Email marketing has moved from being the new kid on the block, to being one of the most popular marketing channels today. GMail took it one step further with the Tabs feature that separated marketing, and promotional emails from one another. That was a huge milestone for email marketing.

Now, being a beginner email marketer isn’t something to be ashamed of, neither should it frustrate you, or your team. Learning to become a good marketer is like learning to ride a bike, you’ll eventually do it, and once you do it – it’s very hard to forget just how you did it. It becomes an essential part of you.

This year, we’ve seen email marketing grow in terms of more companies opening their doors to customers, we’ve seen enormous amount of resources on Responsive Email Design, or simply: Email Design. The 2014 Email Marketing Census is suggesting that email marketing stands tall as the best channel for delivering a return on investment. On average, companies are attributing 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, up from 18% in 2013.

But, the problem lies in the fact that we’re indecisive without any prior experience, and unfortunately for many, the mistakes that get made along the way become very discouraging from making any further progress. What can we do to improve our email marketing efforts?

Discover Email Segmentation

Segmentation is a simple way of arranging and organizing your email subscribers. So, for example – you’ve just sent out your weekly newsletter to all of your email subscribers. You learn that the open rate was only %30.0, which may, or may not feel a little odd at the time. By using email segmentation, we can build a list of our most valuable email subscribers.

It’s very easy to build tailored email lists by using segmentation, in the snapshot above You can see what the segmentation feature looks like on MailChimp’s platform. Remember, learn about your subscribers, then give them what they want.

Easy Subscription Methods

Trying to build your email list without a proper subscription box – somewhere on your website – is probably going to yield very poor results. In fact, the only way for people to subscribe to your list is if you make the subscription widget publicly available.

Where to put your newsletter signup form?

  • Sidebar: Above the fold, one-level with post title / image.
  • Before Content: Right before the content starts.
  • After Content: Near the end of posts widgets.
  • Slide-Out: Either left or right side, slides out after user scrolls %50 of the page.
  • Exit-Intent / Popup: Great technology for fast list building, check below.

Engaging Your Audience

Email marketing yields the highest return on investment when the people who’ve subscribed to the list, feel not only pleased with the quality of emails you send, but also feel that they’re getting unique and genuine emails sent to them.

Email personalization for list builders is still far away, but here are some tips for building a more engaging email list:

  • Personality — People love authenticity and honesty, and you’ve got all you need to deliver both. Try using new words in the emails that you send off, use popular references that everyone would understand. Make people feel one with you, and your values.
  • Rewards — We’ve already learned that we can build more specific email lists, based on peoples activity for the emails you send out. Use that data to reward your most engaging subscribers with something special.
  • Concise — Shorter is better. After all, email is only email. Don’t copy and paste your blog posts and then email them to people. (You can use RSS features for that.)
  • Call-to-Action — Always end your emails with some sort of actionable calls. Be it social sharing, or leaving a comment on something. The more you can engage your users, the more aware they’ll become of your brand.

You should be able to come up with some of your own ways of making your emails more personal. No email is going to look the same to two different people.

Data-Driven Email Marketing

Data-driven marketing requires marketers and their teams to be able to collect, integrate, and analyze data from external and internal sources – competitive intelligence reports, global market research, on-site and off-site customer activities, social interactions, and more.

Other types of 1st party data include: Market Research, content marketing measurement data, as well as data from shows and seminars. You can read (and download) the full report here.

Responsive Design

Emails are built using HTML, it’s only natural that the technology is going to advance at the same pace that the web development, and web design industry is moving forward with. Save yourself from a disaster (and unnecessary unsubscribers) by sending out fully responsive emails. It’s important that you treat your mobile and tablet users equally the same as your desktop users.

You can learn more about responsive features in email by reading this comprehensive tutorial from Litmus.

Permission-less Emailing

You should never – under any circumstances – send email marketing campaigns to anyone that hasn’t signed up for your newsletter service in the first place. It doesn’t matter that you’ve exchanged emails with a person before, unless you send him your subscription service signup link and have him signup through that link, it’s not very legal to send out emails without the permission of the email holder.

The same applies to buying email lists from 3rd party services or underground communities, and neither is it a great idea to just collect email addresses from business cards, and then adding them to your list. Would you feel good if someone did the same thing to you?


How have you been approaching your email marketing efforts so far? Is there anything at all you can do in order to improve your conversion results? In this post we’ve looked at many essential parts of a successfully growing email marketing list, which of the points did you find to have the most weight in terms of your own choices?