18 Strategies to improve your email marketing conversions

You’ve heard the stories. Email marketing is supposed to drive some of the highest ROI among all types of digital marketing. You’ve heard the “email marketing drives $44 for every dollar you spend” cliché statistic.

You know the magic is supposed to happen—but why aren’t your numbers reflecting that? How can you improve your conversion rate?

To be honest, you truly need to stay 100% on top of your game to maximize your email conversions. 

Your customers’ trends and expectations change over time. If you don’t keep up and evolve your techniques, they’ll notice that your marketing efforts are stagnant, and they won’t engage with your emails.

Don’t worry. By taking advantage of the recommendations below, you can improve your conversions.

Let’s be realistic: your conversions may not change drastically overnight. 

Sure, if you roll out a stunning set of optimized campaigns based on the tips below, it could definitely happen—but give yourself (and your subscribers) some time. 

Implement the strategies below, and you’ll see your conversions slowly creep up to where you want them. 

Remember that the goal is to provide your subscribers with valuable, useful, and interesting content. Find new ways to improve their lives and solve their problems and they’ll have no problem spending money with your brand.


Automation is one of the best strategies for improving your conversion rate because it provides so many opportunities to provide your subscribers with content they’ll absolutely love.

1. Unique customer journeys

Email campaigns based on triggered events produce 624% higher conversions than standard emails. Create a unique customer journey that introduces a new subscriber to your brand with a series of specially timed emails.

Here’s an example of how a customer journey works with Emma.

Source: Emma

2. Birthdays

Birthday emails tend to have 481% higher transaction rates and generate 342% more revenue than standard email campaigns. Who doesn’t love to treat themselves on their birthday?

3. Transactional emails

Transactional emails generate 6x more revenue than other emails. Think about it: when you make a purchase, you almost always open your transaction emails, right? Take advantage of this open rate by optimizing your automated transactional emails.

4. Welcome emails

Welcome emails have a stunning average open rate of 50% and improve long-term engagement by 33%. Keeping your subscribers engaged is crucial for meeting their needs and improving conversions.

This email from Selina introduces the subscriber to their brand values, uses conversational copy, and has bright CTA buttons for engagement potential.

Source: Really Good Emails


Yes, it’s important to use your subscriber’s real name as much as possible, but you can personalize so much more and enjoy 6x higher transaction rates.

1. Buyer behavior

According to research from Adobe, 67% of customers expect brands to use information about them to provide personalized offers and content and nearly half will get annoyed when brands send generic advertisements.

Using your subscribers’ behavior such as browsing history and page traffic can help you provide the most relevant content possible. If your emails promote products they’ve viewed, they’re more likely to take action.

This email from Thrive Market contains a product that the subscriber likely viewed on their browser, along with some related, suggested products.

Source: Milled

2. Geolocation

Eighty percent of people are more likely to do business with a brand that provides personalized content. Personalizing emails based on location is an easy way to get started.

3. Where they signed up for your list

Keep track of where your subscribers gave you their email address: a specific landing page, blog post, eBook, etc. This will help you understand their interests so you can provide content and products that they’ll love.

4. Engagement (or lack thereof)

Segment your list into groups based on engagement: who opens and clicks your emails the most and the least? When you identify your biggest fans, you can put more effort into personalizing their campaign experience and enjoy higher conversion rates.

Mobile optimization

More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices and if they don’t render properly, more than 70% of people will delete them in less than three seconds.

As mobile use rose, conversion rates did as well. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your emails always look amazing on every device.

1. Email clients

As of March 2019, Gmail and Apple iPhone take the bulk of the email market share at 54% between them—26% and 28% respectively. To avoid blunders, use responsive email design that looks great on every email client.

Which email clients do people use the most?

Source: Email Client Market Share

2. Devices

Devices matter too. Do your subscribers open Gmail on their laptop or smartphone app? Keep in mind that popular smartphones vary by country. 

In the US, iPhone still reigns supreme, but in places like the Middle East and Asia, plenty of people opt for the more affordable and accessible Huawei devices. In India, consumers largely prefer Xiaomi.

Use consistent user-friendly design.

It’s important to make it easy for your subscribers to engage with your email if you want them to take action. If links are too small and buttons are difficult to click, readers will get frustrated and go somewhere else. 

1. CTA buttons

According to research from Campaign Monitor, a CTA button can produce 28% more conversions than a simple hyperlink—but be mindful with your design. Research group https://www.nngroup.com/articles/get-started/ found that people don’t like ambiguous CTA buttons with messages like “Get Started.” They’re more likely to take action when a link clearly states exactly what’s on the other end.

Note the user-friendly design in this email from Sephora.

Source: Campaign Monitor

2. Font and colors

You want email content that’s easy for your subscribers to read on any device and browser. Remember that if your email doesn’t look right, most subscribers will delete it right away and may even unsubscribe, so there’s no possibility they will convert. Try to use web safe fonts and colors that are easy on the eyes.

3. Branding 

Consistency is crucial for building trust in your brand and nurturing leads into customers. Keep your brand logo, colors, and voice consistent throughout every campaign you send.

4. Accessibility 

Keep special accessibility needs in mind when you design your emails. Make your emails readable for everyone including those with autism, color blindness, vision impairments, dyslexia, and other conditions. 

If you run a men’s health website, for example, and choose green and orange contrasting image colors, a large portion of your subscribers may not be able to see it properly since about 8% of men are color blind.

Be conversational and polite.

Sixty-one percent of people prefer that brands contact them through email over other channels like social media. At the same time, this means marketers need to respect the intimacy of email. 
Treat it like a conversation in messenger and avoid using salesy language to drive the highest conversion rates.

1. Write for one person.

Eighty-four percent of millennials don’t appreciate or trust traditional promotional marketing. Brands across all industries can benefit from writing emails like a personal conversation. You don’t have to get creepy about it, just write as if you’re writing to one specific person. This will make your emails sound natural and friendly instead of salesy. 

2. Send less, say more.

Forty-five percent of people unsubscribe from mailing lists either because they get too many emails in general or too many emails from a specific company. 
Don’t overwhelm your subscribers. Instead, provide them with interesting content on a regular basis. You can also have them select their own email preferences, so you know exactly how often they’d like to hear from you.

Source: Marketing Sherpa

Keep your list clean.

A solid conversion rate starts with a healthy email list. Buying email lists is a huge no-no but there are some other steps you can take to optimize your list and reach the right people.

1. Use double opt-in forms.

Using an automated double opt-in helps ensure that you’re only contacting subscribers who truly want to hear from you. It also means people are less likely to report your emails as spam because they’ll remember giving you permission to contact them.

2. Remove inactive subscribers.

Breakups are hard, but sometimes you just have to say goodbye. Send out re-engagement campaigns to entice dormant subscribers to engage. If they don’t bite, it’s probably time to remove them from your list. Removing inactive subscribers will help improve your deliverability, open rates, and conversion rate.

Wrap up

The truth is, no one wants to feel “sold” to—customers don’t want to feel like another number. They want to feel like you care about their problems and improving their lives. Remember to:

  • Automate where possible.
  • Personalize content.
  • Optimize for mobile.
  • Provide a user-friendly design.
  • Be conversational.
  • Keep your list clean.

Your subscribers will appreciate the valuable content you provide and feel compelled to engage with your amazing emails while you watch your conversion rate improve.

Are you interested in learning more about personalization and triggered emails? Emma can help. Check out these 10 examples of successful drip campaigns.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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