There’s no question that email marketing is a powerful digital strategy. For years there has been talk of the “death of email”, however as statistics have shown, email marketing is far from dead and remains a top channel for retaining and attracting customers.

With hundreds of resources providing advice or tips and tricks to creating your best email strategy, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed and without a clear direction to begin. That’s where we come in. Our experience working on email marketing across a variety of industries has taught us some important tips for helping you develop or improve your email strategy to achieve your marketing goals. Follow along to learn five tips for planning an effective email strategy and start contemplating what we can help you accomplish next year!

Get to Know Your Buyer Personas

Different buyer personas that could be helpful for an effective email strategy.

At the heart of your email marketing strategy should be your buyer personas. Buyer personas help marketers identify who they are speaking to, as well as how your messaging will be received. Without a clear understanding of your personas, it becomes difficult to provide the right content at the right time, opening the floor for miscommunication and even subscriber loss. With so many efforts going into acquiring and retaining your customer base this step of understanding your personas is an essential piece of your email marketing strategy development.

Consider Your Value Adds

Once you have clearly defined your buyer personas, it can be helpful to take a step back and review your content or value adds. What you include in your email messaging should always provide value to recipients as you work on developing trust with your subscriber list. At one point or another, we have all been on the receiving end of what may seem like an endless stream of emails that either push us toward losing interest in communications altogether or unsubscribing completely (one of an email marketer’s worst fears).

Whether starting from scratch or updating an existing campaign, proactively reviewing your content not only helps provide greater value to your lists but can also help turn around any underperforming campaigns. Sometimes a little can go a long way here so it’s worthwhile to never get too complacent with any ongoing strategy.

Refresh Your Campaign Strategy

Speaking of strategy, the end of the year (or even periodically throughout the year) is a great time to review your running campaigns and identify any areas for potential improvement. Beyond your buyer personas and value-added content, there are often ways to enhance your strategy while developing stronger relationships with your subscribers.

As you consider your buyer journey from start to end, how are you interacting with your customers, and does this mirror your own positive experiences with brands or companies? Are you welcoming your new subscribers and introducing them to what you can provide, helping satisfy their need or problem? Have you maybe lost touch with some subscribers who are existing customers with loyalty that may be waning? Thinking about your own positive or negative experiences with companies may help you uncover just what types of activities can be done to build or enforce your current relationships for a stronger overall strategy.

Test, Optimize, and Repeat

As with any marketing strategy, the big key to performance is to test, optimize and repeat. Testing is especially important for email strategy as technology continues moving forward. If you haven’t recently reviewed your email templates, it may be wise to run your code through a resource like Litmus, Email on Acid, or a built-in program like that within HubSpot to ensure your templates act as expected. Designing for different email clients often presents challenges that are difficult to discover without regular testing and can result in oddly formatted emails upon delivery.

When you find issues with your designs or templates it is recommended to quickly address any major formatting issues. However, when it comes to layout and design, frequent senders should be wary and take their time to avoid any disconnect for current subscribers. Making minor changes to your templates over time helps ease your readers into any updates slowly while avoiding the potential for subscriber loss from confusion or brand dissonance.

Keep Up with Changing Trends

Just like with any other marketing channel, email trends move quickly. As technology advances, it can be beneficial to keep up with email trends to provide the most value to your subscriber lists. Recent trends such as device dark mode can have a significant impact on your email design, while other trends in visual or graphic design can help you stand out from the crowd.

Major changes in digital compliance such as meeting GDPRCCPA, and CAN-SPAM Act regulations or designing for ADA accessibility have also had a broad impact across global industries. Ensuring your marketing assets comply with changing regulations and improving accessibility not only helps protect your business but likewise provide marketing assets that your customers can fully enjoy.

We hope this list with some of our best tips helps guide you toward your best email strategy yet! If you’d like to know more about how we can help support you and your marketing goals, reach out to our team to learn more.

Quinn Sullivan is a Marketing Associate at Affirma.

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