Updating the Rules of Email Engagement

4 strategies to keep your email marketing campaigns fresh and effective

April 2015

With so many ways to market your business online, email may seem like old news. However, email marketing is still a very effective means of engaging customers and prospects. In fact, studies show that email is the most effective marketing tool for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and customer retention.

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, email is approximately 40 times more effective for acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. Ninety-one percent of all U.S. consumers use email daily, and the rate at which email prompts purchases is at least three times that of social media.

If the results of your email marketing have been declining or you never quite got the results you expected in the first place, try these four ways to freshen up your email marketing.

1. Get more personal.

According to Kathy Dam, marketing manager at Hinge, a branding and marketing firm for professional services, customization and personalization are essential to improving your email open rates. Identify small, yet potentially profitable, subsets of your market and niche offerings, then segment your email list by those subsets. For example, if an architect does both commercial and residential projects, she could create a newsletter full of useful information about home remodeling for her residential clients and another newsletter focused on the latest office space planning trends for her corporate clients.

Most email marketing management platforms, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, or VerticalResponse make it easy to segment your mailing list and automate the customization.

2. Use a mobile-responsive template.

You may have been hearing a lot about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, but it is just as important to make sure all your email communications are mobile-friendly as well. A recent study found that 57 percent of people read email on their mobile phones and 33 percent read email on their tablets. Nearly 45 percent of all marketing email today is opened on a mobile device. Because your audience is most likely opening their email on both their mobile devices and their desktop computers, the key is to send responsive email. Mobile-responsive design means the email design is formatted for easy reading and navigation across a wide range of devices.

If you do not have the resources to hire a mobile design expert, there are several free or low-cost mobile-responsive templates available that will work in MailChimp or Campaign Monitor email management platforms.

3. Follow best practices for subject lines.

Inboxes are very crowded these days, and the subject line and preview text you choose for your email directly impacts the open rates. According to Hubspot, an internet marketing company, there are a few subject line best practices that, if followed, can improve your open rates:

  • Using numbers in your subject line is an effective practice. People love numbered lists, and human curiosity always spikes when numerals are involved. An example could be “5 Estate Planning Strategies that Will Save You Money.”
  • Get to the point. Your subject line should be a maximum of 50 characters.
  • Make the benefits of your email clear. For example, “Double your online sales today” is more likely to be opened than “How to increase your online sales.”
  • Don’t overcapitalize. Grammar rules apply to subject lines, too.
  • Ask a question in your subject line to draw readers in.
  • Go beyond the basics and get creative with the preview text. Some email clients (Gmail, Outlook, iPhone, Windows Mobile 7) will display a portion of your preheader text as a preview.

4. Customize your landing page for each email.

Once you’ve engaged your audience with a highly targeted email, you should be driving them to a targeted page on your website. Customized landing pages—which send the user directly to the item or offer featured in the email—can increase conversion rates by more than 25 percent.



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