How to Use Last Year’s Data to Win This Year’s Email Marketing Campaign

No matter how successful your email marketing campaigns may be,
there’s always room for improvement. There’s always something
you can tweak to garner even better results for your upcoming

Plus, as the marketing world continues to evolve and adapt,
it’s crucial you don’t get stuck in a rut or become too
complacent about your campaigns. Constantly monitoring your
results, adapting them, and retesting them is the way to ensure
you’re always one step ahead of the competition.

So, what can you learn from the data you gathered last year? How
can you go one step better in 2019?

Below, we take a look at different email metrics, what they
indicate, and how you can make those all-important

Why are my email open rates falling?

  1. You’re not sending your campaigns at the right time
  2. Your subject lines aren’t engaging readers

Open rates indicate the number of people receiving and reading
your emails. If over the last year, this rate has begun to fall or
hasn’t improved much, this could be because:

1. You’re not sending your campaigns at the optimum time.

You know engaging with your customers is important to
maintaining relevance, but emailing them randomly or haphazardly
isn’t the answer.

Recipients need to connect with the right message at the right

To see when this might be, take a look at last year’s emails,
sorting them in chronological order of your open rates.

What time did you get the highest open rates?

Try sending your next email at this time (and perhaps the same
day of the week) to see if this boosts your open rates. This may
take a little tweaking and some A/B testing, but
you should start to see when the optimum time to get in touch with
your readers is.

Also, consider whether you’re getting in touch with your
customers too often or not enough. Do your open rates start to
trail off if you send a higher/lower number of emails in the
week/month? Again, start testing this if you feel this could be the
main culprit for your low open rates.

There isn’t a Holy Grail for the
best time to send an email
or how often to send one—this is
entirely dependent on your customers and your brand. So ongoing
testing is the way to firmly establish your prime time.

2. Your subject lines aren’t engaging readers.

What’s the first thing your recipients are going to see before
they open your email?

Your subject line.

So, if this doesn’t grab their attention, they’re probably
not going to open your mail. Equally, if it’s too long and
doesn’t show completely,
your overall message might get lost

Look at last year’s emails and see which subject lines got the
most attention. Why was this? Were they funny, intriguing, or
straight to the point? Did they include certain words like
“offer,” “discount,” or “free gift?”

Consider these ideas and look at your website to see which
social media and blog posts got the most attention, too. Then, have
fun creating some new ones (find
more help on subject lines here

Finally, A/B testing is the ideal way to determine which of
these new subject lines work, and which don’t.

Why is no one clicking on my emails?

  1. Your call-to-action isn’t clear
  2. Your content isn’t relevant
  3. Your emails aren’t displaying properly

Happy with your email open rates but not getting many clicks
from these opens? Then it may be that your content isn’t engaging
your recipients as well as it should.

This could be detrimental to your future campaigns because the
more disengaged these recipients become, the less likely they are
to open them. And the more likely they are to unsubscribe or mark
your messages as spam.

There are a number of reasons why your click-through rate (CTR)
may be falling, including:

1. Your call-to-action isn’t clear.

Calls-to-action (CTAs)
can be unclear for two primary
reasons—they don’t show up well in your email or they aren’t
worded very well.

The clickable parts of your emails need to be clearly
highlighted. If you’ve just hyperlinked “read more” in the
same font as the wording that it’s next to, it might not stand
out enough for your readers. So, make sure it’s obvious what your
readers should be clicking on.

Equally, ensure your CTA is strong. Do your recipients know why
they should click on it?

It’s good practice to include the CTA toward the top of your
email (so users don’t have to scroll to find it), perhaps also
including one further down in case they want to read through the
email. Just like this email from SXSW:

SXSW interactive event of the year registration

Image Source:

2. Your content isn’t relevant to your subscribers.

As you start to dig deep into your emails’ open and
click-through rates, you’ll start to learn what keywords and
content your audience responds to. Low CTRs may indicate that the
content just isn’t engaging them—they aren’t compelled to
find out more.

Make sure you’re using segmentation and personalization to
target subscribers based on their behaviors. And to guarantee your
segmentation works, ensure you’re constantly updating these
databases once a month at a minimum (we get into this more

3. Your emails aren’t displaying properly.

If your email doesn’t display correctly on the recipient’s
browser or mobile device, they’re not going to bother trying to
decipher your message.

To make sure this isn’t the problem, run inbox tests before
you send every email. Also, look at your reports to see if the CTRs
are lower on certain browsers than others as this could be where
your problem lies.

Why are my emails bouncing?

  1. You have an out-of-date list
  2. You aren’t using the double opt-in method

While high bounce rates often ring alarm bells, don’t panic
straight away. There could be a reasonable explanation for it. For
example, you may have sent the email to more than one list.
Understandably, the more emails sent, the higher your bounce rate
will be.

1. You have an out-of-date list.

If you haven’t cleaned your email list recently, it’s highly
likely there will be addresses that no longer exist.

Make sure you’re getting rid of these types of emails by
setting a filter. For example, any email address that results in 2
hard bounces should be excluded from any further campaigns.

2. You aren’t employing the double opt-in model.

The double opt-in model means subscribers have to fill in their
email address on your opt-in form before confirming this by
clicking on a link in an email.

This ensures they want to receive your emails and 100% confirms
their email address. Doing so will help get rid of a lot of invalid
emails and disengaged recipients.

Circles double opt-in feature

Image Source:
Really Good Emails

Why are people unsubscribing from my emails?

If you’ve noticed an increase in the number of people
unsubscribing from your emails, this isn’t a good sign.

Common reasons for this include:

  • Campaigns that are irregularly timed
  • Irrelevant content
  • An incorrectly displayed message
  • No double opt-in model

Often, it’s a combination of these factors that lead to people
hitting the “spam” button. But if you can ensure you iron out
all of the above issues in your campaigns, it should help lower
this unsubscribe rate.

Plus, don’t forget to put those segmented lists to good use,
since this will keep your recipients engaged and happy to open your
messages. This email from The Greenbank is a wonderful example of
personalization at its best:

Greenbank example of personalized email

Image Source:
Really Good Emails

Don’t just look at these common email marketing metrics, though.

While all of these metrics and key warning signs are imperative,
don’t get so bogged down with these numbers that you miss other
vital opportunities.

As we’ve previously mentioned, top-notch marketers will work
hard to keep their databases up to date. Once a month, make sure
you’re creating or updating segmented lists.

And, if you can, look at Google Analytics to see how much income
your email campaigns are generating. The ROI you’re getting will
be another key aspect in the analysis of your campaigns.

Other things to analyze from 2018’s campaigns are:

  • Click Maps: These show you what percentage of
    people clicked on what area of your email. From this, you can see
    which part of your newsletters are getting the most attention. Look
    at the elements that get more clicks. This could be an image of
    people, a CTA button, a GIF, or larger graphics. Learn what works
    for your customers.
  • Click Distribution Over Time: You may find
    that there’s a delay between when people are opening your
    messages and when they’re converting. Peaks at certain times of
    the day may indicate that you need to trial a different time for
    sending your messages. For example, if your CTR peaks at night, but
    you’re sending your email in the morning, this gives people all
    day to forget about your email. Sending it at night may give you
    more response because people are able to perform the action you
    want them to—straight away.

Wrap up

Analyzing last year’s email campaigns is crucial to the
success of this year’s. But so is updating your database segments
based on this data and refining your strategy to suit your
recipients’ needs.

Find out which actions are achieving your goals and which
aren’t. Then, refine, retest, and analyze your future campaigns
to make those key changes to your email marketing strategy.
Remember—even the subtlest of changes could make the biggest of

Want to make the most of your email metrics? Find out
how Campaign
Monitor Insights
can take your emails to the next

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How to Use Last Year’s Data to Win This Year’s Email Marketing
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How to Use Last Year’s Data to Win This Year’s Email Marketing Campaign