Email Marketing 101 – Part 1

Email Marketing 101 – Part 1

By Keiana Smith-McDowell

How often are your emails getting read?

Many companies and organizations use email marketing strategies to communicate with, engage and update clients and customers. But the question is: How well is it working for you? Only 13 percent of companies report that their email marketing practices are either basic or unsuccessful, however 90% of people unsubscribe due to irrelevant or too frequent emails.

In part one of this two-part series, we’re going to provide a few tips to help you and your company compose emails that will get read and keep customers.


The most important – and probably the most talked about – component to email marketing is relevance. While everyone has different email preferences, keep in mind most people only want to know what’s relevant to them – so it’s important to know what your customer or client is interested in. Sending empty emails that don’t pertain to who you are trying to target is the easiest way to get them to unsubscribe. Lucky for you, there are a few ways to combat this issue – use data.

These are the best types of data to drive relevance:

DemographicsAge, gender, size of household and location – these are all basic factors you can use to get to know your customer and effectively relay a message to them. You can get this kind of information through surveys and email sign-up forms. If the products and services you offer reach more than one of these demographics, keep in mind that they’re all different, and messages you use to reach them have to be different as well. Target and Macy’s, for example, are stores that share similar demographics. I’m a loyal customer of both stores, but the emails I receive from each are tailored to the products and services I typically shop for. It is important to know exactly who you’re targeting – don’t assume you know everything they’re in the market for. Pay attention to the data; otherwise you’ll find an increase in people unsubscribing from your email lists or even worse not reading the emails your company sends at all.

Behavioral DataBehavior translates to preference, and you should maximize on this knowledge without being invasive. Previous brand interaction, browsing history, purchases. Companies typically gather this information after you’ve browsed the website or left something in your shopping cart. Some companies also use this data to notify customers if something they’ve been shopping for is no longer in stock. This information allows you to gain more honest data about what your customer likes without having to constantly send out survey emails to gain information.

Send TimesWhen are you sending your emails? Mondays at 5 a.m. or Saturdays at midnight? Knowing when to send the email is just as important as knowing the relevant data to help you know what emails to send. According to an infographic by ReachMail, only 23.6% of emails get opened within one hour of sending, which means there’s plenty of time for your email to get buried by the other emails that start to roll in. ReachMail says the best time to send emails are between 10 a.m. – noon, and 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. This is when both mobile and desktop engagement is the highest, so you’re likely to reach more of your customers.

So now you have some insight about the data and timing associated with successful email marketing. In part two of this series, we’ll talk about what your emails say and how to write effective copy.

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