Email Marketing in 2021 and Beyond with Jeannette Castañeda

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Overview: Jeannette Castañeda talks about the future of email marketing in her 2021 RevTech Summit presentation

About the speaker: I help B2B companies achieve their goals by creating email campaigns that support subscribers in realizing their own goals.I’ve been (rightly) accused of being a nerd. I brings my unquenchable curiosity and deeply analytical mind to every aspect of email. In addition I am the CEO of Inbox I.P.

Hi, this is Jeanette Castaneda with Inbox P.I. Welcome to RevTech 2021. And thanks for joining me for my presentation on how to turn leads into clients using email marketing. Now this is normally where speakers tell you who they are and why you should listen to them. I will in fact address that later on in this presentation. 

Today’s digital landscape, which influences how we market and sell, is guided by the empowered consumer. Now more than ever, consumers can tailor their online experience with increasing specificity. When it comes to marketing, that means that consumers get to decide what news they watch, what ads they see, or even if they see advertising at all, and whether you can remain in their email inboxes. 

Let’s look at advertising and online advertising. A study from the second quarter of 2020 on ad blocker usage in the United States found that 45% of respondents aged 15-25 said that they use an ad blocker. The percentages are pretty close to 40% across all other age groups. In fact, this 40% average has remained consistent for a few years. 

With these choices, and more, it’s no wonder that consumers have opinions on when and where they prefer to receive marketing communications. In a survey from marketing Sherpa, 72% of respondents stated that they prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to only 17% who prefer to receive the communications via social media. Let me repeat that. Most US consumers prefer to get their marketing communications via email. And why not? This is great news for us email marketers, and it’s great news for you companies.

Email Marketing is the holy grail of marketing. Email Marketing produces phenomenal results. In fact, the ROI for email marketing can be as high as 4,400%. For B2C companies, and as high as 3200% for B2B companies. That’s $44 for every dollar spent on B2C, email marketing, and $32, for every B2B email dollars spent. The Holy Grail. 

Now I’m not suggesting that you abandon advertising or social media or any other digital channel. In fact, a multi channel approach to marketing is often the most successful. What I am saying, however, is that it is more than worth your investment, to spend time, energy and money on the only digital channel that allows you to communicate directly with people who have expressed an interest in your offerings, has the highest ROI, and the only channel that you actually own. So now you’re asking yourself, why is Jeannette telling me all this and what does this have to do with turning prospects into clients with email marketing. I hear this.

There is one crucial thing to remember as you’re deploying this wonderful tool called email marketing. And if it’s the only thing you’ll learn today, I would be very happy. Here it is. It is a privilege to be in your subscribers inboxes, and you abuse this privilege at your own peril. Many B2B companies out there are still doing email marketing like it’s 1999. They’re buying lists, they’re sending out the same message to everybody, and they’re sending out email communication, as if it were advertising. 

Today’s consumers are skeptical, they are knowledgeable, they have higher expectations than ever before. One of those expectations is that businesses should care about their goals. This is especially true in email marketing. What this means is that the first key element of success of a successful email marketing program is a shift in strategy. You need to stop asking, ‘what do I want my subscribers to do?’ And start asking, ‘how can I help my subscribers achieve their goals?’ The best email marketing strategy is one where you achieve your goals by helping your subscribers achieve their own. Let me repeat that you achieve your goals by helping your subscribers achieve their own.

This means that every email you send an every campaign you plan should be wanted, helpful, well segmented, and customer focused. Wanted helpful, well segmented and customer focused. When your email like it’s 1999, you’re, you’re making short term decisions that sacrifice long term relationships. And today’s empowered consumer has the power to act quickly.

Their first action upon receiving an unwanted email is to delete it, often unopened and unread or worse to mark it as spam. And all of these subscriber behaviors have a real detrimental effect on your inbox placement, making it more likely that every future message you send will simply bypass the inbox altogether and land in the spam folder for every one of your subscribers.

The empowered consumer has choices, and this is especially true about their inboxes. They are in full control of their inboxes, which means that every email message that you send and every campaign your plan can only penetrate the noise and be an effective sales and marketing tool if the messages are helpful, wanted, well segmented and customer focused. Okay, now that we’ve talked, the mind shift change ad nauseum, let’s talk about the email marketing elements that will help you convert subscribers and to clients. 

Here are the 10 key elements strategy, which we’ve discussed segmentation, voice of customer research, list health, marketing automation, design and rendering, coding, conversion copywriting, A/B testing, and analyzing and learning from those results. Now, I wish I could tell you that I’ll be able to cover all of these in this presentation. Unfortunately, email marketing is a complex system where all the elements matter. And much like complex machine, if one of the elements is weak or missing, then email marketing fails to fulfill its full potential.

So, what I’ll do is I’ll cover as much as I can in this presentation, and at the end, I’ll add a link where you can go download a few things for free. You’ll be able to download the deck of this presentation along with a transcript of the video. You’ll also be added to my email list where you’ll receive a follow up presentation covering the points that I am covering here, as well as the points that I won’t be able to cover. 

Okay, so we discussed strategy, now let’s talk about segmentation. Segmentation is the division of email subscribers into smaller sections based on a set of criteria. Email marketers use segmentation to deliver relevant emails to subscribers based on this various criteria. This way, we can create email that is specifically tailored to each segment. Now, the criteria that you use to segment your list depends on your company’s offerings, your customer pain points, your industry, and the content that you have created. And plan to create, and much, much more.

Again, it really depends on what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Here are some of the segments that my b2b customers find effective. Role: more and more purchase decisions are made as a committee. Oftentimes, you need to send different emails to address different pain points to people inside the same company. After all, you wouldn’t send the same email message to a sales manager as you would to a CFO. They each require their own messaging, and that is where roles/title segmentation comes into play.

Another segment criteria is content specific email segmentation. This can be interpreted in two different ways. By the subject matter that your subscribers react to. Or if you cover the same content in different formats, by the format your subscriber chooses. Be that a video or a blog article, or interacting with your social media on LinkedIn. Another criteria is website behavior.

This is segmentation done based on the content downloaded. The time spent on a specific page, or a specific set of pages, or what content a person chooses to download and subscribe in their inbox. There are many more criteria like this: email engagement, subscriber positioning on a buyers journey more and more. But I’m looking at the clock and it’s obvious I am running out of time.  

Now let’s discuss list health. List health is another term that has a few meanings, all of them critical to your email marketing success. First, let’s talk about engagement. Do you know what percentage of your email list is engaged with your content? By engaged I mean people who are clicking on your emails and opening your emails. 

One of the first things I do when I audit an existing email program is I determine what percentage of any given list is engaged with your content. Here on your screen are the audit results for a client I worked with a few years ago. As you can see, over 55% of this list was inactive. That means they were not opening or clicking on emails sent to them in the previous nine months. Not only is this a waste of money. Since they were paying for those 2500 contacts. But sending emails to those contacts that were inactive or unengaged was negatively affecting the sense to the rest of the list.

When I subscribe to their email program, using three different addresses, their welcome email landed in two of the three email spam folders. archiving or non active subscribers may hurt or feel like a betrayal or something. But let me get dramatic about it if you tie the success of your email program to the size of your list, but in this case, it’s quality, the quality of your list not the size of your list that brings your results. So how did these folks that you’re about to archive become unengaged or non active? Well, some of it is just life.

According to get response, email lists have an average attrition rate of between 25-30% per year. What this means is that the list of engaged subscribers you have today will decay by 25% this time next year. Some of this attrition you cannot do anything about, it’s just subscriber based. People change jobs, they retire, they die, their companies fold or their means just change. But the good news is that there are other factors that contribute to a diminishing list that you do have control over. On the content based reason for attrition, people lose interest in you if your content is not relevant or helpful. So, are you sending relevant and valuable information? If you cannot answer this question with a resounding yes.

You can start by asking yourself these questions. Will this content add value to my readers life? Is this content targeted towards this person’s wants or needs? Would I read this content myself? Being honest with these answers can help you create better, and by better I mean, more useful and engaging content, which will keep your list healthy and your subscribers engaged. Then there’s the cadence based reason for list attrition. If you’re bombarding your b2b list with multiple emails every week. You’re likely to be ignored. You’re emailing your list too infrequently, and between this send and the next. Your subscribers just forget who you are and why they should care about your emails.

If you’re only sending content when you can take the time to create the content. Or when you think you have something that you consider important, you’re teaching your subscribers to not expect to hear from you on a regular basis. And it becomes easier for them to lose interest and not bother opening your emails. There are a lot of other reasons, but we’re running out of time. And I want to recap what we have discussed today. These are the mistakes that you are likely making that are preventing you from getting the most out of your email marketing.

You are using purchase lists. You are sending messages that are all about you. And you are sending the exact same message to everyone on your list; you’re not archiving your unengaged/inactive subscribers. And you don’t have a set schedule for your sends; and you don’t have the right frequency. As promised, here is the link that will get you all the email marketing loot you never knew you needed. If you subscribe on this page, you will access a copy of this deck along with a full transcript of this video. You will also be signing up to my email list where you get a chance to view the videos that I’ll be creating tackling all of the rest of the 10 key elements. 

If you want to learn more about me, here are my credentials. I’ve got a bunch of degrees and a buttload of experience. You can also get a hold of me on LinkedIn, I spend quite a lot of time on LinkedIn on a weekly basis. I can also be found at my inbox and you can email me Thank you so much for spending time with me today! I hope that you have found my information useful and I hope to continue to help with your email marketing and the future. Thanks a lot. Bye bye!