How do you maximise your email marketing ROI?

Email marketing should be a part of your overall marketing strategy and fit like a piece of a puzzle. It’s a powerful marketing channel that promotes your products or services directly to your customers, all while supporting your brand awareness, increasing lead generation, and even helping to convert those all-important sales.

But are you seeing those kinds of returns on investment from your email marketing efforts?

Fear not, because this article will show you how as we’ll cover:

  • How to be GDPR compliant
  • Email marketing strategy
  • What engaging content looks like
  • The importance of testing and checking before sending
  • Ways to really get to know your audience
  • Understanding the data and metrics

If you find this article helpful, why not download it as a handy e-guide?

Let us take a guess at your email marketing strategy right now…

You’re probably sending a newsletter to your whole database once a month, right?

And you get little to no responses.

Do you also have a “sign up to our newsletter” form on your website?

But with barely any new subscribers?

And you’re thinking, “what is the point?”

Well, the point is, email marketing can generate an average 42:1 ROI when done right.

That’s £42 for every £1 you spend.

Would you swap £1 for £42? Thought so.

that would be great money meme

Here is how you can generate that kind of return on investment and improve your email marketing strategy.

Ensure you are GDPR compliant

Remember in May 2018 when new rules on how we collect, and process personal data came into effect?

It was a scary time, particularly for small businesses, as regulators had the power to fine businesses that weren’t GDPR compliant. Even Google faced a fine of £44m in 2019.

Ensuring you are GDPR compliant is the first step to sending successful emails. If you’re not, not only are your audience going to be unhappy when they receive an email they didn’t agree to receive, but your reputation might be on the line if you get caught out too.

It’s good to know that making a successful ROI was consensual, therefore it’s important to understand how to be GDPR compliant when getting consent to send people emails.

To create an engaged audience, you need to make sure the contacts you are sending the emails to know that you are going to be sending them emails.

If they haven’t given you consent, don’t assume it’s a yes. No means no, but no consent means no too.

You also need your audience to consent to how you are going to use their data. Communicating this correctly is just as important as getting consent, and you can do this in the form of terms and conditions, privacy policies, and cookie management tools.

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: for consent to be GDPR compliant, a customer must confirm their consent. For example, a customer confirming their consent might look like them actively ticking an unchecked opt-inbox.

Actively and unchecked are in bold there because the customer needs to do this themselves. A pre-checked box is assuming that the customer gives consent and assuming make an ass out of you and me.

Well, more so you in this scenario but, you get the idea.

Nicholas Cage meme about assuming

Prepare your email marketing strategy

Your email strategy is the steps you take to make sure you are on the right path to achieving that mouth-watering ROI. It’s a plan you put together to ensure you achieve your goals.

But, what is your goal?

Ask yourself, what is the point in sending these emails? What do you want to gain from it?

  • Is it to generate new leads? E.g., sending emails to a database that haven’t bought from you yet.
  • Is it to convert old business? E.g., getting in contact with old customers to come back and use your services again.
  • Is it to build better relationships? E.g., retain current clients so they never break up with you.
  • Is it as part of a particular campaign to build brand awareness? E.g., attracting new customers from a specific message.

Understanding what you want to get out of email marketing will curate the content you include, the tone of voice, and messaging in the emails.

Clear call to actions

Knowing your intentions behind your email marketing efforts will make it easier to decide on what you want your customers to do and include some unmissable calls to action.

But what is a call to action?

Well, a call to action in an email is something that induces a reader to perform a specific act/take instruction, typically in the style of a button or a link. They might look like:

  • “Read more” when giving an excerpt to a cool new blog post on the website?
  • “Schedule a call” to entice readers to learn more about your services.
  • “Follow us” when promoting your social media profiles

Examples of calls to action you can use in email marketing

Do you see how these calls to action prompt readers to do what you want them to do? Therefore, those who are obedient, will click them and take you one step closer to that all-important ROI.

But be sure not to include too many calls to action, as it will confuse your audience by giving them too many options.

Email list size and send frequency

Size doesn’t matter here, but frequency does.

The bigger your database doesn’t mean a higher ROI, but how often you send an email can affect your ROI. (And that’s also not to say that more emails equal a larger ROI either)

You probably only send an email once a month because you don’t want to bother your customers, right?

But did you know that a more frequent email schedule could lead to a more engaged audience?

Don’t go off spamming your database with hourly emails now, because too many emails could result in a high unsubscribe rate, so, you need to find your sweet spot.

Email marketing automation

Have you ever thought about automating your email marketing?

Aside from sending a monthly newsletter manually, you can streamline your marketing efforts by automating the process for a more personalised experience for your customers.

For example, you can create a workflow that will feed contacts through a series of emails depending on their interactions, i.e., whether they opened, clicked, what they clicked on, filling out a form, watching a video, etc.

A great example of a brand that utilises marketing so well is Pets at Home. Liv receives their emails as she signed up to their VIP club for her pup, Stanley.

Pets at Home image banner in an email marketing campaign

Pets at Home send Liv and their over 6 million database, personalised emails based on these properties including:

  • Food that would be appropriate for their pet’s breed
  • Toys and specific advice that would be appropriate for their age
  • Appropriate training tips
  • Celebrations for birthdays and milestones

The personalisation was so effective that it made Liv more confident to purchase from Pets at Home. And that’s not just Liv. Pets at Home sales increased by 23% year on year, growing their database by 1.5 million members in just one year and driving just less than £50m in revenue.

We think Pets at Home are maximising their email marketing ROI, don’t you? Well, best believe it because they won Marketing Week’s Masters Awards in 2019.

The power of marketing automation is worthy of a whole other blog post. Keep checking back on your “Thoughts” so you don’t miss it when we publish it.

Create engaging content

But, what does that really mean? You see the word “engaging” all the time, but no one actually tells you what engaging means.

First of all, let’s get honest and admit: no one cares about your products.

We see the confused look on your face here, but it’s true. When you talk about your products and services, people switch off because they don’t want to be sold to. They want to be entertained, educated, related to, inspired and engaged.

And that’s why at RedSprout, we have a theory. An EERIE theory…

Your content should hit at least 3 out of 5 of these:

EERIE infographic to explain content in email marketing

Here’s how you can create EERIE content in an email…

Strong subject lines

64% of people make a decision to open emails based on subject lines so the stronger your subject line the higher your open rate. More people opening your emails means a more engaged audience too.

But, what does a strong subject look like?

  • Personalised subject lines e.g. first names, locations, birthdays etc
  • Emojis can increase the effectiveness of marketing by 70% but only use one in the subject line.
  • Up to 40 characters
  • Include a sense of urgency and/or exclusivity

Preview text

Preview text is the writing you see underneath the subject line when it’s in your inbox and should be a summary of the content in your email. Keep it to about 35-40 characters and no longer than 90 at the very most, considering all mobile users.

The preview text gives you the opportunity to support the subject line and encourage even more opens to read the email and not just delete it immediately.

Like the subject line, you can include personalisation to help it stand out in the readers inbox, as well as using emoji’s too. Strong action words can compel recipients to open your email right away, so you can create a sense of urgency, similar to writing a call to action.

Never forget to write the preview text!

Include multi-media

Paragraphs and paragraphs of words are BORING! Imagine if this blog post had no pictures?

Be sure to include pictures, videos and even GIFs that are relevant to your copy. This way your readers will stay engaged while reading the email.

Dog typing on laptop while creating an email marketing strategy

Don’t forget the call to action

A call to action will increase your click-through rate (the percentage of people who opened your email and clicked on something in the email).

Scroll back up if you need reminding what a call to action is.

Remember: test and check

A common mistake is assuming your email is perfect and sending it without testing or checking.

We’re human. No one is perfect 100% of the time.

That’s why it’s so important to check the content in your emails before pressing send because once you press send, you can’t unsend!

Send test emails to yourself

A simple way of avoiding any silly mistakes is by sending a test email to yourself. You’ll be able to see what the email looks like in your inbox and not just on your ESP’s (email service providers) platform.

Here are a few things you might want to double-check:

  • Do all the links in the email work and go to the right destination?
  • Is the send from name and send email address correct?
  • Are there any spelling errors?
  • Is it optimised for both mobile and desktop?
  • Are you sending it to the right email list?

Get your emails proofread

When you’re stuck in a project and you’ve been looking at the same thing for hours, it’s easy to miss common mistakes. Look at your content with fresh eyes by leaving a period of time in between sending.

Even better, having another pair of eyes look over your email before you press send is a great way to ensure you haven’t missed any errors.

Their list of amendments will prevent your audience from picking up the mistakes and take you seriously because your content is 100% accurate.

A/B testing

If you’re looking to try out a new format or style of email, a great way to test this is my A/B testing.

You can split your audience into two groups and send two different emails to see what content performed best. Did a video in one email mean the read-time was longer? Did one subject line result in a higher open rate compared to the other? Or did a different call to action increase the number of clicks on the button?

Experimenting with your content can help you understand what your audience engage with more, so you know what to include in your next email with confidence to achieve that all-important ROI.

Get to know your audience

We all assume we know what our audience wants because that’s why we started our businesses. But sometimes, that’s not the case.

Our audiences have lots of interests, motivations, and challenges beyond what we think we know. Understanding these is important to know what content to include in emails, so it’s relevant to the right audience. 


Emails that include personalisation have an 82% increase in open rate and a 75% higher click-through rate, compared to those that don’t have any personalisation.

Something as similar as including the contacts first name is an easy way to personalise an email so they feel like the message is directed to them personally. However, we all know this trick now, so personalising your email beyond their first name isn’t what is really going to impress them.

Find out some more information about them. Go back to Liv’s experience with Pets at Home and think about what data would be useful for you to know about your audience that would impress them if you included it in their content.

Is it as simple as celebrating their birthday with a discount? Or, updating them on news in their local area? Or even how long it’s been since they last got in contact.

Whatever the personalisation you choose that’s relevant to your audience, be ready for that increase in ROI.


If you don’t have much data in your CRM to personalise your emails, one way you can get it, is by including a form in your next email.

Ask your audience to offer some more information about themselves, to get to know them better and then you can use it in future emails to send them more personalised content. An easy win!

Understand the data

What do all the analytics actually mean?

Email marketing metrics can be quite confusing to understand if you’re not used to analysing data. Here’s a list of common metrics and what they mean:

  • Open rate: the percentage of contacts who opened the email from the email was delivered to
  • Click through rate: the percentages of contacts who clicked the email
  • Unsubscribe rate: the percentage of contacts who unsubscribed from your emails – basically, they no longer want to receive emails from you 😢
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of emails that bounced – contacts that didn’t receive your email because of temporary or permanent problems with their email address i.e. spelling mistakes, old email address etc.

Maximise your email marketing ROI with RedSprout

It’s safe to say that there is a lot to consider when sending email marketing. It’s not just the case of sending a monthly email newsletter and hoping for the best. There is a lot you can do to increase the ROI you are getting.

If you’re not doing all of the above or at least tried it all, it might be why you’re not getting the ROI you want. And that’s ok because now you have some cool stuff to implement into your email marketing strategy.

Not sure how?

Get in touch to see how we can help increase your ROI from email marketing. Call us on 01227 809 240

Fancy a chat?

If you’re looking for a fresh approach to your B2B marketing, give us a ring. Or an email. Or a LinkedIn message. Or a carrier pigeon. Anything but a zoom call.