Email Marketing Techniques What's Working and What's Not

by Timothy Trombley Timothy Trombley | Oct 11, 2020 5:29:21 PM

Email Marketing has undergone a lot of changes and the coronavirus pandemic has added to those changes. Building a successful email marketing campaign can be a challenge especially when you consider how fast your consumer base is changing. Just in the past seven months we have seen a drastic change in consumers attitudes. During inbound 2020 I had the unique opportunity to hear from President and CEO of Worldata, Jay Schwedelson in his panel “Critical email Marketing techniques to crush the competition”. The event provided me with a lot of information about email marketing campaigns since March 2020.


Just to give you a brief idea of where email marketing is at right here are the stats:

Inbox Activity 22%

B2B Open Rate 16%

B2C Open Rate 25%

Email Newsletter 19%

Email Signup 40%


Right now, the numbers are looking good and a large part of that is due to covid. Being stuck at home forced to look at computer screens all day means more people checking their emails, meaning higher open rates, more email signups, and overall inbox activity is up. Not only have businesses seen higher numbers since the beginning of the pandemic but they have begun to become riskier and are testing new subject lines. If there has been a time to test your subject lines or your overall email marketing strategy the time is quite literally now.


Although email activity is up some things still remain the same. Monday is still the most important day for your email marketing campaign. It’s the start of the week everyone is checking emails that have came in over the weekend and they’re starting to plan out their week. Monday’s are huge for both B2C and B2B so if you have an important message Monday is the time to send it. Another thing that hasn’t changed is Friday, it’s still the worst day to send out emails. By this time of the week your consumers are tired, they’re done for the week. You know that Friday feeling better than anyone, before sending out an important email on Friday ask yourself, if I were the receiver am, I going to read this now or save it for Monday? You’re most likely going to leave it for Monday and so are your consumers. So, save those important messages for Monday!



Subject Lines

Now let’s take a look at some of the top performing subject lines

  • Free
  • Today
  • Last chance
  • In stock
  • Month
  • Tomorrow
  • Available
  • Hours
  • Hurry
  • Curbside
  • Expires (67% Higher)


A lot of these of subject lines have been the top performers before but like you probably guessed Covid has made some of these more popular. Take a look at in stock for example, that became a top performer because of the pandemic. Think back to March when you couldn’t leave your house a lot of people were ordering things online and a lot of companies either slowed production or couldn’t keep up with the increase in orders. As a result, shipping times were much longer than usual, and a lot of items were running out of stock. Now when consumers see “In Stock” in their email it catches their eye because they know they can go onto that site and actually order that item. Take a look at the rest of the subject lines and you can probably figure out for yourself how their performance went up due to covid.


Another question a lot of people ask about subject lines is length. Well right now only 9% of email marketers are using short subject lines. Currently 7% of emails have more than 65 characters in the title. This strategy is a little different because it cuts off a portion of the message but with that the email title actually stands out. Consumers are intrigued to find out what the remainder of the message was. It’s also worth noting that overall, there’s been a 15% increase in B2B and a 19% increase in B2C when it comes to the topic of longer subject lines.


Strategy B2B vs B2C

As to nobody’s surprise strategy has changed as well since covid. During the pandemic business to business emails were not sugar coating the topic if it was related to covid-19. Many email marketers were addressing it directly, overall a 48% increase in covid-19 related email titles. However, on the business to consumer side email marketers were a bit coyer on the topic of covid-19. They chose to recognize it in a more subtle way. B2C email marketers were drive responses by indirectly addressing the situation. Overall emails indirectly addressing the pandemic were up 34%.

One of the last things addressed at the panel was words to avoid. A few examples were meeting, chat, quick, learn, urgent, training. Email marketers should avoid these words in their subject lines, they are often overused. Instead of using these words you can focus your strategy on over exaggerating the situation. Right now, email marketers are seeing that over exaggeration works, in B2C over exaggerated emails are up 18% and in B2B they’re up 14%. A few other things to consider as an email marketer is making sure your company logo in the email sends the consumer to the offer not the homepage. Also make use of animated gifs, they’re fun, simple, and appreciated by consumers.

In closing email marketing can be complex and confusing but now is the time to experiment and have fun with it. People are checking their emails now more than ever so now is the best time to see what’s working and what’s not. As an email marketer you must be proactive not reactive and there is no better time than the present to craft a perfect campaign.

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