How to “2020-Proof” your email marketing

November 17, 2020

Email Marketing has always been one of the most cost-effective digital strategies to drive leads, but the “new normal” we’re all dealing with in 2020 has changed the rules of the inbox. 

If you play by these new rules, you have a tremendous opportunity to connect with new prospects and convert them to devoted customers. If you ignore them, your audience will ignore you right back, and you’ll be left with a bone-dry sales funnel. 

You have to be mindful that your prospects and customers have been forced to make some major changes in their day-to-day business and personal routines. In response, many brands have turned to a “spray and pray” approach and bombarded their lists with impersonal and overly salesy emails.

As a result, our collective unsubscribe trigger fingers have never been itchier. Why is this a problem? 

Because email marketing delivers a 3,800% ROI (that’s 38 bucks for every dollar spent)!

With that in mind, you can’t afford to miss on your email marketing. Follow these tips to make sure your email marketing won’t get “2020-ed” in the new year and fill up your inbox with high-quality leads.

Here’s how to deliver better results with email marketing.

1. Make it Personal

One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make with email marketing with regard to 2020 is that they all sound the same. Any of these regurgitated lines ring a bell?

  • “In these uncertain/unprecedented times”
  • “We’re in this together”
  • “Now more than ever”

Here’s a cliche supercut in case you forgot. 

When you’re fighting for attention in someone’s inbox, you’re going to lose every time if you sound like everyone else. How can you stand out? Personalization.

You should be personalizing everything you can in your emails, from the subject line, to the recipient’s name, company, products or services they’re interested in; anything that you have that shows that they’re more than just an email address in your database. It really works!

I get emails from companies that reference where I went to college because they snooped on my LinkedIn account, or pull out tidbits from my website bio page. 

This is the kind of stuff that stands out, and (*cue the somber piano music*) now more than ever, in these unprecedented times, we need to come together and personalize our emails. 😉

Seriously though, instead of focusing on building your email send counts, focus on building real relationships with the people on the other end of your messages and your funnel will fill up. 

Bonus tip: Use an email marketing tool like SharpSpring that makes personalization a breeze with super-slick automations. 

Email Personalization with SharpSpring

2. Spice it up with some moving parts

We’re huge fans of video marketing here at BroadBased, and when you add it to your email marketing, the results speak for themselves: 

  • Open rates increase by 19%
  • Click-through rates are boosted by 65%
  • Unsubscribes are decreased by 26%

* Campaign Monitor

It’s a no brainer, and easy to implement. 

Just include an animated gif graphic with a “play” button in the middle, and Voilà, click-through rates skyrocket. 

Here’s an example: 

Remember, when you send someone an email, you’re asking them to make an investment of their time. Make it pay off with something dynamic that they can’t resist clicking on. 

We’ve seen this be effective with video previews like the example above, as well as countdown clocks, live demos of a user interface in action, and basically any image that looks cool while it’s moving

Static stock images are boring, show them something interesting in an interesting way to get them interested in you. 

Here’s how you do it: Make sure you’re tracking every click in your emails and scoring your leads with your CRM tool.

SharpSpring’s Lead Scoring Platform

3. Add unique value and ask for nothing in return

Email marketing works so well because it’s a direct link to your target audience that gives you the best shot at getting them to do whatever it is you want them to do. 

It reaches 85% of the people you send it to, compare that to social media where the engagement rate isn’t even 0.6%. Meanwhile, email’s average open rate is 22.86% and even its click-through rate of 3.71%.

So now that we know that we have a great shot at reaching the right people, it all comes down to getting them to take action. 

If you’re a B2B services company, you may want your recipient to schedule a sales meeting with you. 

For an e-commerce site, you probably want them to take out their credit card and buy something. 

But when you think about both of these actions, it’s safe to assume that people aren’t willing to do them every time you email them.

That’s where showcasing your unique value comes in. You have to give them information and content that no one else can. 

It’s why so many companies are integrating podcasts and video series into their marketing mix. It allows you to position your product or service in a unique way that focuses on what they’ll get, not what they’ll have to do to get it. 

When your marketing emails show people exactly how you’ll help them, they’ll be a lot more eager to take the next step. 

  • Want them to book a meeting with you? Show them how much you helped the last company that booked a meeting with you solve their biggest pain point.
  • Want them to buy a product? Show the product in action, and answer the most frequently asked questions. 

When you do it right, you’re basically selling without having to sell. 

These days, you’re fighting harder for your audience’s attention, and if your competition is being pushy and you’re being helpful, there’s a much higher chance you’ll win. 

Take the time to pack your emails full of value to stand out and convert more leads.

Check this out: Here’s how to track every page that a person visits after they click your emails:

Bonus Tips

These are some best practices that you should always follow with email marketing. The examples above are more relevant to your recipient’s current state of mind, but it never hurts to go back to the basics to make sure you get the best possible result.

  • In your subject lines, avoid words and phrases like “Free” and “Act/Apply/Buy/Call now”, and be careful using exclamation points. They’re one-way tickets to the Spam filter
  • Check for typos, once you make one, your credibility goes out the window and theres no turnign back (those last 2 were intentional to prove my point!)
  • Test everything, from subject lines to body content to call-to-actions, it takes out the guesswork and drives more leads

Final Thoughts

The only thing that won’t change about email marketing is how effective it is. The key to maintaining success comes down to knowing your audience and engaging with them on their terms, not yours. Give them what they want, and you’ll get the results you want.

It’s also important to make sure you have the best tool for the job, and in case you couldn’t tell, we’re huge fans of SharpSpring, an email marketing tool on steroids. 

We’ve included some examples of it in action in this post, and have done a full webinar with their team that you can check out here

If you have any questions about how it works or would like more info on what it would look like to use for your email marketing campaigns, get in touch to see a demo

Chris Ramaglia

Chris Ramaglia


Chris Ramaglia leads our digital strategies at the agency. He has more than 17 years' experience with online lead generation, holds nine digital marketing certifications, and has a borderline obsession with helping our clients smash their new business goals.