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Phillip Moorman

It’s easy to overlook the sheer sales potential that can be found in your email list. But even as search engines and social media grow in sophistication, email marketing still matters.

If you doubt this fact, just consider the numbers. Roughly half of the world’s population—and three-fourths of the American population—utilizes email. Billions of business and consumer emails are sent and received every day. And these numbers are only expected to grow!

It’s also worth noting that ROI still runs incredibly high for email marketing. Research indicates that companies see an average of $38 for every $1 spent on this form of outreach.

With stats like this in mind, it makes little sense to neglect email. Whether an address has been on your list for 5 days or 5 years, the name that accompanies it should be given the same level of attention that successful brick-and-mortar establishments extend to people who walk through their doors.

So here are a few ways to make sure that your email game stays strong.

1) Optimize for Mobile Devices

As already mentioned, people everywhere continue to send and receive email in massive number. However, the ways in which they do this have not remained static over the last decade or two.

To put it mildly, the smartphone changed everything. Depending on the target audience and the type of product involved, mobile email accounts for as much as 77% of email opens—and this is another number that is almost certain to rise. Any way you look at it, it is now significantly more likely that an email will be read on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.

So, if your marketing emails are not optimized for mobile users, you are losing engagement fast. Many users not only delete non-optimized emails, but also unsubscribe from the associated list.

In today’s world, it simply makes more sense to assume that your emails will be read on an iPhone or Android device rather than on a traditional desktop.

Marketing companies like Constant Contact provide predesigned, professional-looking, mobile-ready templates as part of their services.

2) Refine Your Subject Lines

Mobile-friendly design isn’t the only way that changing technology has affected readership of emails. With the saturation of information found on social media sites—or, more accurately, apps viewed on smartphones—capturing the reader’s attention right off the bat has become a greater challenge.

Consider, for example, that a majority of Facebook users share articles without having actually read them. And realize, too, that this trend can be extrapolated to the users leaving comments and other reactions. The upshot? Headlines (and some accompanying text) are more important than ever.

Now apply the same logic to the subject lines of your email-based marketing content. Assume that your customers’ inboxes are subject to daily bombardment.

Think about ways to make sure that your subject lines have a solid chance of standing out from the pack. Use words that create a sense of urgency by concisely suggesting limited time. Or go the opposite route by using more oblique words that might pique the reader’s curiosity and motivate them to learn more.

Trying to make your subject lines personalized, as though sent by a friend, is increasingly common, though sometimes overdone. (Do not personalize to the point of appearing creepy.) But do not be afraid to get cute and colloquial.

Remember that both mobile devices and laptops will, in many cases, show the first few words of email’s content adjacent to the subject line—the preview text. Consider paying special attention to these words, which can function almost as an extension of the subject line.

3) Revise Your Content

Now let’s assume that your subject line worked: your email was opened.

What type of content will customers find there? Again, it is impossible to approach this subject without noting the overwhelming abundance of digitally available information vying for a reader’s attention. In some cases, this will include your actual business competition.

You have probably had the experience of receiving a marketing email from a company and noticing grammatical errors in its body. You may have also received emails whose sentences and paragraphs were generally so poorly constructed that you could not be bothered to read the whole thing. Make sure that you have not fallen into this trap with your own marketing content.

Check and double-check every email before sending. (A second or third set of eyes is

recommended.) Make sure that your sentences are not only grammatically correct, but concise. Use short paragraphs or—better yet—bullet points. Your email content is, after all, a reflection of your own professionalism.

And this does not apply only to written content. If your email contains visuals in the form of photos, videos or infographics, it is important to make them both accurate and aesthetically pleasing.

4) Revisit Your Segmentation Strategy

Successful email marketers avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach to customer conversion. If you have not broken your email list into segments, you have likely not tapped into its full potential.

First, be aware that different customers want different things.

For example, some may enjoy receiving regular newsletters, while others only really care about new products. Target your communication to the specific needs of your audience.

Additionally, you may find value in segmenting your customers according to demographic information like age and gender, geographic area or purchase history. If an email address was the only thing you acquired from customers who signed up for your list, you can always obtain more info by way of surveys or quizzes.

5) Create a Loyalty Program

On a similar note, it is important to make your customers feel special—like they are more just names on a list. Creating a loyalty or other rewards program is a great marketing hack. But it does more than merely adding a personalized touch.

By rewarding repeat purchases, you put in place a psychological mechanism that will encourage more purchases in the future, thus bolstering customer retention.

This step also works synergistically with previously mentioned tips like freshening up your subject lines. If you call attention to a customer’s reward points—with specificity—in the subject line of an email, then you already have a more effective piece of marketing than you would get with a generic “Check out these great deals!”

As previously discussed, investing in customer relationships is the most crucial part of any e-commerce business.

As with so much of marketing, these things will require experimentation and A/B testing. Not everything you try will work. But the important thing is that you are constantly striving to change your email strategy and ensure that your marketing in this medium never grows stale.

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