10 Email Marketing Ideas to Test in 2015

Bryan GudmundsonEmail Marketing IdeasLeave a Comment

email marketing ideas

Email marketing ideas should be constantly tested and optimized for your brand. As one of the most powerful channels in marketing, emails are sent en masse to millions of online shoppers everyday. To make your message stand out, new email marketing ideas need to cycled into your campaigns and monitored for efficacy.
email marketing ideas


Split Testing Email Marketing Ideas

There are many different methods of testing email marketing ideas, but the most straight-forward way to identify a winning idea with a limited test group is with an A/B split test. It’s easy; split your recipient pool in two and send one half version ‘A’ of an email and the other version ‘B.’ Keep in mind the following rules:

  1. Only test one idea at a time. In A/B split-tests, two versions of the same marketing email should be nearly identical except for a single, examined variable. If you want to test more than one variation, you need a significantly larger list of emails.
  2. Test for about a week–and not on holidays. The idea of split testing is to measure performance under controlled, predictable circumstances. Some days of the week are better for email across the board; testing for a week helps you avoid the daily bias. Also, holidays are performance outliers. Don’t use them to test.

Today, we have ten email marketing ideas to share. Using these, you can optimize your email marketing campaigns to bring in conversions as efficiently as possible.


1. Email Marketing Ideas for Newsletters

Most online businesses send out a monthly newsletter. These routine check-ins are a great way to keep your brand top-of-mind among consumers and showcase your latest products.

However, if newsletter open rates are dipping, try aligning your messaging with some kind of holiday, recent news or event. There are special events (of varying levels of obscurity) happening every single day, so grab a calendar and pick one. Alter your subject line to highlight this holiday and see if email open rates increase.

People love to celebrate, so give them a reason!


2. A New Look for Email Marketing

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an expression that holds weight, despite being repeated ad nausea. Telling a story with imagery is a great way to sell something with more than cut-and-dry specs; strong visuals can evoke the ‘feeling’ you want to associate with your product. The ad below from Quirky.com does a fantastic job of showcasing an item’s features while reinforcing the company’s ‘invention’ theme.


However, sending image-heavy marketing emails might not always be the way to go. If you’re planning on sending out an image-heavy email, consider making a text-only variant and testing the effectiveness of each campaign.

Consider restricting this split test to marketing emails ending with ‘@gmail.com.’ Although nobody’s cracked the mystery just yet as devised by the engineers at Google, plain-text emails tend to land in primary Gmail inboxes more often than image-heavy counterparts. For this reason alone, a text-only email might experience boosted performance.


3. Email Marketing Ideas for Social Connections

For better or worse, social media has become an embedded piece of daily life for most professionals. Almost all marketing emails contain buttons for sharing the content on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more (if yours don’t, test their inclusion).

If you already have social icons in your email, get creative. The beauty of split tests is that they help showcase the power of seemingly minuscule changes. Move your social icons from the top to the bottom of your email (or vice versa) and see how engagement changes compared to the norm.


4. Email Marketing Ideas Subject to Change

Subject lines are the first email marketing metric to consider. Outside of a few, particularly damaging keywords, drafting up a subject line is a relatively free-form exercise. As a result, you’re going to need to heavily test subject ideas until you find the perfect match for your company.

Test a more creative email subject line against one that’s already proven reasonably successful for you. Above, ThinkGeek makes use of a nerd-culture inside joke to grab attention. It helps that the arrow characters are unusual and draw the eye. This strategy won’t work for everybody, but see how tagging your emails with something a little more outrageous affects open and clickthrough rates.


5. Email Marketing Bright Idea: Social Proof

Studies have shown that people trust recommendations from strangers online nearly as much as they would from a friend or family member. Why not capitalize on this idea with your next marketing email?

Test two variants of the same message, one with an added user review. The example above from TripAdvisor includes a rating, review, and user photo for the destination shown in the featured image. Pick out a particularly brief and positive review and include it within your next marketing email to see how it impacts performance.


6. Email ReMarketing

Email remarketing is a powerful strategy that can recover conversions from the brink. However, just as with regular marketing emails, remarketing messages should be constantly examined for optimal performance.

Remarketing emails, by design, are intended to bring customers back into the conversion flow. Where customers are directed is a perfect point for split testing. In your emails, link half of your users back to a pre-populated shopping cart and move others directly to checkout. In addition to open and clickthrough rates, be sure to track conversion rates and average order values from these emails. While users sent to checkout may convert more often, allowing shoppers to edit their cart may result in higher order values.


7. Give Email Marketing the Time of Day

Split testing is all about choosing a single variable and tweaking it while measuring performance. In addition to tweaking what you’re sending, consider when you send it. A study from Pure360 explored this question and found that each industry has a daily peak, as seen below.


Try sending your next email in two batches at different points in the day. You may want to follow the times above as a guide, but remember, each business is unique. Your optimal send time might be entirely different from your competitors. Test send times, record the results, and uncover your optimal email window.


8. Email Marketing: From Me to You

What’s the very first point of contact with your customer via email? Surprisingly, it’s not the subject line. The ‘from’ field plays a critical role in whether your emails get viewed. Take a look at the messages below, as they appeared in my inbox.


Both of these emails are from MarketingProfs.com, a marketing education resource. One is from a more generic address while the other is from Nicole, an employee with MarketingProfs. For certain email promotions, having a real name and real email address adds a personal, approachable touch.

Dispatch your next email from two different senders. See how your potential customers react to reading a message from a person as opposed to a corporate entity. The results may surprise you!


9. An Urgent Marketing Message

Quick! Don’t delay! Limited time offer–just a few hours left!


The use of urgency as a sales tactic is as old as sales itself. Companies want you to buy their products and they’d prefer it if you did it now. However, urgency can be met with all kinds of responses and it’s up to you to determine how that impacts conversions.

Test the addition (or subtraction) of limited-time messaging. Tell half of your recipients that your promotion only runs through the weekend and leave out that bit of information for the other half. See if putting a time limit on discounts helps draw customers more quickly.


10. A Personal Touch on Email Marketing

Leveraging personal information in marketing communications has gained popularity among merchants in the past few years. Addressing users by first name and giving them recommendations based on previous browsing activity has proven effective in driving conversions.


However, sometimes personalization can trigger a kind of uncanny valley effect. Emails that use conversational, chummy lingo to address users by name in a casual way can come off as ‘creepy.’ An email may look and read like it’s from a friend, but we all know that multi-billion dollar corporations aren’t personally concerned with my latest website visit.

Experiment with personalization to find the border between unsettling and comfortable and walk the appropriate side of the fence. Test using a user’s first and last name against using only a first name. Test formal greetings against informal hellos.

Ultimately, the best email marketing idea is to constantly test new directions. Never stop refining your approach and always put in the extra effort to get a percentage point here and there. It’s a long process, but one that pays off. For more email marketing ideas or to learn how to optimize your site’s traffic, contact UpSellit.

Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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