Email marketing solutions have evolved into extremely sophisticated tools for segmenting and targeting, messaging customers based on previous purchases or even abandoned shopping carts.

What marketers can achieve today would astound the marketer of yesterday.

But there’s still a factor of yesteryear that’s relevant today: No matter how sophisticated your technology and implementation of email marketing solutions, you still have to be wanted in the inbox.

You still need to be engaging your audience and getting those opens. And you still need to be dodging the email triage bullet, as your customers ruthlessly delete on their mobile devices.

Explore, adapt and implement the newest email marketing solutions. Segment and automate and target and analyze. But remember to keep one eye on the customer: Remember to stay customer-centric.

All the segmentation in the world won’t matter if your content falls flat or your email design gets wiped out because images are blocked.

Any email content that’s simply “good enough” runs the risk of being ignored or deleted. Your adaptations of email marketing solutions should provide you with the data you need to zero in on customer types with relevant messages delivered just in time. But those messages still need to be stellar. Don’t rely on technology alone to persuade.

Ditto for your triggered email and any drip campaigns. The technology behind these techniques isn’t in and of itself enough to maximize your results. Every aspect of your campaigns must rock. Content and design, frequency and timing…test and test and test again, until your automated emails are as compelling as they are automatic.

Keep strategy in mind too. Is that drip campaign nurturing leads in the right way? What about your follow-up emails? You might think this is common sense, but even some of the biggest brands get this wrong, like the car manufacturer who continues to market cars to a customer who has already made a purchase, rather than changing that automated messaging to be about accessories. It happens.

And don’t think simply personalizing emails will make up for mediocre content. According to a recent study, 63% of respondents said personalization is now so commonplace that they are numb to it. Fake personalization doesn’t go over so well either: 33% of them said superficial personalization is one of their top annoyances.

Then there’s your email design. In addition to implementing sophisticated email marketing solutions, you must consider blocked images, rendering on mobile devices, and where the heck that call to action button should be…plus a hundred other design variables you should be testing for.

By all means, implement the latest technologies, and customize your ESP for maximum results. But remember you’re expected to deliver more than email. Your customers are ruthlessly deleting emails, and triage is commonplace. Your segmentation and behavior-based messaging will go a long way to make your messaging relevant to your audiences. But go all the way: Make that content killer and the design divine.

Published On: June 20th, 2013Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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