5 Email List Marketing Tips for Standing Out in the Inbo

Gaining skill at creating marketing emails that get opened requires targeting of mailing lists, personalization and testing your audience.


Remember the proverbial tree that falls in the woods but no one is there to hear it? Marketing email is a forest. If you plant engaging, useful content but few people open your emails, you may wonder whether potential customers will notice in time to keep your company from crashing.

A Foot in the Door

But getting customers in the virtual door via email marketing doesn’t have to make you want to shout “Timber!” What you need are some tips for improving your click-to-open rate. These include a variety of ways to test emails and then hang on to readers once they open your messages. The strategies include:

  • Targeted segmentation of email lists
  • Personalization
  • Subject line testing
  • Day-part testing
  • Consistent templates
  • Mobile friendly design and optimization.

6 Tips for Success

Cost effectiveness is a large part of email’s marketing success. Nevertheless, poorly targeted emails waste money and effort. Here are six tips to ensure your emails have a high chance of success.

Segmentation. Never send one-size-fits-all emails. Segment mailing lists and messages based on data such as customer age, location, preferences and purchasing patterns. Use this information for personalization — the process of appealing to targeted customer groups.

Personalization. One simple example of email personalization involves designing political campaign emails to attract different age groups. For example, young millennials getting established financially may be more responsive to an email subject line concerning the need for volunteer help rather than money.

Subject Line Tests. In a 2014 article for The Wall Street Journal, Adam Auriemma wrote that corporate email reading attention is now “measured in fractions of a second.” He added that subject lines need to be succinct and “plain-spoken” to grab busy readers.

Multivariate or “A/B” testing is one way to check the effectiveness of subject lines. It involves splitting a targeted email list and creating two different subject lines for the same email. Subject line “A” gets mailed to one part of the group while the other half receives “B.” Then compare results.

This technique can also test recipient response to mailings at different times of day or with varying designs. But only test one marketing email characteristic at a time.

Day-Parting Tests. In day-parting, you figure out what days of the week and what hours of the day provide the best open rates for emails. The best day of the week for your mailings may vary based on the purpose of an email. For example, Mail Chimp research indicates that people interested in hobbies show the greatest willingness to open business content on weekends and early in the day.

Consistent Templates. The template you use for your emails should be consistent to avoid confusing regular readers and to build brand with new and old customers.

Mobile Friendly Design & Optimization. Finally, marketing emails — from subject lines to content and design — need to be easy to read and access on smartphones and computer tablets.

An example of mobile friendly design would be a computer email template that can be squeezed width wise for relatively easy reading on a smartphone screen. But if much of your email traffic occurs on mobile devices, it may be best to go a step further by designing varying copies of the template for different digital devices. That’s what we call mobile optimization.

Scrolling Through the Woods

Don’t let your great content fall quietly as recipients scroll away from it in search of other, more attractive marketing emails. We’d be glad to help you learn how to stand out in the inbox forest.



Posted by Kara Whitley, Digital Marketing Analyst at initiate-it, She is passionate about her work and has helped companies find success through their digital and direct marketing campaigns with 10+ years experience including paid search, social media, email marketing, and creative strategy.