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6 Email Marketing Strategies Leading Brands Will Never Tell You

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Think about it: Who would give away their hard-earned success secrets for free? Take a peek behind the curtain at some email marketing strategies brands will never tell you.

Person with their finger to their lips, hushing the viewer

Leading brand email secrets aren't actually that secret

There are some killer email campaigns out there raking in millions for large brands. Though many of these strategies may seem far-reaching, the reality is that they're following simple yet effective rules any marketer can follow, including you.

If you're already in the game of sending emails, these strategies won't look particularly foreign to you, however, the way they're implemented may illustrate how profitable email senders are putting these strategies into action effectively.

I wish these were the types of secrets that only a Dan Brown novel could look to expose 🤐, but I'd be lying. These are simple, effective steps you can begin taking as a business or creator to extrapolate your results.

We've collaborated with our friend and expert writer, Onekpe Regina to bring you some tips to help you do this well.

Let's kick off our learning and find out more about some email marketing strategies brands will never tell you.

Email Secret 1: Outsource your email marketing

There's a popular saying that goes "Two heads are better than one" and if we're being theoretical, three heads are better than two and so get the idea.

Simple: They outsource their email campaigns to agencies with relevant experience because they know that if their campaigns are carried out by a reliable email agency, this will significantly impact their profits and campaign efficacy.

The issue is that not many people are aware outsourcing to the best email agencies is the final icing on the cake. This is why the majority still fail at email marketing, as this statistic by Litmus illustrates:

A pie chart of email statistics from Litmus

Email agencies provide you with reliable data interpretation, boost your ROI through niche expertise, properly set up your email automation and effectively manage your campaigns. The fact is, email is their business which is why they don't deliver less.

Choosing an email marketing agency may be tricky.

How do you tell which agency is perfect for your goals, budget and the needs of your audience?

This is where I'd like to offer a (non-sponsored) recommendation. I personally recommend TouchbasePro, with a team of email experts who've been in the email game for over 19 years. They've worked with multiple brands and understand the complex ins and outs of email marketing for elevating businesses.

It's okay to not know it all, and roping in niche experts to help is something that large brands do frequently. Even if you're not at the stage in your business where you can do this, that's also okay!

You can still rope in experts through seeking knowledge, like our Email Advice in Your Inbox newsletter where you can learn email tips and tricks that many of these email agencies use successfully for their clients.

There's a link to join the community at the end of this article 💌

Email Secret 2: Keep your email list clean

Most email marketers, especially beginners, shy away from list cleaning because they're worried they'll lose their contacts. If you decide not to clean your list, you're at risk of impacting your email-sending reputation, missing potential customers and hampering your campaign's success. Not a great start. It's been said that, on average, around 37%of your contacts' email addresses change annually, and if you don't monitor who is reading, clicking and engaging with your emails, you're potentially speaking to subscribers who've ghosted you. Maintaining your list leads to accurate targeting, higher open and click-through rates, and customer loyalty. So, how do you successfully clean your list? A simple 6-step process for cleaning your list would be to:

  • Download your email list from your platform

  • Eliminate duplicate addresses

  • Make use of a tool to check for valid formats such as Kickbox or Bouncer

  • Manage unsubscribes by processing unsubscribe requests

  • Identify and segment out inactive subscribers

  • Lastly, send re-engagement emails or remove unresponsive contacts

Do you know what's worse than losing your contact emails? Sending emails that never reach your potential customers.

Regularly repeating these steps will help you maintain a clean, active email list like the big brands out there winning at email marketing.

Email Secret 3: Avoiding the Spam folder

An overflowing trash bin representing an overflowing spam folder in your inbox

We've seen what spam emails look like in our inboxes. They're annoying, intrusive and suspicious. Plus, they generally fill your spam folder like a stuffed stocking at Christmas time.

Everyone feels the same way about spam emails.

Businesses have lost billions of dollars just by landing in the spam inbox, and the top brands are meticulous in ensuring that they always land their emails in the right inbox.

You could get your subscriber email addresses legally and still end up in their spam folder. Why? Well, spam filters, to begin with.

Spam filters are designed to weed out generic, low-value content. By crafting emails that genuinely resonate with your audience, you're showing spam filters that your messages are worth delivering.

The best way to avoid winding up in your contact's spam folder (and we've discussed this before) is to:

  • Ensure the IP of your email server or your domains are not on any blacklists

  • Use a professional email service platform that is reputable

  • There should always be an option to unsubscribe in every email you send

  • Use a double opt-in to avoid spam sign-ups

  • Ask your contacts to whitelist your emails

It doesn't have to be difficult to stay out of the spam folder, but it takes ongoing maintenance, which is what larger brands do really well to ensure their emails stay in the main inboxes.

Email Secret 4: A/B testing for results

A/B testing in email is probably one of the most underutilised components of any email strategy, yet larger brands that succeed at email marketing do remarkably well.

This process generally involves the comparison of at least two versions of a marketing element, such as a subject line, sender name or email content section, to figure out which performs better.

The winning element is then leveraged for future email success.

You're, essentially, letting your audience tell you what they actually engage with, instead of guessing what works.

A/B testing is a huge game changer for email marketers looking to drive their revenue growth. It provides you with concrete data on what works for your contacts and frankly, should be carried out regularly for the best results.

For example, Ubisoft used A/B testing to find out their 'Buy Now' page wasn't yielding good results and, thereafter, optimised it. Their conversions went up from 38% to around 50%, and overall lead generation increased by 12%. A/B testing is the real deal.

To carry out an email A/B test, first propose a valid hypothesis. When you've established a valid hypothesis, consider tweaking your subject lines, timing, content length, layout, images, personalisation, call to action and offer.

You can then use these insights to adapt the future approach you take in your email strategy. It's really that simple.

Email Secret 5: Create valuable content

A person holding out both hands holding a yellow flower

Content is King.

There's a reason that readers have opted to hear from you via email, so make sure that your content always carries value for them. Your email content needs to carry value through every aspect of your campaign, from your headlines to your email layout, down to the footer of your emails. You can't neglect your reader's interest in any facet of your campaigns. How? Here are a few tips to get this right:

  • A Compelling subject line: Your email subject line is your email's first impression. It should be concise, intriguing, and relevant.

  • Engaging preview text: Use this space strategically to provide a teaser that complements the subject line and encourages the recipient to open the email.

  • A Clear value proposition: Your email should clearly communicate what value the recipient will gain from reading it.

  • Clear and concise copy: People skim emails, so your content should be scannable. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to break up text.

  • Compelling visuals: Including relevant images, infographics, GIFs, or videos can make your content more engaging and visually appealing. Visuals can help convey your message quickly and leave a lasting impression.

  • Powerful CTAs: Top brands don't assume that their readers will automatically know what to do next; they guide them. They do this by concluding with a powerful CTA and theirsubscribers can't help but click.

It's time to face the fact that the era of generic, mass emails is over. Where most email marketers miss the mark is by assuming that content is one-size-fits-all.

Depending on your niche, HTML emails may be better than plain-text emails. In addition, you may require fun images, shorter content etc. There's a lot of strategy that goes into crafting killer email content.

An age-old advertising framework called the AIDA principle can be effectively used to plan and structure your email message.

Here's a quick overview:

A - Attention: Capture your reader's attention through an offer that grabs them initially.

I - Interest: Once you have their attention, get their interest through interesting offers and valuable content

D - Desire: If you've created enough value, you'll elicit desire in your audience to

A - Action: Now that you've created a desire for your offer, you're enticing an action from your reader

At Email Expert Africa, we like to add an S; AIDSA. The S stands for solution. Who wouldn't click a call to action when you offer an exclusive solution?

Top brands aren't just selling products; they're creating experiences. It’s important to understand your audience's needs first, before sending email content. Again, what works for other email senders may not work for you, so iterate, adapt and learn as you grow.

Bonus tip: Crafting killer content may be difficult for some, so check out swipe files, Really Good Emails or Milled where you can find thousands of emails created by top brands that are used to generate millions of dollars. We all need some inspiration every now and then, don't we?

Email Secret 6: Get subscriber feedback

A sign letting people know that they're heard

This is one of the biggest sources of improvement for most larger brands sending emails. One mistake email marketers make is they forget emails are an interactive communication and not simply you sending emails.

Humans love to be heard, and nobody likes to feel like they're constantly being sold to.

Think back to the last time you got an email asking for your opinion. Did you feel valued and heard?

You see, top brands don't just send emails; they initiate conversations. They're the friend who remembers your birthday, not the acquaintance who forgets your name. So, make your subscribers feel valued, understood, and excited to open your emails.

Aside from building connections, feedback emails provide you with direct insights into your customers' thoughts about your offer and help you identify areas for improvement in what you have to share with them.

Let your emails come across as positive, empathetic and valuable. Treat your email audience like real humans and not just another number in a list.

Feedback emails help illustrate this in a massive way.

Growing your emails like a massive brand

A great email marketing campaign requires strategic planning and implementation, just like a large brand would approach its emails.

These 6 strategies are indispensable tools for boosting revenue in any type of business. Email marketing might just be the lever you pull to elevate your brand to the next level and, if applied well, can be a catalyst for growth in your business.

What strategy would you add to the list?

Before you go! Your first step to making money from your emails is by growing your audience. Learn the fastest ways to grow your email list today by using the tried and tested Email Database Growth Playbook. Click here or on the image below to get your FREE copy👇

The preview image of the Ultimate Database Growth Playbook by Email Expert Africa

Want to become an email expert? Get our expert email guide today! Click here to find out more

This article was written in collaboration with Onekpe Regina, a friend of Email Expert Africa and a brilliant copywriter. If you're looking for expertise for your blog, SEO or ghostwriting, hit Regina up here.

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