15 Actionable Email Marketing Strategies to Generate More Sales in 2021

Have an email list?

Are you maximizing the value from your prospect and customer email lists?

If not, you're leaving a lot of money on the table.

If you don't have an email list yet, you should start right away. An email list is a tremendous asset - if you know how to use it correctly.

If there is one constant that hasn't changed much in digital marketing, email marketing is one of them. While more modes of communication have opened up (such as messaging services, social media, etc.), email maintains a reliable way to reach potential customers and be a stable source of revenue generation for those companies that know how to leverage the power in your subscriber list.

By the end of 2022, Statista estimates that there will be 4.2 billion email users.

What that means is that out of the more than 293 billion emails sent every day, how do you stand out in the vast ocean of emails that threaten to swallow up your message?

To differentiate yourself from the competition, you'll need explicit email marketing strategies to reach out to prospects and clients more effectively.

1. Understand the Objectives of Your Email Campaigns

Let's face it; you don't email your list for the fun of it. Your main objective of an email marketing campaign is to generate sales.

Email marketing also plays a part in the great whole of your overall digital marketing strategy.

To generate sales, however, you need to build a relationship with your subscribers. As in sales, people buy from people they know, like, and trust.

If your prospects and customers see that all you care about is extracting money from them, they won't stick around very long and unsubscribe.

Therefore, you don't want to bombard your subscribers with offers in every single email you send.

To nurture this relationship, you need to provide value. The value you provide doesn't have to be expensive. It's about sharing useful, timely information your subscribers can benefit from. It may be giving your take on upcoming government regulation, a new article someone else wrote, or even your content.

2. Personalization

Write as you would speak to a friend.

Including your customer's name in the email subject line and within the email body boosts engagement by 22%.

Personalized emails also boost open rates and clickthrough rates of 29% and 41%, respectively.

That said, be natural about it. Don't insert your prospect's name in the email indiscriminately, repeating it everywhere.

Increase trust and continually nurture your leads by sending emails containing a team member's name and your company name. The more they see you, the likelihood of you being top of mind stays high.

3. Maintain Ad-Scent

If you advertised to drive leads to your landing page, be sure to stay congruent in your ad, landing page, and email follow up.

If you make an offer in your email to clickthrough to a landing page, ensure the offer and the landing page are aligned.

Email offers misaligned with landing pages fluster your prospects and customers, resulting in less than ideal outcomes.

4. Ensure It's Highly Readable

If you want your subscribers to open and read your emails, be sure to make your content readable. It should be easily skimmable so busy people can get right to the gist of what you are trying to get across.

There is some copywriting skill involved, but basically, you want to keep the sentences short, clear, and concise.

Write in the active voice.  It spurs action and sentences are more concise.

Use tools such as Hemingway Editor to check your writing.

5. Maintain Frequency and Regular Contact

If you regularly stay in touch with good friends, shouldn't you do the same with customers who help you pay your bills?

With social media, connections who don't hear from you for a long time tend to forget about you after a while.

There is no hard and fast rule for how often you'd send emails. Some people argue against sending emails out every 2-3 days, believing that it is too frequent and risks being marked as spam and getting a high unsubscribe rate.

What is true: If you don't communicate frequently enough, you risk subscribers labeling you as a spammer because they forgot why they were even on your list.

The main rule I maintain with clients: Make sure that whatever email you send out to the list is VALUABLE.

If your subscribers eagerly anticipate your emails and look forward to reading each one, is a frequency of an email every two days too often?

So it is very dependent on the relationship you have with your list.

6. Create Engaging Emails

Besides providing fantastic value each time you send an email to your subscriber list, write engaging content your readers will want to read.

Ensuring your content is opened and read regularly trains your subscribers to receive your content and improves your overall email deliverability.

While the focus should mainly be on evergreen content, do include information that impacts their decision-making or current situation. These can be legislation recently passed or to highlight current events to highlight the importance of your product or service.

Refer to our copywriting guide for tips on being engaging to your audience.

7. Segmentation

Research by MarketingSherpa indicates that segmented email raised clickthroughs by more than 50% compared to a generic email blast.

Always sign up for an email service that includes a CRM solution built in to enable segmentation. Being able to segment your list will be well worth your while.

Based on the data collected by user actions from email and your website, you'll be able to score your leads and establish a point system that determines how hot a subscriber is and how close they are to a sale.

You may segment your email list by:

  • Geography
  • Customer preferences
  • Previous purchases
  • Email opens
  • Email click-throughs
  • Downloads
  • Contest participation
  • Quiz participation

Segmentation is extremely powerful if deployed correctly. If a subscriber purchased one of your entry point offers, you don't want to continue sending an email to that subscriber promoting the same offer. By segmenting your list, you can move that contact to a segment of buyers who purchased your low-priced offer and advertise a higher-priced item or complementary offer. It would help if you had multiple segments of buyers in your list, enabling you to target the right message to the right person at the right time.

You will also know where in the customer journey your lead/customer is and promote appropriately based on the stage they are in presently.

Another powerful aspect of segmenting is segregating your list of contacts into those who opened emails and those who have not in a while. Those who haven't opened your emails for a long time should be put on a re-engagement campaign (see point #14 below).

8. Know the Right Day and Time to Send Your Emails

If you don't want your email buried under 30 other emails for the day, know when the optimal times your prospects and customers open their emails. Knowing the best days and times to send your emails means you stand a greater chance of your emails getting opened and more clickthroughs from your emails.

Your best time may vary somewhat according to your specific industry. To truly get the ideal days and times to send emails to your list, you'll need to test it.

Based on studies of billions of emails sent from multiple industries, data generally shows that Tuesday at 10 am is the best overall winner.

The best days to send emails were Tuesday and Thursday.
The best times to send emails were 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 8 pm, 10 pm, and 12 pm.

Again, check your best times using A/B testing (see point #13 below).  Start with the overall winning suggestion and work from there.

9. Create Compelling Subject Lines

Email subject lines determine whether your email gets opened. Writing great subject lines is quite different from writing headlines of a sales letter in copywriting. It still contains the qualities of a marketing hook that gets your subscriber to notice you.

Studies show that 47% of email recipients open based on the subject line of an email.

The email subject line's job is not to sell your offer; it is to sell the email open.

With so much riding on the line, it's crucial to spend some time brainstorming here. Here are some tactics that generate more interest:

Build curiosity or intrigue

Email subject lines that introduce mystery and stand out from the usual.

"Hey [NAME], it's me…open up"
"[NAME], you'll want to see this…"
"You deserve better"
"It's a secret between us"
"Face it, [NAME]"
"Big reveal today"
"We need to talk"
"I've got it"
The real secret…"
"I dare you to open"
"Check out my new hangout [PICS]"


Play the scarcity card with these subject lines.

"Hurry, offer ends soon"
"Closing down in 6 hours from now"
"It's going… going… gone (soon)"
"I don't want you to miss out"

Sarcasm or Comedic

Sometimes, you want a different take on it to jump out in the sea of subject lines.

"[NAME], I thought you were serious"
"[NAME], I can't believe you"
"Who's the genius now?"
"An octopus attached to my face"
"Eagle steals man's hat"
"It's just what I needed"
Really, [NAME]? You are clever"
"Yeah, right"
"We like being used"
"As you wish"

Question the Reader

Ask a question to spur the reader into action.

"[NAME], are you going to miss it?"
"Are you still interested?"
"Have you given up?"

One or Two-Word Subject Lines

Sometimes you don't even need to insert the customer's name. Many headlines are several words long and yours will stand out it is shorter.

"Yours Free"
"Exclusive access"
"Live now"
"Time sensitive"
"Bad news"
"I'm here"
"It's back"
"Don't forget"
"Forget something?"
"Hey you"
"Open up"

A Word of Caution

Whatever subject line you choose, make sure it's appropriate and leads into your copy seamlessly. Never use a subject line that doesn't correspond to your email copy, or you'll lose trust immediately.

10. Create Clear Calls-To-Action (CTA)

While the subject headline is to sell the email open, the CTA's job is to sell the click.

A good rule of thumb is to make only one offer per email. There are occasions where you'd present links to two (or more) different offers, but those are more of an exception.

Your emails may contain several links to articles, downloads or other content offered special to subscribers only and are there to provide value. These links don't count as CTAs but provide you with valuable insight into who opens your emails and clicks on the links within.

Create a single offer per email but present your CTA offer more than twice to make it easy for your subscriber to clickthrough to your content or offer.

11. Automate, Automate, Automate

No one wants to sit around, waiting for an alarm to go off for the time to send an email to a prospect or customer. Who has time for that?

There's a place for manually sent emails. In lead nurturing and scoring, email marketing automation is vital. When you automate, the chances of forgetting to follow up with a lead or letting a hot lead slip through the cracks is lower.

Make sure your email marketing software provides customer relationship management (CRM) functionality.

12. Keep An Eye On Your Metrics

What gets measured gets improved. A decent CRM system will provide the data vital to analyzing the results of email marketing campaigns.

Email Marketing Metrics to Track:

  • Email deliverability
  • Open rates
  • Link clickthrough rates
  • Sales conversions
  • % of inactive subscribers
  • Hard and soft email bounces
  • Preferred offers

13. A/B Testing

Reviewing metrics will not necessarily drive higher performance alone. No marketer worth their salt leaves things to chance. Continuous A/B testing and refining of email campaigns form a basis of marketing excellence.

How do you conduct A/B testing?

Harken back to school science class where you conducted experiments. A/B testing is a scientific way to collect data where you hold everything constant except for one variable. Say you wanted to test the open rates of your email. An excellent way to accomplish this test is to develop two subject lines and run them to a segmented list divided into two.

What should you test?

Everything you can!

We realize that not everyone has the time. We recommend the top elements to test in order of importance:

  • Subject lines
  • CTA offer
  • Email copy
  • Email sending times
  • Same offers to different segments

The most important ones to test are the top three elements. As time permits, you should test the other elements as well.

After testing, always review the results of the campaign and refine your tactics accordingly.

14. Re-Engage Your Inactive Subscribers

To improve email deliverability rates, be sure to engage your subscribers continuously. If you find subscribers being inactive for extended periods (it also depends on your email frequency), be sure to take immediate corrective action to re-engage your inactive subscribers.

We mentioned earlier about the importance of email deliverability affecting your email marketing campaign over time. If you ignore your inactive subscribers and continue to email them as part of a whole, you'll likely see your email deliverability drop over time.

Inactive subscribers could have changed email, or they could have lost interest in what you offer. Continuing to market to them without regard for whether they open any of your emails risks your emails being marked as spam by ISPs and email software.

15. Train the Click

I've saved the best for last.

Want to know a powerful yet little known secret in email marketing?

This secret is perhaps one of the most powerful strategies for maintaining a healthy email list. Next to re-engaging inactive subscribers, these two strategies are often overlooked by most email marketers.

A mistake I often see in marketing campaigns is content that doesn't actively engage subscribers.

Here's what I mean.

If you offered a download on your landing page which requires an opt-in to build your list or segment your subscriber list, don't provide the link to the download immediately after they enter their contact details. While it is more convenient for the subscriber to receive the information right away, you want to make sure they double opt-in if not already a subscriber. If they are an existing subscriber, you want them to anticipate the email containing the download link and click the link inside.

There's a good reason for doing this. When your subscribers click on the link contained within the email, it sends positive signals to the ISP as well as email software that the email the subscriber received is not spam.


We covered some powerful and actionable strategies that any business can use to maximize the value of their business email list.

If you are a business owner, you need a reliable system that nurtures leads, keeps your business at the top of your customer's minds, and maximizes profits with little effort.

It's time to take action and develop your automated marketing machine that churns out qualified prospects and sales for your company.

As you can see from the above strategies, email marketing is a highly specialized activity that many business owners don't have the time to develop to its full potential.  We help to` map the entire automation flow according to the customer journey, build email sequences, and recommended CTAs - all in a fully integrated email marketing system.


About the Author: Anthony Yap is an expert conversion funnel marketer who specializes in creating email marketing automation. Contact us to build your email marketing automation campaign to boost your business bottom line.

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15 Actionable Email Marketing Strategies to Generate More Sales in 2021

time to read: 10 min