How Marketers Optimize Their Email Marketing, Study Finds – Content Marketing Consulting & Social Media Strategy

When most marketers think about how to optimize their email program, they think about how to write compelling copies and calls to action (CTAs). Yes, copy and CTAs are important. But there’s more marketers need to consider when working to optimize their email program.

Email marketing has evolved for decades and remains one of the most actionable touchpoints in the customer journey today.

But how do marketers optimize their email strategy to keep audiences engaged despite the inbox flooding?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and various research partners have Email Marketing Optimization Survey, and a total of 298 marketers participated.

Here are some noteworthy insights from the Asend2 research study:

What is email optimization?

Email optimization is the set of measurable activities that improve the email relationship with your audience and increase conversion rates and return on investment.

Perhaps the best way to look at email optimization is to look at the toughest challenges marketers face when trying to optimize their email campaigns. The importance of keeping email subscribers engaged with relevant and valuable content cannot be understated, as it tops the list of challenges. That same relevant and valuable content, when aligned with email data privacy best practices, will help you overcome the second challenge on the list – reducing SPAM complaints.

Table of hard-to-reach goals when optimizing email

According to marketers, maintaining an engaged email list is the # 1 hardest goal for email optimization.

Get the basics first

Email optimization begins before an email is sent. Testing emails before deployment is essential for delivering high-quality, engaging campaigns. Design, deliverability, subject lines, subscriber verification, accessibility, sender reputation / SPAM score, HTML validation, and device / mail client display are all important things to optimize before launching the sending. The best call-to-action (CTA) email copy is guaranteed to produce a 0% conversion rate for people who don’t receive it. Also, if the design prevents a reader from reading the email, it will drastically reduce your conversion rate.

Graphic on the most important element to test in email marketing.

Design is the most important attribute to test for email marketing optimization, according to marketers.

Take the time to have a process in place and have the tools in place to review your emails before they are sent to get immediate positive results from your email optimization program.

Focus for improvement

It’s safe to say that if you want to improve a marketing campaign, it starts with the quality of your data. For email, good data enables marketers to deliver more personalization and targeted content to subscribers. Quality data allows you to segment your list, and as a result, you can write more specific copies and targeted CTAs. Plus, your automation campaigns become more targeted, and even the types of content you serve are data driven, not random.

Chart on the most important feature to improve for effective email optimization.

Personalization is the most important feature to improve for effective email optimization.

How to handle email inactivity

So you’ve optimized your email campaigns and some subscribers are still not engaging with you (how dare they!).

How long should a subscriber be inactive before removing them from an email marketing list?

Bar graph that shows when inactive email subscribers should be removed from an email marketing list.

Subscribers who have been inactive for 2-6 months should be removed from mailing lists, according to 31% of marketers.

If you’re doing all of the best practices with data quality, pre-launch fundamentals, copy, CTAs, personalization, segmentation, and testing, and subscribers aren’t engaging with you, it’s important to have a regular process in place to remove them from your list. Remember, the goal isn’t your list size, so when subscribers tell you they’re not interested in you emailing them out of inactivity, believe them.

You can download the entire Email Marketing Optimization Survey Summary Report for more data, tips and strategies to keep audiences engaged despite flooded inboxes.

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