Ashlee Sierra

You probably feel like your company is your own little kingdom — but let’s say it really is one. You have an important message for your people, so you send couriers to all the settlements. 

But this is a treacherous land full of marketers trying to hawk false remedies. If your message doesn’t look like it came straight from the throne, everyone will think it’s medieval spam, and your couriers will be sent home with an open rate of approximately 0. 

Even if everyone trusts your couriers, there’s no guarantee of engagement. Without personalization and other optimization techniques, your message could easily get lost amidst ye olde drama.

As it turns out, you don’t have to be royal to have these problems. Modern businesses face many of the same challenges with today’s version of courier messaging: email marketing. Luckily, we have all the optimization tips and tricks you need to boost engagement, impress subscribers and make your email campaign worthy of the throne.

What Is Email Campaign Optimization?

Email marketing optimization is an approach used to make your email campaigns more relevant, valuable and interesting to subscribers. The goal is to create long-term relationships based on your ability to consistently provide high-quality content. When you give the people what they want, they’ll become your loyal subjects in no time.

Let’s take a look at how optimization can make you into email marketing royalty:

  • Increase open rate: You don’t want your email messages deleted on sight. An optimized campaign can help increase open rates so people actually see what you have to say.
  • Boost engagement: Email optimization provides content your customers will want to engage with. Whether they share one of your clever quips on social media or decide to browse your big sale, they’ll get more value from your messaging.
  • Improve click-through rates: When your email campaign is optimized, readers are more likely to click on your call to action (CTA) or other links in your message.
  • Maximize conversions: Subscribers aren’t necessarily customers. Luckily, a little optimization goes a long way for conversion rates.

Long story short, email marketing optimization can mean the difference between a happy, flourishing kingdom and a group of grumbling subjects all too eager to reach for the torches and pitchforks.

Email Campaign Optimization Tips

Wondering how to optimize your email campaigns? Unroll the scrolls and lend us an ear — we’re here to be your royal marketing advisors. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for delighting every subscriber on your email list:

1. Personalization

Imagine you’ve sent your courier into a busy courtyard. There are hundreds of people milling about; how will your message get to the right person? 

Well, that’s easy: Your courier just shouts the recipient’s name at the top of their lungs. 

The same is true for your email campaign. If you use personalization to your advantage, subscribers will know you put in the extra effort to ensure your message provides the information they actually want. Plus, if they’re getting hundreds of emails per day, they’re more likely to notice one that uses their first name or business name in the subject line.

Another element of email personalization is audience segmentation. This process allows you to separate your subscribers based on key elements — for example, whether or not they’ve made a purchase — and design messaging that targets them more effectively.

For example, let’s say you’re inviting people to a royal wedding. Here’s how your language might change depending on where you sent your couriers:

  • Nearby settlements: “You’ve watched her grow up — now come celebrate your princess’s wedding day!”
  • Far-off settlements: “We’re opening our kingdom to you — please join us in celebrating this important milestone for our people.”

2. Send Time Optimization

You wake up in the middle of the night with one thought in your royal head: a joke about a rival monarch. You want your advisors to appreciate it right away, so you send your couriers out in the dark. The problem is that your advisors are asleep, and they probably won’t appreciate being awoken just so you can tell them the other kingdom is more of a king-dumb. 

That’s where send time optimization comes in.

Send time optimization is an important best practice for any email marketer. The goal is to improve your open rate by delivering content at a convenient time, all without getting lost in the shuffle.

To take control of time optimization, you need to think about who your subscribers are and what they do all day. For example, if your email list is full of business-to-business (B2B) readers, you might want to send content during business hours when their brains are focused on work. On the other hand, a fun sale for business-to-consumer (B2C) readers might go over well during lunch breaks when people have time to browse.

3. Catchy Subject Lines

Let’s flip the script and say you’re the one receiving a message from a courier. You beckon to your guards to let the young boy into your throne room. You’re a monarch of great patience — but to be fair, you’re also busy running a kingdom, and you don’t have time for shenanigans. 

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” you ask.

If the sender is smart, they’ll have anticipated this question. To maximize your engagement and capture your fleeting attention, they need the medieval equivalent of an eye-catching email subject line — something that makes you sit on the edge of your throne. 

Here are two examples:

“I have some bad news.”

Yawn. As a leader, you deal with bad news all day — and this subject line doesn’t tell you anything unique or helpful. You can’t even tell how serious the issue is.

“Your Majesty, an army is attacking from the North!”

This one’s much better. It has an element of personalization and an immediate level of urgency. It also provides key information (without giving everything away, of course) so you know you need to hear whatever else the courier has to say. Plus, if it’s delivered with an appropriately panicked expression, that’s like adding an emoji to your email subject line.

While you might not be warning your subscribers of an impending battle, you do need to capture their attention and encourage them to act fast. That’s why subject lines are an important tool in your email optimization toolbelt. 

4. Clear CTAs

When you send a message to your subscribers, you need to have a purpose in mind. Let’s take a look at what that purpose might be:

  • Increase sales.
  • Increase website traffic.
  • Advertise a new product.
  • Keep current and potential customers engaged.

That’s great — but how do you translate this into something your readers can do? How do you track whether your purpose is being fulfilled?

The key is to use clear, effective CTAs. When people click on these links to read a new blog post or learn more about a product, you’ll know your email campaign just did its job. However, before any of that can happen, you need to optimize your CTA language.

Say you just got news of that army attacking from the North. Let’s take a look at how your purpose can inform your CTA when you send out your couriers:

  • Get people to hide → “Follow me to safety!”
  • Get people to support the war effort → “Put silver in this pouch to help pay for supplies.”
  • Ask for opinions → “Sign your name on this scroll if you think we should go to battle.”

Notice how each example asks recipients to take clear, specific action. It’s also obvious what will happen if people engage with each CTA, which means no one is left wondering what the point of your message is.

5. Mobile Optimization

Your subscribers are likely to have at least one mobile device — maybe more. They check emails on these devices during their commute, as they shop in-store or even during the commercial breaks in their favorite show. That means a huge part of email marketing optimization is device optimization.

To make your emails look and perform well on any screen, you need to think about things like:

  • Display size: Many mobile devices display emails in a “long and skinny” format. If you have too much content in your email, the result is a message that requires a lot of scrolling — so keep it concise.
  • Email font: There’s a lot to say about choosing email fonts. Just remember to make sure your font looks good in every size and dimension.
  • Images: Depending on the email client they use, a subscriber might not be able to see images right away. That means your email copy needs to make sense without graphics, GIFs or pictures, just in case.
  • CTAs: Your CTA needs to be obvious and easy to tap, so make sure to put plenty of white space around the button or hyperlinked text.

Think about it this way: Your courier and the recipient are both on horseback and they’re running at top speed (probably because of that army from the North). You need to get your point across quickly and simply so people can hear your message while on the go.

6. Reliable Email Marketing Strategies

When you have a lot of couriers going in all kinds of different directions, you need a game plan — and when you have one or more email campaigns running across a long list of subscribers, you need an email marketing strategy.

Here are a few things to consider in your calculations:

  • Email templates: An email template is like the skeleton of a scarecrow. You can dress it up however you like, but you always have that framework to keep you focused and get you started on your next email or campaign.
  • A/B testing: If you want to know how your email campaigns are performing, you need to build A/B testing into your strategy. This approach allows you to try one thing — like a subject line — in two different ways. Then, you compare version A and version B to see which performed better and how that helps with future email marketing optimization.
  • Re-engagement emails: If subscribers stop interacting with your content, you need a backup plan. Re-engagement emails give you a chance to check in, offer something new or solve whatever problem led to disengagement in the first place.

7. Valuable Content

If you send your couriers across your kingdom with content that doesn’t matter, you’re going to become the monarch who cried wolf. People will learn that you don’t provide what they need or want, so they’ll stop listening — and maybe even chase off your couriers with a few well-thrown tomatoes.

Modern-day readers may not be so quick to reach for the rotten fruit, but they have something equally devastating: the “unsubscribe” button. If you want to keep them away from that link, you need to provide consistently relevant, valuable content based on who they are, what they want and how they interact with your business.

For example, you probably wouldn’t want to bore your loyal subjects with monarchy drama. Instead, you’d deliver important news about the army in the North or the kingdom’s tax rate. That’s personalization, engagement and relevant content all wrapped up in a neat package.

As you write, remember that every email client has a built-in spam detector. These systems may look for multiple uses of keywords that could indicate unwanted messages. To keep your messages in the inbox where they belong, avoid cliches and “marketing language” that could make your subscribers (and their email systems) feel like you’re pushing a sale.

Put a Crown on That Email Campaign

It’s a little-known secret that all marketers are constantly hoping to be named “email royalty.” Lucky for you, there are plenty of crowns to go around. With a bit of email marketing optimization, you can have your throne and sit on it, too.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. We’re sending our own courier your way: our newsletter, The Content Marketer. Subscribe today to get all the latest tips and tricks on email marketing automation, best practices, engagement and more.