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A Guide to Email Marketing in 2021

October 26, 2021 5 min read

A Guide to Email Marketing in 2021 A Guide to Email Marketing in 2021

Open up your email. Go ahead; I’ll wait…

How many new messages do you have? 

If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s likely swimming with various newsletters that you forgot you subscribed to, and maybe one or two personal emails that your eyes are drawn to first. And, if you're anything like me, you probably press delete, delete, delete...until you arrive at those two messages of value. 

In 2021, email is the easiest and most direct way to communicate with clients. HubSpot reports email marketers are sending out 27% more emails than pre-coronavirus. So, how do you navigate email marketing in 2021, while getting your emails to stand out in a crowded space?  The solution is to remain focused on email’s fundamental goal: sending the right message to the right person at the right time. 

Our guide to email marketing in 2021 includes five ways to help you send better emails that won't land directly in the trash folder. 

1. Use Personalization in Your Email Marketing 

We all know how important personalization is in marketing. Email is no different. Campaign Monitor reports that even emails that use just a personalized subject line are 26% more likely to be opened and Experian reports that marketers see transaction rates that are six times higher with hyper-personalized and targeted emails.

In 2021, when the competition to stand out in email inboxes is higher than ever, personalization is key to success. But to truly look different than your competitors, it’s going to take a bit more creativity than just dropping a name into a subject line. 

Here are a few ideas to take your personalization the next level: 

Segmentation 

Organizing your contact list and sending out segmented campaigns is a must in 2021. You’ll want to group your customers by things like demographic information, purchase history, browsing history, buying frequency, interest level, engagement, etc. Here’s a great guide from HubSpot on 30 different and unique ways to divide up your email list. Keep in mind, the smaller your segmented list, the more likely your customers will receive relevant emails they want to read. 

To properly use segmentation in your email marketing, you’ll need to do the following: 

  • Collect user data tied to an email address.
  • Use an email sending tool that uses list segmentation.
  • Organize your segments in groups.

We recommend using HubSpot for easy list segmentation. The platform offers a simple way to organize your contacts based on user data, build and send hyper-personalized emails to these contacts, and track results after each campaign.  

Automation 

By setting up automated triggers in the HubSpot CRM, you can send highly targeted emails based on your clients’ behaviors. This type of personalization builds trust with your customers, as it creates a type of dialogue with your brand. When a user takes action, you respond. Even if it’s an automated response, the consumer still feels valued, appreciated, and noticed. 

Here are a few examples of automated triggers you might want to set up: 

  • Customer birthdays
  • Customer anniversaries
  • Milestones
  • Welcome emails
  • Thank you emails 
  • Reactivation or re-engagement emails 
  • Weekly or annual reports

example of automation in email marketing

2. Get the Timing of Your Emails Right

So you’ve got the right content lined up for the right audience, but are you sending it at the right time? If your customers actively check their email at a specific time each day, your message is more likely to get noticed if it’s at the top of their inbox versus buried under all the other marketing messages. Sending your emails at the right time to each of your recipients is crucial to maximizing engagement through email marketing in 2021. 

There’s a couple of different ways to accomplish this. The simplest way is to research your industry and when your buyer persona is most active online. Every industry is different, but there’s a lot of general data out there on some of the best days and times during the week to send out an email newsletter. In Campaign Monitor’s 2021 Global Email Benchmarks Data report, Friday is the best day for email opens and email click-through rates.

best time to send a marketing email

But it’s important to remember that every industry is different, and every persona even more so. The best day to reach a stay at home mom is likely much different than the best time to reach a single businessman. That’s where tools that utilize artificial intelligence can come in handy. 

There are several different tools out there that can help personalize email delivery times based on each individual in your contact list. These tools analyze when a recipient is most likely to open an email, and then sends each email based on this data. Send time optimization is a crucial step if you want to increase your open rates and better engage with your email subscribers. 

If you're a HubSpot user, Seventh Sense is a great tool that automatically integrates with the HubSpot platform. Users are reported to see engagement results increasing anywhere from 7% to over 100%. 

Other email delivery tools that will optimize send times include: 

3. Evoke Emotion 

Yes, the audience and timing is a crucial part of email marketing. But if your content lacks emotional resonance, your efforts will be in vain. 

Social issues have become top priority for consumers.  More than ever, consumers are looking to companies and brands to align with their values and support the causes they care about. Email is an excellent way to communicate to your clients what your company stands for. By invoking emotion into your email marketing, you'll not only increase the likelihood of your email being read, but you’ll establish an essential connection with your customers that will reciprocate trust.

Consider crafting emails that focus on the following: 

  • Brands values 
  • Brands purposes 
  • How your company is supporting society
  • Causes important to your brand 

Here are a few great examples of companies evoking emotion into their emails while creating connections with their customers.

social values in marketing email example

brand values marketing email examplemarketing email brand values example


Related:

Discover more ideas on creating personal and trusted emails with this guide on Email Etiquette to Get Sales During an Economic Turndown

4. Keep it Simple

In 2021, standing out in email inboxes doesn’t necessarily mean having this crazy, over-designed, graphically pleasing newsletter. In fact, simple, straightforward, and plain text emails are actually performing better. HubSpot tested the open rates of HTML templated emails with photos versus plain text emails and found the former to have a 21% lower clickthrough rate, and 51% fewer clicks.

plaint text emals vs template emailsIt all comes back to the demand for authenticity from brands. Consumers are looking for the messages from the companies they love to be personable and authentic. Flashy, image-heavy newsletters often look like spam. Focusing on strong copy and content, and letting your words, not your graphics, carry the weight of your email marketing will be crucial to standing out in 2021.

5. Be Mindful of Recipients' Inboxes  

In 2021, we know email will continue to be one of the best ways to communicate with customers and prospects. Because of this, email inboxes aren’t going to get any emptier. Being mindful that companies just like you are communicating the same way will help you to differentiate your marketing messages. 

This means taking a look at how often you're sending out marketing emails. And maybe it means scaling back. Instead of focusing on the frequency of emails, focus on content. In 2021, to stand out in an inbox full of emails, it’s more crucial than ever that the communication you send offers some type of value to your subscribers. 

For example, maybe you're planning an event or webinar for your company or brand. Instead of providing all updates via email, perhaps you design a unique social media page for your event and post updates there. Then send out one email, encouraging your subscribers to follow that page to stay up to date on the event’s latest happenings. This keeps your customers’ inboxes cleaner while keeping any emails you send as valuable information that should be opened. 

Master Email Marketing in 2021

When reevaluating your email marketing in 2021, it’s important to remember the fundamental reason behind why we send out emails in the first place. The goal is to connect the right message to the right customers at the right time. And if an email checks off those three criteria, it’s much more likely to be read by your recipients.

So yes, the competition this year may be higher than ever. Inboxes are becoming more crowded than ever before, as email remains one of the best ways to communicate with clients. But a smart marker will invest the time and resources to redevelop a strategy that ensures their messages are reaching the right people at the right time with the right content. 

And that’s how they’ll stand out in a cluttered email mailbox.

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This post was originally published February 17, 2021