Tips on Execution of Better Email Campaigns

Emails! We all get so many of them! They are a part of our lives. So much so that, for many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is scroll through our inboxes looking for the emails that we want to read.

As I scroll through my inbox, I’m looking at who the emails are from and the subject line. Then, I scan the first couple of sentences in the email to quickly make a decision on how much time I should spend on it in its entirety. Is it an email requiring action on my part? Is it an email that doesn’t have any content I want to read?

When sending out emails, we want the recipients not only to read our email but to also take action on that email. Clicking on a link in our email to drive traffic to our website or to get a marketing qualified lead is the ultimate goal!

I recently watched a webinar by Mike Madden from Marketo about the top mistakes made by email marketers – very informative. So informative, in fact, that I thought I’d share a few of the mistakes (and how to avoid them) with you all. To watch the webinar, click here.

Mistake #1: Unclear Subject Line

Ever wonder whether or not that extra time you spend coming up with those clever subject lines in hopes of enticing your audience to open and click through your email really works? Well, according to Madden, they don’t: “Clear usually beats clever because clear subject lines tend to have better consistency into the body of the email which accounts for higher raw clicks…” A 2011 case study by AWeber Communications backs Madden’s statement with its conclusion that a clear subject line get 541% more clicks than one that is clever. Don’t believe it? Test it out! In fact, that’s what Madden suggests, and what he did.

Madden tested this out on his Marketing Automation checklist eBook with two different subject lines:

#1: “Your Marketing Automation Checklist”

#2: “Are You Evaluating Marketing Automation?”

Here’s how the subject lines fared:


As you can see, when your subscriber sees in the subject line what exactly is in the email (i.e. checklist), they are much more likely to open and click through it versus if they are given a vague subject line.

Mistake #2: Poor Email List Hygiene

I would never think of using the word hygiene when referring to email lists (or any lists for that matter), but after listening to this section, it makes sense. In the past, if you made sure to avoid using spam trigger words, it was highly likely that your email would find its way right into the coveted primary inbox [and the choir sings “Ahhhhhh”] – that’s not the case these days. For example, Gmail now has three inboxes – Primary, Social, Promotions – and they look at several factors to determine what emails go to what inbox: continuously opened emails, multiple clicks in emails, scrolling, and frequency of engagement overall. So how do we clean out list for better email deliverability?

As Madden explains, soft bounces, hard bounces, and spam traps (definitions in webinar) contribute to the lowering of you email deliverability and sender reputation which is critical for getting through ISP spam filters. He states that consistently sending emails to a dirty email list will have adverse effects on both inbox placement and your sender reputation.

So now that you have the skinny on dirty email lists, it’s time to clean them up! Madden suggests soft bounce campaign, to remove role accounts (i.e., and most importantly, re-engagement campaigns (all of which are explained in detail in the webinar).

Mistake #5: No Re-Engagement Strategy

A marketer typically has a list of customers or subscribers with as many as 25-50% of these people classified as inactive. These are people who once willingly engaged in some form or another. Combine that with the valuable time (and funds) you spent grabbing their attention in order to get them to engage in the first place, and it begs the question: Why not get the most value for your efforts by re-engaging? In order to do this, you must have a solid re-engagement strategy.

“Try sending a reactivation email,” Madden suggests. Marketo did a reactivation email test and found that it had a 70% higher open rate, 325% click to open rate, and a 621% higher click through rate. The email reactivated 238% more subscribers. Now those are some stats!

As you all know, the field of marketing is vast and ever-changing. That said, we at McMahon Consulting make it our top priority to stay abreast of these (and all) marketing best practices. We hope that you find the information we share valuable and helpful.

A special shoutout to Marketo for the great webinar from which these email marketing mistakes were pinpointed and solutions were suggested. To watch the full, hour long version, please click here. We hope you picked up a takeaway or two to start implementing into your business. #juststarttoday.


About the author: Kim McMahon has performed sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.