Make sure your messages count.

James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer, Rooster Strategic Solutions

Email has been a go-to tactic for marketers for decades and even the pandemic couldn’t slow this juggernaut. According to Statista, email volumes have risen 82 percent over the past two years, with an estimated 333 billion in this calendar year, fueled by what some marketers are seeing as increasing engagement and the wider adoption of CRM-based marketing automation executions.

But there are significant headwinds forming. For one, recipients spend less time reading brand emails than in the past – as little as 10 seconds per email – and even less time when viewing content on mobile devices. This is especially true for Gen Z and Millennial customers, who prefer text messages over email for quick questions, offers, and making payments.

Moreover, the upcoming elections and a tight economy around the holiday season will make it even more difficult to ensure your emails stand out. A few pithy subject lines aren’t going to cut it. Here are a few simple steps to help you get the most from your marketing spend.

Start with a quality list. Email success is as much about whom you’re sending to as it is what you’re saying, although many marketers skimp on this step to spend their time improving the creative content. Any email effort, whether it’s a one-off message or an ongoing campaign, should be tied to an overall marketing strategy that includes first-party data baked into a Customer Data Platform.

Another valuable practice is to use behavioral-based segmentation. By placing your recipients into different buckets based on their transactional histories, demographics, or even hobbies and interests, you can tailor your content to better appeal to your readers, encouraging them to spend more time with your message, and increasing the chance for conversion.

Send valuable content. Every time. It’s all about establishing that the things coming from you are worthy of opening. This is an example of where content should trump cadence. Sometimes, if you honestly don’t have anything to share, it’s better to skip a week of your weekly email until you have more to offer.

Consider using dynamic content if you’re not already doing so. Videos, gifs, surveys, and polls can increase engagement and extend the time that recipients spend with your message.

Make sure the address, subject line, and preheader copy tell a cohesive story. The subject line is particularly critical, as recipients will use it to make a snap decision whether to delete your email. You want the subject line to be catchy, informative, and no more than four to seven words long. This is no easy task, and those marketers who spend hours making an email look good before slapping a subject line together and calling it a day are literally dooming their chances for success. Test your subject lines before launch or find a third-party partner with email experience to help you.

The preview line should complement the subject line without repeating it, encouraging recipients to open the email. Use it to introduce or reiterate the offer or call-to-action.

Speaking of which, make sure you have a clear call-to-action. And get to the point quickly. Recipients should know instantly what it is you want them to do after looking at your email. And it should be very simple for them to take that action.

Finally, don’t forget to measure results. This is another area where many marketers cut corners, and I get it – you only have so much time in the day, and sometimes it’s all you can do just to get the darn e-mail out the door on time. But those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. And it doesn’t take long to collect and review some basic benchmarks that can tell you if your efforts were successful or guide you on how to improve future campaigns. Start with the basics: Open rate, click-through-rate, and conversion rate. More detailed analysis can include bounce rate, engagement over time, and the number of unsubscribe requests.

In short, email marketing is going to get harder, but it’s still one of the best and most economical ways to reach current and potential customers, with one of the highest potential ROI of any marketing tactic. Making some simple improvements can help improve your odds for engagement and conversion.

If you have any questions about email marketing, lists, or metrics, or if you aren’t sure which questions to ask, I’d love to have a conversation.