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What to focus on in your email strategy

Why do we say that marketers are focusing on the wrong things in their emails? Find out more about what to focus on in your email strategy.


Unfocused image of a diary definition of the word "focus" lying in focus to the reader

You're getting it all wrong


When it comes to effective email marketing, here's a harsh truth you will have to accept: It's not all about YOU.


Why do we say this?


Perhaps you can relate, but there are tons of emails that:


  • Look beautiful

  • Contain well-structured content

  • Use clever subject lines and preview text


Yet, very few sales or conversions are brought in from these campaigns.


On the other hand, there are inversely simple, straightforward emails that have folks with my credit card details within seconds.


So, what's the difference?


One word: Focus 🎯


If you're sending emails merely focused on your company, how great your service is or which celeb is using your product, then your focus is misplaced.


So, where should your focus lie?


Today we're going to learn what to focus on in your email strategy to ensure ongoing relationship building, higher conversion rates and more email success.



It's about your audience


It's really that simple. Everything you do in your email strategy, from your offer to your content to your action, needs to first and foremost be about your recipient.


We covered the Rule of One in a blog last year (you can give it a read here), and the premise of this concept rings true here; One email, sent as if to one person with one message, one goal and one intention.


Your recipients are who you need to focus on. Again, it's not about you.


The good news is that it's not difficult to do if you lay a solid foundation for your campaigns.


Let's explore five quick focus areas to ensure you keep your recipients front and centre of your mind when creating your email campaigns or strategies.



Focus point 1 - Segment your audience well


Don't merely send across all your lists and hope for the best. We all know this doesn't work, yet many email senders solely rely on single, unstructured "blasts" of email like this, hoping for results that are likely nowhere to be found.


It's 2024 and there are so many ways you can go about segmenting your audience. Don't be shy to give it a try!


By segmenting your audience effectively, you're showing them you care about the email content they received, and that they're not merely a number in your audience.


Their interests are thought of and catered for, which does wonders for your relationship with your readers.


We wrote a piece last year on effective ways to segment your audience for higher engagement. You can read more on effective segmentation here.


Start small, test often and monitor your metrics to ensure you're sending the right content to the right receivers. Your email statistics are a quick way to monitor changes in your engagement and results.


Two people fist-bumping with just their hands in view

Focus point 2 - Personalise your emails


Don't merely add someone's name and think that you're "personalising" your emails; create offers tailored to their interests, customer-lifecycle stage, or preferences.


This sounds far more complicated than it is, however, you need to know more about your audience to be able to do this effectively.


A fantastic and often quite underutilised starting point is your customer preference centre.


That little link that often sits alongside the unsubscribe button in most of the emails you receive? You know the one. It actually serves quite an advantageous purpose, for both email senders and email audience members.


By providing a preference centre to your subscribers, you have a unique opportunity to get them to update and personalise their email experience.


  • How often or what types of emails they're going to receive from you

  • What type of information about them you can collect and use to tailor their experience

  • What type of feedback they're willing to give

  • And lastly, more about who they are if you look at your data holistically.


By using this information, you can create segments or clusters of audience members to whom you serve more curated and focused content.


The main thing to remember is that the data needs to be used to serve your audience's needs, and you need to respect what you know about your subscribers, to protect them and you from the dangerous folks on the web.



Focus point 3 - Use the right Pronouns


The use of the words "you" and "your" should always be far more than the use of the words "we" and "our" in your messaging and copy. It shows awareness for your audience.


This is often forgotten.


Your audience cares about how your products or services can help them or make their lives easier. This is the cornerstone of the fundamental rule of marketing, which says, "Your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfil your customers' needs."


If your messages only talk about you, then it's bound to fail eventually.


Make it less about you in the way you portray your message and offer by using these writing principles to your advantage.



Focus point 4 - Provide value without expecting immediate returns


If you offer valuable content, tips, or resources without always pushing for a sale, then you're on the right track here.


Email results are built on the long game after all.


The last thing folks enjoy is being sold to. This rings especially true in the email marketing world. As soon as you begin pitching your products or services without an established relationship, then your results are doomed to fail.


We're a big fan of sales and psychology expert, Josh Braun, who often speaks about this topic in the sales sphere. Josh rightly states that "whenever people feel like they are being persuaded, they enter the zone of resistance (ZOR). The ZOR is a reflex reaction to sales pressure."


If you can successfully lower this zone of resistance by leading with value and showing your audience that you care about their interests, needs, problems and goals.


Renowned psychologist Robert Cialdini discusses the Principle of Reciprocity in his work on persuasion. The idea of reciprocity says that by nature, people feel obliged to provide discounts or concessions to others if they've received favours from those same people.


Yes, you may be looking to offer discounts or concessions of your own, but the principle remains: Give before you ask.


If you're giving value to your audience, they're going to be far more likely to leave their trust (and cash) in your hands when receiving your communication.


A person smiling with a black and white coffee cup extending to the viewer

Focus point 5 - Don't assume consent for communication


Just because someone has bought from you does not mean they want your emails. Always ask for permission to send emails and make it easy to opt out.


We covered a few rules around this in a previous blog post (you can find that here if you'd like to give it a read).


Many marketers may not realise this, but it can be unethical (and against the law) to add someone to your email list, without their consent, even if they've bought something from you.


It's always best practice to ask your customers and potential prospects if you can send them content, promotions or information in a marketing sense, especially when it comes to direct communication.


The last thing you want is to pay a fine or penalty because you've circumvented data privacy and consent laws, so keep this in mind when planning your audience growth strategies for email.



Your audience is what to focus on in your email strategy


There you have it. These are just a few of the many ways you can shift your focus and show your subscribers that you're putting them first. Knowing where to


Make sure you revisit this when creating future emails, and to help remind you, here's a quick mantra to follow:


"It's always what's in it for them that counts"


Your recipients will appreciate you so much more.



Before you go! Compliance means very little if you don't have an audience to speak to. Learn the fastest ways to grow your email list today by clicking here or on the image below 👇


Preview of the Ultimate Database Growth Playbook for Email Marketing by Email Expert Africa

Want more tips like these? Get our expert email guide today! Click here to find out more

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