Everything I learned about email marketing from sending 10 million email campaigns

Email Marketing
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Whether it’s to engage dormant users who downloaded your app, distribute your content or get users who abandoned cart on your e-commerce website to buy, email marketing takes care of them all.

Email Marketing is one of the most robust, affordable channels that’s crazy easy to set up and shows great results as well.

Almost everyone you will have met has an Email ID and an inbox you can reach them with any kind of media that tickles your fancy, be it an embedded video, simple text or even gifs! Email Marketing has been and continues to be a channel that businesses big or small rely on to drive all kinds of marketing funnel metrics.

“Email Marketing is extremely versatile as a Marketing Channel”

You can drive acquisitionengagement, and conversion, top to bottom-of-the funnel activities with the right Email Strategy

Then why isn’t everyone killing it with Email Marketing?

Gone are the days when you could spam away and expect to drive any kind of measurable result for your marketing campaign.

With the CAN-SPAM act, inbox categories & filters, and blacklisted servers in place, it’s essential that you get all aspects of your email marketing on point. That’s how you get your email to land in your subscriber’s primary inbox and also get them to take the desired action.

A good email marketing campaign is a combination of:

  • A reputable SMTP server
  • A good senders reputation
  • Crisp, relevant and Personalised Content
  • and a few other factors like subject lines, bounce rates, formatting et al

I staunchly believe that no “gyan” should be given without proof to go with it.

“Preaching is easy, proving that it works, not so much Email Marketing Stats TapChief success

Here are the stats of a recent campaign we sent to a segment of our users (8k+), while the stats are commendable (industry standards for the same being 11.8% & 1.1% respectively) they aren’t phenomenal, what IS great though is the reply rate which stands at 10.6 % with 851 replies. And, therein lies the key to effective email marketing.

Here’s what a few email marketing hacks we learned from the campaign.

1. Treat any email you send out as the beginning of a conversation

Email Marketing Sign

Email Marketing has been increasingly segmented away from other communication channels like Messenger, WhatsApp et al because of its wide scale use and perception. However, I disagree, at its core the Email inbox is no different than these platforms.

“Emails are best treated like conversations. Period”

Once you do come to terms with this, you start viewing any and all emails that you send out to your subscribers in a different light. You start asking yourself questions like

Does this email add value?

How does it make them feel?

How likely are they respond to the email I am sending?

Essentially questions you’d ask yourself before starting a conversation, as against questions you’d ask yourself while sending a “typical marketing email”.

Will my email be opened?

Will my sales numbers go up?

Will me email be marked as spam?

These questions are direct functions of the first three. Nail the former and you won’t have to worry about the latter.

Your subscribers are more inclined to respond or act on emails that TALK to them as against informing them.

In practice, this should reflect in all aspects of your email

Subject lines: not spammy and personalised

Email Content: Plain, to-the-point and conversational

Sender Information: Clearly where from and why they are receiving your email

2. Write to your subscribers as individuals as against as a crowd

Stand out

Building on the premise of point 1, Emails are conversations and conversations are best when they 1-on-1.

The more you treat your subscribers like individuals who you are conversing with, higher the chance of them recognising you as a brand that cares for them and thus worth their time.

In practice, this means using their first name in your email as contextually as possible and never out of it, segmenting heavily based on interests and only sending relevant email content to your subscribers.

Your north star metric should be to write emails to your subscribers as you’d write to a good friend.

Without all the cussing, of course.

3. Simple text emails are your best bet

HTML Vs Plain Text Email

Email marketing has been around for a while now and is still growing strong. As a result, your subscribers know exactly what a “marketing email” looks like.

So how can you overcome this conundrum?

The answer is surprisingly simple, don’t write marketing emails. Write emails that move people, ones that add value. After all,

“The core of great marketing revolves around providing something valuable to your consumer”

Your subscribers know what marketing looks like and your email shouldn’t. Which is why I can’t stress enough on the fact that the more your emails look like conversations as against marketing flyers, the more success you will see. Ask yourself,

“How many HTML Emails have you replied to as against ones which are simple text? Replying and taking action on simple text emails comes naturally.”

In your emails, this should trickle down. Stick to simple text wherever you can. Use as little HTML as possible, and keep the links in your email minimal (1–2), only towards the most desired action. Focus on getting your subscribers to respond and take action.

Note: Apart from the obvious benefits of user perception of simple text emails, you also get brownie points from inboxes for not using extensive HTML in your Email. Anything that reduces the likelihood of your email ending up marked as spam is a win.

4. Use a reputed email sending service to send out your emails

Mailchimp Vs Sendgrid Pricing

Source: Get App

More specifically, you should use a reputed SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server to send out your emails. Most email Marketing services are a combination of an SMTP server (or a group of servers) and an Email Management Tool, the place where you maintain subscriber listsdraft your emailmanage unsubscribes & analytics.

Email inboxes (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) send your email to spam based not only on your email but the email sending reputation of your SMTP server as well. If you end up sending your Emails using a server which has been associated with sending out spam in the past, you can be sure yours will be tagged as that as well.

Go for one of the reputed Email Sending Services (MailChimp, Sendgrid. Getresponse) for integrated Email dashboards & server or go for an SMTP server (AWS, Mandrill, Mailbullet) on which you can build your own custom email dashboard for your email marketing needs.

Pro Tip: You can also go a step ahead and invest in a private ip, which doesn’t let the reputation of someone else sharing your ip mar yours when it comes to your email deliverability.

I hope this helps 🙂