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20+ Email Marketing Questions Marketers Ask

Emails have over and over again reigned above all other methods of communicating with customers. Marketers are trying various techniques to garner more attention, get more click-through rates and have a better conversion. In a quest to put their best foot forward, email marketers often get confused; this confusion makes way for a series of email marketing questions.

email marketing questions
Presently, the GIFs are a rage in emails. Brands have suddenly discovered another effective way to capture the audience’s attention. The only thing that can give a marketer nightmares is when their emails land in the junk or spam box.

Email Marketing Questions Marketers Ask

Various email marketing questions are frequently asked on different portals. Previously, we have written about Spam filters and how each mailbox service provider has their own rules. We also prepared a comprehensive list of all those terms that an email marketer needs to know about. But we still received a lot of email marketing questions. This time majority were querying about email marketing in general. So, we compiled around 20+ email marketing questions (based on the number of searches they were asked) and got them answered for you. Have a question about email marketing? Your answers are here.

The most remarkable question we received was – To be an email marketer, what questions should I be asking? That left us thinking!! So while these are few questions that marketers have asked us to clear out their confusions; anyone who wants to know what to ask- well, here we go.

1. Will I get the expected result from email campaigns? What technicalities should I take care of?

We are starting with this particular question because this is one of the most frequent and recurring of all other email marketing questions.

This is the basic thought of every marketer. At times we are so worried about the results and ROI, we forget that every action can have two types of results. It sounds dramatic, but marketers cannot turn back to risks!

Coming to the question, yes email marketing campaigns have delivered expected results for almost all the brands. It is very rare that an email campaign does not work at all. If that happens, it’s not because your brand is not meant to do an email campaign. It is because you are doing something wrong. In our previous article on Marketers’ MasterGuide for Great Email Marketing Campaign, you can get an overview of all the various issues marketers face and what to do about them. To get a clear understanding of how many emails to send, you can read the guide to email frequency. Combining these two, you will get a proper vision of what to expect from your email campaigns and how to enhance them.

2. What is the meaning of email deliverability and open rates? Why are these so important?

We described email deliverability and open rates in our Glossary article, as follows:

Email Deliverability: Email deliverability is the most vital aspect of your email campaign. If your emails are not delivered, your campaigns will go into vain. For a successful email marketing campaign, it is very important that your emails reach your users’ inboxes. Deliverability helps you in measuring the success of your emails that reached your users’ inboxes. This list does not include emails that reached the spam or junk folder, or those that have bounced.

You can check few tips on how to ensure that your emails land in the inbox only.

Open Rates:  The total number of users on your mailing list who have opened your emails defines the term Open Rate. It is usually represented in percentage. Open rate is a crucial metric for your email campaign. This percentage will help you judge the success of your email campaign. The drawback of relying on open rate percentage only is that this value does not talk about the actual number of emails that got delivered. It is a cumulative percentage. Another thing to keep in mind is that open rate cannot be calculated only on the basis of the HTML text read. Many users download images which are again a vital part of the email. Many users open emails only to skim through it rather than reading it properly.

If you witness a dip in the open rates, there may be many reasons for it. Look up these 49 reasons to understand why your email open rates dropped.

3. What is the difference between a spam email and a cold email, legally speaking?

Cold emails are mostly sales emails sent with content that aligns to the recipients’ need. It is usually personalised and has a business prospect included. However, it is still an unsolicited email. And all unsolicited emails are labeled as SPAM.

A cold email can get a spam label when written poorly. Click To Tweet

If you are flooding the inbox of your users regularly with such unsolicited emails, it is highly possible that your emails will soon get redirected to the spam or junk folders. To avoid this, the most important thing to do is- respect your recipients’ decision to opt-out from receiving emails from you. You can include the links to unsubscribe easily. You must be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act and its regulations.

Also read: MasterGuide to Email Subscriber Lifecycle

4. What practices will help in growing my email subscribers’ list?

N.B.: This is another essential and most frequently asked email marketing question. You can read about all the various ways in which you can grow your email lists here- Email List Building. This article has special reference to building email lists with a WordPress Layered Popup Plugin.

PS: Here are 25 tools that you can use to collect emails from websites.

Some common ways to build email lists are:

  1. Creating an offer that resonates your users’ demands. You can give out discounts or a free eBook, or may be a free course; all depends on what services or products you are providing.
  2. You can create a subscription form and conduct a popup survey. The main thing to note is, you will need to ASK to get an email address.

You already know what to do to build a great email list. Here’s what you should not do:

Many email marketers purchase email lists. That is a wrong way to reach out to people. First, the quality of such a list is usually very poor. It includes dormant or unused email addresses. Secondly, you are sending out emails to those who did not want to know about your offers, services or products. This means that your emails can soon be redirected to spam folders.

Other email marketing questions also answered: How to Maintain Your Email Reputation.

5. What is the best low-cost email marketing tool?

This question allows us the liberty to explain about EasySendy Pro. 🙂

Before that, let’s go over the cause that leads to this question. Many email marketers often complain that email marketing tools are very expensive. Well, it is true. They are expensive but for a reason. You can check out the reasons here: 3 Reasons why Email Marketing Tools are expensive.

Having said that, EasySendy Pro offers you the option to optimize your email marketing budget. This web-based marketing solution enables small and medium businesses to reach out to users successfully. It also ensures high deliverability to subscribers’ inboxes. EasySendy Pro has already released the 2.0 version with a lot of enhancements.

 

To keep your email marketing budget intact and at the same time get the maximum ROI, try EasySendy Pro. Highlights of EasySendy Pro are:

For more details of all that is new, read about the Updated Version of EasySendy Pro.

Add on: Know why Businesses are using EasySendy Pro. You can also follow this Quora Discussion for real-time inputs.

6. What are the best practices for email subject lines?

Email subject lines play a pivotal role in catalysing the recipients’ decision to open or not to open the email. This is the first hurdle that an email marketer needs to fix. If your recipients are not opening your emails, what is the point of creating a beautiful email content?

An efficient subject line is the gatekeeper of your email campaign.

A good subject line not just decides whether your recipients will read the email or not; it also aids your subscribers to decide if your emails are worth their time or not.

To ensure more open rates, here are some email subject line practices you can consider:

  • Be clear on what your email is about.
  • It should align with your business concept as well as customers’ needs.
  • Keep it short and simple; to-the-point subject lines are great.

To know more practices in details, read our Guide to Effective Email Subject Lines.

7. How many times should I send out emails?

This is a very dicey question with no proper answer to it. There is no magic number to follow. Your email campaigns can work brilliantly when you are sending out emails twice a week; it can perform poorly at the same frequency too. According to the National Email Client Report 2016, about 17 percent companies send out emails 4-5 times in a month. The report also reveals that about 8 percent opt for 6-8 times in a month, and another 8 percent send out emails more than eight times in a month.

There can be two situations: overmailing, where you send a huge bulk of emails that might annoy your recipients; undermailing, where you don’t send enough emails to engage with your recipients properly. The magic lies in between. You can’t do either. Also, before you start sending out emails, you must be well aware of how mailbox providers work. Each mailbox provider has different rules and regulations for spams and inbox delivery. You can quickly go over this guide on email marketing frequency for better understanding. The bottom line is Email Marketing Frequency optimization depends upon engagement. You have to find out how many emails are giving you maximum return regarding engagement and click-throughs.

email-marketing-questions-marketers-ask

 

8. What metrics should I track after sending out an email?

Tracking your email campaigns is essential. Only when you have numbers with you, you can decide your next strategy. After you have sent out your campaign, here are few things you must track:

Click-through rate: You are already aware what Click-through rate means. To calculate: {Total number of clicks (or unique clicks)/Number of emails sent} X 100. For instance, you send 50,000 emails and receive 2500 clicks, then your click-through rate percentage is 5%.
This measurement is very important to understand how your email campaign performed, and what turned off your recipients. Marketers often use Click-through rates in A/B tests for better understanding of what might work, and what might not.

Conversion rate: This is also a percentage that determines how many recipients opened your email, read it and completed the desired action. To Calculate: {Number of recipients who completed the required action/Total number of emails delivered} X 100.
To measure your conversions properly and accurately, it is important that you integrate analytics in your email platform.

Bounce rate: Another percentage calculation. When you divide the total number of bounced emails by the number of emails sent, and multiply it with hundred, you get the bounce rate. Usually, there are two types of bounce rates: Hard bounce and soft bounce. You can read about these in our email marketing glossary.

The rate at which your list is growing: It is vital to keep a check on how steadily your list is growing or how many unsubscribed; also you must be cautious if your list is getting flooded with dormant or spam email IDs. To calculate: {(number of new subscribers) – (number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)} X 100

Engagement: Keep a tab on how many recipients are clicking on ‘share this” or “Forward” option. To calculate: {number of clicks on share or forward button/total number of delivered emails} X 100.
This is an important measurement because this alone indicates the inflow or getting connected to new users. Your email list automatically grows. More the share, more the hype and more will be the email IDs that are genuine.

The ROI in General: You must keep a tab on how much you are investing and what is the result. The total revenue when divided by the total spend, you get your overall ROI.

Related to email marketing questions: 11 Important Email Marketing Metrics You Should Know.

9. What is the Click-through Rate I should be expecting?

It will take some time to determine the ideal average click-through rate for your business. Factors like your keywords, industry, and conversion rate impact the CTR. According to a Google employee, a beginner should aim for a 2% CTR. Well, this is not a set milestone that you have to follow, but an objective like this is a great start. Most PPC experts would recommend something between 2% to 5% for a competitive industry. For a non-competitive industry, a CTR of 5%+ is great. This is because, in a non-competitive industry, customers will have lesser options to choose from.
N.B.: According to a recent report, Bing search engine ads have high CTR in comparison to Google and Yahoo! Search engines.

10. Where can I find email template samples?

Almost all email campaign tools provide you with pre-designed templates. Whether you are using MailChimp or Pardot, you will get various email templates ready-to-use. However, if you want to build a template from scratch, you can do so. Most email campaign tools have the option to paste the HTML code of your own design. Here are few examples you can see to get an idea of what email templates led to the major success of these email campaigns:

Best Marketing Campaigns Examples
101 Sales Email Templates
Newsletter templates

11. Where should I place the unsubscribe button? Is it mandatory to give this option?

There is no way a marketer will want a user to opt out. However, that does not mean you will hide the unsubscribe button. It is mandatory that you place the unsubscribe link at an easily accessible place in your email. Your users should have the option to opt-out if they don’t want to receive your emails. Especially if you are sending cold emails, you MUST include the unsubscribe link.

Unsubscribe-link-in-emails

If you are not allowing your users to unsubscribe, they might get annoyed and block you or redirect your emails to spam or junk folder. That will, in turn, impact your email reputation. You wouldn’t want that, would you? Take a look at how email subscribers complain and what you can do about it here.

12. How do I deal with huge bounce rate?

Bounce rate indicates the percentage of people who left your website almost immediately. This percentage is a clear red flag that your visitors did not get what they were looking for, or maybe they did not find sufficient ways to engage on your website. Either way, your website needs rework!
Before you think of handling a huge bounce rate, let’s get few facts straight. If your motive was to bring your visitors to that one landing page only, then you need not worry about the bounce rate. Well, you did not want them to visit other pages (rather it wasn’t part of your plan). So if they left viewing a single page (which was linked), then you can relax. However, if it is otherwise, here’s how you can deal with it:

  • Add more links to other pages that might stir an engagement.
  • Do not just focus on your product pages. Include a manual or a guide or anything that can grab the attention.
  • Include contents that everyone will like in a sidebar that remains intact throughout the course of site viewing.
  • Work on your content.

To know more, read this awesome article from Kissmetrics- What You can Learn from Bounce Rate & How to Improve It.

13. One of the most important email marketing questions: How does a spam filter work?

Given the fact that over 205 billion emails are sent each day, there are a lot of spam emails that get circulated. Many times, your brand name gets used for sending out spam bulk emails. For instance the CEO-Scam last year caused a heavy loss. Identifying spammers is difficult. Hence, implementing a spam filter is essential. It can be deployed by-

  • Hosting in Cloud.
  • On-Premise application.
  • Installing the software on PC.

Spam filters do not guarantee 100 percent security. However, if you are not deploying it, you are at a greater risk of falling prey to scams. Spamming a multi-billion business, and it is here to stay. This is how a spam filter works:

A spam filter integrated with your mailing system considers various factors before labeling them as spams-

  1. Content Filters: It will review the email content.
  2. Header Filters: It will check the header for any fake information.
  3. General blacklist filters: It will block all such emails that come from the blacklisted files of renowned spammers.
  4. Rule-base filters: It takes into consideration criteria set by the users; like a specific word in a subject line, and so on.
  5. Permission filters: This will require permission from the recipients to receive emails from a particular sender.
  6. Challenge-response filters: This requires you to enter a code before sending out emails to get approval from the recipients.

Also, read 11 Easy Ways to Identify Phishing Emails- Marketers Edition.

14. What is A/B testing? How often should I do it?

You have an email list to send out your campaigns. These people have given their consent to receive your newsletters. This technically means something about your product or services has helped or convinced them to continue this relationship. Maybe this list also includes those with whom you have already done business few times. Now the question arises, will they like to receive the same type of emails? How about if you change the content style of your email? Or maybe rework that CTA button of yours?
A/B testing lets you find out if these new techniques or formats will work in your favor or not. Before you run the final campaign, you can carry out A/B tests to be sure of what to expect from your campaigns. A/B testing is a concept that is very much relatable and used in everything- landing pages, opt-in forms, emails, etc.

There is no magic number. The more you test, the better it is. Until you are satisfied with the results, you can keep on testing various versions of your emails.

Levi Olmstead, Content Manager from G2 Crowd, a renowned review-based platform helping marketers to pick the right software, speaks on how A/B testing helps them in getting maximum reviews from their users.

“At G2 Crowd, we conduct a ton of email marketing outreach asking for customer reviews of the tools B2B professionals are using. A/B testing has been crucial in helping us get the most reviews from our users. Tests like headline length and content, CTA placement, CTA color, images vs. no images, calling it a review or survey, and many more tests. Sometimes the smallest changes can make huge impacts.”

15. How long should my subject line be? Will my email open rate get affected if I use numbers or special characters in the subject line?

Keeping your subject line crisp and to-the-point is vital. It is helpful, and mandatory these days, to include the first name of the recipient. Personalised emails have time and again yielded more conversion than regular emails. For instance, this email from Booking.com

Personalised-subject-line

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language ~ Email Marketing Chart, MarketingSherpa.

As for special characters, well if you are giving out discounts or offers, a subject line like this is great:

subject-line-special-characters

In this case, this subject line is convincing enough for someone to click open the email. The subject line is short but has special characters. Also, this subject line is not personalized. For information on how to write great subject line, you can check out this awesome infographic from Litmus.com

subject-line-infographic

16. Why should I make my emails mobile responsive?

This is yet another most frequently asked query among other email marketing questions. According to The Ultimate Mobile Email Stats 2016 from emailMonday,

Mobile email will account for 15 to 70 percent of the email open rates, depending on your audience, product, and email type.

This report reveals that a majority of the emails are opened on mobile devices (45 percent). Contrary to this, only 19% are opened on a webmail client and 36 percent on desktop. Not just this, there has been a quarterly growth of the total number of emails opened on tablets, from 54% in Q3 2015 to 56% in Q4 2015. Another interesting fact revealed is that mobile email opens have grown with 180% in a span of three years.

mobile-open-rates-emails

All these statistics and numbers point to one simple fact- your emails MUST be device optimized. Since a majority of your users are checking emails on-the-go, it is important to design campaigns that work smoothly one a mobile device.

17. Should I use more images and less content; or the opposite?

We often get these abstract email marketing questions. However, we know how these things confuse a marketer!

Coming back to the question:

It depends on your product or services. If you can explain your product better using a GIF in your email, then you can opt for that. Many marketers say that GIFs resulted in more opt-outs. So, in that case, static images work best.

There is no fixed rule of how much content you can include or how many images you can add in one email Click To Tweet

You have to find out a way that would serve your purpose of connecting with your recipients. A visually strong email (that can be an image or bold content, or both) has better chances of conversion. Your main task is to include the right CTAs, include content that is to-the-point, and to add images/GIFs only if that compliments your content and email theme. You can also have just an image and a CTA.

18. What is a decent number of unsubscribing rate?

The list of email marketing questions cannot be complete without questions on unsubscription!

You cannot stop your subscribers from unsubscribing should they wish to. So it is better to proceed by keeping in mind that some may opt-out completely. You might ask why. There are two reasons for this:

  • They have forgotten about you, and now don’t wish to know more.
  • They are not liking the kind of emails they are receiving.

Having said that, the average rate of unsubscription between 0-0.5% is great. If it exceeds more than 0.5%, then you have to work a lot on your campaigns.

19. How do I balance my content if I have to include more than one link, and get my readers to give attention to all of them equally?

According to Kurt Johansen, four links in an email content is a decent number. Talking about where to put these links, he says:

  • One near the top.
  • One near the middle, and
  • One at the end.
  • And one as a PS

However, Johansen does agree that you can use as many links as you wish to, as long as they don’t look like stuffing.

You can include links depending on what you are trying to sell, offer or update your subscribers.For instance, a travel booking site will have many links, like hotels, places to visit, contacts, and so on. On the contrary, a welcome email will have fewer links, like Login from here, contact us and unsubscribe.

To get your recipients to give equal attention to all the links you include, you must ensure that they align to what your recipients are looking for. If you include all the links you can think of without analysing whether they are needed or not; your subscribers might just opt-out. Jargons are never good, be it anywhere! After all, the links in your email are directly related to the amount of conversion that happens from it.

20. Should I conduct polls in my emails? Does that help?

Yes. Any feedback from your subscribers is always welcome. What better way to get real-time feedback than a quick poll in the email. All they need to do is answer few multiple choice questions and click on submit.

However, when conducting a poll, you must be cautious if you are asking your recipients to type out the answers. Many might refrain from doing so, or think to do it later and forget. So it is better to create short multiple choice questions. Ensure that they are mobile device compatible.

21. Why and How should I segregate my list?

List segregation is vital to run a campaign successfully. Since email marketing is getting automated, list segregation almost happens seamlessly. The marketing tools are designed to segregate your subscribers based on their actions automatically.

Segregation helps you in reaching out to your customers effectively. Once you know how they engage with your emails, you can decide what to send next based on the same. Suppose you send out a campaign including a discount offer. Some proceed to the final stage of buying. Some just leave after viewing your email. Others may not open your email. Now your list gets segregated in all three lists- those who completed the action, those who left midway and those who didn’t open. You can now create three different response templates and update your email marketing tool. Each list will receive the requisite follow up email. In marketing terms, we call it Drip Email Campaign.

Related post: Advantages of Using Hybrid Email Marketing Service.

22. What are the laws of email marketing that I should be aware of?

Another vital question that must be included in the list of email marketing questions.

The most important law is the CAN-Spam act. Read our Marketing Glossary to find out more details on CAN-Spam act. You will find all the rules and regulations written for it.

Like mentioned earlier, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions in this article. If you have any email marketing questions apart from these, write to us or post in the comment section. Also, if you think we have explained any portion incorrectly, feel free to tell us.

Till then, happy emailing!

Comments

13 Comments

vidya aurora

Finally found an article that is comprehensive and answers vital questions. I have come across many articles that does not discuss important aspects of email marketing. Thanks for answering so many of my questions. Will surely keep following your blog.

William Lee

This is great, the ROI is everything. The domain repo is the only thing one must worry about when tackling the challenge of online marketing through emails. The results are visible and accountable. A proper vision has been presented by all of the info.

Cynthia Brown

As a newbie, I can totally relate to every point written in this blog. Each question is discussed in a profound manner and will indisputably help someone who is going through my phase! A good read.

Catherine Jackson

A fantastic compilation of questions to ask ourselves, great work Pritha. To help us assess where our email marketing is and where it needs to go, I think we must ask ourselves these questions.

Gary Taylor

Great job here, Pritha! This blog have come to the rescue to shed some light on those niggling questions I have always wanted to ask!

Arthur Anderson

Thanks for sharing such amazing article! I usually refer to this article every time I design my email campaign as these are the most frequently asked email marketing questions, all piled up in a single list!

Amanda Green

This blog is beneficial for people looking to grow their businesses frequently. I am looking forward for more such updates from your side. Thanks.

Eileen Williams

You cleared any misconceptions I have had and given me answers to questions I should’ve asked. Very nicely expressed.

Dorothy Long

As a new marketer, I always wanted to get information about email marketing; hence I found it as a great piece of information.

Ralph Diaz

Thanks a lot for sharing content as it put some light on those niggling questions I have always wanted to ask!

Samuel Perry

Its a great comprehensive article which includes small details of marketing; it’s a complete guide to marketers.

Jeffrey Young

Well-written blog Pritha! It is an excellent guidance for a marketer since it has every email marketing strategies.

Jeffrey Young

What an amazing article! Thanks for sharing this comprehensive list of questions since every marketer will find it useful for his business.


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