Join the inbox revolution – how to improve your email marketing

Normally when I attend a two-day conference on email marketing, I anticipate coming back to the office with a laundry list of magic email marketing best practices to share with my eagerly awaiting co-workers. What’s the secret? How do we create the PERFECT email?

However, after attending Litmus Live 2017 in San Francisco, I can tell you that the perfect email template just doesn’t exist.

While I was there, I did learn though, is that context is Queen. It’s no longer as simple as “Do these 10 things and you will see more opens and engagement.” In a world of over-stimulation and shorter attention spans, we can no longer use email best practices just for the sake of best practices.

Now, more than ever, it’s more about personalization: Who your specific customers are and how they respond to the emails YOU send. Here are four other keys to crafting effective email marketing:

We Need an Inbox Revolution

Recent studies show that only about 30% of email recipients are actually going to see the contents of your email. If this is the case, why don’t we spend as much time on what recipients see in the inbox as we do on the email content itself?

  • 24% of respondents look at preview text before deciding whether to open an email. Make this space count. It should be an extension of your subject line.
  • 56% of brands have higher unique opens when they use emojis in the subject line (see below). But make sure you don’t force-fit them.
  • Start with your subject line instead of making it an afterthought.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 3.49.17 PM

K.I.S.S.A.S.S (Keep it Super Simple and Straightforward, Silly)

Let’s be honest. With so many daily distractions, keeping email simple and to-the-point may just get your email read.

  • Use simple layouts.
  • Be concise because words are hard. Emails with 200 words or fewer see higher click rates.
  • Use snackable content. Smaller snippets of info are easier to read.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 3.43.06 PM

Dear [First Name, Last Name] is Not Enough

While many messages have moved into a more personalized space, we have to think outside the (in)box. 79% of customers expect a personalized experience from brands, and brands that personalize messages see a 27% conversion lift.

  • A personalized message (see above) is picked, packed and shipped just for you.
  • Collect different data:
    • Purchase history
    • Previous click history
    • Interactions on site
  • Move beyond first name, last name personalization:
    • Send time
    • Wish lists
    • Events and occasions
    • Weather and zip code-based information


Test, Test, Test

In a world where your company’s specific context rules, you must alway test to determine what works best for YOUR customer. Companies that do A/B testing see a 73% increase in open rates and a 15% lift in revenue.

  • Set goals before you test so you know what success looks like.
  • Test beyond open and clicks:
    • Timing
    • How many emails
    • Layout
    • Call to action


So, as you start to plan next year’s email marketing calendars, start to think about how you can move away from industry best practices and instead build your own best practices for your own customers. With better collected data and testing, and more personalized emails, you can provide your customers with more relevant communications.


Want to receive our weekly blog insights? Subscribe now.