Despite your best efforts, your company’s email marketing goals sometimes get overlooked. We start out with good intentions, by the end of the year, we’re just thankful to have something go out. The start of a new year is the perfect time to reinvigorate your email marketing by looking at some basic strategies with a fresh, new outlook. That’s why I’m compiling five tips to help you make your 2018 email marketing initiatives stand out! Sometimes, it’s best to go back to the basics.

Send higher quality emails less often

You’ve heard that less is more, this isn’t anything new. Every single email you send should bring value to your subscribers, and if you find that you’re rushing to get emails out where you can’t specifically point out a value proposition, maybe it’s time to send fewer emails. Work to make your email messaging clearer, more concise, and more targeted.

Focus on minimizing cognitive load. Use simple, clean designs. Segment and automate your emails when possible. All these optimizations can lead to fewer emails that perform better (and have fewer unsubscribes). Additionally, you want to target subscribers that are interested in hearing from your company (you probably know this already). Going after active, engaged subscribers with a targeted, clear message is the holy grail of email marketing!

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Implement and test visual and typographic hierarchy

Visual and type hierarchy (including a larger headline, then slightly smaller subheadline, and then smaller body copy) is nothing new. In fact, newspapers have been doing it for years.

Take this year to refresh the your email messaging and experience by cutting back on walls or long paragraphs of text and employing headlines and subheadlines effectively. I know this is silly, but one trick I use is this: I look at my email and squint, and what I can’t see when I’m squinting you can assume your subscribers won’t read. So, test out some larger headlines and medium-sized subheadlines to get your point across.

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Analyze your email performance

Alright, this might be preaching to the choir, but don’t forget to set aside time to analyze how your campaigns perform. This data can help inform what improvements you need to make to your emails, copy, and strategy.

After each email send (give your emails at least 24 hours for all the data to get collected), take a look at how your email performed. Start building hypothesis on how you can make improvements: could the open rate be better? Would a differently-worded button or CTA (call-to-action) have yielded more clicks? Put those ideas into your A/B testing strategy! Don’t forget to look at unsubscribe rate!

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Simplify your email design

Yes, I know it’s a weird concept, but good design doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Good email design helps you achieve your email goal (most likely to get a CLICK!). You don’t even need to overthink it, use whitespace! “Don’t add stuff just to add stuff”—only keep the elements that add to the bottom line.

Once you have the basics down, go ahead and try something new. Test bolder text, bolder colors (stay on brand, though!). Take a shot at using simple animated gifs, play around with simple interactivity like hovers, and try some fresher imagery.

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Implement an A/B testing plan

You’re running your email campaigns or newsletters, and you’re benchmarking. Once you set your performance benchmarks, you can start testing and making incremental improvements! You can test just about anything as long as you test one variable at a time.

Ideas for elements to test are subject lines and preheader text (get those open rates up!), headlines, body copy, call-to-action color or text, overall design—really the sky’s the limit with A/B testing emails. It’s quick and easy and 2018 should be the year where you’re implementing your testing alongside your messaging strategy!

To learn more about A/B testing, I recommend taking this free Udacity course >>–ud257

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About Nout Boctor-Smith
Email Marketing Manager, Red Hat

Nout Boctor-Smith is an email enthusiast, a cat person, and an avid learner. She taught herself HTML in 1997 and loves to talk about anything and everything, which makes email marketing the ideal realm for her. She’s been in the internet marketing space for over 8 years and specifically in email marketing for 6 years. Her passions include process improvements, email UX, and clean code. She never takes herself seriously and is often described as a goofball. When she’s not doing email stuff (and chatting on the #emailgeeks Slack), she can be found obsessing over fashion, petting cats, and eating delicious food.