17 Email Marketing Hacks You Might Be Missing

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Email marketing is one of the most popular ways to engage with your leads, serve them valuable content, and eventually, convert them into customers. While people expect emails and still actively subscribe to numerous lists every month, getting them to open your email and engage with your content can be challenging. 

17 Email Marketing Hacks You’re Missing

According to a report from The Radicati Group, people receive an average of 96 emails per day. Talk about competition when you’re sending an email! 

In order to compete with the other 90 emails flying into someone’s inbox each day, you need an attention-grabbing strategy that provides subscribers with value and entices them to continue opening your emails. Here are 17 email hacks to implement into your email marketing plan.

Email Copy

1. Manage Expectations

When someone subscribes to your email list, one of the first things you should do in the first email is manage their expectations. 

Let them know the type of content they can expect to receive from you, along with how often you’ll be showing up in their inbox. Not only does this help to build up the trust-factor with your brand, but it also allows people to anticipate emails from you.

2. Create Scannable Content

Long paragraphs of text come across as cumbersome to read, and they can immediately turn people off from reading your email entirely (especially on mobile devices). When someone chooses to open up your email, make it easy for them to scan it and pick out important pieces of content. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Include bullet points
  • Bold important words or phrases
  • Use different size fonts create headers or make certain words stand out
  • Include images to break up walls of text
Sample of a scannable email copy

3. Make It Simple to Unsubscribe

You might be thinking, “Why would I want to make it easy for someone to opt out of my emails?” It might sound counterintuitive growing your email list, but it can actually help make your email marketing more successful overall. 

If someone wants to stop hearing from you but you hide the unsubscribe link, make it challenging for someone to find, or don’t include one at all (which most email marketing providers will not allow you to do), it increases your chances of someone marking your email as spam instead.

Sample of a good unsubscribe email copy

The average unsubscribe rate is about 2% across industries. Instead of unsubscribing, if 2% of people marked your email as spam every time you sent out an email blast, it could really start to affect the overall deliverability of your emails. So, while you don’t need to encourage people to unsubscribe, make sure that this link is easy to find.

4. Remind People How They Subscribed

People sign up for free content, newsletters, and buy products that require an email address constantly. While they might initially subscribe to your email list for an intentional reason, within a few months, it’s likely that they probably have forgotten why exactly they’re receiving emails from you. 

When people forget why they’re getting emails from a company (or worse, question the type of content they’re receiving), it can cause them to delete your emails or unsubscribe. To reduce this from happening, make it a point to remind people of why they originally subscribed to your content. 

5. Add Personalized Content

The #1 way to keep people engaged with your emails is by personalizing the copy for each individual person reading it. This can also be one of the most complicated things to do in emaili creation for two main reasons:

  • It requires you to plan ahead (how can you include someone’s first name in the email if you don’t already have it)?
  • You need to strategically figure out how to personalize emails without manually crafting each one. 

In order to personalize emails, you need to first gather information about each person on your email list. This is typically done by having people fill out various forms fields as they sign up for marketing content and freebies on your site. 

A common way to personalize the email is by including a first name in it, but if you really want to stand out, extreme personalization is what you need to be focusing on. Here are some additional data points you can use to help personalize emails:

  • Mentioning resources or products they have downloaded from you in the past
  • Sharing location or region-specific ideas
  • Recommending a product based on their occupation

Once you’ve gathered personalized details that can be used in emails, you then need to implement it. Depending on the email platform you utilize, adding in this personalized information might be done through Dynamic Content or Smart Fields, which you would then insert into your emails. 

If this sounds complicated, let us help! Email marketing is one of our specialties.

6. Be Human

At 201 Creative, we see this component of email marketing getting missed a lot. Oftentimes, brands try so hard to remain professional that they forget to add any sort of human element into their emails. This results in emails sounding somewhat robotic. 

If you’re creating an email workflow, take time in the first email of the series to introduce yourself. Let recipients know who is writing to them, and don’t be afraid to show some of your personality within the copy. Here are some ways you can humanize your emails:

  • Add your signature at the end of the email
  • Include a photo of yourself at the bottom by your signature
  • Share personal details about yourself. For example, if you start every morning with a cup of coffee and the Wall Street Journal, lean into that! Tie it in to some of the content you plan to share.
Sample copy of how to humanize your emails

7. Personalize Who Emails Are From

Staying on the theme of personalization, personalize who your emails are from. People relate more to people, so take this into consideration when figuring out your sender information. Even if the email address you’re sending from is generic (such as info@ or support@), make sure the “From Name” is actually a person, rather than a department or generic phrase. 

Additionally, this sends trust signals to email platforms, allowing your emails to have a better chance of ending up in the main inbox rather than promotional tabs or spam folders.  

If you’re concerned about recipients not recognizing your name (and thus, ignoring the email), include your name and company as the sender name. For example, at 201 Creative, we could send an email from “Jared Bauman at 201 Creative” so that people immediately know which company the email is from. 

8. Ask For Replies… and Actually Reply Back

Personalization is a key component of increasing engagement on emails, and if you want to increase this even more, actively encourage people to reply to your emails. Ask them a question that requires them to reply, and in the email, tell them that you will personally reply to them. 

The key to making this successful? Replying, and replying fast.

Email list subscribers will likely be skeptical if you’ll actually reply or not, so take this to the next level by replying within 24 hours (or faster if you can). 

Sample copy that encourages replies to its visitors

9. Connect Emails Together

When creating an email funnel, a strong way to encourage people to continue opening email from you is by connecting them together. What do we mean by this?

Certain TV shows are great examples of this. One format for a series is called serial, which is where each episode of the TV series builds upon the previous episode and helps to progress the overall plot of the show. The episodes will often leave you with a cliffhanger, enticing you to tune in next week to see what happens.

This same concept can be done with emails, especially if you build out an entire email funnel or workflow that someone receives. Throughout your emails, build upon ideas to encourage subscribers to continuously open the next email in the series to learn more from you. 

Tease upcoming ideas that you’ll share in future emails. Also try referring back to past emails to encourage people to go back and read an email they might not have previously opened. 

This email marketing strategy can be very effective in creating strong open rates and click through rates; however, it does take time to strategically set up and implement.

Subject Lines

10. Personalize Subject Lines

We’ve talked about personalization within the email, but in order for someone to even see that personalization, they need to first click on your email. Double down on the personalization by first using it within a subject line. 

If you know your subscribers’ names, use them in the subject line. People are attracted to seeing their own name, so this instantly helps increase the chances of them opening up your email. 

Sample copy of how to personalize your subject lines

11. Use Emojis

When emojis first became available to use in subject lines, there was concern that using them would increase your chances of ending up in spam folders. That has now changed. Emojis are widely accepted in subject lines, and the colorful icons can help your email stand out in a sea of black text in the inbox. 

Sample copy of using emojis in subject lines

In addition to helping your email stand out, emojis add a touch of fun and creativity to your subject lines. As you add in emojis, think through who your target market is that will be reading your emails to determine how heavily to rely on the emoticons.

12. Avoid Common Phrases

33% of people determine if they are going to open up an email based on the subject line. If your subject line blends in with the other unread emails sitting in an inbox, there’s a good chance your email is going to go unread. When crafting your subject lines, avoid common sayings and phrases you’ve seen over and over.  

13. Use FOMO

Reading a subject line that causes the fear of missing out, or FOMO, can make you instantly feel left behind if you don’t take action. Using FOMO in your email titles creates a sense of urgency in readers, and it can also create curiosity if they’re not entirely sure what the subject line is fully alluding to. Here are some examples of subject lines that use FOMO:

  • Only 3 seats left
  • 10 hours until the doors close
  • What are you waiting for?

As you come up with subject lines using this method, be careful to avoid spammy words that could trigger spam filters!

Sending Tips

14. Resend to the Unopens

After a certain period of time, if someone does not open your email, there’s a good chance it will remain unopened. Just because someone doesn’t open your email doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you. Maybe you emailed at a bad time, or perhaps your subject line was weak. 

Rather than wasting what could be a perfectly good email, take this as an opportunity to re-send it! Since they did not open your first email, they don’t know the email copy within it. Change the subject line, adjust your send time, and re-send them the same email. Doing this can give you more insights into subject lines your audience is drawn to to help improve future sends.

15. Make It Mobile Friendly

If your emails are not mobile friendly, this is the #1 thing you need to fix immediately. Over 61% of emails are opened on mobile devices, and if someone opens your email and it’s not displaying properly, they will likely delete it within 3 seconds

So, all of the hard work you did to personalize the email would be wasted, all because you chose not to ensure the email was created on a mobile friendly email template. We can’t stress this enough – make sure your emails look good on mobile devices.

Sample of a mobile responsive designed email

16. Segment Your List

Just because someone signs up to be part of your email list does not mean that they need to hear from you every time you have an email to send. By strategically segmenting your email list, you can tailor content to those recipients, along with dramatically increasing your click through rate

Look for different triggers and data points that you can segment your list by. Rather than sending your entire list a generic email series of 10 emails, increase your engagement by segmenting your list into 3-5 specific groups. 

From there, create 10 unique emails for each of those segments. While this means you need to create more emails (in the case of our example, 30-50 emails), it allows you to market better to your subscribers and serve them content they are actually interested in. 

Segmentation is also an excellent way to re-engage inactive subscribers that are taking up space on your email list. By segmenting by engagement, you can send out a targeted campaign to users who have not engaged with your content in the last 6-12 months to determine if they should be cleaned from your list.

17. Run A/B Tests

The worst thing you can do with email marketing is to create an email and then never test, analyze the results, or optimize it. As a company, we believe that A/B testing is the best way to determine what is actually working and what can be improved within your email workflows. 

It’s crucial that you execute these tests properly though, otherwise you could generate false results and end up changing a part of your email that was actually working well.


Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool that can help you connect with leads on a personal level, especially when you harness various personalization techniques. Whether you decide to work on optimizing your copy, personalizing your subject lines, or create emails that are more mobile responsive, focus on an area of your email marketing to improve to generate more engagement. 

Photo of author

Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman is the Co-Founder of 201 Creative, and is a 20+ year entrepreneur who has started and sold several companies. He is the host of the popular Niche Pursuits podcast and a contributing author to Search Engine Land.