Email marketing is older than you might think.

Gary Thuerk, AKA the “Father of Spam,” actually sent the first eblast – a computer sales campaign – back in 1978. It was an incredible success. And it spawned an industry that’s been on a roll ever since.

Standing at $1.12 billion in 2020, experts predict the email marketing software market to reach $2.53 billion by 2028 (Source: Fortune Business Insights).

Users are also engaged, with reports showing that people check their inboxes multiple times per day.

Yet, amid the rise of so many other ways to reach an audience, some find themselves asking “does email marketing still work?”

The short answer: Sure it does. Email marketing isn’t dying. It’s just different.

Relevancy Over Promotion

When Thuerk sent his campaign, it was a hit, generating millions of dollars in revenue. Not bad for his first one!

But think about how consumer expectations have changed since then.

The Internet, social media, and other forms of two-way communication have significantly altered the way people buy and, ultimately, their expectations for how brands engage with them. Email is no exception.

So, what does the modern consumer expect? Relevancy.

Customers want messages tailored to their needs instead of promotional messages designed for the masses.

And the reality for marketers? We must evolve with the changes if we expect to produce worthwhile results.

How can you improve your email results?

Check out the below for five ways to make email marketing a better performing channel within your digital marketing ecosystem:

  1. Define your Goal

    First things first – what are you trying to do? Are you trying to keep existing customers engaged with your brand? Nurture new contacts towards a sale?

    Email works better as a marketing channel when your message and call-to-actions are relevant and specific.

    Insight: Know what you’re trying to do, and then put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Speaking of…

  2. Segment Your Audience

    Segmenting your audience assures you a better chance of reaching the right customers instead of the whole lot.

    As legendary copywriter Gary Halbert explained in The Boron Letters, understanding what people want to buy is the key to understanding what they will buy. How do you do that?

    As Halbert put it, “the way to deduce what people want to buy is to simply observe what they DO buy!”

    Example: Let’s say your company is launching a next-generation product, replacing the old. You want to promote the new model to your email subscribers to stir up interest and sales.

    You could send a blast to the entire list. And it might net some results. Or…

    You could look in your records for customers who own the previous model and send them a targeted message. You might even consider including an exclusive trial offer or discount for this group.

    Following this approach, you’ll assuredly generate higher engagement rates than if you were to send to your entire contact population.

    Insight: Give yourself a better chance of meeting your goal by targeting the right audience.

  3. Be Mindful of the Moment

    OK, you know what you’re trying to do, and you have the right audience in mind. What’s next? Identifying the right time.

    Have you ever received a phone call at a bad time? Not necessarily a time of day, but a time when you’re stressed or tied up by something else? Or what about an annoying pop-up ad that gets in the way of what you’re trying to do?

    A poorly timed email is like that. Why?

    People are more likely to take an interest in something when they’re otherwise not distracted by something else.

    Instead of focusing on subjective factors such as “optimal times to send,” focus on moments when your customers are most likely to engage.

    Example: Let’s say someone fills out a form for a content offer on your website. Your goal is to get this person to double opt-in to receive future communications from you.

    Which do you think is more likely to result in a successful outcome?

    • An email with a CTA to opt-in that you send a week after the contact submits the form?


    • An email with a CTA to opt-in that triggers minutes after the contact submits the form?

    Answer: The latter is almost certain to perform better because the contact is engaged at that moment.

    Insight: Capitalize on the audience’s attention while you have it.

  4. Match the Message

    Now that you’ve pinpointed the right audience and the right moment to reach them, you need a message that will resonate.

    Our advice: Be clear, concise, and watch your CTAs. Too many may confuse your audience.

    Remember your goal. What do you want the audience to do?

    Think about the previous example in number three. If your goal is for contacts to double opt-in, make your message about taking that very action.



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    Insight: Match the message with the intent.

  5. Test, Test, and Test

    If your email campaign is a hit, great! If it falls flat, don’t fret. Test.

    Email marketing is hard.  But there are many testing techniques, including A/B testing, you can use to try and improve your results.

    In an A/B test, you send one version, the control, of your email to a subset of your audience. A second version, the variable, goes to the other subset with a single change.

    Example: Say an email in one of your automated flows shows a below-average open rate. You might suspect the poor performance is because the subject line is too long.

    To test that hypothesis, you try a shorter subject line with a subset of your audience – one large enough to produce a statistically significant result against your control group.

    If you find your variable group performs better than your control group, and the results are statistically significant, you could apply the change to all audiences, with the expectation that your change will yield a positive result.

    Insight: Take action when your emails don’t perform as expected.  Small changes can have a big impact.

Want more tips to improve your email marketing campaigns? Drop Dennison Creative a line or call us at (440) 283-5004.

We love talking about email marketing strategy, including tips for segmenting your target audience, advising the right tools, producing the right content, and more.