Below you’ll find a some of my favorite strategies to improve your email program’s performance.

Re-sending to non-openers

Here’s a dirty marketing secret: Some companies send the same exact email more than once. They might change the subject line or send time, but it’s the same copy, same images, and same calls to action.

Take a look at the graph below to see how popular this technique is across industries:

Popularity of remailers

Implementing this is simple. Send the newsletter to the desired subscriber segment. Wait a day or two, then create a new segment where you include only non-openers. Copy the original email and send it to this (smaller) segment of non-openers. All you have to do is change the subject line and hit send.

If you’re interested in reading more about this, check out our guest post on the Movable Ink blog.

Single-campaign opt-out

If you decide to email aggressively, we recommend you include a simple and easy way for subscribers to opt out of targeted drips.

Imagine you create a 7-part welcome drip. At the beginning of the email you can have a small blurb saying: “You’re receiving this email because you signed up for <company or promo or product>. This is email 1 out of 7. If you’d like to stop receiving this series, please click here. You can unsubscribe from all future emails by using the unsubscribe link in the footer.”

This looks ugly, no question about it. But it also allows you to send emails aggressively while lowering your risk of being marked as spam.

Email with easy opt-out

Example back-to-school email from Remind.

Clear subject line

As a recipient, I LOVE knowing exactly what emails I’m receiving. Use the <item_number> of <total_items> formula when sending a multi-part email series. Example:

Sample email from bufferBuffer uses this trick for their email coursesNotice how, as a subscriber, you know exactly what you’re receiving.

Individualized email experience

Depending on how advanced you want your email program to be, you can create flows that vary based on user behavior and actions, meaning that subscribers that open your emails but haven’t converted yet will receive a different follow-up email sequence than those that haven’t opened your emails. The same logic can be applied to subscribers that viewed a case study vs. those that didn’t. And so on and so forth.

This is commonly used in the B2B world, where there’s a long sales process and where thousands of leads typically translate into a few, high-worth, new clients (e.g., pharma, steel manufacturing, etc.). This process is often used in conjunction with a lead-scoring model, allowing your sales rep to focus only on the leads that are most likely to convert.

Personalized time of day

There’s no such thing as a universal “best time to send emails.” If someone tells you this, they’re wrong. MailChimp released some interesting stats around the best send times. Notice how the optimal time shifts by a few hours depending on recipient age.

Time of day send analysis

The shift is even more drastic when you look at profession:

Open rate based on profession

While there is no “best time to send for everyone,” this doesn’t mean there is no best time to send for specific groups (as seen above) or even individuals.

Time zones are extremely important. If you’re emailing subscribers across multiple time zones (and if you do business online, you likely are), take this into account. Try to separate your campaigns based on major time zones. Even a few hours difference (based on different time zones) can have a huge impact on your campaign’s performance.

You can also optimize send time based on each subscriber. The best indicator to use is to look at when each subscriber clicks on your emails. If I receive an email from you at 8 am, open it at 8:30 am, but don’t click on anything until 7:30 pm, it might mean that 7:30 pm on that given day is better for me. Perhaps I’m done with work, perhaps I’m commuting home. Look at past engagement times to individually optimize your delivery for each subscriber. (You would need to do this through your ESP.)

10-10-80

A popular A/B testing trick is to send two email variations each reaching 10% of your subscriber base. Based on the results after X amount of time (usually a full day but sometimes as little as 4 hours—waiting longer helps you capture more data), the winning variation automatically gets sent to the remaining 80% of the subscriber base.

Mobile paradise

Not having a mobile optimized email template and landing pages is bad business. As mentioned earlier, over 50% of emails are opened on mobile. Optimize your emails for these environments.

Target does a great job at this:

Responsive email example from TargetEmail from Target viewed on a desktop.

Responsive email example from Target part 2

Email from Target viewed on mobile. Notice how the top navigation bar is shorter (5 links vs. 9 on desktop) and notice how the content aligns nicely into a single column.

Pro tip: While creating fancy templates like the above example from Target provides a great email experience, ensuring that these templates work across most email clients is extremely difficult. As such, we recommend keeping things simple and using a mobile-first email template.