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3 steps to email marketing excellence

An effective email marketing program is based on optimization, not volume.

When done right, email marketing is one of the most effective ways marketers can interact with consumers, according to Ryan Phelan, managing partner at RPEOrigin, an email-focused marketing agency. Instead of placing an ad and hoping the right audience sees it, email allows marketers to send a perfectly crafted message to their target audience.

Email marketing also enables identification of a consumer through a primary email address, which helps marketers expand their messaging into a cross-channel campaign to reach consumers across multiple channels, he said.

Here are three steps to create a better email marketing program.

1. Check your foundations

Go through each of your foundational programs: acquisition, transactional, welcome, attrition, and automation.

Chances are, no matter how big or small the company, at least one of those programs needs updating, said Phelan.

That includes making sure the tone, voice, and brand messaging are updated, as well as any logos or calls to action.

2. Optimize your production process

“Ask yourself: What does it take to get an email out the door? Are there ways to create economies of scale? Does outsourcing certain tasks help accelerate that timeline?” he said.

Whether it’s leveraging generative AI like ChatGPT to create marketing copy or using modeling data to better target and segment consumers, there are a variety of different technologies (at different price points) that can help marketers produce and optimize emails.

3. Conduct an audit

Hire an outside company to look objectively at your entire email program, from metrics and automation to messaging.

It may be tempting to save time and money by auditing internally, but try not to give in.

“You have a bias, and you don’t always have the ability to see what’s wrong or right,” said Phelan. “An independent voice is always best.”

Untapped potential: US digital ad spending on email will total $670 million this year, just 0.2% of total digital ad spending.

And many marketers are fine with that.

“Email is the only channel that you can put very little effort into and still make money,” he said.

But think about it this way: According to Litmus, every $1 that marketers spend on email marketing equals $36 in return—so what would the ROI be if marketers invested more?

The companies that have put the time and resources into their email marketing programs are the ones that are going to win, said Phelan. Because customers notice, and those are the companies they are going to gravitate toward.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.