails and use the one with the most opens to go to the rest of the group. Make sure to utilize testing features such as this to ensure high open rates.


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2. Continuing to ignore mobile

More people are checking their email on mobile devices. A study by Fluent revealed that 75% of people say they use their smartphones most often to check email. Furthermore, Adestra found that around 70% of recipients delete emails that display incorrectly on mobile within three seconds. In this day and age, mobile-friendly emails aren't an option – they're a necessity. People won't be able to read an email on their smartphone if it's not optimized. They may also become frustrated and unsubscribe to emails with links that don't work or that they can't digest on the go.

Marketers can ensure their emails look great across mobile devices by using a responsive email template, avoiding large image files, using buttons for calls to action and breaking up long paragraphs. Always test an email from a mobile device, as well as from a desktop. While this is one extra step, it's worth it in the long run because more people will actually read and engage with the email.

Someone may sign up to receive emails from a business, but then decide they want to unsubscribe. Marketers can either make their unsubscribe link visible or hide it deep in the footer of their email. If they choose the latter, they could jeopardize not only their legal compliance with GDPR but deliverability too.

A Litmus report shows that half of U.S. consumers say they've reported a brand's emails as spam because the process of opting out wasn't easy. Making it hard for recipients to unsubscribe can cause frustration and drive spam complaints.

Marketers should make it easy for people to opt out and discontinue sending email campaigns to those who decide to unsubscribe. Businesses that find themselves with a lot of unsubscribers should rethink their email marketing campaigns. Instead of finding sneaky tactics to keep disengaged customers getting emails, think about how to improve the email marketing campaign as a whole. What works, what doesn't work, and how can email tactics be refreshed in the new year? Don't try to trick the audience into staying subscribed by hiding the unsubscribe link; instead, focus on creating smart content that people want to read.

4. Overlooking analytics 

A lot of time and effort goes into crafting the perfect email. Gone are the days of sending and forgetting about emails. Marketers need to pay attention to how their emails are performing. What actions are subscribers taking once they open an email? It's important to note whether they are clicking links or unsubscribing. Email performance is an excellent indicator of whether a strategy is working or requires a change. 

Many email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, provide campaign reports that allow users to view subscribers' clicks, opens, social activity and other metrics. Take a look at which emails had the most clicks and review Google Analytics to see what actions those people took on the website. Did the customer download an e-book, sign up for the free trial, etc.? Clicks and engagement are great, but businesses want the customer to ultimately take action on the website as well. Try to take a holistic approach and review all analytics together to understand what works about an email campaign.

5. Sending the same email to everyone

Relevance is the key to successful email marketing. Using a 'one size fits all' approach no longer works. Readers want messages that address their specific challenges. To customize their messaging to each recipient, marketers must first segment their email list into different groups. They can segment recipients based on their job title, industry, location, interests and other factors.

Segmenting audiences and delivering personalized messaging can result in higher email click-through rates and more engaged customers. According to Experian, personalization increases open rates by 26%. Think about it this way: businesses take different approaches for prospects in the sales funnel. Someone in the awareness phase doesn't need the same content as someone who is about to become a client. Email marketing works in a similar way. New subscribers should receive specific content and regular clients should receive something else. Many companies have a drip campaign for potential subscribers who offered an email but did not pay for the product or service, which works well. However, regular clients do not want that type of email; instead, they offer this group tips and tricks to use the platform and keep them updated on all new tools and features.

6. Sending careless emails

Emails often serve as the first impression for subscribers. An email that looks sloppy and is full of typos doesn't come across as professional and won't stand up to the competition in an inbox full of other messages.

It's crucial to take the time to make sure everything looks good before hitting the send button. Emails should be visually appealing and well written, with high-quality images and no typos. Sending several test emails ensures everything will look as it should when it arrives in the recipient's inbox.

Mistakes are bound to happen. However, the fewer there are, the more effective an email campaign will be.

Email marketing isn't going away anytime soon. Inboxes are more crowded than ever, and competition is growing. With the new year approaching, now is the time for marketers to review the effectiveness of their current email tactics. By leaving behind the tactics that no longer work, and implementing those that do, businesses will increase their chances of standing out and reap the rewards of a successful email campaign.

Image Credit: juststock / Getty Images
Adrian Fisher
Adrian Fisher Member
Founder and CEO of PropertySimple, a real estate technology company that allows agents to take control of their personal brand by automating social media posting.