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4 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing

Thomas Griffin
at OptinMonster
Sep 25, 2019

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate sales and traffic for your small business.

  • If you are building a company from scratch, email marketing is statistically the best way to grow your audience and increase sales.
  • Experimenting with marketing psychology can drastically increase the number of people who open and respond to your emails. 
  • Content that provides value can turn a curious consumer into an email subscriber. 
  • Never take the “easy path” and buy lead lists; they are always more trouble than they are worth. 
  • Creating a clear call to action and split-testing your emails can improve your conversion rates. 

The numbers are in: Email marketing can help you grow your business at any stage and size. Companies typically see a whopping 3,800% return on investment with this method of marketing. In other words, for every dollar marketers spend, they make $38. 

Additionally, 50% of consumers claimed that they check their email accounts at least 10 times a day. Despite the idea that email communication is dated, it’s still an active part of 93% of B2B marketers’ lead generation and retention toolbox.  

Impressive figures, right? It’s not hard to see why email is the most effective and convenient way to reach your target audience. Here are several tips to keep in mind if you’re experimenting with email marketing for the first time. These tips will show you how to convince customers to click through after they open your email, how marketing psychology can improve your strategy and why you should never buy lead lists.

1. Create valuable content. 

Valuable content is one of the cornerstones of a successful email marketing campaign. If you’re not offering consumers something they find useful, why would they consider signing up for your mailing list? 

Here’s an extreme example: Imagine you find a website that seems interesting, but you want more content before you decide it’s worthy of your hard-earned money. You sign up under a generic “subscribe now” button, and now you’re waiting for additional content. Sadly, you never receive the content you were expecting. Before long, your memory of that business will fade, and it has lost out on a sale. 

You don’t want to put consumers in this position. Instead, let them know in advance what to expect when they join your subscriber list. A simple notification below the subscribe button can let customers know that they’ll get future blog posts and discounts. Similarly, you could create a lead magnet, such as an e-book or case study, and offer that piece of content to subscribers. 


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You know what topics are relevant to your audience. Make content that interests them and addresses their pain points. 

2. Never buy your leads.

When new business owners decide to create a blog or e-commerce storefront, their goal is to build a large following as quickly as possible. Buying a lead list may seem like a great shortcut, but it hardly ever brings success. Worse yet, if you or anyone on a purchased lead list live in Europe, you’re breaking the law by way of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Besides being illegal in some areas, purchased lead lists are generally full of people who have had their data stolen and sold on the gray or black market. There’s a high probability that consumers on these lists will not care who you are, what you’re selling, or how sorry you are for emailing them without their permission. 

Not only do you anger consumers who were added to your subscriber list from a third party, but you instantly break any chance that those consumers will ever trust your brand again. If they are looking for a solution that your business offers, they will go elsewhere because of the lengths you went to get into their inboxes. 

3. Implement marketing psychology.

Psychological marketing is nothing new to business owners. For years, companies compiled data and researched the work of doctors and scientists to discover new ways to reach audiences.

We have all experienced FOMO (fear of missing out) at one point or another in our lives. For example, have you ever browsed a website only to notice a giant flashing sign exclaiming that there’s a limited-time sale happening right now? This type of advertising is FOMO in action. The fear stems from the idea that the consumer may have the chance to get a terrific deal. Consumers fear that if they don’t seize on a limited-time offer, they will miss out on experiences, conversations with peers and savings. You can use this tactic in your email campaign by hosting flash sales to your subscribers. 

Social proof is another excellent way to build your business when you’re just starting. Essentially, social proof is the idea that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if other people are currently buying and using the same product. You can build social proof on your site by showing live purchases, but email is a little different. When you’re trying to show social proof to consumers through their inboxes, it’s best to use numbers or testimonials from happy customers. A feature on your newsletter called “From the Community” can help you build social proof within your subscriber base. 

4. Use one call to action.

Finally, you must have one clear call to action when you email customers. You don’t want them to feel overwhelmed with the number of things going on within one message. For example, if you’re hosting a webinar, your call to action should focus on getting consumers to fill out an event registration form. 

If your goal is to get customers to check out your blog, include links to your best work and encourage readers to dig in and see what you have to offer. You must decide on your intention before you send a marketing email or create a multi-message campaign. 

Just because you can only have one call to action per email doesn’t mean you’ll send out the same CTA every time. A/B testing involves creating variations of your one call to action, and determining if the change impacted the number of people who click through and land on your website. You can track your blog or e-commerce analytics to see if there is a noticeable difference in traffic or sales. There are several things you should change when split-testing your campaigns, including the color of your CTA, the text in the subscribe box and the placement within your email. 

There’s no doubt that email marketing is mandatory if you’re a new business owner. Consumers are creating email accounts every day, and they are eagerly looking for businesses that solve their problems or blogs that keep them entertained. Every target audience varies slightly, but there’s a good chance that most of the people you hope to target use email daily. 

As your email list grows, you can begin segmenting your subscribers into different groups for targeted emails. Personalization is an excellent addition to your email marketing campaign, and it becomes more useful as your numbers rise. Before long, you’ll have a long list of subscribers interested in engaging with your business, consuming your content and buying your products. 

Image Credit:

NicoElNino / Getty Images

Thomas Griffin
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.