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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Jul 8, 2015 7 min read

How To Massively Improve Inbound Marketing Email Campaign Performance

Email Marketing ImprovementsEmail marketing is probably one of the most popular marketing tactics deployed today. 

It’s also one of the easiest to understand. Yet, it's one of the hardest to get to perform.

Historically, email open and click-through rates have been anemic. But, email as a lead-nurturing strategy continues to get high praise. Here’s an article outlining the performance stats for email marketing.

Let's look at how to improve your email efforts.

As inbound marketing super users, we’re looking for tactics that perform at a very high level. A 15% open rate and 1% click-through rate make email a mediocre tactic at best – when you look solely at performance. Here’s how we supercharge our email marketing strategy to drive a 100% improvement in open rates and a 300% improvement in click-through rates.

Make It About Your Prospects

They're not interested in you, your people, your new products or your news. They are interested in how you’re going to help them solve their pains. Focus your email campaigns on this – and this alone.

You don’t have a lot of time. The faster you talk about your prospects, the more they're going to continue reading and the more likely they'll be to click back to your website. Make it all about them. Make your prospects the heroes. Tell them a story about how you helped someone like them.

The "less about you, more about them" concept is directly related to higher click-through and open rates. Use a dramatic subject line that includes your prospect, and watch your open rates soar. Write copy that talks more about them than you, and you’re going to see click-through rates double. Try it.

Use Video

People are watchers, not readers. In fact, 60% of the population are identified as visual learners. People don’t want to read your email, but they do want to watch your video. When you include short video snippets (60-90 seconds), it typically doubles click-through rates. Add the word "video" to the subject line, and see your open rates improve, too.

Keep It Short

People are spending 5-15 seconds reading your emails. Keep them short – small snippets of text, pictures, links, videos, headlines. Your prospects are just skimming, so create the copy and content with that in mind. Email marketing has ONLY ONE goal: to get them back to your website. If it takes you 30 seconds to read your entire email, it’s probably too long.

Don’t Sell Anything

You have to resist the urge to sell. Every day, I get an email from North Face, Timberland and Nike. They're all trying to sell me something. I don’t read a single email from these big brands that pretend to understand marketing. They’ve conditioned me to ignore their emails. If, however, they had sent me educational information on hiking, running, travel gear or other interesting topics, I might be reading their stuff every day instead of deleting it without even looking at it. Educate, advise and counsel, and you’ll have a fan for life.

Focus On Links And Offers

The key to using email properly is keeping the goal in mind. If getting them to the website is the goal, links and offers are the tickets to success. Tease the reader with highly valuable content and then give them a link to read more. Provide offers on your site to continue the education by contacting you. Test the offers by running campaigns that focus on people at the top, middle or bottom of the funnel. This gives you an idea of your list’s general propensity for buying and their stage in the buyer journey.

Segment Based On Pain, Not Persona

Almost everyone focuses on personas when it comes to segmenting the list. This might work for you, but you may not actually have to segment this way. If your personas have the same pain, you could send a single email to everyone. Creating the right marketing strategy before you start emailing is the only way to ensure that your segmentation is correct.

Yes, personal segmentation might be right. But, if you can be more efficient with your inbound marketing and get equal or better results, why not try it?

Email isn’t going away. It provides the air-cover support that almost every business needs. Your prospects might not read every email, but if they value the content you're sending, they’ll hold onto the emails and read them when they’re ready. This is very good news. Set your expectations properly: While email isn’t going to close deals for you, it does keep you in front of your prospects. With this line of thinking, you’ll start using email campaigns properly.

Start Today Tip – The first step is knowing your numbers. What are your deliverable rates, open rates, click-through rates and opt-out rates? If you don’t know these numbers or can’t find them quickly on a dashboard, you need to consider getting closer to your data. Next, make sure that your email marketing is connected perfectly to your content strategy, and that you’re not selling in your emails. The more you sell, the less interested your prospects are going to be. This translates to lower open rates, lower click-through rates and higher opt-out rates – all bad. Follow the steps above and track your performance.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.