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Inbound 2019 Recap -Email Marketing Session by Jay Schwedelson

Hi everyone this is Nada and I'm delighted to share with you my second favorite session from Inbound 2019. It was "Do This, Not That! 20 Best Practices for Email Marketing Campaigns That Drive Customer Engagement" presented by Jay Schwedelson, president and CEO of Worldata.

Concept of sending e-mails from your computer-1


The title of the session easily could be "Everything You Know About Email Marketing Is Wrong." Jay spoke in the hall full of curious marketers who soaked up the new information and actionable tips occasionally laughing when Jay debunked some of the biggest email marketing myths.

You might even find some of his truth-bombs shocking, but if your email marketing efforts are stalling, give them a try and see if Jay is actually right.   

So let's go through my notes from this amazing session.

A question everyone asks about emails:

How Much Is Too Much?

Every digital marketer is cautious about spamming his/her subscribers

At the same time number of sent emails is the worst stat in email marketing.

And here’s why:

It is true that the number one reason for unsubscribing is "Receive Emails Too Often", however, this is just 28% of all unsubscribers. So Jay recommends: Send more not less!

Why that 28% stat is totally misleading?

That’s it! I am unsubscribing from Amazon. They just sent me another email!” Said nobody ever!


What Is The Recommended Number Of Emails For B2B and B2C

For B2B 4-6 per month

For B2C 10-14 per month



1. 92% of People who unsubscribe from email lists have not opened or clicked on an email from that sender in over 12 months.

2. Average unsubscribe rate across all industries is 0.15%


100,000 address email list

X .0015 unsubscribes = 150 removes

Out of these people only 12 have opened/clicked email in the last year, so you should not worry much.


Engagement Is King - Stay In Inbox

Open rates raise 17% for B2C and 21% for B2B when you send at least 5x per month.

This will continue to raise because deliverability is based on engagement now.

FOMO is the key of email marketing! (Fear Of Missing Out)

Emails with offers that expire have a 62% higher overall response rate for B2C and 55% for B2B.

So build an urgency and sense of missing out.

Subject lines that increase open rates

  • Free
  • Limited
  • Exclusive
  • Tomorrow
  • Today
  • Last chance
  • Expires
  • Days left ...

People want what they can’t have.

Change and test all the time as things are always changing. For example “Hurry” was a negative word in September 2018, but now it’s proven to increase open rates by 14%.

B2B open rates increase 38% when offer expiration is mentioned in subject line. For B2C it is 34%.

You certainly think that “free” will get your emails into spam. But here's a newsflash - free is OK for brands like Amazon, Marvel, IBM, Salesforce and others.

The secret is in a new logic of email filtering that which is done based on reputation of IP address, not keyword recognition.

So feel free to capitalize FREE and use it in the email subject.


Quick Tips

Half sentence subject lines have higher open rates 37% higher for B2C and 31% higher for B2B

Capitalization of each word increases open rate by 14%

Use [brackets] or (parentheses) in subject lines to increase open rate by 31%


Understand Your Numbers

It is very important to be aware of auto-opens and auto-clicks when analyzing your email marketing performance.

This is happening because of “email standing” - email clients are checking emails - photos and links and it comes to us as “unopened” but they are actually not and our email tracking tools are detecting them as opened and clicked.

What to do:

Send out campaigns in some weird hours, like 3 am and then look at the open rate after 30 minutes. If it is high then it is a work of machines.

Another option is to ask ISP automation provider for report on the email campaign. If you have 200 people who opened email in the time they usually sleep, you’d know these are not real people.

So know real stats!

Instead of Delivery Rate you should worry about “Inbox Rate”. That is a percent of emails that go to inbox vs. junk.

More Quick Tips

Subject lines that start with numbers have 21% higher open rate

Don’t use “donotreply” or “noreply” prefix. It drops click rates by 23% so NO REPLY = NO CLICKS

Pre-headers (preview text) are critical.

  • 37% emails contain accidental HTML code in preheaders
  • 22% have format issue
    21% have no pre-header
  • 20% only offer related

Emails that utilize the first line of a pre-header for offer related information generate a 24% higher open rate than those that don’t.

Be sure to test your emails on mobile devices to spot mistakes with visible accidental HTML code or links.

Emails with accidental HTML code in preheader have 39% lower open rate for B2C and 41% for B2B


Tips For Offers

Make a single offer in one email. These emails have 57% higher conversion rate compared to emails with multiple offers.

Have offer and content that targets specific industry (both subject line and email body). It outperforms generic business emails by over 260

Always be asking! Fixed position email collectors have an average submit rate of 7% during first 5 site visits.

Tools and Free Stuff

Evaluate subject lines at subjectline.com a free subject line testing tool with a ton of useful content about email marketing best practices.


Are you surprised by some recommendations? Let us know what you think in the comment below.

I believe that most of the "best-practices" we believed in before this session were coming from the lack of understanding of the email clients, how they actually work nowadays, and how they make selection between emails we receive. Also, one big outtake from this session is "don't be afraid to test". If something didn't work two years ago, it doesn't mean it won't bring you success today. So go now and try some of these tips.

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