The Ultimate Guide to Email A/B Testing

In a world where people are bombarded with countless emails on a regular basis, it’s more important than ever to craft emails with purpose.According to Statista, 269 billion emails were sent in 2017, and that figure is expected to rise to a staggering 333 billion by 2022.These days it’s not enough to assume you know what type of email your audience will want to open — let alone read through it entirely.You have to be certain.Creating great emails requires a lot of hard work, researching, and strategizing. The best emails are crafted not only with goals in mind, but also with the target audience at the forefront.From subject line strategies to sound design principles, there are many components that make up a successful email. But how can you be sure that one version of an email will be more successful than others?You’re not the first person to ask that question.What if there was a way to be sure that one version of an email would generate more engagement, lead to more landing page views, and/or provoke more sign ups?Well . . . there is.Email A/B testing or split testing is a brilliant way to determine what resonates with your audience and what sparks their interest. With email A/B testing, your team can gather data-backed proof of the effectiveness of your email marketing.(AWeber just released a new email A/B testing feature that allows you to test more than just your subject lines — like send times, copy, templates, buttons, and more! Try out AWeber for FREE for 30 days — and split test away!)

Getting Started with Email A/B Testing

Conducting an email A/B test is simple. Create two or three identical versions of the same email, but change one variable like the subject line, the lead image, or the CTA button. You can test variables as distinct or as nuanced as you see fit.For example: You might test the color of a CTA button versus testing the subject line.Related: 6 Email A/B Tests You Can Set Up in 1 MinutesIf you think that creating multiple versions of the same email with a tweak or two sounds tedious or time-consuming (and wonder how much insight can you gain from changing the text on a CTA button), consider this.AWeber customer and photo sharing community Light Stalking split their email subject lines to gauge the success of one versus the other.As a result, they were able to increase their web traffic from the winning subject line email by 83%.How’d they do it?The founder of the community, Rob Wood, wanted to run an email A/B test on the subject line of the Light Stalking weekly challenge email, which asked subscribers to send in a photo of a silhouette.The test was simple: Wood created two identical versions of the same email, changing only the subject lines. The first email used a straightforward subject line, “The Weekly Challenge is Live!” and the second email was just one word and hinted at the nature of the challenge, “Silhouettes.”The email with the shorter headline (“Silhouettes”) was the winner, which Wood sent to the remaining 90% of his list. From there, the email yielded an above-average click-through rate, which drove more people to the Light Stalking website and increased overall engagement levels.Impressive, right? And simple. This is a perfect example of how email A/B testing helps you make data-backed decisions.With that, let’s talk a bit more about the basics of email A/B testing and how it can help you optimize your next email campaign.Related: Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out

Setting Goals for Email A/B Testing

Anyone can split test an email, but like anything in digital marketing, having a clear goal and purpose for testing is essential. Sure, you can run a quick email A/B test and obtain useful results, but having a more precise testing strategy will yield more powerful data.Email A/B testing is a great tool to use at any time, but it can be especially useful if you want to gain insight on a new campaign or email format. Before you begin your test, it’s essential to establish what you are testing and why.A few questions that can help guide your team at this stage include:
  • Why are we testing this variable?
  • What are we hoping to learn from this?
  • What is the impact this variable has in relation to the performance of this email?
In theory, you could test any element of an email, but some variables will give you more insight into your subscribers' minds than others.The beauty of split testing is that no variable is too small to test.

Copy Elements

Copy elements such as subject lines, headlines, body copy, and calls to action immediately come to mind when thinking about what variables to test.After all, copy elements are some of the first things people see when your email pops into their inbox (as well as after they open it), so it’s important to optimize.For example, a personalized subject line that reads, “Ben, did you see this?” versus “Did you see this?” could be the difference between a subscriber opening and deleting the email.But just how important are a few words?We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we added an extra word to a call-to-action button in one of our promotional emails. Doing so subsequently increased our trial subscriptions by 12.8%. Talk about the power of words.

Design Elements

Design elements like colors, fonts, images, templates, and spacing are just as crucial to an email as the copy and links.Did you know that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices? With this in mind, think about how your email visually appeals to subscribers and what they need to get the best reading experience.These two emails have the same copy and messaging, but are presented in very different ways. One puts a bit of written copy up top, while the other relies on a central hero image as a visual cue. This simple tweak in formatting could yield wildly different results.Email A/B test different templates, layouts, and formats to see which yields the best results for your email campaigns.Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

Additional Elements

Aside from the visual and copy elements within an email, you can A/B test a few other variables as well. Testing when you send an email could be just as important as what your email says.When measuring the success of an email as it relates to the time it’s sent, consider:
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Relation to the time of year (e.g., holidays, industry events, seasons, etc.)
Testing the time you send an email can provide a valuable understanding of your subscribers' behavior as well . . . not just their interests.Not sure about what font to use for the body of the email? Test it. Going back and forth between a few colors for the CTA button? Test it.The bottom line: You can and should test different variables of your email campaign before launch so you can optimize for success. Just be sure you’re testing only one variable at a time to get the most accurate and useful results possible.

How big should your test sample size be?

It’s important to note that when conducting your email A/B test, you’re testing on only a small percentage of your subscriber list.You want your test list to be large enough that you can gauge how the rest of the subscribers will likely react without using the entire list, but just small enough that you can send the winning version to a large portion of your audience. The goal is to get accurate, significant results, so bigger lists (minimum 75 to 100 subscribers) typically work the best.However, keep in mind that you should be using a sample that represents the whole list, not just a specific segment.Related: Your Start-to-Finish Plan to Get 1,000 SubscribersSo what does a sample look like?There are many ways to approach this. You can figure out a generic sample size with a calculation that factors in your email list confidence level, size, and confidence interval.Or, if you’re an AWeber customer, you can manually select the percentage of your list that will receive each version of the split test.Either way, make sure you select a viable percentage of your list to send your test emails to so you have enough data to analyze. Often this is in the 10% to 20% range.

Best Practices for Email A/B Testing

Email A/B testing seems pretty straightforward, right?It is, but like any experiment, if you don’t solidify the details and ensure your test is valid, your results may turn out to be useless.Keep these things in mind when creating your split test:
  • Use a large enough sample to get as close to statistically significant as possible
  • Make sure your sample group is randomized
  • Test early (like before a campaign launch, so you have time to interpret the results) and test often
  • Identify each variable you want to study and test one at a time
The important thing to remember when it comes to creating an email A/B test is that it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Email A/B testing is designed to deliver powerful, straightforward insights without a bunch of confusing variables.

Email A/B Testing Set Up

You have the basics of email A/B testing down, so let’s next discuss how to set one up properly.

Determine your goals

First things first: Identify the intentions behind the campaign you want to test.Your goals will act as your compass when figuring out the details of your email A/B test. Every component of your campaign should trace back to your end goals.

Establish test benchmarks

Once you have defined your goals, take a look at your current email data and examine how your previous email campaigns have fared. From there, use your findings as benchmark numbers.These numbers will be significant when it comes time to analyze your email A/B test data so you can gauge early success. These numbers should also help you decide on the variables you want to test moving forward.

Build the test

You have your goals and your benchmark data; now it’s time to build your test. Remember to test only one variable at a time. (Refer back to our best practices — above — if needed.)Bonus: Did you know AWeber customers can automatically split test their email campaigns (and can test up to three emails at a time)?It’s true. Here’s how it works:1. Log into your AWeber account.2. Hover over Messages, then click Broadcasts.3. Click on Create.4. Name your split test. Be as detailed as possible when naming them so you can make sure you select the right one when it comes time to run the test.5. If you’d like, you can send your split test to a segment a.k.a. a group of subscribers. Click on the drop-down menu and select the segment.6. Using the slider, define your split segments into their two or three groups. (You can change the percentages to make sure you’re testing with only a small percentage of your list. So if you were sending to two groups, you could have 10% of your list get one variation and another 10% get the second variation. Then, you can send the winning message to remaining 80% of your list.) Once you are satisfied with your settings, click Save.7. Then, to select the message you want to test, click Select a Draft on the right hand side menu.8. From there, select the message you want to use and click Select.9.You will then see the selected message added into one of your split test segments. Click Schedule to schedule your split test message.10. Schedule your message just as you would with any other Broadcast message within your AWeber account. Once your Broadcast settings are set, click Send Message Now.There you have it! Repeat these steps each time you want to send a split test message.

Email A/B Testing Inspiration and Examples

It can be tricky to identify what variable test can help you improve key metrics. Here are a few examples that can help you figure out which variables to test.

To improve your open rate…

This one is easy! To improve your open rate, you need to test different subject lines. We recommend trying a few different types of subject lines like questions, capitalization, long vs. short, subject lines with emotional value, emojis, etc.You can also test different preheaders — the preview snippet of text that is next to your subject line or below it (on mobile) in your inbox.In addition to testing subject lines, try sending the test emails at different times of day and see if that has an impact on the open rate. Your subscribers may be more inclined to open an email in the morning on their way to work or at night after dinner instead of during the middle of a workday.The better your subject line, the more likely your subscribers will open the email and read through. Having a solid subject line is like getting your foot in the door.Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?

To improve your click through rate…

Keep subscribers interested in the email by providing eye-catching, engaging content throughout. If it’s your click-through rate you want to improve, make sure you create clickable content. Consider how interactive content, information gaps (missing pieces of info that spark a reader’s curiosity), or contests could boost your in-email engagement.There are also many variables you can test to optimize for click-through rate — a strong CTA, intriguing anchor text, personalization, spacing, or bold imagery. Just remember to test one at a time to ensure you know precisely why subscribers are clicking more (or less).

To improve your reply rate…

Many marketers tend to overthink this one, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you want your subscribers to reply to your emails, ask them to!It’s that easy.Try testing a “From [your name] at [your business here]” approach, which can make an email feel like a personal note instead of an email blast. (For instance, “From Andy at AWeber” would be the sender name that appears.)  Think about it: If subscribers think they are replying to an actual person, they are more inclined to do so.You also might try testing long-form vs. short-form emails with a call-to-action that encourages subscribers to reply to the email with their thoughts, opinions, or questions.Leverage that P.S. line, too. That last line can be an opportunity to encourage conversations and replies from subscribers.

Tracking and Measuring Email A/B Testing Success

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far around email A/B testing.With so many elements to test, you might be thinking, “How can I verify that a campaign is successful or that a test yielded helpful data?”The answer: Think back to your goals. Your goals will tell you what metrics you should pay the most attention to and what you should work on improving. For example, if generating more leads from email campaigns is your goal, you’ll want to focus on metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and form fills.It’s also important to look at your metrics as a whole to see the big picture of how an email performed. Being able to track that data and refer back to it will also help you optimize future campaigns.Another question that might be top-of-mind for you: How long should you let an email A/B test run for before ending it and analyzing the results?According to Zapier, after about four to five days the effectiveness of an email dies out. They claim that if your email isn’t seeing any other significant activity after five days, it’s likely it won’t see any other activity.However, digital marketer Neil Patel recommends running your A/B test for at least two weeks with 100 subscribers to determine any statistical significance of your results — or that they aren’t due to chance. If you run your test for too short a period, you run the risk of not allowing enough subscribers to open the email.With that being said, why not test how long you run your test? If you see engagement with your emails die out after 48 hours, then you can cut the tests off around that point.Once your test has ended and as you begin analyzing your data, keep detailed notes of your findings. Ask yourself:
  • What metrics improved?
  • What elements of the email flat-out didn’t work?
  • Were there any patterns that correlated with past tests?
Maintaining records and tracking results will help guide future campaign optimizations.Put together a testing roadmap or a detailed record of what you’ve tested, the results, and what you plan on testing in the future. That way, you’ll have a detailed account of your tests and won’t leave any stone unturned in the process.

Get Started with Email A/B Testing Today

Email A/B testing is imperative to the success and optimization of any email campaign. It allows you to gain real insight that can help you make decisions about existing and future emails.Email marketing is always changing, and as subscribers’ attention spans seem to get shorter, it’s vital to know what will yield the most success.Get started today with AWeber. Our email A/B testing tool allows you to do more than just split test subject lines — you can test almost anything (calls-to-action, colors, templates, preheaders, images, copy, and more!). Give AWeber a FREE spin for 30 days. Want to learn even more about email A/B testing? Download our free guide here.

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2019 Email Marketing Statistics: We Analyzed 1,000 Emails from Today’s Top Experts

Nearly every business with an email marketing strategy wonders how to write the perfect email. They question the length of their emails. (Short or long?) They wonder how they can get more people to open their emails. (Should I capitalize my subject lines or not?) And they debate even the little things. (Emojis or no emojis?)And there isn’t a simple answer to these questions — until now.With the help of AWeber’s data scientist, we analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 of today’s top marketers. Our goal? Gather email marketing statistics that will answer these questions.The 100 experts we analyzed are the best of the best. Their email strategies engage thousands and drive millions in revenue. Many of them see unheard of results (like 80% open rates and 30% click-through rates).In this post, we answer 4 important questions: And more!

Want to skip to a specific section? Click on one of the questions above.

Email marketing statistics: Words in an email

The average email length

Of the 1,000 emails we analyzed, we found that emails have 434.48 words on average. 434 words takes approximately 3.3 minutes to read. 

Why some pros go with shorter emails

However, more than 50% of the emails we analyzed contained 300 words or less (a 2.3 minute read time). With people receiving more emails than ever before, it makes sense that experts are sending shorter emails. Email marketers need to stand out to captivate their readers. Short emails might be a good strategy for doing so.Henneke Duistermaat is the founder of Enchanting Marketing and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed. She often sends emails with less than 300 words.“Have you ever heard someone complaining they're not getting enough email?” Duistermaat said. “Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. We’re all time-starved. So, we love succinct messages that help us make a quick decision: whether to reply or not, whether to click through or not.”

Why some pros send long-form emails

Yet, 24.1% of the emails we analyzed contained 601 words or more. And 11.4% of them had more than 901 words, a read time of approximately 6.9 minutes.These experts stand out by sending long emails packed with valuable content, like Ann Handley. Handley is the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, a marketing education company, and one of the top 100 marketers we included in our research. She sends her newsletter TotalAnnarchy via AWeber every other Sunday. On average, her newsletters contain 1,838.5 words, which takes roughly 14 minutes to read.Handley said, “It's not that long-form emails are effective. Rather, what's effective is emails that have value for the people on your list. I don't set out every other Sunday with a goal of writing the longest email I possibly can. But I do have a goal of writing an authentic, valuable, fun letter to each and every subscriber on my list. I put my heart and soul into it, and that's why people respond.”Matt Kepnes, author and founder of travel blog Nomadic Matt, is also on our list of top marketers. He sends long-form emails as well. On average, they contain 802 words. Instead of linking off to posts on his blog, he includes entire articles within his emails. These messages see high open and click-through rates. “People will read longer emails if the topic is important enough," Kepnes says.

How to choose your email length

So how do you decide whether to send short or long emails? It depends on your unique business goals, according to Andy Crestodina, a top email marketer and the founder of website consulting company Orbit Media. “If your goal is simply awareness, long or short is less important. If subscribers see it, like it, and smile, you met the goal! If your goal is traffic, then give the recipient the minimum amount of information needed to decide to click. The CTR (click-through rate) is everything and more text just means more noise in their inbox.”

Email marketing statistics: Characters in a subject line

The average character count of a subject line

Email subject lines play a huge role in whether your messages get opened. In fact, 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone, according to research done by Business2Community.After researching 1,000 subject lines, we found that email subject lines have 43.85 characters on average. 82% of experts send subject lines with 60 characters or less. Which makes sense considering most desktop email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo!, only display approximately 60 characters before a subject line gets cut off.

Why you should consider using short subject lines

46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, according to research conducted by email testing service Litmus. So it’s important to consider how mobile devices affect the ideal subject line character length.Most email clients stop displaying an email subject line on mobile devices once it reaches between 33 and 43 characters. The exact number varies from one email client to another.Since they don't get cut off in the inbox, shorter subject lines may outperform longer ones. And because only 10.9% of subject lines contain 20 characters or less, it may also be an opportunity to stand out.Brian Dean, founder of SEO company Backlinko and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed, sends subject lines with an average of 15.1 characters. “After lots of testing I've found that short subject lines get much higher open rates,” Dean said. He believes these results are due to two factors:
  1. Short subject lines reach the inbox more frequently.
  2. Short subject lines are more mysterious.

“I used to try to outline the entire message in my subject lines. And it gave people no reason to actually open my email,” Dean says.

Email marketing statistics: Emojis in subject lines

The percentage of emails with emojis

Only 6.9% of the 1,000 email subject lines we analyzed incorporated emojis. That leaves a whopping 93.1% of subject lines without them. 

Why only 6.9% of emails contain emojis

Experts might see emojis as a risk, since they can display differently, and sometimes incorrectly, in email clients.In fact, subscribers opening emails on old computer operating systems may not see emojis at all. “Windows 7, which holds a major market share of 48.4%, offers very limited support for emojis, displaying in black and white or not at all,” email testing company Litmus says in its research on emoji support in email.[caption id="attachment_88494" align="aligncenter" width="800"] [Image source: Litmus][/caption]

Why you should consider using emojis in your subject lines

While only 6.9% of subject lines included emojis, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact, this may mean you should test them with your own audience. It could be a huge opportunity to be unique.And emojis might actually increase open rates — as long as you use the right emoji, according to Mark Asquith, marketing expert and founder of Rebel Base Media. (Asquith is one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we included in our research.) He frequently uses the icons in his own subject lines. “A well-placed smiley, timer, or contextual emoji used alongside a well-thought-out subject line will really make your message stand out within someone's already very busy inbox,” he said.

Try a/b split testing two email subject lines — one with an emoji and one without. The results from your split test can help determine if emojis boost open rates with your own audience.

Related: How to Split Test Your Emails

Email marketing statistics: Subject line capitalization

The 3 capitalization formulas for email subject lines

To find out how top marketers use capitalization in their email subject lines, we examined the subject lines from our 100 experts to see if they relied on a particular capitalization formula.We found 3 common formulas: sentence-case capitalization (the first letter of the first word is capitalized), title-case capitalization (the first letter of every word is capitalized, except for articles like “the” and “an”), and all lowercase capitalization (every letter is lowercase).As an example, here is the same subject line with these 3 different formulas applied to it:
  1. Sentence-case: This is an email subject line
  2. Title-case: This Is an Email Subject Line
  3. All lowercase: this is an email subject line

How experts capitalize their subject lines

60% of email subject lines use sentence-case capitalization, 34% use title-case capitalization, and only 6% use all lowercase email subject lines. 

Are lowercase subject lines an underused secret?

The majority of the experts we analyzed use sentence-case capitalization. But a few experts consistently send emails with entirely lowercase subject lines, like email marketing expert Val Geisler. Geisler is a freelance consultant and writer who specializes in email marketing, and we analyzed her emails for our research.Geisler points out that people are more likely to open an email if it’s from a personal connection or friend. “If you're writing an email to a friend, are you going to title-case the subject line? Probably not. You likely won't even use sentence-case capitalization," she said.“I write my emails like I'm writing to a friend so my subject lines follow the same principles. Does it work? I'll let my ~80% open rates and ~30% click rates speak for themselves.”

How should you use these email marketing statistics?

Use these findings as a guide the next time you’re writing an email.Want to stand out? Try a strategy that most people aren’t using — like emojis in subject lines or lowercase subject lines.Want to follow a proven strategy used time and again by the experts? Use the findings in this report to follow time-tested email copy strategies used by the majority of experts.Ready to start using this data to send better emails? Sign up for your free 30-day trial of AWeber today.And to receive more research like this, subscribe to our weekly email newsletter FWD: Thinking.

About the data from this research

We analyzed 1,000 marketing emails from 100 successful businesses and entrepreneurs. While we didn't randomly select these businesses, we chose experts across multiple industries and from numerous countries.See the complete list of the 100 businesses we included in our research (and follow them!) here.

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The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder

You're not a spammer — but your emails can still land in the spam folder.And once they’re stuck there, it’s difficult to reach the inbox again.That’s why we asked AWeber’s Director of Deliverability Karen Balle to explain how you can escape the spam folder.Multi-million dollar companies seek Balle’s advice on reaching the inbox. This is the same 6-step plan she lays out for them. And now, you can use it too.

Step 1: Make sure you have permission.

It’s illegal to send emails to people who haven’t subscribed to your list. It’s also a great way to go to the spam folder.So, if your emails are going to spam, review your email lists to make sure all of your subscribers opted in to receive content from you.If you purchased one of your lists or all of your lists, delete those subscribers from your email marketing platform. They’re just hurting you. Plus, they didn’t give you permission to send them emails anyway, so they are much more likely to mark your emails as spam or not open them at all.If you’re not sure whether your lists are purchased, review subscribers to see how they joined. (You can see these details under Subscriber Management in AWeber.) Look for large lists of imported subscribers. Make sure you have a record of how you acquired these subscribers.Related: The Ugly Truth about Buying Email ListsBalle also recommends using confirmed opt-in (COI) emails for every new subscriber. A confirmed opt-in email is a message that’s automatically sent to people who fill out your sign up form. It asks them to confirm they want to join your list by clicking a link or button in the message.Internet service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo!, are more likely to deliver your emails to the inbox when you use COI emails. And on top of that, COI messages keep spam robots off your email list. Spam robots are automated computer programs designed to find sign up form code on your website and submit fake information to join your list.  (Nobody wants a robot on their list. It’s difficult to tell them apart from real subscribers. And they decrease your open and click-through rates.)Related: Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love

Step 2: Find the type of content your audience loves.

Often, your email reputation is damaged because your subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails. If your open rates are below 15% and your click-through rates are below 5%, you’re in the danger zone, says Balle.To rebuild your email reputation, you need to boost your open and click-through rates. There’s a simple way to accomplish this: Send content your audience can’t wait to open and read.Take a look at the emails you’ve sent in the past, says Balle. Are there certain messages that earned more opens and clicks? If so, you should send more content like this! Jot down a list of related (but new) content ideas for future emails.Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer EmailsYou can also ask your subscribers what kind of content they’d like to get from you. Simply send them a brief email asking what questions they have.Once you know what kind of content interests your audience, draft a few emails around those topics. We’ll use these messages in step 4!Related: 18 Tried-And-True Ways to Improve Your Email Content

Step 3: Build a segment of your most-engaged subscribers.

Using your email marketing platform, build a segment of subscribers who have clicked a link in one of your emails in the last 3 months.This is your most engaged group of subscribers. They are more likely to open and click future emails.You’ll use this segment of people to begin rebuilding your email reputation with internet service providers. With a good email reputation, more of your emails will reach the inbox!Related: How to Create a Segment in AWeber

Step 4: Send value-packed emails to your segmented audience.

For the next 2 weeks, focus on sending high-value emails to the audience you identified in step 3. Aim to send 1 to 2 emails each week. Use the messages you drafted in step 2!Make sure that your audience likes the content you’re  sending. High open and click-through rates and low spam complaints are a good indicator that they do.But fair warning: You won’t see high rates right away.When recovering from spam folder placement, your open and click-through rates will start low, according to Balle.“You want to make sure that those metrics are increasing. Many companies give up too early during this step. It will be around two weeks when you really start to see a difference,” she says.Once your open rates are above 15% and your click-through rates are above 5% with your engaged segment, start gradually increasing your segment size. Add people to your segment who clicked an email in the last 4 months.As you send emails to this larger segment, watch your open rates and your click-through rates for about a week. If they hold steady, then add people who clicked an email in the last 5 months. Watch your open rates and click-through rates again. Keep going until you’re sending to people who clicked your emails in the last 12 months.One of the biggest mistakes Balle sees is adding people to your segment too quickly. Each time you add more people to your segment, make sure you don’t increase your segment by more than 50%. For example, let's say you have a list of 10,000 engaged subscribers. When you increase your segment size, add 5,000 subscribers or less. Send for about a week. Then, add the next segment.And if you add a new segment and you can’t increase your open and click-through rates, stop adding new segments. Move on to step 5.Related: The 7 Questions Everyone Has about Email List Segmentation

Step 5: Create a re-engagement campaign for unengaged subscribers.

Now, it’s time to try to re-engage subscribers who aren’t opening and clicking your emails with a re-engagement campaign. A re-engagement campaign is a group of emails that asks people to confirm they actually want to be on your email list.For your re-engagement campaign, build a segment of people who haven’t clicked on a link in your email for the last 12 months or at the point where you could no longer increase your opens and clicks.The segment size for this re-engagement campaign should be no more than 10% the size of your newly engaged list. If it’s larger, it could sabotage the work you’ve done so far with your engaged segment. So if you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who have recently clicked a link in one of your emails, your engagement campaign should only include 1,000 people.  You may need to send multiple engagement campaigns to cover all of your less-engaged customers.Once you build your segment, send a re-engagement campaign to them. Send one email. Wait 7 days. Then, send one more. Don’t send a third. According to Balle, a third re-engagement email often ends up in the spam folder.Related: How to Win Back Subscribers with a Re-Engagement CampaignIf you have subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked an email in more than a year, you might want to consider excluding them from your re-engagement campaign. They are less likely to re-engage, and they may sabotage your re-engagement campaign by decreasing subscriber engagement.

Step 6: Delete subscribers who don’t re-engage.

If a subscriber doesn’t re-engage or hasn’t opened an email in years, it’s time to delete them. They’re just hurting your email deliverability and your bottom line.Related: How to Delete Unengaged Subscribers

Stick to the plan. Reach the inbox.

Improving your email reputation takes time and patience. But by following this plan, you can increase your chances of reaching the inbox and build a healthy email list of people who want your emails!Want to use an email marketing platform that helps more people reach the inbox? Create a free account with AWeber.

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21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write

You don’t need to write a 1,000-word blog post to have content for your next email newsletter or automated email series. In fact, you don't need to write anything at all.You can forget about writer's block and try one of these 21 creative ideas instead. They're simple, easy, and proven to work — the pros use them all the time!

1. Videos

Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%, according to one study from MarTech Advisor. To put that in perspective, if you average 1,000 clicks each email, adding a video would increase that to 4,000.If you create videos regularly, promote them in your emails. Fitness Expert Betty Rocker shares her new and popular workout videos with email marketing.Related: Your Guide to Brainstorming Creative Video Ideas

2. Podcast episodes

Have a podcast? Add it to your next email newsletter to increase downloads. Notice how Productivity Expert Michael Hyatt uses a captivating story to introduce his latest podcast episode in the email below.Did you know that subscribers can actually play and listen to your podcast episode directly from an email? With AWeber's Curate app, you can simply add your new episode to a newsletter, and the app will automatically generate the code for you.You can see this feature in action below with the Would You Rather Newsletter, a weekly message that presents "Would you rather... ?" scenarios.Related: 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

3. Quotes

People love inspiring or motivating quotes. We know, because we include a quote in many of our FWD: Thinking newsletters, and our readers love it. And many of the most successful newsletters mix quotes into their content as well, like financial newsletter Finimize with this quote from Pearl S. Buck.

Need quote inspiration? Check out BrainyQuote. It's like an encyclopedia of quotes.

4. Webinars, tutorials, and workshops

What's the #1 way to get people to register for your webinars? For us, it's email. A single email can contribute hundreds, even thousands, of registrants.Email is what other experts rely on too. Below, Joanna Wiebe, Founder of Copy Hackers, promotes her workshop with an email that explains the key takeaways subscribers will get.

Related: The Not-So-Secret Tactic to Growing Your Email Audience Really Quickly

5. Industry news or updates

You're an expert in your industry, whether that's fitness, writing, nutrition, travel, or business. Subscribers join your list to learn important information about your industry, like the latest news and updates.For example, if you're a fitness expert, this might be a brand-new meta-analysis or research study that further proves the science behind high intensity interval training.Morning Brew, a newsletter that relays the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley, adds stock market updates to the top of their emails to keep subscribers up-to-date on the market.

6. Instagram posts

Your Instagram posts don't need to stay on Instagram. Repurpose them in your next email newsletter. Your post will get more exposure, and you won't need to hope and pray that Instagram's algorithm will display it in your followers' feeds.Take a look at how Marketing Expert Gary Vaynerchuk links off to one of his popular Instagram posts in the email below.

Pro tip: You can use AWeber's Curate app to drag Instagram posts (or any content!) into your next newsletter in seconds.

7. Facebook live videos

If you create Facebook live videos, promote them in your email newsletters.More people will watch the video. (Facebook loves that.) And you can save time by reusing your social content for your email newsletter. (You love that.)Fitness and productivity expert Chalene Johnson gets thousands of people to watch her Facebook live videos. Her secret? She promotes her videos on social and in her email newsletters.

8. Tweets

The lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes. Which means your carefully-crafted Tweets gather cobwebs after only 18 short minutes. What are the chances your followers will actually be on Twitter during that brief period? I wouldn't bet your business on it.Increase the lifespan of your great Twitter content by talking about it in your next email newsletter.You can even include Tweets from other successful companies, like Brass Ring Daily — a newsletter for career, productivity, and writing advice — does below.

Related: 9 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Twitter

9. Social campaigns

Sharing social content isn't the only way to use email to get more social engagement. You can also encourage your subscribers to post about your brand on social. Ask them to share a testimonial on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Or, get them to post with a hashtag on a social platform, like travel company Topdeck does in this email.

10. Subscriber information

People love to see their name in lights. Mention subscribers in your newsletter if it's their birthday or when they take a certain action.The daily newsletter theSkimm has millions of subscribers. Yet, in every newsletter, they still call out their subscribers' birthdays and highlight people who are doing great things.

11. Pictures

Have beautiful or funny photos and an audience who would love to see them? Put them in your next newsletter.Buzzfeed has a weekly newsletter about cats (Sorry, dog people. There's not a dog newsletter . . . yet.). Readers send Buzzfeed pictures of their cats, and Buzzfeed adds them to the newsletter with a brief description.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

12.  Book recommendations

If you like to read, this tip is for you! Recommend the good books you're reading to your subscribers. If the books are relevant to them, they'll appreciate it. Plus, it's an easy newsletter content idea for you.The Brain Food Weekly Digest is a newsletter dedicated to helping you become a better version of yourself by sharing educational content. Shane Parrish, the creator of the newsletter, often shares what he's currently reading.

13. Questions and answers

Do your subscribers ask you certain questions again and again? Answer one of those common questions in your next newsletter. This will increase engagement by making your newsletter interactive.See how financial newsletter Finimize adds a question and answer to their email below.

14. Special offers or deals

If you have a limited-time or can't-miss deal, add it your newsletter so subscribers don't miss out.Liberty Travel always includes vacation deals in their popular email newsletter.

15. Events

Events, whether they're virtual or at a physical location, take a lot of preparation and effort. Make the most of all that work and fill more seats by promoting your next event in an email newsletter.Nomadic Matt, a successful travel blogger, promotes all of his Travel Meet-ups with email.

16. Stories

Calling all authors! This idea is for you. Your subscribers love to read. Share short stories, poems, or chapters from your book in your email newsletter. It's the perfect content for your bookworm audience, and can help increase your book sales or downloads.Publisher Penguin Random House sends a newsletter with one section from a short story inside. You have to read the next email to continue the story, which keeps subscribers coming back for more.

17. Tools

Great newsletters solve their audience's problems and answer their questions. That's why subscribers continue to open and read them.While educational content is an excellent way to teach your audience, it doesn't help them actually do the work to resolve their problems. Tools, on the other hand, make it easier for them to accomplish tasks.For example, we created a tool called Email Libs to help our audience write their email content in a few minutes. They just answer a few simple questions about their business, and the tool generates email content.If you know of a tool that could save your subscribers' time, whether you created it or someone else did, link off to it in your newsletter.In a recent TotalAnnarchy newsletter, MarketingProf's Chief Content Officer Ann Handley dedicates an entire section to useful tools she used that week.

 Related: 12 Free Tools to Create Jaw-Dropping Email Images

18. Plans or steps

If your subscribers would like to accomplish something and they're not sure how to do it, add a plan or detailed steps to your newsletter to show them how.Every week, Food blogger and founder of Skinnytaste Gina Homolka sends her subscribers a meal plan filled with healthy recipes. It makes her subscribers' lives easier. Instead of spending hours planning their weekly meals, they can use Gina's simple plan.

19. Trivia questions or riddles

Asking questions in your newsletter is a great way to increase engagement. Instead of simply reading your newsletter, your subscribers will interact with it.Morning Brew often includes a trivia question in their newsletters. They give the answer at the bottom of the email so subscribers have to keep reading to see it.

20. Courses

The global market for online education reached $255 billion in 2017, and it's not slowing down (according to World Economic Forum). Millions of people buy online courses in order to upgrade their knowledge and skills.Dreaming of creating your own free course for email subscribers? You don't need a course platform to do it. Just use email.Build an automated email series with 1 or 2 days between emails. Then, each email in your series can be 1 lesson of your course. The entire lesson could be within the email or you could link off to a video or landing page that hosts the lesson.Talia Wolf, conversion expert and Founder of GetUplift, promotes her email course as a lead magnet (a.k.a freebie) on her email sign up form. Once people sign up, she delivers the course lessons through a daily message.Related: How to Create Your First Email Course or Email Challenge

21. Blog posts or articles

"Wait a minute ... At the beginning, you said I didn't need to write a blog post!"You don't. Include great blog posts and articles created by other companies in your next newsletter. This is called curation, and it saves people time because they don't need to search the internet to find the content. It's delivered right to their inbox.Dave Pell writes NextDraft, a successful newsletter with thousands of subscribers. He fills each email with educational blog posts and articles.The surprising part? The majority of the articles aren't written by Pell. They're written by other people. But they're still valuable to his subscribers, which is why they keep reading.

Related: 4 Email Newsletter Ideas for Bloggers

Put these ideas to the test.

These 21 ideas prove that you can add any kind of content to your next newsletter, as long as it's valuable to your subscribers.Now that your creative juices are flowing, it's time to try these ideas out! Create a free AWeber account today and get started.

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Continue Reading 21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write