Email Marketing Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers to frequently asked questions about email marketing, how it’s done, why you should do it, and more!

Email Marketing Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q.Who are Red C?

    Red C are a Manchester based full-service marketing agency, who have been creating marketing solutions that deliver results, both on and offline, for more than 25 years.

  • Q.What email marketing services do you offer clients?

    Our email marketing offering is a complete one. We provide strategic support, design, copywriting and HTML build. We also have our own email distribution software, which when required we use to send emails on behalf of our email marketing clients.

  • Q.What email marketing experience do Red C have?

    For more than 15 years we have been providing email marketing clients with a complete email marketing service. We work with clients to deliver a healthy mix of ‘blast’ emails i.e. monthly newsletters, and automated emails i.e. abandoned basket email. We have extensive experience in both B2B and B2C markets.

  • Q.What clients have you worked with?

    We have delivered award winning eCRM programmes for clients that includes Manchester City Football Club, Jessops, Eurostar, Swinton Insurance, Police Mutual, Bupa Healthcare, AkzoNobel, Great Rail Journeys, Freemans and Selco.

  • Q.What sectors have you worked in?

    We have delivered hard working and engaging email marketing for both B2B and B2C clients. We have created email marketing solutions for clients in the following sectors; travel, financial services, hospitality, sports, retail, healthcare, insurance, gambling and telecommunications.

  • Q.What is email marketing?

    Email marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to make customers and prospects aware of products, services, and promotional offers.


  • Q.Does email marketing work?

    Email marketing certainly works! However, just like any other marketing channel, email marketing must be done well, for it to perform to its full potential.

    Campaign Monitor report that roughly 1/3 of global marketers say email marketing is the best marketing tool for generating ROI.

  • Q.How does email marketing work?

    For businesses to send email marketing they must invest in an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails. An ESP is software that manages, creates and sends email marketing campaigns. An ESP is also referred to as email marketing software, an email marketing tool, an email marketing service, or an email marketing platform. Popular ESPs include Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and dotmailer.

  • Q.How do you create a successful email marketing strategy?

    The first step in creating a successful email marketing strategy is understanding what your email marketing objectives are.  What are you trying to achieve? Is it more sales? Is it more downloads? Is it more bookings? Is it more traffic through to the site? Is it increasing your brand awareness?

    When developing email strategies for our email marketing clients we often break our thinking into three areas, which we refer to as the three pillars of a successful email strategy: the who (segmentation), the what (content) and the when (frequency and timing).

    To improve the relevancy of your email marketing activity it is important to look at ways to segment your email subscribers into smaller pots and then define the content and timing accordingly. For example, could you segment your subscribers by demographic data such as age, sex, or geographical location.  Another fantastic way to improve the relevancy of your email marketing is by segmenting your subscribers by transactional data such as whether they have purchased a product or service before, their order frequency or order value or even by product or service category.

    As an email marketing agency, we often speak with our clients about the need to create a rich and varied inbox. We believe that it is important to mix up the type of email campaigns you send your subscribers, as if you constantly send them the same messages, then they will become bored and your engagement rates will drop. Try sending your subscribers different types of emails, like newsletters, sale emails as well as advice driven emails. Also try mixing up the email format between short emails and longer templates.

    Email frequency is another significant factor that needs to be considered when developing a successful email strategy. How often should you send your email subscribers an email? Our view, as an email marketing agency, has always been consistent. We believe, you should push the email frequency as hard as you can, without impacting negatively on your KPIs.

    Watch this email marketing focused Virtual Midweek Masterclass entitled The three pillars of a successful email strategy’.

  • Q.What is a ‘blast’ email?

    A ‘blast’ email, or mass email, is the name given to an email which is sent to a large list of subscribers simultaneously.

  • Q.What is automated email marketing?

    Automated email marketing campaigns are sent automatically to your customers and prospects based on a schedule, or trigger, that you define. The trigger could be based on transactional data i.e. Post purchase automated emails, behavioural data i.e. abandoned basket automated emails, or demographic data e.g. Birthday emails. Automated emails help you achieve greater relevancy in your email marketing communications and therefore they generally achieve better results than ‘blast’ emails. A more relevant message, to a more relevant person at a more relevant time.

    For more information click here and watch a recent Virtual Midweek Class or read this blog, both of which are entitled ‘Making money while you sleep with automated emails’.

  • Q.What are email marketing open rates?

    An email marketing open rate is a percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened your email marketing campaign.

  • Q.What is a good email marketing open rate?

    There are so many factors that determine an email marketing open rate. The quality of the data, the relationship you have with the subscribers, the relevancy of the subject header and the timing of the email, will all impact the open rate.

    In 2020, Campaign Monitor report that the average open rate was 18%, but this does differ from sector to sector.

  • Q.How do you improve your email marketing open rates?

    There are five ways to improve your email marketing opening rates.

    1. Keep your email data clean and up to date and do not email non-engaged subscribers, as this can have a negative impact on your reputation as an email sender.
    2. Improve the relevancy of your email marketing by segmenting content based on the subscriber’s preferences and behaviour.
    3. Make your subject headers standout in the inbox. Read our Copywriting for email whitepaper, which outlines several subject header strategies which you could test.
    4. Test the timing of your emails by testing which days and what time of day produces the best opening rates.
    5. Make your email marketing the best it can be. The more valuable the subscriber finds your content then the more likely they are to open and engage with your emails.


  • Q.What are email marketing click through rates (CTR)?

    An email marketing click through rate is a percentage of the total number of subscribers who clicked your email marketing campaign.

  • Q.What is the difference between a click through rate (CTR) and a click-to-open rate (CTOR)?

    Although these measurements share some similarities, they are completely different metrics. A click through rate simply measures the number of recipients who clicked on your email. So, for example, if you sent an email to 100,000 subscribers and 1,000 subscribers clicked then you would have achieved a 1% CTR.

    A click-to-open rate measures the number of subscribers who opened and went onto click on your email. So, out of the 100,000, maybe 50,000 opened your email. Then, 10,000 went to click a link, your CTRO is 20%.

  • Q.What is a good email marketing click through rate (CTR)?

    Like an email marketing open rate, a click through rate is also influenced by the quality of the data, the relationship you have with the subscribers, the relevancy and impact of the subject header and the timing of the email.

    However, the other key factor that influences the CTR is the email’s content. Is the email’s content relevant to the subscriber? Does the email have a strong and compelling proposition or offer? Is it well designed and well written?

    Campaign Monitor report, in the yearly benchmark report, that an average click through rate should be around 2.6%.

  • Q.What is a good email marketing click-to-open rate (CTOR)?

    In our experience a good click-to-open rate can range from between 20% and 30%. However, be aware that this metric, like all email marketing metrics, can deviate greatly from industry to industry.

  • Q.How do you improve you email marketing click through rates?

    There are 4 ways to improve your email marketing click through rates, whether it’s the CTR or the CTRO.

    1. Firstly, ensure that the content that you are sending your subscribers is of value and is relevant. You can do this by segmenting your subscribers by their preferences, their previous engagement, or their previous transactions with you. This will improve the email’s relevancy, which in turn will result in improved click through rates.
    2. Secondly, make sure that your email marketing is well designed and adheres to best practice including ensuring that they are designed with all devices in mind.
    3. Thirdly, do not dismiss the power of the written word. Eye catching subject headers, engaging body copy and call to actions that demand action can make or break your email marketing. Read our whitepaper for more information Copywriting for email.
    4. Finally, the fourth way to improve your click through rate is through testing. Test everything. Test subject headers, test imagery, test content, test language and test call to action buttons. Do not ever tire in your drive for email optimisation.


  • Q.How do you test and optimise your email marketing activity?

    The first thing you need to do is decide what metric are you looking to improve, as this will determine what you should test.

    Popular email marketing tests include testing the timing of your email distribution i.e. AM vs PM or Tuesday vs Sunday, testing different subject header strategies, testing the length of the email, testing the call to action messaging and testing different imagery.

    As an email marketing agency, we have a couple of rules when it comes to email marketing testing. Firstly, ask yourself, what will you learn from the test. If it is very little, then think again. Secondly, do not try to test too much, as you will be in danger of not knowing exactly what has created the uplift or, potentially, the downward trend.

  • Q. How do you grow an email subscribers’ list?

    The four best ways to grow your email subscribers’ list.

    1. The first way to do this, which is certainly the quickest way, although not necessarily the smartest, is to buy an email list from a data broker. Although you are guaranteed volume, you are not necessarily guaranteeing success, as cold email is notoriously difficult to make work.
    2. The second tactic to grow your list is to ask visitors to your website for their email address in exchange for a whitepaper, e-book or guide. This is a very popular tactic, especially in B2B email marketing.
    3. The third tactic is simply giving people more opportunities to opt-in to your email. If growing your email list is a significant business objective, then make it easy for people to sign up. Move your email sign up from the footer navigation and give it greater prominence on your website. Also experiment with strategically placed pop-ups.
    4. The fourth best way to grow your email list is to implement a robust mechanism for people to share your emails with fellow likeminded people or businesses. This tactic is often referred to as Forward to a Friend.


  • Q.What is email spam?

    Email ‘spam’ is unsolicited, and often irrelevant email marketing sent to a mass audience. This can include unsolicited commercial message or even fraudulent messages, like those including lottery scams, selling Viagra, phishing emails or even computer viruses.

  • Q.What is a spam filter?

    In its simplest form a spam filter separates the good emails from the bad email.

    All emails go through a spam filtering process, which ultimately determines the fate of an email. Whether it lands in the inbox, the spam folder or the promotional folder, your email will certainly go through a spam filter.

    There is no singular spam filter than exists across all of email marketing. Each mailbox provider, company and individual user will have their own variation, but they all do the same job. They make judgement on your email using a set of pre-determined ranking factors and the result of that judgement will determine where you email ends up.

  • Q.How do you avoid a spam filter?

    It is undoubtedly becoming more and more difficult for email marketers to avoid spam filters. Unfortunately, email spammers and the spam filters are playing a constant game of cat and mouse. Email spanners are constantly looking for ways to appear legitimate to spam filters, and the spam filters are always looking for ways to spot them.

    We believe there are 5 ways to try and void the spam filters: –

    1. Only email people who want to receive your emails. This will help with your reputation as an email sender as you should be experiencing positive engagement rates. Purchasing email addresses from an external source can be dangerous as it comes with significant risk as generally you will experience poor open and click through rates. This will harm your reputation as an email sender.
    2. Mailbox providers, as part of the filtering process, and when looking to make a judgement on your email, look at the engagement levels of your emails. If you are generating healthy engagement rates, then your reputation as an email sender will improve. The greater the sender reputation, the greater the chance your email will have in reaching the inbox.
    3. Ensure that your IP has a good sender reputation. It might be that you are sharing an IP address with other email senders, which can be a positive, but it can also be a negative. If previous or current senders, who are sharing your IP address, do not follow best email marketing practice then you will have to deal with the circumstances of your emails landing in spam.
    4. Not only must you include an unsubscribe link in your email but you must also make it visible and accessible to the email subscriber. There is no point having disinterested or non-engaged subscribers as part of your email list. It is far better for all concerned that you part ways and the best way to achieve this is by giving the subscriber an easy way out.
    5. Make sure your emails are well designed and follow best practice.
      1. Make sure that your emails are suitable for all devices (laptops, tablets, and mobiles).
      2. Ensure that your emails are on brand, so recipients recognise them quickly – this will help with engagement rates.
      3. Have a healthy balance of HTML text and imagery.
      4. You must include a sender address to ensure you are compliant with CAN-SPAM.
      5. The content in your emails should be simple, to the point and easy for the recipient to understand – which again, will help with engagement rates.

Email marketing case studies

  • Creating hardworking email templates for Moneycorp

    Our job at Red C was to design and build templates that were new and exciting, Read More

  • Playing games with Armstead Trade customers

    One of the best ways to encourage sign-ups is to make it fun. We certainly managed that with our Bubble Pop game for Dulux Trade.

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  • Eurostar’s email evolution

    After a lengthy pitch process, that lasted almost 6 months, we were appointed Eurostar's strategic and creative email partner tasked with revolutionising their underperforming eCRM programme.

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  • A paw-fect campaign for Police Mutual ;)

    Police Mutual wanted to create an incentive-led campaign to entice members of the Police family to choose the brand. We answered that brief with a paw-fect campaign ;)

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