How I Beat the Industry Averages on Email Marketing Campaigns


Email marketing continues to deliver one of the highest ROI’s of any advertising medium. Many business owners either overlook it as an advertising option or have abandoned it because they think people don’t read emails anymore. But the statistics on its effectiveness tell an entirely different story.

I do a lot of email marketing for clients and am regularly able to get higher than average open and click-through rates on emails. I’m often asked how I’m able to get such great results on email marketing campaigns, so I thought I’d share some tips you can apply to your own campaigns for maximum results.

Below are some good best practices to improve your engagement rates.

1 – Think Like Your Customer

If you were your own customer, what kind of content would you want to receive in an email from your company? Chances are your customers want a mix of valuable content such as tips, how-to’s, fresh ideas and prevention advice, and money saving opportunities such as coupons and sales. If all of your emails are simply about selling, you will quickly lose engagement and might even find your subscriber base decreasing with opt-outs.

2 – Less is More

Overly long emails with tons of content not only don’t get read as much, they result in fewer opens of future emails from you. If your readers have to do a lot of scrolling, you’ve written too much.

A good rule of thumb is 3 topics max and keep the content for each topic to 5 to 10 lines. Also, while images are key to a high engagement rate, don’t overdo it. No more than 3 images. When you’re writing your email, think Twitter: Say as much as possible with as few words as possible.

3 – The Subject Line is Critical

Since the subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see, it’s essential that it grabs their attention and compels them to open your email.

Keep the subject line to less than 50 characters. Apply the KISS rule to writing it: Keep it simple to engage readers and minimize the chances of it going into SPAM. Email filters look for ALL CAPS, emoticons, and symbols and will often file these in junk rather than the inbox.

The importance of writing an attention grabbing subject line cannot be overstated. You will likely rewrite it several times before hitting the send button on your campaign. But this step is one of the most important to ensuring high open rates. Now, once a subscriber opens the email, you need to make darn sure the content delivers on the subject line. Your opt-outs will go way up if your subject line is, for example, “How to Save on Home Heating Costs” and then the email content is only about your sale on furnaces.

Be fair to your readers. Deliver the content your subject line promises.

4 – Send the Right Number of Emails per Month

Are you wondering how many emails is appropriate to send to your list without annoying them? There are lots of statistics online about this, but I find they tend to recommend too many emails per month, thus resulting in higher opt-out rates.

A great way to find out… ask! Do a quick survey of your list and simply ask them how many emails they’d like to receive from you in a month. You should get a fairly reliable average from the responses.

While you’re asking about email frequency, you could also throw in a question about what type of information your subscribers prefer to receive from you. To learn more about the marketing value of surveying, check out my blog 5 Reasons You Should Regularly Survey Your Clients Throughout the Year. Short, emailed surveys are a great way to engage with your readers and let them know you value their feedback.

5 – Respect Your Readers

Your hard-earned subscriber list is a valuable asset to your business and you want to do everything you can to grow and maintain it. Many of your subscribers are likely not yet customers, so how you communicate with your list is essential to ensuring potential future customers stay subscribed.

Email marketing that is done with integrity and respects the information needs of your readers will go a long way to building your brand and credibility with existing and future customers.

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