3 Elements That Will Make or Break an Email Marketing Campaign With so much data, so many new channels and so much competition out there, it can be tough to determine which strategies are worth trying out.

By Cynthia Price

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Let's be honest: Marketing has become kind of a beast. With so much data, so many new channels and so much competition out there, it can be tough for today's marketers to determine which marketing strategies are worth trying out and which aren't.

Not only do you need a specific set of tools to help you navigate the marketing landscape -- choosing the right road map can also make or break a campaign. To get you started, here are three make-or-break areas that, when optimized, can help you along your journey to positive results -- no GPS required.

1. Automation

Automation is an easy (and approachable) way to both save time and send more personalized messages. Can it make your next campaign? You betcha.

Related: 3 Ways Customer Data Allows for Pinpoint Marketing

The stats speak for themselves: Not only does automation boast a 119 percent higher click rate than broadcast emails, eMarketer reports that business-to-consumer marketers who take advantage of automation for everything from cart abandonment programs to birthday emails have seen conversion rates as high as 50 percent.

Launching an email automation solution might sound a little intimidating, but you probably already understand the process and its benefits better than you think. After all, most of us are already automating in our personal lives, even if we don't realize it. Do you schedule your credit card bills for monthly auto payments or sign up for regular prescription refills? Email automation applies that same principle to your marketing, at scale.

A targeted welcome series is a great way to get started with automation. New subscribers are engaged subscribers, and since they haven't seen your content before, they're statistically more likely to click and open your messages. One Experian study revealed that welcome emails have four times the open rate and five times the click rate of traditional newsletters.

Not only does an automated welcome series make a good first impression on these new subscribers, it also puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand, helping you build a rapport that can make or break future campaigns.

2. Mobile design

Mobile design is all about making emails easier to scan and engage with on a mobile device. It means creating content that's easy to see and simple to consume, so when designing for mobile, it's best to use big, bold images, large fonts and easy-to-tap call-to-action buttons.

How important is good mobile design? Consider this: According to one study, 57 percent of users would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. So it's not only super important for the success of your marketing, but also the credibility of your brand.

Related: 5 Attributes the Modern Marketer Must Possess

Don't forget: There's more than one kind of mobile device out there. From phones to tablets to watches, make sure your mobile site looks as good on screens of all sizes as it does on the traditional smartphone screen.

3. Calls to action

One of the smallest but most powerful parts of any email, effective calls to action (CTAs) have evolved from text links into buttons at an unbelievable rate. Why? Buttons are much easier to see (and tap) on a mobile device, and more people than ever are checking email on their phones.

But not all CTA buttons will get the same response from your audience. Some attract way more clicks than others.

To create a top-notch CTA button, first consider the language you want to use. You want your visitors to do something specific, so provide a clear call to action. One recent study found that adding just one word after the word "submit" can boost conversion rates by as much as 320 percent. But it's still important to keep it short -- the top 10 converting buttons in the report all contained two words or less.

Visuals are also key to a great CTA. Use images that will direct the reader's eye to your call to action. For example, select a photo of a smiling model with her eyes looking toward the CTA button. Eye-tracking studies have found that site visitors will pick up on this social modeling and look where she's looking.

Finally, don't forget about your CTA button color. Through brain science, we know that the right color can compel people to take action on a subconscious level.

For example, we all know green means go, which is pretty handy when it comes to CTAs. It's also the easiest color for the eyes to process. But orange and red are also solid choices for CTA buttons: Orange encourages immediate action, while red increases energy and creates a sense of urgency. Try red if you're running a sale, a limited-time offer or selling tickets to an event that's close to selling out.

Related: The Holy Grail of Startup Marketing: Search, Social and Content

Cynthia Price

Director of Marketing at Emma, Inc.

Cynthia Price is director of marketing at Emma, an email-marketing company. With an extensive background in sales and marketing, Cynthia represents Emma at conferences across the country, where she can be found geeking out about everything from subject lines to audience segmentation.

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