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Increase your email marketing click-through rate 181% with this trick.

Email is still alive and well in the marketing playbook, but most brands struggle with achieving optimal results. If you follow some simple email marketing best practices, you can start seeing better results immediately. Your emails need to be relevant to each and every contact in your database. You can accomplish this with email marketing segmentation. To illustrate just how powerful it can be to stay relevant, we ran a test with one of our clients who is a regional footwear retailer and has a database of over 140,000 contacts.

The result, we were able to increase the open rate by nearly 74% and the click-through rate by 181% when the message change was only one single word in the subject line.

While this may sound like some sort of click bait article, I promise to delivery exactly how we achieved the results along with the results themselves. When we first started managing our retail client's email marketing, the database was not segmented at all. For a retailer who has twenty locations across the southeast, they were not even able to send out market-specific emails to contacts—everyone received the same message no matter geography or gender. So we made it a priority to begin segmenting their database. This process has taken several months, but it has proven to be well worth it. We set up three segmenting categories within the database: location, items of interest (male/female) and birthdate.

With the database segmented, we were in a position to be more targeted with out messaging. Knowing the vast majority of the database was female, we considered the point of view of the male. Most retail emails speak primarily to females since that is the largest percentage of the customer base. We wanted to let contacts know that we identified their interests and were delivering a relevant message. How did we do this?

We simply changed a single word in the subject line.

The email was to notify contacts that doorbusters were available online for the big Thanksgiving sale. We created three versions of the email targeting a different segment of the database, each with a slightly different subject line but the same content within the email:

Males: Shop Men's Doorbusters Online

Females: Shop Women's Doorbusters Online

Unknown Preference: Shop Doorbusters Online

The last subject was the control. This is what we would have used had we not been able to segment the emails. Below you can see the results.


What we found most surprising was the reaction from the male demographic simply from identifying their preference. Not only did they have the highest open rate, but they continued to click-through even though the messaging within the email was generic. This just goes to show how powerful personalization can be in your marketing efforts. It's more important to be relevant than to blanket your entire database with a generic message. Knowing some basic email marketing stats about device usage and trends can help you make more informed email marketing campaigns. This will require more effort in your email marketing planning since you will most likely need more emails to address each segment of your database. We created the email marketing planning template below to help up plan our email marketing campaigns. A tool as simple as this can help you get organized and on the way to increased conversion rates.


Setting SMART Marketing Goals Template