Lessons That I’ve Learned After Sending 20,000+ Emails

There are so many lessons that i’ve learned after sending 20,000+ emails. Email remains one of the best tools for digital marketing.

We can close deals, keep customers engaged with our brand, inform news, and even reach new audiences by this method.

These past few months, my team and I have been more aggressive in our email campaigns because it is still a very effective way to accomplish the goals above.

Unfortunately, in the eyes of recipients this method is still often seen as a disturbance.

One wrong move and we’ll end up making them click that dreaded “mark as spam” button.

(If you’re a digital marketer, i’m sure you’ll recognize this fear)

Because of that, in this article I would like to share with you what my team has learned from the previous 20,000+ emails that we’ve sent, so that you can immediately improve the impact of your campaign. Here’s Lessons That I’ve Learned :

1. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS ONE TRUE “PERFECT FORMULA’ FOR SUBJECT LINE

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve read another article telling you how you should write your email subject.

Lessons That I’ve Learned is.. This issue, unlike science, doesn’t have an exact answer.

Different companies have different kinds of audience demography.

Different campaigns aim to achieve different goals.

Following one “formula” – no matter how effective the “teacher” claims it to be – will be a mistake.

For this reason, we can confidently say that testing is still the best way to determine what kind of subject line will serve us best.

Here are some subject lines that my team has used in our blog newsletter campaigns (note: Sribu is the name of our company):

  • “Learning With Sribu Blog! (<insert month> Edition)”

We started with a straightforward approach: telling the audience what they’ll see on the email, and also imply that this is a recurring monthly newsletter (to show our consistency). 

This subject line got an average of 8-9% open rate which – let’s be realistic here – for a newsletter campaign is not bad at all.

But, as all digital marketers should, we wanted to achieve even more.

  • “Apple Has A “Secret” Marketing Trick That Your Business Can (Easily) Copy!”

We tried a different approach, using our best performing article as a teaser of the kind of content that they can learn on the blog. 

We also removed the recurring monthly implication to avoid unsubscriptions. Our thought process was if the audience was not interested in the first mail, there’s a chance they won’t be interested in any similar info in the future). The result: 14-15% open rate.

Big improvement!

At this point, we could see that this approach works. So the only thing we should do now is make it even better, hence the third variant below

  • 🔒 Protect Your Content! Understanding Copyright In The Simplest Way”

Just one tiny adjustment by adding an emoji (we hoped that this would make us look more “human” in their mail inbox). We chose to use only one emoji so that the mails will not be automatically detected as spam.

Again, the open rate was improved to around 17%. not as big of an improvement as the previous variant, but it’s still better.

We purposely didn’t conduct a simultaneous A/B test (2 different subject lines in the same month) because we want to reach the most number of recipients with each variant.

See how we came up with this “best” approach? Experiments!

No matter how many guides we’ve read, the one that knows what works for the audience will be us.

Try to come up with an idea that you’ll believe will work first, see the result and work on improving it.

There is no one correct way to write an email subject line.

2. THERE HAVE TO BE A “FACE”

At first, all our email campaigns were sent from a campaign that used our company’s logo as a profile picture.

This is not a bad idea, of course. After all, we want to imprint that image of our brand’s identity in the mind of the audience.

We did this for one of our partnership cold email campaigns, and honestly, the result wasn’t that bad:

By any standard, a 24% open rate in a cold email campaign is quite satisfactory.

Lessons That I’ve Learned, let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of our audience (which, in this scenario, is actually pretty easy to picture).

When we see that we got an email from an address with a company logo as its profile picture, what’s the first reason that often comes to mind?

This mail is trying to sell us something.

As an audience, this imagination – most of the time – is already off-putting.

We as humans enjoy communicating with another human being, not with a business company/corporation.

This idea made us choose to experiment by using a personal account, one that has a human profile picture as the sender.

The result:

It worked!

Using a personal account as the sender can create a more personal connection with the audience. Which of course can make our mails more appealing to interact with.

3. PERSONALIZE ON THE VERY FIRST LINE

Lessons That I’ve Learned, we are not the only marketer that sends out marketing emails to the audience, which makes efficiency very crucial.

Amongst all the mails in their inbox, we have to be able to stand out and grab their attention immediately.

So first, we have to realize that generic templates will, almost definitely, not work.

It’s because our audience is not stupid, they’ll be able to see whether the sender put an extra attention to their mail or not.

If the sender doesn’t put any effort into their mails, the recipient will be even less inclined to care about what they’re trying to say.

Tell them you know who they are. Use their name, site, or anything that shows that you’re writing to them personally.

(In case you don’t know, you don’t have to manually do this on every single mail you send. Most email marketing tools/software services will have a feature that will let you set this automatically.)

After that, make sure that you do this on the first line of your email to. As mentioned above, immediately grab their attention.

By doing this, you’ve successfully brought one of your audience’s feet through the door, which means that the first step in our successful email campaign has been achieved.

4. A BAD RESPONSE IS STILL “GOOD”

We’ve all seen one of these.

It’s almost unavoidable for any email campaign to not have an unrelated, out of topic, or sometimes even angry response.

Lessons That I’ve Learned, while on the surface it may seem like a “bad” response. Actually they still have implied information that we can use and learn from.

For Example :

  • Unrelated, out of topic response means the recipient did find interest to open the mail. We just have to present the info we’re trying to tell in a clearer way.
  • A “no” response also means that the recipient finds our email interesting enough to be read. The problem is that our offer may not match their needs.

Like the lesson on point one, this is where trial & error experiments come into play in our line of work. Use any info. We can learn from our current result so that we’ll be able to get a better result in the future.

Immediate satisfactory results are always desired, for sure, but there is always room to improve.

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Hopefully this article will help you speed up the difficult learning curve that is email marketing campaigns.

These 20,000 emails have taught me and my team so much that it’s now much easier to get great results that will benefit our endeavors.

Experience really was the best teacher, and now you won’t have to go through all those time needed to send 20,000 emails to learn what we’ve learned.

Give those ideas a try and good luck!

 

About the writer: Raski Santika is a Business Growth Consultant  for Indonesia’s leading digital freelancer platform, Sribu & Writer for Sribu Blog. Through his writing, he wishes to help aspiring entrepreneurs grow their business in creative and unique ways.

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