5 Tips to Drastically Improve Your Email Marketing

04/24/2015 04:03 pm ET | Updated Jun 23, 2015

Email marketing provides a huge opportunity for business growth when done correctly, so I wanted to put together a list of tips that you can easily adapt to your strategy. These are all designed to help you improve performance, engage more of your subscribers and ultimately increase the number of leads, sales and revenue you generate from your email marketing efforts.

1. Focus on list quality rather than the number of subscribers

Simply collecting emails isn't going to translate into more growth and profits for your business. Would you rather collect 2,500 emails of consumers that aren't really interested in what your business offers or would you like 250 email subscribers that are going to open your emails, engage with your content and potentially click over to your website and develop into a lead or sale?

When you build a very targeted email list it allows you to send out email offers specifically tailored for that audience. You will see much higher open rates, higher clickthrough rates and higher conversion rates when the list is composed of consumers that have a sincere interest in developing a relationship with your business.

How do you improve the quality of your list? It all comes down to your initial offer that triggered the consumers to join your list. A generic offer will attract generic emails. A targeted offer will attract higher quality emails. Don't be afraid of building your list slowly if it means building it with email subscribers that have a higher probability of turning into revenue.

2. Pay attention to your reporting data

If you don't know how your list is reacting to your emails how can you make improvements? You need to be looking into each message you send and see who opens your mail, who clicks on your links and how many bounces you are receiving. Keep a spreadsheet and record all of your findings. This will allow you to quickly see any trends or problems and address them accordingly.

What works? What doesn't work? What should you test next? These are questions you need to constantly be asking yourself.

3. Segment your email list into groups

Every email list will have a group very responsive recipients that open everything you send and then there will be those that will open an occasional message from you. Segment your lists into groups based on their engagement. You can be much more aggressive with the part of your list that opens everything you send. Those offers can be much more direct. Send them offers that are after a direct sale. You don't have to tread lightly or bribe them with offers -- they are already highly interested.

Now, if you are emailing your more difficult recipients you might have to entice them a little more by offering a white paper or something for free to get them interested in your brand again. The goal is to turn the recipients on this list into more responsive list members and eventually migrate them to your better performing segment.

4. Focus on sending the right message to your list

Sending emails that are relevant is key. You aren't going to be able to send emails that appeal to every single person on your list at all times -- that just isn't realistic. That being said, you have to make sure that your emails provide value. Is your email related to the initial offer that allowed you to collect the email address in the first place? Will the recipient feel that the email provides value? Many small businesses will spend time and money building a list and then cause a high unsubscribe rate by emailing irrelevant information.

You need to make sure that you deliver what was originally promised. If your subscribers sense that you are not delivering what was originally offered they will unsubscribe quickly. Provide plenty of incentive for your subscribers to stick around.

5. Understand that automated email marketing still requires work

Email automation isn't new, but are you using it correctly? Finding success with automated email is often in your message. Anyone can send off scheduled emails and most of them end up being deleted. You have to make sure your message is of interest to your list and direct to the point. Consumers get flooded with email offers. Your subject line needs to grab their attention in a sea of promotional emails and your email body needs to trigger an action immediately. You have mere seconds to get your email recipients to react.

Split test subject lines, email messages, HTML and plain text variations and delivery times. Just because you are using automated email marketing doesn't mean you can "set it and forget it." You need to constantly try new things and make changes.

Jonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media, an online marketing agency specializing in creative outside the box branding campaigns. Connect with him on Twitter and join his company's free weekly marketing newsletter.