In a lively morning edition of the AMA Madison Signature Speaker Series, Jay Schwedelson shared some great tips on how to up your email marketing game and check if your email strategies are driving success.

As President and CEO of Worldata and founder of SubjectLine.com, Jay leads a team that executes over 40,000 email, online and direct marketing campaigns for their clients every year.  Their research division, Worldata Research, runs key metrics based on reviews of emails sent within the U.S., which provide a wealth of knowledge on what’s working in email strategies now as opposed to just a few months ago. 

What Worked in October is OLD NEWS!

As with everything else, COVID has impacted email marketing, which means that marketers need to adapt frequently and pay attention to what is working in email right now.  A great example of a widely held belief that no longer holds true is the idea that using the word “free” in your subject line will get your email filtered into spam folders.  That hasn’t been true for 10+ years; what gets your email sent to spam is having a bad sender reputation.

Don’t Ignore the “From” Address

Using a variety of “From” aliases will allow you to send more emails and send them more frequently.  Although your actual “from” address remains the same behind the scenes, data shows that changing the “from” alias that people see in their inboxes can increase your open rate and doesn’t negatively impact your unsubscribes.

Why is this strategy surging?

Tolerance is directly related to relevance.  In other words, as long as you’re providing content that your audience is interested in, they will be tolerant of more emails from you.  Open rates stay steady and your sending goes up!

Stats and Tips You Can Use

  • Set up different “from” aliases for different topics – one for Events, one for Newsletters, one for Webinars, etc.
  • Use a “Person from Brand” alias, like “Jen from LinkedIn” – it will make your email seem more personal and is averaging increases in open rates of 28% for B2B and 22% for B2C.
  • Using ALL CAPS in the from address increases the open rate by 19%.
  • Don’t let one complainer – internal or external – change your strategy.  As long as your open rates are steady or going up, and unsubscribes are steady and not increasing, you can keep sending more emails.  Only when your open rates or unsubscribes start trending in the wrong direction do you need to back off

People Don’t Like Hearing from People They Don’t Like

This is true for brands too.  It’s not about how many emails you’re sending, it’s about whether the recipients like your brand.  So if the data has shown that the people on your list like hearing from you, send them more!  Jay shared new data from 2021 that shows that sending email offers repetitively – two days in a row, five times over two weeks, and two times in ONE DAY –led to increased response rates for both B2B and B2C companies.

Quick Email Wins to Try

Brackets (or Parentheses) – using either of these in your subject line boosts open rates by 31% because they subconsciously draw people’s eyes to whatever is within the brackets.  So put your offer in brackets!

Question Emails – Emails with a question in the subject line have a 25% higher overall open rate

Subject Lines Starting with a Number – increases B2B open rate by 22% and B2C open rate by 17%

Best Time of Day to Send

This is one of those trends that’s been greatly affected by the pandemic.  Just between September and now, people’s habits have changed: 

  • The best time of day overall for B2B emails is now 9:00am, and for B2C, 10:00am.
  • The type of email you’re sending makes a difference on the best time of day.  Early in the morning is good for a daily email, whereas a “last-chance” email is better sent mid-afternoon.

Best Day of the Week to Send – According to Pardot and Adobe, Monday is the most popular day to send emails.  That may mean that other days offer a good opportunity to grab people’s attention – test it out!

Subject Lines with First Word in ALL CAPS – increases B2B open rate by 14% and B2C open rate by 17%

The ‘No Reason’ Thank You – This is a growing trend, giving people recognition for doing nothing.  Whether tied to an offer or not, these emails get huge responses and open rates.

Non-Round Numbers – If you include an offer in your email, using a “non-round” number (like 11% or 13% off instead of 10%) will increase your open rate by seeming more authentic.

What to Avoid (and what to try instead)

The email strategies Jay covered in the Quick Wins listed above are things to definitely try out, but these are tactics you should really try to avoid.

Personalization in the Subject Line – Using someone’s first name has always come across as disingenuous.  Instead, try using their company name – “Is Worldata at risk?”  Using a first name can decrease open rates by 9%, while company name personalization can increase it by 18%.

Pre-Header Fails The line right below your From and Subject Line in inboxes is your pre-header.  If you haven’t tested your email on a mobile device, your formatting may have populated this spot with meaningless code.  Make sure to preview your email on a mobile device to avoid that and replace it with text that will increase your open rates.

Fake Replies or Forwards – Don’t make your subject line look like it’s a reply or forward; that’s never okay.

Offer Landing Page Registration Link Another Page – With every additional click you force someone to make to get to the offer you’ve promised, you’ll lose over 25% of respondents (for B2B) and over 20% (for B2C).  Make it as easy as possible for people to respond to your email offer.

Email marketing isn’t the newest or sexiest technology in your marketing toolkit, but it continues to be one of the top-performing marketing tactics.  Jay Schwedelson gave marketers a ton of fantastic tips on how to increase open rates and gain a better understanding of whether or not your email marketing strategies are driving success and capturing the right audience attention.