Don’t Make Your Email Program Worse – Email Thursday

TOPICSEmail Marketing

Learn how to prevent your email program from getting worse!

Don’t Make Your Email Program Worse!

Does this sound like a familiar situation?

Your email program is on a downward trend, and you have tried everything. You’ve tried sending more, and then tried sending less. The Open Rates continue to plummet.
You threw out some coupons with really juicy discounts, and your readers hardly blinked.
You are ready to throw in the towel on email marketing.

There is hope! Today, I will present three approaches that will stop exacerbating the key tension points and help rebuild your program.

One major caveat to these suggestions is that these are not overnight silver-bullet miracle solutions. You will need to commit to these suggestions over the course of the next several months.

Suggestion 1: Segmentation

The first question to ask yourself is, “Am I sending broad messages to my readers?”
As the marketing adage goes, trying to be everything to everybody results in actually being nothing to anybody.

In other words, you need to have a sense of direction in the messaging of your email marketing.

One great way to target your message is to simply get organized by segmenting your list according to one or two critical demographic elements. You can then tailor your campaigns to the most promising segment.

“Promising” can be defined in many different ways – you can define the word with metrics (ex. highest Open Rate) or loyalty (ex. highest Average Order Value), or something else altogether.

Segmentation will also help you identify groups of subscribers who are less responsive to your campaigns. As I have stated in past posts, you should not ignore this group entirely. Rather, you may want to contact these groups on a less frequent basis.

This will help you engage those who are most apt to purchase, as well as send messages that build sustainable relationships with those subscribers.

If you are managing an email program that is out of control, segment to the best of your abilities. Segments don’t necessarily need to be based on sophisticated data-gathering methods and complex algorithms. You could perform simple segmentation, such as segmenting according to most recent purchase date or country of record.

Suggestion 2: User Interface

Are you sending hieroglyphics in the age of iPads?

The user experience is an essential factor in driving reader loyalty and revenue.

When you create email campaigns, make sure that your email provides a pleasing reader experience.

Assess details, such as:

  1. Font size and color
  2. Text-to-image ratio (i.e. Is your campaign text- or image-heavy?)
  3. Messaging (i.e. Does your email marketing include strong calls to action and all the information needed to make an informed purchase decision?)

Again, you should consider the most prominent segments on your list.

For example, if your readership is slightly older, you may want to make font sizes and buttons larger. On the contrary, if your readership is younger, then you may want to employ more images and incorporate more social media components.

Suggestion 3: Build Dialogues

One of the strengths of digital marketing channels is the heightened sense of interactivity.

Compare an email campaign to a newspaper ad. There is a high level of disconnect with a newspaper ad because you cannot correspond directly with the marketer through the medium. However, an email campaign provides a direct line between the target customer and the marketer.

I have seen many email campaigns that are simply one-sided. The marketer crafts a campaign that basically tells the message to the reader. There is very little interactivity, and it doesn’t make the reader feel as if the message was created just for them.

I encourage you to make emails an interactive conversation with your readers. Find ideas that engage your readers and prompt them to respond in ways beyond a simple purchase.

For clients who are struggling with interactivity, I have created contests which challenged readers to find new uses for the most popular products. I have also unashamedly asked readers for feedback on products and the overall customer experience.

The bottom line is that your readers are ready to converse with you. You just need to ask the right questions and state your case in the correct way.


Today, I want to give you a feeling of hope. It’s not too late to make a U-Turn and build your email program to a state of satisfaction!

But as with all journeys and methods, this process begins with a series of incremental steps.

I presented three easy-to-implement, difficult-to-master approaches that is relevant to any email marketer at any stage of their marketing program.

I hope that this post has been helpful. If you would like a free assessment of your email program to discover essential areas that you are missing, please email James at