Email campaigns are an important part of brand response. But according to the statistics, the majority of brands aren’t invested in best practice for email marketing. So let’s go through 5 NO-NO’S & 5 GO-TO’S to improve your email ROI.


Long gone are the days when mobile was a mere afterthought when planning your email campaign. According to Litmus, 42% of emails were opened on mobile in 2019 – eclipsing desktop openings by more than twice over.

Worse news for desktop only marketers – nearly half of consumers will instantly delete an email that has not display correctly on their phone or tablet.


20% of all B2B email marketing is not designed for mobile. And when you consider 45% of consumers unsubscribe from promotional emails if they didn’t work on their phone, then that’s a significant number of leads lost.

Email open and click through rates on mobile is increasing exponentially. According to Yesmail, mobile email traffic is now more valuable than desktop – mobile email conversion rising as much as 70%, beating desktop rates.

So what does optimise for mobile mean? Simply, make it look good when opened on your phone – responsive design, formatted to fit the screen – that doesn’t take forever to download/open.

SuperOffice has a great example of an email marketing template if you’re in any doubt. Use it as a starting board. The design principles are sound.

And if you want to get really granular, the Litmus research has found that Gmail and Apple are the two most popular email clients – so if you’re optimising, do it for those two platforms (each at roughly 28%) – Outlook lags behind them significantly (10%). 



OK, so you may be measuring your email campaign’s success on how many people click on the link inside the email to buy the thing you want them to (your click-through rate).

This may lead you to focus everything on that click-through rate – that killer email content and call to action that’s going to boost your sales and ROI.

However, do not make the mistake of ignoring your email open rates. Put simply, if your audience doesn’t open your email in the first place, they’re never going to be able to click on the call to action, are they?

2019 actually saw a decrease in email open rates for the first time in 5 years. This doesn’t mean email effectiveness is dropping, but it may hint that businesses aren’t paying close enough attention to what makes people want to read an email in the first place.


Improving your email open rates (getting your customer to want to read what you send them) is straightforward – but it does have a lot of moving parts, which each need consideration:


Are your emails actually being delivered in the first place? 20% of marketing emails never reach a recipient’s inbox – if your customers don’t get your email, there’s zero chance of them opening it. Hygiene practices like asking your subscribers to add you as a trusted address, verifying they want to receive emails and cleansing your email list of dead/unresponsive addresses will increase your ROI.

Subject line

Your elevator pitch. Make sure it resonates and engages. If it doesn’t cut through, it’s just noise to be filtered out. We’ll talk more about this later in the blog.

Know your audience

This is a bit of a catch all, but having insight about your audience’s preferences and behaviours is paramount. For example, when do they most likely check their emails? On what device? How do they like to be addressed? What are they looking for? How are you benefitting them? The answers to these questions will tell you how best to tailor your campaign to get your emails opened.



You’ve got deadlines. You’ve got targets. You need to get this email campaign up and running pronto – so get the email written and sent as soon as it’s been signed off. Right?

Wrong. Timing is everything. It has a huge impact on the success of an email marketing campaign. Knowing not just the day, but the time your email lands in your customer’s inbox will affect its open rate.

Think about this: 20% of all emails are opened within the first hour of getting them. The rate drops to half that in the next hour and continues on a downward spiral. So that first hour is crucial.


There has been a lot of research about what day and what time is best for an email to land. The collective wisdom is: Tuesday at 10am. If you need to send a second email that week, choose Thursday at 8pm.

Can it be this simple? Well, no ‘fraid not. That day and time is a general consensus – what’s important is that your tailor your schedule to your audience’s behaviour.

For example, according to Propeller CRM, B2B emails sent to business leaders on weekends get the best response – probably because they have more time then to catch up on messages they were too busy to look at during the working week.

For best results, you need to test and test again – not just A/B testing against two different times, but also against different audience segmentations. Knowing how your audience behaves will tell you the best time to speak to them. Every industry is different – what may be perfect for B2C retail, won’t be the same as B2B.

image 2


Who an email is from, and the subject of the email can make or break a campaign. It’s very easy to adopt a business approach – your company name as the sender, with your offer message as the subject. B2B email marketing does just that: 89% is sent using the company name.

But research is showing that for a greater open-rate, businesses need to get more personal – not just who sends the email, but how you craft the email subject line.


Let’s look at the sender name first. By simply using someone’s specific name as the sender, rather than a general email address or brand name, you can increase your email open rate by a whopping 35%.

It’s the same for the subject line – adding some personality really does make a difference. Spend as much time crafting this line as you would your call to action.

There’s some science to help you – a subject line of 6 to 10 words delivers the best open rate, keeping to under 90 characters or less. If you can add the recipient’s name, to personalise the subject line, even better – you can potentially increase the open rate by a further 20%.

But what about some humanising? Retention Science found that by adding fun, pop culture references to subject lines increased the open rate by an average 26%. And don’t forget emoji’s either – in a study, 56% of brands using an emoji in their subject line achieved a higher rate than those that didn’t.

The little touches can make emails a more human – and more engaging – experience. Take the time to get them right.



Different audiences need different strategies to market to them effectively. But it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – even simple strategies make a difference.

Why is this significant? Because the DMA has reported that marketers find segmented campaigns outperform ones that don’t – by a huge 760% uplift in revenue!


89% of businesses do not segment – and it’s costing them. Research by eMarketer found that, when emails are segmented, open rates increase by 39% and revenue is up 24%.

So how can you tailor your email campaign easily? Audience segmentation can be daunting. One of the simplest ways to do it is with demographics.

There are tools out there that can help you navigate the world of segmentation. Campaign Monitor is a platform that does exactly this – allowing you to select the content you want to segment, to the demographic you want to show it to.


Five easy mistakes to make, five easy ways to fix them. By following these simple email marketing principles, you can improve your email performance in next to no time.

Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter