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Mission: Impossible – Email Marketing

The fifth installment to Tom Cruise’s iconic action franchise, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, debuts this weekend. If by some chance you’re unfamiliar with the series, here’s the basic premise: In the first film, Cruise stars a secret agent (Ethan Hunt) on a mission to clear his name. Cue explosions, high-tech gadgets, dangling from the ceiling on cables, gum bombs, high speed train rides, pre-loony Tom Cruise, post-loony Tom Cruise and four fast-paced, pulse-pounding sequels.

In honor of the newest film, we’ve assigned you a mission, should you choose to accept it: With this intel from our loyal agents, you’ll be able to tackle some of the most impossible email marketing tasks. Should you be caught, killed or get low open and click rates, however, Emma will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This post will self-destruct in five seconds.

(Just kidding… or are we?)

Good luck!


Mission: Double Your Open Rates

One of the most difficult tasks in the email marketing game is consistently getting high open rates. Depending on the industry, typical open rates hover somewhere between 20-30%, but we believe that you (being the elite agent that you are) can do better.

Mission objectives:

1. Automate your emails. Automation allows you to reach your subscribers with just the right message at just the right time. And though it may conjure up images of robots and machines, it’s  actually a more personal way to communicate because it allows you to send your audience content that’s catered to their individual needs and interests. To complete this objective, consider automating a welcome series. The average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50%, making them 86% more effective than email newsletters (MarketingSherpa).

2. Utilize high-tech testing technology. During the course of this mission, testing will be one of your strongest allies. You can (and should) test pretty much everything. The more you optimize each element of your email to the preferences to your subscribers, the more opens you’ll see. And make sure to test your subject lines and from names – they’re the two biggest factors that influence open rates (Chadwick Martin Bailey).

3. Successfully evade spam filter attacks. In a perfect world, legitimate email marketers who send permission-based emails wouldn’t end up in the spam folder. But unfortunately, quality emails get lost to overzealous spam filters every day. Minimize your risk of capture by avoiding spammy subject line phrases like “Click here!” “Once in a lifetime opportunity!” and the cardinal sins of excessive exclamation points!!!!! and ALL CAPS.



Mission: Collect A Larger ROI

The ROI of email has been and remains more than double that of every other online channel (Direct Marketing Association). But that doesn’t mean that your marketing task force shouldn’t still aim to increase your ROI.

Mission objectives:

1. Identify new targets. The average email list churns by about 30% annually, so it’s critical to make sure you’re always growing your email list. To help, consider using a lightbox-style popup form on your website. Lightbox forms don’t affect bounce rates, but they will exponentially increase your email signups.

2. Play the long game. Aim to form a meaningful relationship with your subscribers by serving them quality content catered to their needs and interests. It’ll result in a much higher ROI than if you just go for the quick sale – nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nutured leads (The Annuitas Group).

3. Craft a compelling CTA. Your CTA is easily one of your most powerful tools when it comes to inspiring your recipients to act (and purchase what you have to offer them!). Do everything you can to create a strong CTA: Try out different button copy, color and placement in order to inspire the most clicks possible.



Mission: Recover Lost Subscribers

You work hard to get people on your email list, and for good reason – after all, the larger your audience, the larger your return. But what happens when your once-devoted subscribers stop engaging with your business or, worse, start engaging with enemy operatives (aka your competitors)? That’s when you need to launch a reengagement campaign.

Mission objectives:

1. Determine who to reengage. The definition of an inactive subscriber will be unique to every business, but ultimately you need to be able to define an inactive subscriber as someone who hasn’t opened/clicked within a certain amount of time. Once you’ve established your definition of inactivity, segment the subscribers who fit into a group that will receive a workflow of reengagement emails.

2. Offer defectors a juicy incentive. By incentivizing your recipients with a special offer (like a discount code) in your email, you’ll be much more likely to persuade inactive subscribers to re-enter the fold. And consider giving the offer an expiration date to create a sense of urgency.

3. Improve your user experience. There’s a chance that your subscribers have stopped engaging because of a poor user experience. Invite them to manage their preferences so you can learn when and how they want you to reach them. With that in mind, make their experience as positive as possible with eye-catching design and quality content. And because 53% of all email is opened on a mobile device, always make sure your emails are mobile optimized (Litmus).