Do Marketing Emails Work? 5 Tips To Make It Work

Do marketing emails work
Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Ravi

Nov 20, 2021

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Email marketing is alive and kicking. But the Internet wants you to believe that it’s dead. So businesses often ask us, ‘Do marketing emails work? Aren’t those outdated?’ No, they’re not. They still do work. But it’s not as simple as it was in the past.

Marketing emails in 2021 need to be highly personalised, contextual and real-time. They need to seamlessly integrate with other communication channels like SMS & push notifications.

Since people have become used to instant gratification, marketers have upped their game. If you’re wondering whether marketing emails work, then here’s how you can leverage the potential of marketing emails in 2021.

Why do marketing emails work so well?

Someone smart once said that you’ve got to fish where the fish reside. Facebook might seem like the biggest pond there is for marketers. It has 1.5 billion users who log in like clockwork.

Guess how many people check their emails daily? Over 4 billion globally. 99% of email users read their emails every day. 85% of British adults use emails every week. In simple terms, this is the biggest pond that you’re probably overlooking.

It’s right there and it takes you inside their private space, inboxes. There cannot be an easier way to reach out to a potential customer. But, that’s the caveat too. Every email user’s inbox is a cluttered mess.

There are hundreds of brands and services screaming for attention. Every email user is bombarded with offers and deals that they probably never use. Radicati conducted a study that shows that there’s an average of 126 emails every day that reach an inbox.

What this means, is that you have to get it right. That too, in the first go. The margin for error has disappeared. Here are five tips that will answer the ‘Do marketing emails work’ question once and for all.

#1 – Create a strategy first

You cannot sign up with an email marketing provider and start bombarding emails to a list you purchased on some random website. That might have worked twenty years ago. Not anymore. You need to have a well-defined email marketing strategy in place.

The strategy starts with identifying your target audience. We’re not talking about demographics. Sure, your ideal target audience is 30-40-year-old females in London. You need more concrete information.

What are their preferred communication times?

Does using slang/emotions in your subject line improve your open/conversion rates? What is the primary factor that separates your target audience from the general public?

You need to map out the customer life cycle and identify your desired touchpoints for communication. This includes welcome emails & regular follow up emails.

Get them hooked with a series of emails. Make sure you don’t bombard them on day one though. Create a sense of scarcity by telling people that they’ll get an exclusive update in their inboxes. You can include a few links to show them what’s there for the taking.

The bulk of your marketing emails should not be transactional in nature. Having “sales” in the subject line might even trigger spam filters. Remember, you don’t need an offer every single time. People might get turned off if they’re constantly bombarded with deals.

#2 – Do Marketing emails work? Depends on Your list

Have you built the list from scratch? It’s not uncommon for businesses to acquire email lists. If it’s an acquired one, then the first step would be to reconfirm consent. Every single user on the list needs to have opted in. Leave the CAN-SPAM act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography & Marketing) & the GPDR aside.

This is also to make sure that these users are actually interested in your brand/service. The best way to do it is by asking them irrespective of whether they’ve opted in for any service or not. You want to weed out rented email addresses or fake purchased ones.

Most ISPs are pretty stringent about this. On the other hand, if you don’t have a list yet, then now’s the time to build one. Paid advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, Google and LinkedIn are excellent options to build an opt-in list.

If you have built a list, then segment it to dial down on the target audience. There are numerous factors that you can use for segmenting. For instance, opening time, or last purchase.

The success of your emails hinges on your ability to send out emails that are contextually relevant. Work hard at this stage and the rest will work out.

P.S – Make it a habit to clean the list from time to time. Analyse unsubscribe rates, delivery rates and engagement rates to remove users from the list.

#3 – Content is king, of course! But subject lines are the key

We’ve all heard that content is king. It’s a phrase that continues to be relevant even today on the Internet. But when it comes to email marketing, the subject is the key.

The subject line is what pops out from the hundred other emails they receive every day. Think of it as a billboard with limited space. This is your best shot at grabbing eyeballs and attention.

Do marketing emails work? Yes, if they are personalised.

However, you should write your subject last. Work on the body copy of the email first. Then decide on what angle you want to use in the subject line. You should try to highlight the most important aspect of the email copy in the subject.

Avoid clickbait at all costs. Nobody likes it when they are tricked into opening an email just because its title was enticing enough to open.

The pre-header is the tiny blurb of text that is displayed in the inbox. It’s also what appears when you hover over the subject line. You can use it to reinforce your subject or include a call to action. Most email providers limit this to 45-120 characters. So, your copywriting team has their task cut out.

At Rockstar Marketing, our copywriters brainstorm for hours to decide on email subjects. We generally write a few subject lines and then pick the best one that seems to work.

Here’s a checklist that we use for email subject lines.

  • Short – 3 to 5 words
  • Evokes emotion – Can be curiosity, fun, greed, anger or pain point
  • FOMO – Fear of missing out
  • Personalised (see below)
  • With Emojis
  • Sometimes, plain and simple works best

#4 – Personalise everything

This is probably the most important factor that’s often overlooked. If you are wondering ‘do marketing emails work’, here’s a fact. Cookie-cutter emails that read like a brochure do not work. People hate speaking to robots. So don’t let your email read like it’s written by software.

Make it personalised. Start with the subject line. You know the customer’s name. Address them in the subject. You know their purchase habits. Use this to make recommendations.

Use interactive features like polls, carousels, videos and CTA buttons. Talking about CTA buttons, make them contextual.  Don’t use generic buttons. For instance, if you have a button that reads “Learn More,” it’s not going to work in most cases. Make sure they are contextual and add value. ‘Learn about the £50 discount’ reads much better. Combine email marketing with other marketing channels. Push notifications and email work very well together.

User-generated content is a surefire way to build trust. Do you have customer testimonials? User reviews collated from review platforms? Video Testimonials? Photos of the product/service in action? Use them. The best part about user-generated content is that it’s free. You don’t have to spend a dime to acquire it.

Besides, this can also increase cross-platform shares. People love to see themselves featured in media publications. All the more reason to add the share buttons too.

#5 – Do marketing emails work? Use A/B testing to find out

Since the method for conducting A/B testing varies from one service to the other, we’ll be skipping that. What you should know is how to set up an experiment in order to test out your email copy.

Split-tests are a great way of determining what angle works best when it comes to emails. The general rule of thumb is to stick to the subject line and the opening paragraph.

We usually take a look at click rates to determine what performed better. You should also test for open rates, unsubscribe rates and delivery times as well. With this data in hand, you can make necessary changes to improve your emails from time to time.

Successful email marketing is all about split tests. Sometimes, even the tiniest of changes can make a huge difference. We use the double open strategy to great effect.

Sometimes, our emails go unopened. We resend the same email after two or three days with a different subject line. We also change the sending time. This almost always works! It also shows us which subject line worked better at what time.

To wrap it up

At the end of the day, there are no definite answers. The marketing world knows that marketing mails work. But it’s a lot of testing and repeated iterations. That’s why we highly recommend that you work with a skilled email marketing team.

You cannot afford to trial and error anymore. To get it right from the get-go, speak to us. We can help.


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