The Best Email Marketing Articles of 2014

With decorated trees peeking from behind windows and shoppers out in full force it’s clear that another year is coming to a close. What does that mean for us as content marketers? It’s recap time.

Who provided us with the best email marketing content of 2014?

If 2014 discovered one thing within email marketing, it’s that the concept is far from being passé. In fact, studies have shown that marketers still rank email marketing as the most effective digital marketing tactic with the best ROI.

Let’s break it down. In no particular order, here are Wishpond’s 15 best email marketing articles of 2014 and why.

1. Email Marketing’s 10 Most Important Questions, Answered via Buffer

Article Synopsis: A beast of a post from Buffer’s Kevan Lee, this is one of the best introductory email articles we’ve ever seen. The article covers the right 10 questions in the right way. It uses graphs, stats, infographics and case studies to thoroughly engage readers and explain concepts.

Key Takeaway: We love the section describing the email marketing metrics of open rates and click-through rates. To a beginner these concepts can seem hard to conceptualize, but this article makes them easy to understand with simple language and good examples.

Just diving into email marketing? This is the article you need to read first and keep bookmarked for reference in the future.

2. The Email Marketer’s Checklist: 9 Questions to Ask Before You Hit Send via Vero

Article Synopsis: This article provides readers with a solid list of things to remember with any email marketing campaign. It covers everything from the importance of subject lines and A/B testing, to how to personalize your emails to encourage conversions.

Key Takeaway: We agree with all 9 items of Vero’s list but especially like the focus on growth hacking in #9. They give readers a number of different strategies to try, and we think growth hacking is an important aspect every email marketer needs to consider. We also love that Vero has provided links to image resources and templates that readers can implement within their own strategies.

3. Email-list Building from the Experts: How to Grow a Massive Email List via Buffer

Article Synopsis: Another extremely comprehensive article by Buffer’s Kevan Lee, this post starts out by introducing a simple formula for email list building. Kevan’s reiterates the well-known but oft-ignored concept that amazing content and an obvious call-to-action combined will lead to a massive list of email subscribers for any website. He then breaks down 6 strategies to grow your subscription list including having a bold blog signup on your homepage, giving away valuable content and using social proof.

Key Takeaway: We love this article because of how thoroughly Kevan describes the process of growing a blog subscription list. We agree with the strategies he has listed and have implemented many of them ourselves this past year. We give away free content in return for email signups and use various types of popups to capture new subscribers. We also like how, right off the bat, he backs up the importance of email in marketing today by using influencer quotes and stats.

4. 5 True Stories of Email Marketing Nightmares via Hubspot

Article Synopsis: What a fun way to write a mistakes article! We included this one in the list because it’s a short, entertaining read that also conveys important mistakes you need to avoid as an email marketer. It involves 5 marketing agencies telling stories of email mistakes they have made in the past, and how they have learned from them.

Key Takeaway: We love how this features real-world stories from businesses big and small. If you’re looking to learn exactly what not to do with email marketing this memorable article breathes both personality and vital insight. From reading this article you realize everyone makes mistakes and that sometimes you need to admit fault and use these mistakes to grow.

5. 6 Ways You Can Improve Your Email Marketing Today via Vero

Article Synopsis: This list from Vero provides marketers with 6 strong, advanced techniques they can try to jumpstart their email marketing techniques. It includes simple suggestions that anybody could try today as well as more complex ideas for the experienced marketer.

Key Takeaway: We love the detailed section on A/B testing (one of our favorite concepts) and the short list of email marketing tools readers should be using. This article will help email marketers of any experience level to learn new strategies they can try.

6. Why Your Email Marketing Fails to Convert: Featuring Hunter Boyle of AWeber via Kissmetrics

Article Synopsis: This article from Kissmetrics conveys a simple message in a well-written way. It gives readers an interview with an industry expert while also including real-world examples - the double-whammy of evidence and insight.

Key Takeaway: This article covers all of the subjects a marketer needs to know including headlines, the value proposition, an uncluttered and consistent message and more. Our favorite insight is that email marketers need to remember that too many choices result in subscribers making no choice. We like this article because it’s an easy read with good visual examples, one we would definitely recommend.

7. The Triggered Emails You Need to Make Your Marketing Automation Work via Hubspot

Article Synopsis: The perfect article for our 2014 wrapup. This solid post is one of the best at describing the changes email marketing underwent in the year 2014. It looks at the problems and inflexibility of standard email marketing automation, bringing to light the issues and breaking them down.

Key Takeaway: We love how this article describes the different types of triggers your automation system needs to be responding to and the types of emails you should be sending for each one. We think the triggers described are good ones and appreciate the comprehensive description for each one. (Warning! This article is not for the noobie email marketer!)

8. Why Reputation Matters In Email Marketing & How You Can Change Yoursvia Marketing Land

Article Synopsis: This article discusses a great subject that is very rarely talked about. Using statistics and graphs, this article dives into sender scores , something that is becoming more and more important as email providers crack down on spam. In 2014, 72% of emails sent are unfit to reach an inbox. Clearly there is work to be done in this area.

Key Takeaway: Sender scores are a crucial aspect of email marketing that you need to know about. Give this one a read if you’re looking to improve your score and develop a strong email reputation.

9. 3 Tactics You Can Implement Today for Higher Email Open Rates via Crazy Egg

Article Synopsis: We love how this comprehensive article plunges into the issues in the email marketing industry today. It covers personalization, segmentation and targeting, giving examples and helpful recommendations for each. It discusses the lack of personalization in email marketing and the importance of targeting customers in order to increase your open and click through rates.

Key Takeaway: We like how this one includes statistics from case studies and real business examples to give specific tactics readers can try to grow their open rates.

10. 3 Lessons Learned From Testing Hundreds Of Onboarding Emails via Groove

Article Synopsis: At Wishpond we’re big fans of the GrooveHQ Blog, including this post from CEO Alex Turnbull. We love the personal touch in Groove’s articles as they use honesty and transparency to show us their journey as a growing business. Alex begins this post by honestly describing why the company decided they had to change their email strategy for new customers. They tested new ideas and tracked open rates, click-through rates, engagement, and retention metrics.

Key Takeaway: By changing their strategy to asking customers why they signed up for Groove, they have gained qualitative data and been able to build personal relationship with customers from the start. By customizing their email drip sequence they have seen end-of-trial conversions increase by 10%, and by testing winback emails they have started capturing abandoned free-trialers. An interesting read about how putting time and effort into different email campaigns can result in impactful changes in your business.

11. How to Write Email Subject Lines that will Increase your Open Rate by 203% via Neil Patel

Article Synopsis: As one of the top marketers on the web, Neil Patel understands email marketing as well as anyone. In this article he dives into what determines email open rates, why subscriber or lead nurturing is so important and how to write clickable email subject lines.

Key Takeaway: We love how Neil includes case studies from real businesses implementing his advice, such as Glen Allsopp of Viperchill who saw an incredible 83.2% open rate. We also love how he includes a section on timing for open rates, a crucial aspect that many articles never discuss.

12. The Anatomy of an Optimal Marketing Email via Quick Sprout

Article Synopsis: While not technically an article, this infographic deserves to be on our best of 2014 list. The infographic visually shows why you need to be optimizing email marketing for your business with supportive statistics and tips readers can implement themselves.

Key Takeaway: 66% of all consumers over the age of 15 made a purchase because of an email. That stat alone should make you want to give this one a look. We like how they include Mailchimp case studies and best practice lists for the various concepts discussed such as “Best Practices for Optimizing CTAs”. The layout of this infographic is very easy to follow and understand no matter how new or experienced you are to email marketing.

13. The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates via WordStream

Article Synopsis: In this article, author Megan Marrs covers 9 different formulas or styles for your subject line ranging from short and specific to funny and personalized. There’s a time and place for all 9 styles, but you need to choose which work best for your business - something covered in the article thoroughly.

Key Takeaway: We love the examples Megan has included throughout the article which really bring the concepts to life and allow the reader to think of similar emails they have received. We also love how she has included a best practices list at the bottom followed by some questions all email marketers should consider.

If you’ve been struggling with subject lines for your emails, this read is a great first step in the right direction.

14. Email Interaction Across Mobile and Desktop via Campaign Monitor

Article Synopsis: In 3 years, mobile open rates have tripled. This article jumps straight into the changing email world with data, graphs and comprehensive information to show readers the impact of the growing mobile trend.

Key Takeaway: When it comes to email marketing, few blogs or authors discuss the differences faced by email marketing in the mobile age. With the shift in consumer behaviors over the last few years this is something everyone needs to consider. We love both how scientific this article is, but also how comprehensive and simple their analysis turns out to be.

15. 4 Hacks You Should Know Before You Craft Your Next Email Subject Line via Kissmetrics

Article Synopsis: Last on our list but certainly not least, this article provides readers with 4 simple things to remember when creating subject lines. It makes it clear that email marketers should keep subject lines short, personalized, contain multiple topics and be mobile friendly.

Key Takeaway: Our favourite hack would have to be writing optimized email subject lines for all different types of devices, as this is something many people wouldn’t even think of. Apple and Android, for example, have different protocol as to where a subject line will be cut off or where a line will skip down. Even a small difference like this can have a strong impact on how many people choose to actually open and read your emails. The visuals and examples in this article make the hacks easy to understand. Any reader, regardless of their knowledge base, can gain some valuable insight from this article.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best email marketing articles of 2014 and gained some insight into the changing world of email marketing.

The best part of marketing in the modern age is that content is readily available to help you whenever you need it. When you’re in an email marketing funk, be sure to keep this list handy.

We know there are tons more great articles that could have made our top 15, so feel free to join in on the discussion below with your top picks.

- Written by Claire Grayston

Claire is a digital content marketer at Wishpond. When not racking her brain for new content, you’ll find her hiking or snowboarding the local mountains or cozied up in bed watching a sappy rom-com.