Optimizing Your Email Marketing
In a recent appearance on the Software Spotlight podcast, we had a chance to meet with marketing automation expert Xiaofei Zhang of ActiveCampaign. This article will explore some of the most creative email marketing optimization strategies to drive value for your business. Xiaofei is the head of platform and strategic partnerships at ActiveCampaign.
Email continues to be a critical marketing channel that provides that all-important direct line of communication between businesses and their customers. “Email as a marketing channel is something that you truly own yourself. You control your message, your email, your audience versus, I think a lot of companies right now were noticing a lot of the big platforms doing algorithm changes,” Xiaofei explained.
Key Trends And AI Innovations
When asked about key trends and innovations in email marketing automation, Xiaofei highlighted automation, AI, and personalization as top trends.
“I think for every business that is looking to grow, you have got to leverage automation, to some capacity to streamline your operations, increase your productivity, and really power that grows, and I think that's probably number one,” said Xiaofei.
Xiaofei also noted that while email marketing is not new, it continues to evolve. “I would say another thing is probably like email marketing has been, you know, it's not a new field. Email marketing has existed for a long time, but it's here to stay as a channel.”
AI is revolutionizing marketing automation, according to Xiaofei. “And I would be remiss not to mention AI. That seems to be. You know, the topic of every discussion. And I think it's just bringing revolution to every field. And that's really what we're doing as well. It's how we've had AI features at the AppStore from ActiveCampaign for a long time.”
Email Marketing Optimization with AI Writing
Email Marketing Best Practices
Regarding best practices for optimizing email marketing, Xiaofei emphasized the importance of understanding customer journeys and automating repetitive tasks.
“Oh, you can automate, you know, some fields, and there's some triggers you can set up. But I'm glad you brought up the CX app or the App Studio for us. So, partners who build through App Studio are the developer tooling we built. So that's how you build natively onto ActiveCampaign. So, a CX app is an organic part of our automation builder. So you can use data from your partner app in the automation,” Xiaofei explained.
Xiaofei also noted the importance of choosing suitable AI use cases that solve specific needs. “I think a lot of it goes deep into the use case. Cause we, what we just talked about was how generative AI can help with systematic like content generation.”
We believe that to optimize email marketing, focus on relevant content, compelling subject lines, and personalized messaging. Tailoring your emails to each recipient's interests and needs will boost engagement, open rates, and return on investment. CalendarHero has a similar vision.
Personalize Emails with Drag-and-Drop Content
Getting customer feedback and direct attribution is another best practice, according to Xiaofei. “We also recently, as an example, started doing direct attribution of kind of where our customers are coming from, coming to ActiveCampaign. So, we implemented this direct attribution. We built a pop-up. In-app, asking everybody, oh, how did you hear about us? And we use generative AI to summarize the responses because it's, you know, just an open text field. But we didn't want to limit the customers.”
By focusing on automation, AI, and personalization, brands can optimize email marketing performance and strengthen engagement with subscribers. Understanding customer journeys, choosing targeted AI applications, and gathering direct customer feedback will be vital to unlocking email marketing success this year and beyond. To drive email marketing optimization, ActiveCampaign empowers users to track detailed metrics on campaign performance and use those insights to refine their strategies.
Growing Your Audience Through Smart List Management
In today's crowded digital landscape, having a high-quality email subscriber list is more important than ever for businesses looking to grow. As marketing expert Xiaofei explains, “For any business that is looking to grow, you've got to leverage automation to some capacity to streamline your operations, increase your productivity, and power that growth.” So, how can you build and manage a subscriber list that drives results?
Optimize Relevance with Conditional Content
Lead Magnets Attract Your Ideal Customers
The first step is generating leads by offering something compelling in exchange for an email address. This could be a free guide, checklist, or other helpful resource called a “lead magnet.” Xiaofei notes that for many small businesses, “Demand gen is challenging. You need to make people know about you, and that's how you grow.” A well-designed lead magnet gets your offer in front of your target audience and convinces them to hear more.
“Identifying that we're playing in an existing field, but really creating a very compelling solution for these customer segments. We're serving the small growing businesses, having these robust functionalities, and also making it very easy to use as well without breaking the bank.” – Xiaofei
List Segmentation Is Critical
Once you've begun collecting leads, you need to organize your list into segments based on criteria like demographics, interests, and engagement. This allows you to tailor content and send more relevant messages to each group. Xiaofei emphasizes the importance of “mapping out your customer experience” and determining “how you want to engage with your customer in the most meaningful way.”
“A lot of it is going deep into the use case. We also recently started doing direct attribution of where our customers are coming from to ActiveCampaign. We built a pop-up in app asking how you heard about us. We used AI to summarize the responses.” – Xiaofei
Streamline Email Design with Sections
Clean Your List Regularly
Nothing hurts deliverability more than a list full of bounced and unengaged contacts. That's why it's essential to prune your list continuously by removing hard bounces and subscribers who haven't opened in 6-12 months. This ensures you're only marketing to actual, active leads. It also helps improve your email sender's reputation with ISPs.
“Email is still the most effective channel to connect and communicate with your customers.” – Xiaofei
Make Unsubscribing Easy
While you want to keep engaged subscribers, you also need to make it effortless for people to opt out of your emails. This builds trust and protects your sending metrics. Use clear unsubscribe links, honor opt-out requests immediately, and automatically scrub unsubscribes from future sends.
“Having owned channels like email is important. It calls for continuous optimization of your email marketing channel.” – Xiaofei
Email marketing optimization on ActiveCampaign can boost results by tweaking factors like send times, email content, subject lines, and list segmentation. You can build an email list that drives results by focusing on lead generation, segmentation, list hygiene, and subscriber preferences. With innovative list management powering your marketing automation, you'll be equipped to grow your business.
Streamline Campaigns with Automation
Email marketing remains a highly effective channel when appropriately optimized. ActiveCampaign has continuously improved its campaigns through rigorous testing and data-driven insights. They have adopted innovations like automation and AI to take email marketing to the next level. For example, ActiveCampaign uses customer feedback to drive product development, ensuring they build features users need. They have also implemented AI tools like generative content writing and workflow suggestions to enhance productivity.
Their open ecosystem allows users to connect their favorite tools for deeper integrations. Overall, ActiveCampaign exemplifies how a customer-centric approach, intelligent automation, and embracing new technology can maximize the potential of email marketing. Companies should follow their lead in optimizing this channel through testing, customer-informed product development, and leveraging innovations like AI. With the right strategy, email marketing can continue providing unmatched returns well into the future.
Watch our edition of Software Spotlight featuring ActiveCampaign. Host Michael Bernzweig interviews Xiaofei Zhang of ActiveCampaign to discuss the Chicago-based marketing automation company's founding in 2003 and impressive growth. Zhang details how ActiveCampaign transitioned to a SaaS model in 2016, kickstarting tremendous expansion to over 150 million in revenue and 800 employees globally today.