Email marketing - the good, the bad and the ugly

Businesses have been using email marketing as a way to communicate with prospects and customers since the early 90’s, long before the days of HTML and GIF’s. 

Every email that you send to current or potential customers is a great opportunity to market your products or services, while also building trust and loyalty. So, whether you’re looking to acquire new customers, enhance existing customer relationship, encourage repeat business, or share third-party ads, email marketing should serve an important role in your marketing strategy.

We caught up with our Online Marketing team to talk about the best and worst things they’ve noticed in their inboxes. Here’s what they said:

What do you think makes an effective email marketing campaign?

Polly: I believe the best marketing campaigns are centred around a theme rather than using a ‘sell all’ style! I’m much more likely to take interest in a specific topic. 

Chelsea: I agree, I think you have to have a good understanding of who your customers are and what exactly they are looking for. For example, it has been found that email marketing campaigns which focus their attention on their customers past purchasing patterns are highly effective and generally gain a very positive response. I love these types of emails and think they are a great way to get people engaged, even though they require more attention, they are more likely to pay off in the long run. 

Scott: I love emails with a catchy subject line, like “The top trends you should be following” for example. There is nothing worse than having half an email subject line cut off, especially as 41% of emails are now opened on a mobile device.

The most effective emails are personalised to the reader. Including the person’s name in an email sounds like a simple thing, but it often goes overlooked despite the potential to make a big difference in email open rates.

what should you always include in an email campaign? 

Polly: You should definitely always include an easy to see ‘unsubscribe’ button - nothing annoys me more than companies that deliberately make it hard for you to unsubscribe. Be confident that your content is engaging enough, rather than tricking audiences into staying on your mailing list!

Chelsea: A clear call to action is essential in every campaign. It sounds obvious, but you should make it as clear as possible where you want your users to go from the email. Include the CTA as soon as possible in the body of the email, before the reader’s attention starts to dwindle.

Another useful tip is to always write to your reader. The use of ‘you’ in copy is a simple but effective way of making your campaign more personalised.

Scott: Research your audience and find out exactly what they want from you! I love it when I get emails with discount codes, special offers and exclusive content - this is a sure-fire way of making your audience feel valued.

Another handy trick is to always include a ‘view in web browser’ link, which helps make sure that all your content, images and videos are displaying correctly.

what should you avoid in an email campaign?

Polly: Avoid all caps subject lines – no one likes to be shouted at when they open their inbox. I also hate it when I get emails from a ‘noreply@’ sender*, as it leaves no opportunity to interact. Use an email address like ‘hello@’ to encourage interaction with your audience and make them feel valued.

This can also affect the deliverability of the email - many people these days filter incoming emails from this type of sender directly to spam.

Chelsea: I hate spam emails! Try to avoid these when communicating to your audience, and focus on key information instead. It can really put someone off your brand if you are constantly filling their inbox with emails that have no relevance to them - quality rather than quantity is key!  

Scott: I agree with Chelsea - try and avoid using buzzwords in subject lines that are regarded as spammy e.g. ‘open me’, ‘urgent’ and ‘please read’. Such emails often annoy people and end up in the trash!

It’s also important to test your email and make sure all the links are working - a broken link could make the difference between a successful conversion and a drop out.

what do you think will be the top email trends for 2019? 

Polly: I think marketers are already catching on to the tailored content trend, and in 2019 we will be seeing more and more personalised emails in our inbox (think Netflix’s top picks for you’).

With Instagram gaining so much popularity, I also expect ecommerce brands to try and replicate the style visually, with image grids and in-mail links you can click on to buy their products with minimal effort.

Chelsea: One of the main trends in 2019 will be even more segmented automatic emails. Hyper-segmented lists that contain subscribers with different interests or needs will make it easier to send automated emails which resonate with them.

I also think there will be a huge increase in using video in emails. Video is very much on the rise and it’s already been proven that it leads to higher levels of engagement compared with traditional forms of communication.

Scott: I agree, video content will definitely dominate emails in 2019, as well as more creative visuals such as gifs and meme. However, it’s important to not just follow the crowd - brands and businesses must stick to their own tone of voice and not just use visuals for the sake of it!

Interactivity will also increase in 2019. More interactive email experience can help to increase sales, leads and overall engagement. A handy tip is to use a ‘reply to us’ message to help create a more personal experience for your audience.

If you need assistance getting to know your audiences and crafting email campaigns with high click through and conversion rate, our team of online marketing specialists offers email marketing services

Jamie Williams
About Jamie Williams

Jamie graduated with a 1st class Honours in Events Management, and has since gained more than 4 years’ experience in the Arts sector, working on a number of creative events such as film festivals, award shows, conferences and VIP parties.

As part of the Spindogs marketing team, Jamie’s main responsibilities include taking care of our social media channels, as well as organising client events and the odd Spindogs party (or two).

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