Round-Up: Email Marketing, what works — the 2020 edition

Email MarketingRemember when you were a kid and you worked really hard on your science project or book report, poured your little genius self into it slavishly, knowing you were going to nail an A, maybe even an A+?

What did it feel like when that A went to the geek who sat next to you and you took home a B-?

The geek wasn’t necessarily better than you at science or book reports. It could have been that they were just better at communicating their idea, pitching their version of the project.

Email marketing is like this. We work slavishly over our articles or content, we give it our all, and finally, we rise from our chair victorious, knowing we nailed it.

Or not.

And the reasons why not may forever remain a mystery. The bottom line is, it may not be you, or your content.

Enter this month’s round-up.

The #1 reason I chose email marketing for this first round-up of the new decade was because email isn’t going anywhere and trust in social media companies is declining, according to

Nearly half of all consumers plan to delete at least one social media account in the next year and 40% of people claim to have deleted a social media account in 2017 because they didn’t trust the platform with their personal information.” (2018 Edelman Trust Barometer)

Your email list is the one list of followers you own. Social media followers, not so much.

I also wanted answers these questions:

  • How do we ensure deliverability?
  • Do plain text emails work better than html versions?
  • Is there a best time and best day to mail?
  • And what’s new in the world of email marketing that I don’t know

Despite the popularity of social platforms, email is still the most widely used, efficient, cost-effective marketing tool, and the one that has the greatest return.

According to, The average return for email marketing is approximately $38 USD for every dollar spent.”

And people can only give us that 38-to-1 return if they a.) get the email, and b.) they open and read it. In March 2019, spam messages accounted for 56% of global email traffic.

If your open rate is low, it could be the email never made it to someone’s inbox.

Or it could be that the person tags the email as spam when unsubscribing, even if they subscribed to your content. has a ridiculous amount of great content on this subject and this article, 11 Reasons Why Your Emails Go in the Spam Box (and How to Make Sure They Don’t) will give you all you need to know.

Here are the highlights

  • You didn’t get permission to mail. It’s surprising, but there are still “those people” who manually add emails to their list from business cards collected at a conference.
  • You have low engagement rates
  • Subscribers don’t remember you. Be sure your branding is consistent, your “from” address is you or your company name, and mail/engage regularly
  • Misleading subject lines. Don’t trick your readers into opening an email by making it sound like it’s from someone they know, use “Re:” if it isn’t in regards to something, or use clickbait.
  • You don’t include your physical address or P.O. Box.
  • No unsubscribe link. This will not only result in spam complaints, but you could end up being fined.

Plain text vs HTML. Which wins the deliverability battle and works best for conversion? The best discussion I found on this — and there are hundreds — was at The author, Natalie Birch zeroed in on what’s best for marketing in her article published in March of 2019. Their conclusion? There is no consensus.

Plain text is as it sounds; words only, no color, branding, or links. For some marketers it’s all they send and it’s effective. For one thing, deliverability is high. And it reminds us of letters from friends on some level, says Natalie.

With HTML though, you can bring that same message to life with images, gifs (if your audience appreciates them), and branding. Include a thumbnail of a video rather than just a link. More people will see your video. Call-to-action buttons move people more often than a hyperlink. Check out the article for the full discussion, but the bottom line is, each type has its place and most big marketers use both.

Best is one of those words like never and always; unless you can prove it, it’s best to find another word.

Which brings us to the best time to mail / best day to mail questions.

Email Results is a global, 15-year old email marketing platform and education company. They know a thing or two about email marketing, so I went to their blog to get an answer to those questions.

Tucked inside their post titled Email Marketing Best Practices for 2020, I found the answers and more. Two timeslots tend to get the best average email open rates and CTRs: 9-11am and 3-5pm. And it’s been that way for at least the last two years,” they wrote.

And, When it comes to picking the right day, it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference. As long as you stay away from the weekend, your engagement rates should be fine.”

They include this caveat, these are aggregate global results that take into account every industry we’ve identified in our customer base. Chances are, your audience will respond to campaigns sent at a different time. It depends on your market, consumer trends, and your customers’ preferences.” Start here and test your timing to see when you get the best open rates.

Trends to be aware of: has a list that makes all of the trends, data, and concepts easy to understand and implement for businesses like us, solo-prenuers or businesses with small teams. Def check out their post 30 Email Marketing Stats You Need to Know for Your 2020 Strategy. It’s well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it. Here are a few interesting tidbits:

  1. 42.3% of consumers will delete an email if it isn’t optimized for mobile.
  2. Conversion rates for emails are higher than social media, direct traffic, and search.
  3. Personalized emails can produce a transaction rate of 6x higher than those of other marketing emails.
  4. 56% of brands see higher open rates when they use emojis in their subject lines.
  5. The average marketing email contains 434.48 words and takes 3.3 minutes to read.

The one thing not covered here is the foundational piece of the marketing puzzle, who you are mailing to. I’ve covered this a few times.  Once here, which is really about clarity of message, and once here, “Stop worrying about that target market thing.”

Assuming you’ve nailed your whom, I hope this collection of expert tips will help you improve your email marketing so that you get more engagement and conversions.

Feel free to book a call for a review of your welcome email. No charge, no sales pitch.

To your success!


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