Email is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing and remains one of the most effective ways to reach your customers and prospects. At the same time, due to the amount of competition and shrinking attention spans, it’s more challenging than ever to get people to sign up for your list, open your messages, and take action on your offers. With the right strategy, however, you can still get impressive results from email marketing.

In the age of social media and video conferencing, email may seem outdated. However, it remains one of the primary ways that people keep in touch for business as well as social reasons. Statista projects that the number of emails sent globally, which was 281 billion in 2018, will increase to 347 billion by 2023. There are several enduring benefits to email marketing:

  • Build relationships with customers. You can send messages or newsletters to create a stronger relationship with your audience.
  • Send traffic to your website, social media pages, and product pages. As your email list grows, you can get traffic without ads or SEO.
  • Email is one of the most profitable types of marketing. Litmus reports that the ROI for email is 38 to 1. One reason for this is the low cost of email marketing compared to other promotional methods such as paid advertising.
  • It’s easy to track your results. With email analytics, you can measure every aspect of your campaigns.

Now let’s look at some of the best ways to maximize your email marketing ROI.

Create a Compelling Subject Line

One of the most challenging aspects of email marketing today is simply getting people to open your messages. As inboxes get filled up with spam and irrelevant messages, open rates are declining. HubSpot lists typical open rates by industry, with most industries falling between 20% and 25%. This means you’re doing well if more than 1/4 of your audience even opens your messages. Your subject line is the one factor that determines whether your subscribers click on your message or delete it.

  • Arouse interest. Refer to a problem or issue your audience cares about. Formulating it as a question is a good way to pique curiosity. An emoji in the subject line can capture viewers’ attention as well.
  • Personalize. Using the recipient’s name in the subject line makes the message more compelling.
  • Don’t mislead. Never trick subscribers into opening your email. You may get them to open one email this way, but they’ll most likely unsubscribe or ignore your future emails.
  • Keep it brief. A shorter subject line is easier to read, especially on mobile devices. A good guideline is to keep subject lines at around 50 characters at most.
  • Avoid hype. Words like “free,” “hurry,” or “sale” give messages a spammy sound. In fact, they are likely to trigger spam filters so subscribers won’t even see your message.  On a similar note, avoid using all caps or exclamation points.
  • Test subject lines. It’s simple to test your open rates with different subject lines. Conduct A/B tests, sending the same message with different subject lines to different subscribers.

Make Your Emails Visually Interesting

catalog business email marketing

The traditional idea of an email is a digital version of a printed letter or postcard. However, in the digital age, people are becoming more and more visually oriented. The appearance of your email is just as important as the actual message. You can use some of these ideas to make your messages more eye-catching.

  • Use a template that’s relevant and professional. It’s easy to find high-quality templates that are a good match for your business. This gives the entire email a relevant and professional look.
  • Include images to complement the text. Including a photo, illustration, or infographic can bolster the text and make your message more accessible.
  • Integrate video into your email. People are consuming more and more content in video format. You can make a video more enticing by embedding a video into it.
  • Don’t overdo it. While visuals are important for making your emails more engaging, you don’t want to overwhelm or distract subscribers.

Include a Strong Call-to-Action

Elements such as the subject line and the overall look and tone of your message help you get more subscribers to open and read your emails. However, what really counts is whether they take action on your offers. Every email should have a clear call-to-action (CTA), whether that’s a link to a product page or an invitation to check out your latest blog post or video.

  • Use a highly visible CTA button. You may also include one or more text links but buttons jump out at viewers right away. Bright colors and bold fonts also help your CTA stand out.
  • Place at least one CTA above the fold. Some readers won’t bother to scroll down the page.
  • Create urgency. Let readers know that the offer is limited in time or quantity.
  • Keep it simple. A short and concise CTA such as “Start Your Free Trial” or “Save 50% Today.” It’s best to have one main CTA for every email. If you have multiple offers, it can be distracting.

Customize and Segment Your Messages

email marketing catalogs

As people are bombarded with messages all day long, it’s more important than ever to reach them with content that’s actually relevant to their needs. When you first start building an email list, it’s natural to send out a single message to everyone. As your list grows, however, you should start to segment it into categories. Depending on your business, you may divide your list up by factors such as geography, gender, age, interests, and past buying behavior.

To segment your mailing list, start by creating buyer personas. You can then create messages, subject lines, and offers that are targeted to each type of buyer. All major email marketing services and autoresponders have features that let you create multiple lists and send messages to the right subscribers at the right time. You can also test various elements such as subject lines, time to send messages, and calls-to-action for each segment.

Keep Testing and Improving Your Email Marketing

Email is just as relevant and effective as ever. Like all forms of marketing, it’s always evolving and you need to keep up with the latest changes. For example, today’s emails are more likely to contain graphics and videos rather than only text. In addition to following general guidelines, it’s important to test your own results as every audience is different. Make sure you’re sending messages that are relevant to your subscribers. You should also test timing so you send messages at the optimal hours and days. By keeping up with the latest email marketing trends and testing every feature, you can see better results and ROI as your list grows and you learn more about your audience.