Your Essential Guide to Email Marketing in 2017

Written by Jaclyn Levi

Contrary to popular belief, email is still the most powerful, effective, and universal way to reach your audience. Consider this: Gmail alone has 1 billion users worldwide, and The Radicati Group predicts that there will be 3 billion email users worldwide by 2020 (that’s almost half of the world’s population).

So it’s a new year, and you may be wondering how to vamp up your email marketing strategy to make 2017 better all around. Here are some tips to creating simple, yet powerful campaigns that reach your audience the right way.

Cut Through the Noise 

According to a study done by the Radicati Group, people receive an average of 93.1 consumer emails per day (not to mention the 121 business emails). So make your emails easier to digest by keeping them concise. Monster emails not only take monster effort to create but they lower engagement. It’s lose-lose. You can win by writing simpler, shorter emails with a single purpose - leaving your customers with little doubt about what to do next. If you’re lucky, you’ve got just a few seconds to keep them engaged, so it’s important to make sure customers can understand and act in mere moments.

Avoid CTA Overload 

This one goes hand in hand with what we mentioned above. As a marketer myself, I know it’s hard. We have a lot of goals to accomplish, and we want to accomplish them now. Instead, think about email marketing a marathon, not a sprint. So figure out your top priority and set that as your single call to action. Ya, I said it: A single call to action. Don’t make your readers decipher if the email is relevant, and if it is, what to do about it. Not to mention that “emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%,” according to WordStream.

From: ? 

Would you rather interact with robo-voice or a person? Ya, your customers want to interact with people too. So make your emails comes from a real, live person. The data backs this up, showing that email opens increase when they come from someone rather than “”

Give Your Customers Value 

Remember that the general rule for content marketing is to create material that adds value to your customers’ lives. And this doesn’t always mean offering monetary discounts. Go beyond promotions and consider providing content experiences to your runners - whether it would be suggesting marathon training tips to anyone registered for a half marathon, or a “couch to 5k” guide for those new runners.

Content like this undoubtedly offers values to your runners and continues to build trust between your organization and customers.

Divide and Conquer 

You’ve got powerful customer data so use it to your advantage. Segmenting your email campaigns will help you narrow your focus and have more clearly defined goals. You’ll be able to target specific groups to create more relevant content - and relevant campaigns get better results. In fact, a deep dive by MailChimp showed that campaigns that utilized segmentation saw click rates that were 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Because sending a ra reminder to register to someone who has already registered is a great excuse for your customers to click that unsubscribe link.

Follow Behavior, and They Will Come 

You may think it’s easier to focus your email marketing efforts on newsletters or promotions, but you might want to think again. Not only are they time consuming to create, but they also lack the engagement and KPI growth seen in data-backed, behaviorally driven automated emails. That’s because they are highly relevant to the recipient. According to Square, email open rates for automated campaigns are 1.7 times higher than blast campaigns. What can you do? Use your CRM data to automatically craft emails based on behavior. For example, send customer who hasn’t participated in a while a nudge to come back with a discount offer. Or send those with a birthday in the current month a happy birthday email paired with a coupon.

Do it With Data

 It’s often, as marketers, that we find ourselves building a strategy armed only with educated guesses about our audience. But it’s 2017, which means it’s high time we start doing it better: based on data. Why? Because data helps you quantify your efforts allowing you zero in on what is working, with whom, and when. So after you’ve set your goals, segmented your audience, tailored your content, and leverage automation, you’ve got to do the most important part: track your progress! At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how optimized your emails are if you can't see the results of your efforts.

Don’t worry, leveraging data can be easier than you’re imaging. Join the movement by leveraging all that powerful data in your CRM; if you’ve got a good one, all the needed info will be right at your fingertips at the point of effort. This will empower you to connect the dots and use the wide range of reinforcing statistics to inform your marketing messages. Additionally, set a defined purpose for each email campaign and set realistic values for your KPI goals. Whether it is to increase registration by 50% from last year or to boost referral revenue by $5 per VIP, figuring out what your specific goals are will give you clear parameters for success.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

Always preview and test your emails through a mobile view. In Litmus' analysis of over a billion email opens, they reported that 56% of email opens happen on mobile devices in April 2016 - which means your emails need to look just as great as they do on desktop.

We know email marketing can be tricky, that’s why we’re here to help. Be on the lookout for part 2 of our email marketing essentials installment, where we’ll offer guidance when to send, how often, and how to let your personality shine through to make the most of your efforts. Can’t wait for part 2? Shoot me an email at and we’ll chat about all things email marketing.