2014-19-December-Baking.jpgThe holidays can be a particular challenge for email marketers as they face increased competition and the risk of over-saturating consumer inboxes with campaigns that may or may not be seen during the holiday crunch-time. If only there could be a reliable recipe for success, something as easy as one-part list hygiene, two-parts testing and “send” in small batches until done.

Is email marketing as easy as this? Well, no, but just like home cooks can feel like master chefs if they follow the instructions and use high quality ingredients, email marketers can greatly improve results if they stick to a tried-and-true recipe.

To get the best results out of your email marketing campaign, make sure you have the freshest ingredients: current lists, attention-grabbing headlines, smart copy, working buttons and the best techniques. Are you testing for mobile? What tracking and responses have you created? Do all your buttons and links work?

Here is a recipe for successful email marketing:


  • Current list, segmented
  • Striking subject line, variations should occur
  • Smart, compelling copy
  • Working buttons and links
  • Relevant landing pages

Use Only Fresh Ingredients

Make sure your list is up-to-date and current. Maintain contact with your contacts during the year so you’re not just bombarding potential customers with broadcast emails. Segment according to user preferences. The reader who just wanted to download a white paper once doesn’t want the same level of engagement as the one who signed up for offers and discounts. Serve them timely, contextual emails accordingly.

Employ List Hygiene

Scrub that list so all the deadweight, bouncebacks and angry non-customers are removed. Also, check for spam. Nobody wants canned meat or canned messages when they can have personalized, custom or targeted fare. Ask permission of your email subscribers to remain in contact and follow all CAN-SPAM rules with options to unsubscribe, etc.

Write Compelling Headlines and Subject Lines

Open rates vary depending on industry and delivery rate, ranging from 10 to 35 percent. First you have to get potential customers to open your email before you can win them over with your delectable differentiators. Be quick and relevant -- and perhaps ask a question. Grab reader's limited attention. What is the purpose of the email? Is it to nurture a lead, build your brand or cross-sell to existing customers? Put the headline in context and then you can deliver the appropriate teaser to lure in your audience.

Blend in Creative Copy

After the reader opens the message, it is time to entertain and inform them. Be smart, relevant, useful to their business or consumer needs. Bullets and broken copy scan well. Create calls to action. Personalize the message as much as you can -- based on how you have segmented the audience and addressed the customers’ level of engagement.

Test All Buttons and Links

Of the few who open your email, fewer will read your copy and take action through a button, download or link. Make sure you test, test, test these actions before sending your email so you don’t spend all that effort attracting a customer only to lose them at a moment of engagement. Test messages and headlines, too. Run a multivariate or segmented A/B test on your recipients. Just make sure you capture the tracking information.

Mix in Mobile and Make Tablet Friendly

Customers are reading your email during down time, on the go, anywhere they choose. Make sure your message reaches mobile phones, tablets, different OS and works across all devices. Repeat links and testing steps across these platforms as well.


By analyzing your customer feedback and open, click-thru stats, etc. you can determine what the customer wants and automate accordingly. Mailing to smaller, segmented lists will help you reach the customers better.

Deliver and Track

Getting the email out is only the beginning. Apply analytics to every action customers can take. Analyze the analytics and modify future email marketing campaigns accordingly.

Serves one to millions. Enjoy!