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Accelerating Your Email Marketing Performance

Email marketing is a polarizing topic. Some marketers claim it’s dead, while others say it’s the most valuable channel available.

Jeremy Smith would fall into the latter category. He points to the benefits of email marketing, calling it permission-based, direct and measurable.

In this post, we’ll outline the benefits and some tips he gave marketers at the 500 Distro conference.

Building Your Email List

Email marketing only works if you have enough people to send email to. Smith outlines some tactics for getting people on your list:

  • On-site popup: They’re annoying, but they work. Smith has set popups to appear once every 60 seconds until someone signs up or leaves, and has had great success with it.
  • Partner Marketing: Partnering with other companies in your niche can help build your list. If you’re in music, you can share lists with another music company.
  • At Signup: You can grab their email address and opt them onto your list. In the US, we can opt people right in. In Canada, it is against the law. These laws change, you’ll need to stay on top of them.
  • Events: Grab email addresses at conferences/events and wire them onto your list. Just don’t trick people into signing up for a list they don’t want to be on.

Best Practices for Maintaining a List

Once you have a list, the process of what to do next can be daunting. You have a bunch of emails you can send, but aren’t sure what to do first and how to do it correctly. Here are some best practices to help:

  • Test EVERYTHING: Use the analytics that are built into your email marketing tool. Test everything people have told you (including the tips in this post) and every assumption you have. You’ll be surprised what turns out to be incorrect.
  • Watch Unsubscribe Rates: Unsubscribe rates will provide you with your first indicator of trouble. If you see these starting to spike, you know you’re doing something terribly wrong.
  • Take Advantage of Preheaders: These are the small snippets of text that appear after the subject line. Use it to write something relevant that will help get the message opened and read.
  • Cull Your List: Keep it trim and remove people who are not engaged. Don’t delete them, but put them in a group that you don’t send to.

Quick Wins

You should, of course, test these as well:

  • Personalize Subject Lines: Use people’s names in emails. You’re more likely to get a better CTR if the subject line is “(Your name), there is a sale today” instead of “There’s a sale today”.
  • Keep it simple: Keep your emails simple – 1 header image, a secondary image, some text that delivers the value proposition, and the CTA.
  • Send T/W/Th between 8 & 9AM: This applies for B2B emails only. Retail is wildly variable. Test to see which times work best for you.

Start Small

Start small when beginning your email program. If you’re in eCommerce, take advantage of checkout loop emails. These are great places to start. Here’s the flow for most checkout loops:

In follow up emails, you have a variety of questions to ask. Keep it limited. Ask them how their order was and if they have any questions. Remind them of any referral or loyalty programs you have.

Quick hack: send an email with a similar product offer a few weeks after their order. If they bought leather shoes, send them an email a few weeks later with an offer for leather shoe care.

Cart abandonment emails give you the opportunity to get some revenue back. Test your messages, but you can start with a friendly reminder that the customer left their cart, and remind them to finish the purchase. It may also help to reinforce your value proposition.

Make your drip campaigns action based. Don’t assign everyone to the same email flow if they’re acting differently. Tie people’s actions to metrics that matter for your business.

Yammer knows that if a customer downloads their mobile app within the first 30 days of signup, they have a much better chance of becoming a customer. Knowing this, Yammer built their drip campaigns to get the user to download the mobile app within 30 days of signup. Every email they send is based on the user acted in the previous email, just as what the user does in their most recent email message determines what email they’ll get next. The emails are tied to actions the user did or did not do. Apply this same methodology to your company.

Figuring Out Which Tools Are Best For Your Needs

There are two useful options you have.

You can go with a big email service provider, such as ExactTarget. Use this if you’re bigger and have a lot of data to pass through.

The other option is an API-driven stack, where you have several cloud providers doing different things. For example, using to send data over to a sending platform.

Allow Marketers to Work Without Drag

Marketers need to ship and test things quickly. Any delay or bottlenecks in this process results in a less effective team.

If you want the best performance from your marketing team, focus on enabling them to move quickly without having to worry about product or engineering. Both product and marketing will thank you for that, because you’ll take the drag off both of them and you’ll allow the marketers to move quickly and run tests to figure out what works.

Video & Slides

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

  1. great stuff in need. I particularly like the best practices that you’ve highlighted in trendy points. Yeah to be sure we should first test with how the way it is working, is something wrong.. Liked it very much. I’m a small business and my list is not huge, kind of small initiatives. could you suggest me which tools apt for it ?

    • Hey Siva,
      Without knowing the specifics of your business, you may want to look into a tool like Mailchimp, Aweber, or Constant Contact. It really depends on what you’re using email for.

  2. currently working on it. next month we will rollout email marketing

  3. Great share.
    Agree with all of the best practices you list down in the article.
    Thanks for sharing about this :)

  4. Roopali Parandekar Mar 19, 2015 at 6:20 am

    This is great insight, I loved the way you have simplified the text in the form of slides. Much easier to understand and perfect timing for us(as we are about to start a new campaign) Thanks

  5. Georges Fallah Mar 23, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Interesting article.
    The critical thing is to display the pop-up at the appropriate time that entices customers to sign-up and without bothering them. Then, after emails are collected, customers are targeted with drip emails based on their actions on your website and engagement with your brand.

  6. Great share!!

    In exchange for contact details, offer your clients something valuable: a newsletter, a free seminar, or more information about your products & services. Prior you produce the right message, evolve a marketing strategy that addresses motives and goals of your enterprise.


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