Working in email can sometimes seem like a thankless task sending out millions of emails to millions of people in the hope a small fraction of the receivers open them and then a small fraction of those openers actually click and buy something. Yes you can simplify email marketing down to something as basic as blast and pray but understanding your campaign report information allows you to make informed changes and decisions to improve your email it not only makes your job easier but makes your time as an email marketeer more rewarding.

Start with what you know

Email marketeers should be using campaign reports to make informed decisions about their campaigns. If you’re not making decisions based off your reports and customer feedback it is very difficult to improve the effectiveness of your emails. Even from the most basic reports you should be able to start noticing patterns, trends and strong points and weak points. For example if you are including multiple links or banners that all return to the homepage but the vast majority of your readers just click your logo, you have a strong case to remove all that redundant duplicate content, save a large amount of space and improve the reading experience for your subscribers. If you see an ever increasing number of opens on mobile devices (who isn’t seeing that?) it would be prudent to start shifting your design and coding towards a mobile centric way of designing. While these are a simple examples of using your data to make a design decision about removing a banner or mobile optimising, it illustrates at a basic level how you should be incrementally improving an email design.

Stopping the status quo

Design is a quick and relatively easy way to keep subscribers engaged. Making small weekly tweaks to templates, rolling out new template designs each season or simply occasional colour updates can keep emails feeling fresh and new and hopefully interesting to your readers. Some industries need to concentrate on keeping their emails feeling fresh and new more than others. Fashion and Travel probably being the most reliant on new looking designs. So as email marketeers it is important to help these industries start using newer techniques. CSS animation is becoming more prevalent and now is a great time to begin experimenting with this modern technique. We can help make sense of your reports with you to formulate a solid email marketing plan. For example if your one sales banner at the top of your emails always get the majority of the clicks you could try testing multiple banners, or changing the banner position, or different types of banners. All hopefully to improve the banners effectiveness in your emails.

Keeping things grounded

Some changes might be harder to quantify than others. Sending mobile email for example will not increase sales. The business will still be selling the same product with the same copy describing it, the only difference being the email reading experience has been improved. Improving things like this will benefit your business in other ways. You will very likely see better list retention or even list growth, and this list retention will ultimately be visible in your revenues. So it is important to keep pushing for changes even if their benefits are not immediately apparent or do not instantly affect your bottom line. Adding design elements, colours, illustrations are also hard to quantify if they’re helping or harming the campaigns so it’s important to remember to look at your reports more holistically. Keeping in mind you always want to be sending the reader useful, engaging content, that they want to receive, and which is easy to read and take action on.

Keeping in mind you always want to be sending the reader useful, engaging content, that they want to receive, and which is easy to read and take action on.

Planning for the future

It’s easy to be caught up in micro optimisations and little constant tweaks and while those can be vital to improving a business’s emails they should really all be part of a much larger grander plan that you have created with your email service provider to improve your email marketing. For example if your business is in fashion retail and you plan to launch a new blog area on your site, email would be a great way to not only generate lots of traffic to that new blog and perhaps you might even want to to start sending separate blog emails in addition to your normal emails. This is not just a good thing for your email service provider. There might very well be a large number of your customers who love the blog content and that is probably the reason you decided to do it in the first place. So get your email service provider to support you. Create an email welcome program for the blog, create a sign up for form for the blog updates, create blog email templates. Get your email service provider to give you the email tools to make a success of your new venture. All this can be quite a large amount of work so it is important to plan with your email service provider. Draw up quarterly goals, let them know if your site is expanding or changing, or if you have a retail calendar or plan that needs to match your email activity. Make sure your email service provider is making sure you’re getting the most out of your email marketing.