Best Practices in HR
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Rebecca Hasulak
  January 1, 2020

Six Ways to Make Email Work Smarter for Marketing and Sales

We can all agree that email is indispensable in today’s business world, but it’s also inefficient if not used correctly. The fact is that no one likes getting email. We get too much of it, and a great portion of email would be better suited to other mediums. So we tune it out. In order to reach your audience, rather than get tuned out, you’ve got to send less email and make more impact. Here are six ways that sales and marketing teams can use email effectively, as a tool to reach their goals.


  1. Limit the amount of email you send.

Not everything needs to be sent via email. If you’re crafting an email to someone, it should have a clear purpose and be actionable. If you send irrelevant information and contribute to idle chatter through email messages, you’re devaluing your email status with the recipient. Also, consider the length. If your email is more than 150 words, you’re in the danger zone. Keep it under that word count and it’ll get read. Otherwise, people will glance at it (if you’re lucky) and then leave it forever to be buried in their inbox.


  1. Use branding in email.

A study we conducted found having a logo at the top of your email increases your response rate by up to 12 percent. Something as simple as including your logo in the top left hand corner of your email can grab the eye and cut through a busy inbox. Traditional branding has been restricted to the signature block, but there’s much more you can do. You can insert your branding as a banner message below or at the top, in addition to adding your logo at the top. This helps set you apart and signals to recipients who are interested in your company that this is an email worth opening.


  1. Look at your email in relation to all the emails your company is sending that individual.

Salespeople are often emailing prospects at the tail-end, or amidst, a marketing campaign. So a single recipient could be getting lead gen or promotional emails from a company at the same time they’re getting emails from your salespeople. Even if it’s the first email you’ve sent them, it could be the ninth email they’ve gotten from your company.


In order to prevent haphazard and excess emails from flying, improve coordination between your sales and marketing teams. And if you’re not already, use a central source of truth like Marketo, where you can keep track of your user journey and touchpoints. If you’re in people’s ears too much, they’ll shut off. The more email you send, the fewer responses you’ll get, so send carefully.


  1. Understand trends with key people you’re emailing, and use email more strategically.

There is a very strong relationship between the time you send an email, the average time a recipient takes to open that email and the average time it takes a recipient to reply to that email.


If the period of time between opening and replying starts increasing, then you can be fairly sure something has gone off key. Inversely, if the period of time between opening and responding decreases, then it’s a positive marker for your relationship and/or that communication stream.


The trick is to pick these trends early (see the next point as to why). This can be manually deduced but realistically you should be using some form of email analytics which alerts you to this. Email is a digital communication form and email analytics are just the new normal to better manage your email.


  1. If the trend is negative, don’t start emailing more.

When you identify a negative trend in your email communications with someone, do not send more emails. Instead, figure out where your email went wrong and then take the time to address that point. Go back to where your communications started going offkey, and rectify it with a quality email (singular, not plural).


  1. Send links to folders, not attachments.

The norm for many businesspeople is to send attachments to others, but this won’t help you gauge engagement or strike when your audience is most receptive. It also means you’ll lose control of the attachment. So instead, send links to folders. If you have Google Docs or Office 365, you can create folders and share links so others can access those folders. Whether sending a proposal, contract, invoice or something else, put in a controlled folder and then share the link. This way, you can see when your audience has interfaced with the links and engaged with the document.


With Black Pearl Mail, we’ve automated this so you can get a real-time push notification when someone is accessing that link, but you can use folder settings to get notified when people have gone in if you don’t have our system. Either way, this allows you to take advantage of that magic minute where you can follow up in the same timeframe in which someone is already investing their attention into your company.



Email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and that’s a good thing. But let’s reclaim the power – and intelligence – of email by using it in smart, strategic ways. Who’s up for less email altogether, and more email that actually matters? I’m pretty sure we all are.


by Nick Lisette (CTO & founder of Black Pearl).