4 Ways to Achieve Relevancy in the Inbox

Alex Mastrianni

Looking to up your email relevancy game? Now is the perfect time to start. The 2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report released last month found that above everything (including mobile design and other trends) relevant, targeted emails perform the best and have the highest engagement numbers. How do you achieve relevancy? Here are some ideas.

Choose the right send time

Figuring out the best time to send an email can be tricky. While benchmark data indicates that evenings and Fridays had the highest open and click rates, not all audiences are the same, and not all members of your audience are the same. Use your reports to uncover the “best time to send.” If it’s unclear, try looking at past behavior. One of our clients, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL), has had trouble finding the best time to send because their audience of educators have regimented schedules when it comes to checking emails during the day. They started using send time optimization, a tool in Informz that sends based on a subscriber’s past activity, and saw open rates increase by 22%.

send time optimization


Really, really good subject lines

Once you’ve selected the right send time, your subject line comes into play. Subject lines have huge implications on whether or not an email is opened. Shorter subject lines tend to perform better, but the most important factors in whether or not your subject line performs well is actually its content. When we analyzed the top 10 emails with the highest open rates last year, their subject lines had a lot in common: they were clear, concise, and direct. Targeting your subject line based on what’s inside and what the recipient cares about is key. The targeted subject lines tool in Informz can help you easily segment subject lines to different audiences based on what will be most important to them. Pretty cool!

targeted subject lines

A little personalization goes a long way

There are a lot of traditional ways to personalize an email, like adding a first name to a subject line or opening sentence, but to create truly relevant emails, you need to take it a step further. For best results, personalize the content of your email. Use subscription forms to gather email preferences and target newsletters based on interests. Another personalization tactic – with a membership twist – is to add member status to emails. Make membership status top of mind and encourage members to stay on top of their renewals or encourage nonmembers to join. NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals did this as a part of a membership growth initiative, and saw membership grow by more than 38% in 11 months.

naadac personalization

Be a source of timely news

If your organization is known for sharing industry updates with your members, use RSS feeds to easily collect and feed stories into a newsletter. RSS feeds (which stands for RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) are a standardized method that allows for the automatic update of content. Michigan Farm Bureau uses RSS feeds as frequently as possible. If you are already planning to load articles to your website, it’s much easier to set up an RSS template and pull in the teaser and headline that are already hyperlinked. They have seen a time savings of 15 minutes per story, which adds up to a lot over an entire newsletter or a couple of newsletters each week.

michigan farm bureau rss


What other tips and tricks have proven to be successful for your organization when creating relevancy in your emails?

About the Author
Alex Mastrianni

As the Marketing Manager at Informz, Alex drives the development and implementation of our content marketing plan and marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Alex is a pop culture junkie, ice cream fanatic, and semi-pro vacation planner.