How to Use Email Marketing to Generate More Sales

Email Marketing

Email remains one of the preferred ways for business communication, which means marketing is still a highly effective way of reaching out to potential customers – perhaps among the best. However, emails can be useless and even a nuisance if not deployed correctly.

Over 293 billion emails are sent daily – that’s right, billion, and that total is expected to reach 375 billion by 2025. Some are personal, others are work-related, and many are marketing messages. That’s a lot of emails, so it’s no wonder a significant amount of them (especially from companies) go straight to people’s trash boxes without ever being opened.

Soberingly, GetResponse’s study discovered that the average email open rate for businesses across all industries was 19.7% in 2022. Still, fear not; there are ways to get your brand to stand out, boost email open and click-through rates, and ignite sales. How can you achieve this? Here are a few solutions for optimising email campaigns.

Smart Email Segmentation

According to Hubspot, 80% of businesses use email segmentation in at least its most basic form. That’s because it works; it’s estimated that around 58% of revenue stems from segmented emails, with segmented campaigns noting as much as a 760% revenue increase. But what is email segmentation? It’s an intelligent strategy in which businesses target only certain people on their email lists, with set criteria including age, gender, geographical location, website activity, and other demographics. This technique increases relevancy, targeting only the customers who find a particular email enticing, engaging, or helpful.

Consider this simple email segmentation example: a fashion brand sells menswear and womenswear. During the company’s menswear sale, it sends emails to male customers on its email subscription list but not female subscribers. Why? For the most part, female customers will be less interested in menswear and thus won’t respond as well to the email campaign.

Overall, thanks to greater relevancy, statistics support that fine-tuned email segmentation improves open and click rates and decreases unsubscribe rates. This approach also ensures customers receive tailored, more personalised content to which they can relate and enjoy. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses; there’s a limit to its success. Hubspot found that 78% of customers unsubscribe from email lists when brands have been too enthusiastic and numerous with their emails. That means don’t spam the audience; talk to and engage with them – but not too much.

Subject Lines That Increase Email Open Rates

Subject lines that increase open rates are another piece of the email marketing campaign puzzle. 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line. For that to happen, it must stand out from the tsunami of marketing emails that bombard the consumer’s inbox daily. Still, easier said than done; this is an entire art form in itself.

Some of the best marketing campaigns of all time have one common denominator: they spark emotion. Humans purchase on emotion first, then logic – and brands use this behavioural trait in their marketing tactics because it works. Subject lines need to generate and appeal to people’s innate animalistic emotions to catch attention, maintain that attention, and translate it to higher email open and click-through rates – and, hopefully, sales.

Generally, the principal emotions to spark are joy, excitement, curiosity, and urgency. Trigger these feelings with a standout subject line using clever wording, and open rates (and those all-important click-throughs and sales) should see a healthy boost. Of course, instilling emotions in readers isn’t the sole strategy; this technique is useless if the subject line’s language, message, appearance and delivery aren’t up to scratch.

Here are several factors to keep in mind when creating emotive, attention-grabbing subject lines:

Short and Sweet

Consumers are busy people with shorter-than-ever attention spans. If your subject line is too long, they won’t even read it. Instead, incorporate simple, easy-to-read phrasing along with segment-oriented keywords (the keywords and terms likely to appeal to your target consumer).

“5”, not “Five”

Use digits, not words, when citing numbers. Digits are easier to read, attract immediate attention, and keep the subject liner shorter, saving valuable space.

Active, not Passive

The passive voice isn’t ideal for customer-focused, persuasive copy. It’s harder to read, wordier, and focuses on the action, not the “doer”. Instead, use the active voice, which is easier to read and focuses on the “doer”.

For instance, look at the difference between these phrases and decide which is the most powerful: “This discount code can be enjoyed for a limited time only!” (passive) vs “Enjoy this discount code for a limited time only!” (active).

Imperative to Use the Imperative

The imperative tense gives instructions – or, in a business sense, delivers a call-to-action (CTA). It also uses the active voice – even better. Using clear, snappy CTAs in the subject line (and within the email body) in the imperative, active voice instantly grabs the reader’s attention and tempts them into obeying the instructions. For example: “Check out our brand-new shoe range now!”

Go Easy on the Emojis (and Humour)

People love emojis; they’re bright, decorative, engaging, and command instant attention. Yet, too many make an email subject too crowded and spammy-looking. When used sparingly and in context, emojis do add value – but only incorporate them if needed. The same goes for humour; while comedic flair is excellent in marketing, it could have undesired effects if the joke falls flat – or worse if it’s offensive.

The Key to Writing Marketing Emails

The same rules listed above apply to the content within an email. Keeping it short, snappy and sweet, using active and imperative grammatical tenses, sparking emotion, utilising digits as numbers, and careful use of emojis and comedy must also be applied to in-email copy. However, this part is the meat of the campaign. The subject line initially catches customers’ attention, but the content within keeps it (and translates it to sales).

In order to achieve better sales from emails, it’s essential to do all of the above – while being informative and creative. Recipients want to learn something from your message while seeing your offering in action (compelling images and videos, for example). Most of all, though, they want to know what’s in it for them if they follow through with the CTA; they want an incentive. Is it a special offer? A new product? A discount code? Free shipping? A giveaway/­competition? Or an exclusive sneak peek at a new range? Whatever it is, they need to know – loud and clear – and they want to know how opening your email and fulfilling your CTA benefits them. So, tell them!


Sure, there’s no one-size-fits-all secret formula for a winning email campaign. It depends on various factors, including the context, call-to-actions and the segmented audience. Typically, though, all the aspects mentioned above combine to create straigh­tforward, emotion-instilling, attention-catching, targeted emails that engage the audience. The result after that? Boosted open email rates, improved click-through rates, and, most importantly, soaring sales.

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