Despite predictions of its impending doom, email is here to stay. Not only are companies expanding their transactional email programs to further engage their users, but 61% plan to increase their marketing email spend in 2015.

There is a lot of incredible new technology giving you more control over your email marketing than ever before. But is it worth it to pay a premium to have access to all these features, or is it better to go for a no-frills solution to stretch your budget as far as it can go?

In my experience, most companies don’t have time to utilize all of the amazing features they end up paying for. I’ve always had more luck paying for fewer features and focusing on executing the best possible email marketing campaigns with the capabilities provided by most email marketing services.

Give these three tips a shot and see how far you can stretch your email marketing budget in 2015.

1. Make Data Your New Best Friend:

Most of the credit for great email campaigns ends up going to creative content or beautiful design, but often the role of analytics gets overlooked. Utilizing your email data is the best way to ensure emails get to the inbox and compel users to take a desired action.

Good email deliverability comes from knowing how to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time, with the right frequency. If you aren’t consistently analyzing your data after each campaign, there is no way you can make sure you are addressing all of these factors and getting the most out of your campaigns.

Engagement Metrics

Dig deep into your engagement metrics to determine if you are sending to the right person. If someone hasn’t opened an email you’ve sent them in months, it’s time to cut the cord. If you see a big spike in your unsubscribe rate after a specific campaign, that’s your data telling you that your message wasn’t what the recipient was expecting. Good deliverability requires you to keep asking questions of your data and responding to the signals you are receiving from your audience.

Performance Metrics

Performance metrics, on the other hand, don’t have to stop at the click. Integrating your email data with your web analytics tools is essential to getting an understanding of how email visitors engage with your site after the click. It’s also pretty easy. For most of you, it will be as simple as adding a parameter to the end of your links.

For example, the utm_campaign, um_medium, and utm_source parameters will allow you to segment your visitors in Google Analytics from all your emails or down to a specific campaign. You’ll be surprised how influential a really well executed email can be in motivating a user even after they’ve reached your site. And these data insights can have a much greater impact on your bottom line than paying for additional features from your email marketing service.

2. Shrink Your List

I’m a marketer, so I understand how nonsensical this sounds. After all, the more people I can send my email too, the better chance I have at getting some of them to convert, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Every time you send an email to someone who never engages with your email, didn’t opt-in, or has actively complained, you are giving ISPs reasons to dump you into the spam folder or worse.

On the bright side, most email marketing services charge based on the size of your list. The smaller your list, the less you will have to pay. Furthermore, it will be much easier to interpret your deliverability and performance data without all the noise from the users who were never going to open your email anyway. So resist the temptation to blast as many people with your email and start shrinking that list.

3. Test Everything and Often

I know, testing can seem like a real pain because it adds more steps. But if you really want to get the most out of your marketing email service, testing is a must.

First, make sure you know what you are testing. Before launching the test, ask yourself if you would be able to explain the result if it turned out that the variation beat the control. If you have a hypothesis as to why the test was a success, it is much easier to replicate.

This applies to design changes, copy changes, and sending times. Once you have a winner, use your hypothesis to find a way to roll it out across all your campaigns (and even your website if it’s applicable). Before long, that one winning test can be impacting your company’s bottom line and your bosses will take notice.

If you keep these three tips in mind, you’ll be able to get the most out of your email marketing services without having to shell out for too many features. Learn more about SendGrid’s marketing email offering here.



As SendGrid's Senior Marketing Analyst, Danny is responsible for keeping the marketing team focused on making data-driven decisions to help make sure we are providing value for our customers and prospects. While he may spend his days knee deep in spreadsheets now, Danny spent most of the last 10 years managing email campaigns, website optimization, and PPC campaigns for B2B companies.