30 Best Email Marketing Strategies to Build Strong Customer Relationships in 2023

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As a leading social media marketing strategist with over 15 years of expertise in the email marketing sphere, I cannot stress enough how pivotal email continues to be for successfully engaging customers and nurturing lasting brand affinity in 2023 and beyond.

In fact, email achieves the highest return on investment across all marketing channels with an average median ROI of 122% according to DMA‘s latest statistical research. This significantly outpaces other online and offline channels.

However, effectively planning and executing email campaigns requires an advanced, targeted approach to see such lucrative results. From list segmentation to behavioral personalization, marketers must tap the full potential of email both as a revenue driver and brand builder.

To help unlock email success and strengthen customer relationships, I’ve compiled the top 30 email marketing strategies to implement across key areas:

1. Set Data-Informed Goals and KPIs

Any email campaign should start with clearly defined goals informed by historical data and target performance benchmarks. Key metrics to track include:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Total revenue

Baselining past performance for these KPIs allows you to set realistic targets for improvement in future campaigns. According to SmarterHQ, the average email open rate is 21.33%, CTR is 2.9% and email conversion rate is 3.31%.

You can then continuously optimize deliverables around moving these needles through the following strategies.

2. Build a Targeted Email List

Email list quality ultimately determines the upper bounds for engagement potential. While size does matter, focus first on capturing known interest segments with higher expected affinity.

Prioritize visitors who have already expressed intent via conversions, product page views etc. before deploying wider nets through pop-ups. This balances growth with relevance.

3. Segment Your Subscriber Base

Group contacts by demographics, behaviors and other attributes for highly targeted outreach. You can leverage insider data like order values, purchase recency and frequency to define priority subgroups.

Map common journeys across your subscriber base to identify events that present opportunities to guide users, whether through helpful educational resources or promotional offers anticipating related needs.

4. Personalize for Relevance

Email is considered 4x more effective with personalization, with open rates improving by an average of 26% [Experian].

Tailor messaging to match distinct user expectations using unique information like names, location and past engagements. This VIP treatment makes subscribers feel understood.

Focus personalization on user value AND predicted lifetime value – this captures both loyalty and potential.

5. Write Captivating Subject Lines

Since 49% of recipients open emails based solely on subject lines [Campaign Monitor], perfecting subject line construction is mission critical.

Some best practices include:

  • Establish curiosity by asking interesting questions
  • Communicate urgency around timeliness or exclusivity
  • Spotlight subscriber value in the offer or information

A/B testing various subject line styles pinpoints what positions core messages effectively across segmented groups based on topical interests and favored tones.

6. Make Emails 100% Mobile-Friendly

With inbox accessing shifting mobile-first, responsive design is a must. Ensure a seamless experience through:

  • Increased font sizes for better readability
  • Effective use of negative space
  • Prominent calls-to-action
  • Messaging consistency across devices

Preview across environments and screen sizes to confirm.

7. Create Value-Driven Email Content

Emails should inform, educate, entertain or incentivize audiences – pure promotion alone results in lower engagement over time. Identify subscriber pain points and provide helpful solutions through everything from how-to’s to exclusive sales.

This valued advisor positioning earns authority and affinity, paying dividends long-term. It directly strengthens brand relationships beyond transient transactions.

8. Structure Content for Scanning

Fostering digestibility ensures communications are consumed amidst overflowing inboxes.Highlight key sections with formatting like:

  • Short paragraphs
  • Numbered lists
  • Bold section headers
  • Generous white space
  • Featured summaries

Enhanced comprehension means messages resonate despite environments filled with distractions.

9. Include Engaging Imagery & Videos

Visual content doubles click-through rates by creating sticking power while catering to prevailing consumption habits veering increasingly multi-media.

Select branded imagery, infographics and video aligned to themes presents core concepts quickly for digestible communication that leaves an impression.

10. Promote UGC & Social Proof

User-generated and social proof build credibility through community experiences rather than top-down marketing speak.

Pull authentic quotes, ratings and reviews from delighted users fans to highlight others’ validation of products, services or company ethos. This transfers the trust placed in peers to brand offerings for amplified appeal and conversion influence.

11. Spotlight Scarcity & Exclusivity

People are hardwired to value limited opportunities perceived as scarce resources. Reinforce email content urgency via constraints like:

  • Limited time offers with closing dates
  • Strict inventory counts on popular items
  • Early access for top tier loyalty members only
  • One-chance seasonal or flash opportunities

This propels accelerated action by those predisposed, while activating new adopters motivated by potential missing out.

12. Promote Email Signup Offers

Incentives provide incremental motivation for subscriptions, especially among customer brackets requiring additional convincing to welcome ongoing communication.

Gated content like exclusive ebooks or special promotional codes given upon signup reduces resistance levels considerably while self-selecting especially interested individuals inherently engaged based on fulfilling distinct needs enough for offer redemption.

13. Highlight Email Exclusivity

Promoting subscribers-only deals, early previews and VIP access helps convey privileged status for being part of your communication circle.

This reinforces value associated with continued readership that may otherwise feel ordinary without spotlighting its special perks and insider advantages.

14. Send Behavior-Based Triggers

Further personalize engagement through real-time trigger emails in response to on-site behaviors like:

  • Abandoned cart or checkouts
  • Product / content page visits
  • New repeat purchases

These timely, targeted messages boost conversions aligned to demonstrated interests through relentless relevance.

15. Create Automated Lifecycle Workflows

Scalable workflows nurture customers via ongoing education, promotions and value Adds tailored to purchase cycles and seasons with automation.

Top sequences include:

  • Post-purchase follow-ups
  • Win-back campaigns for lapsed buyers
  • Reviews requests for UGC testimonials
  • Renewal reminders on expiring subscriptions
  • Date-based triggers like anniversaries or milestones

16. Integrate With Other Channels

Unify messaging across websites, ads and social campaigns through email content previews, promotions and recaps. These extensions increase exposures beyond the inbox to propel viral interest.

Cross-channel consistency also boosts familiarity and retention via repetitive touchpoints aligned themes and offers.

17. Make Call-To-Actions Highly Visible

In email design, prioritizing action buttons improves activity through intuitive navigation that accelerates conversions.

Apply contrasting colors that stand out while using descriptive verbs like “Subscribe” and directional cues through shapes or arrows. Avoid attachments or complex multi-step paths.

18. Analyze Metrics for Refinement

Robust analytics reveals channel efficacy through KPIs assessing email impact, engagement levels, content resonance per topic, flops identification and more.

Assess email open rates, conversion rates, click-through-rates, list growth, complaints data and unsubscribe volumes to quantify performance.

Auditing helps managers RODI (remove, optimize, develop, invest) by reallocating resources across what’s working vs. what remains untested.

19. Optimize Delivery Based on Insights

Apply analytics learnings to increase subscribers reached and improve visibility company-wide.

Fine-tune sender details like display names and “from” addresses for skepticism avoidance while researching optimal days and times per audience segment, then consolidate sends accordingly.

Monitoring link-specific metrics within emails like unique clicks, offsite conversions and content downloads provides actionable activity diagnostics.

You gain visibility into highest and lowest performing links, directional traffic quality, content preferences and actual asset usage beyond top-line email metrics for refined optimization.

21. Continuously A/B Test Campaign Components

Regular experimentation uncovers incremental performance gains identifying the most effective combinations of variables like:

  • Subject line styles
  • Content formats
  • Design layouts
  • Call-to-action language
  • Audience segments

This amplification compounds results at scale.

22. Ensure Mobile Friendliness

Preview across device environments to check responsive display adaptability confirming seamless visibility on smaller screens that now dominate access.

This guarantees no engagement drop-offs from constrained experiences like overflowing copy, difficult navigation or imagery spills.

23. Follow Anti-Spam Regulations

Legally comply using addresses, physical locations and unsubscribe links while avoiding overly aggressive claims or exclamation clutter commonly flagging spam filters.

This conservatism earns deliverability authority limiting automatic file-awaying as junk that entirely defeats outreach efforts through recipient blocking.

24. Confirm Double Opt-In Subscriptions

While normally lowering sign-up rates, double opt-in requiring explicit reconfirmation post-subscription protects long-term deliverability by verifying genuine interest and active use from enriched leads engaging aware.

This prevents inflating lists with false entries overstating reach.

25. Prune Stale Email Entries

Regular list maintenance removing two years+ lapsed subscribers, engagement non-responders and hard bounces ensures targeting accuracy and feedback timeliness when seeking preference confirmations.

Dormant accounts with outdated credentials waste sends without value. Ongoing pruning sustains quality.

26. Develop Text & HTML Message Versions

While HTML enables enhanced designs inline with brand identity, text-based alternatives guarantee readability across client environments not supporting full formatting functionality.

Providing both formats ensures universal support.

27. Collaborate With Sales Teams

Productivity optimization through collaborative planning between sales and marketing prevents redundant outreach while benefiting integrated sequence timing when transitions occur between stages.

Updated buyer stage data informs follow-up urgency and priority while role-based tasks enable execution efficiency so no opportunities fall through the cracks.

28. Maintain Compliance With Data Regulations

Respect global privacy laws like GDPR by documenting consent, allowing information access and communicating responsibly around data handling purposes without overly covert verbiage.

Honoring rights earns goodwill through accountability and transparency regarding behavioral analysis used personalizing engagements.

29. Monitor ISP Feedback Loops

Proactively scan major ISP complaint logs like SpamHaus identifying sender domains being flagged for urgent intervention before pervasive blocks crater delivery.

Quick remediations resolve minor issues before major blacklistings require complicated delisting processes.

30. Continuously Evaluate Against Strategy

Frequent comparisons assessing email effectiveness against core business and marketing objectives allows realigning aspects under-delivering targeted outcomes.

If executed well as a platform, email should contribute strongly toward goals around multi-channel customer acquisition, retention and brand lift through addressing needs communicate via user preferences.

Key Takeaways

The top email marketing approaches for maximizing customer engagement and commercial returns emphasize:

  1. Audience-specific personalization
  2. Behavior-triggered communications
  3. Multi-channel messaging integration
  4. Compliance with regulations and ISP policies
  5. Design optimization for scannability
  6. Subject line and content testing
  7. KPI tracking and analytics-driven refinement

Email remains unmatched in drivers like conversion influence, branding ability and continuity through ongoing dialogue when leveraged effectively – its excellence sustaining industry-leading channel ROI.

But overly simplistic efforts fail realizing its full potential. Carefully executed marketing strategies elevate beyond commoditized bulk blasting through tailored relevance, valuable utility and trust developed within subscriber relationships over time.

The customer-centric steps explored equip marketers to unlock this commercial edge while future-proofing efforts against inbox over-saturation. With a refined methodology that first seeks to inform and empower audiences, email drives disproportionate impact strategically integrated among outbound programs – earning its irreplaceable, results-driving status for years to come.

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