November 16 2016

Totally Awesome Email Marketing

Any great inbound marketing strategy thrives off a well thought out content strategy. And what’s great about content, is that it can be used in many different channels and formats, most notably email campaigns. With the advance of technology, marketers can target their content more effectively and consumers can opt-in to receiving information that they find valuable, which helps drive greater ROI for brands and more relevant experience for consumers. Success is found when email marketing tactics are modernized and digital marketers understand how to properly plan, implement best practices, try out new trends, leverage data and monitor success. Ready to bring your email marketing out of the past and into your business’ future?

Email Marketing Has ROI? Rad!

A recent study from the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric found that email marketing drove four times higher return on investment than social media, direct mail and paid search, with a median ROI of 122%. Not bad for a tactic that many digital marketers often think of as retro! This study also found that while marketers allocated 16% of their marketing budget towards email, it returned 23% of total sales.

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Back in the eighties when spray and pray marketing was all the rage, advertisers would blast out a general message to the masses on billboards, print ads, TV shows and more, hoping for a return. In today’s on-demand marketplace, that retro tactic is not only expensive, but ineffective. Now marketers can harness the power of personalization and help target the right message to the right person at the right time. The starting point to making this work is to get on a first name basis with your audience, and figure out what they find helpful.

As Dale Carnegie said, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Being able to address someone by their name is just scratching the surface of what personalization can do, but it’s a great start. Epsilon found that personalized emails drive 241% higher click rates than standard email messages. They also found that triggered emails yielded nearly 70% higher open rates and over 240% higher click rates than standard emails. So how exactly do you accomplish this?

[Avoid blasting your audience with irrelevant content.]

Hey You Guys!

The first step to be able to personalize your email campaigns is to collect personal information, which means driving prospects to fill out a form and opt-in to receive emails. Many inbound marketers will use gated content to encourage this to happen, exchanging great content like a whitepaper, in exchange for information and the permission to email them. HubSpot found that targeted email marketing increases click-through rate (CTR) by nearly 3x.

If you can leverage your marketing automation system, you can set up a process that will automatically send emails to those who took specific actions on your website with a lead nurturing campaign. First you’ll want to figure out what type of information is relevant to your prospect or customer’s experience at different stages, and then map out a content plan and schedule to help turn prospects into customers. If you’re using email to onboard new customers, we recommend figuring out what types of tools and resources reside on your website that your new customers may not know about or could use as they begin their customer journey. By leveraging the reports and metrics of your email campaigns and website, you can continuously hone in on what’s important to your audience and improve over time.


[Get on a first-name basis by offering something of value in exchange for personal information.]

I Pity the Fool
The next step towards bringing your email strategy out of the past is to segment your contacts and deliver relevant content to them to increase their likelihood of engaging with your campaign. Don’t be foolish and spam everyone in your list with the same message.

A study by ReturnPath found that 21% of legitimate, wanted emails go missing or end up in the spam folder. Even worse, getting a reputation as a spammer could cause your mail server to get blacklisted. Similar to how it takes time to build up a brand’s reputation, building your email sender reputation is one of the key components to a good email strategy. A couple key elements that go into building your sender reputation is how often your recipients engage with your emails and the amount of spam complaints. If your spam complaint rate is over .2%, it’s considered high and its advised that you take steps to address it.

If you’re wondering what is a good open rate or click rate to aim for, check out Mail Chimp’s 2016 Email Marketing Benchmarks. Open and click-through rates for some key industries include:

  • Business & Finance: 20.98% open rate, 2.77% click rate
  • Restaurants: 21.27% open rate, 1.35% click rate
  • Marketing and Advertising: 17.85% open rate, 1.96% click rate
Source: GIPHY

[Don’t be a spamming fool – but if you do, use a tool to see if you’ve been blacklisted, like MXToolBox.]

I Want My MTV
In today’s battle for attention, the average person now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Digital marketers need to figure out what types of content and content formats their audience cares about and how to quickly grab their attention. And in 2016, what’s proving to be a powerful way to capture attention in email campaigns are videos, animated GIFs and emoji’s in subject lines. Here are a few stats to give you an idea about how these newer tactics are working:

  • Brands that use an emoji in their subject lines saw a 45% increase in unique open rates as reported by Campaign Monitor.
  • Adding the word “video” to an email subject line increases open rates by nearly 20%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26% per Syndacast.
  • Dell’s first email campaign that included GIFs received a 109% increase in revenue, according to

One thing to keep in mind with using emoji and animated GIFs are that not every email client supports them. Some versions of Outlook won’t display either, and the Windows Phone 7 can’t show animation. There are tricks to overcoming this with careful planning and testing.


[💪Power up your 📧 email marketing by including 🎬 videos, GIFs and emoji’s to 👀 capture your audience’s attention 👂.]

I'll Be Back
If you’ve seen ads online showing you a recent website or product that you were previously looking at, you’ve seen the power of remarketing. Remarketing is a powerful tactic that allows you to target people who have visited your website with specific content and messaging. And it works. Forrester Research reported that remarketing emails can produce nearly four times the amount of revenue and 18x greater net profits as compared to untargeted email marketing.

For those in the eCommerce space, email remarketing can work wonders for shopping cart abandonment. However, other industries can benefit from this influential tactic, like financial services, by encouraging users who started filling out an online application to finish. Studies are finding that the sooner you send this reminder email for abandonment, the better your chances of increasing conversion.

By outlining your strategy in advance, you can plan for a series of emails to be sent. Experian found that by sending a second email to those who abandoned their cart, they increased their revenue by 54%. Another reason that investing in a marketing automation strategy can pay off.

Resource: GIPHY

[To avoid shopping cart termination, send remarketing emails to bring your prospects and customers back to your website to convert.]

Get Real 

If you’re curious about how we can help you begin or improve your email marketing strategy and connect it to your inbound marketing strategy, we’d love to help.

  • Content
  • Email Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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