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Proven Email Optimization Strategies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud

4 Proven Email Optimization Strategies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Read time-tested ways to optimize email campaigns for success – with Salesforce Marketing Cloud ...

Email is the most effective channel to connect with consumers, generate new leads, build brand awareness, and boost revenues. Email generates a staggering ROI of $42 for every $1 and consistently ranks as the top ROI channel – well ahead of social media, content marketing, and SEO marketing.

A robust email marketing program can help you gain more customers, retain existing customers, increase their lifetime value, and earn big bucks, especially when you:

  • Implement key emails like cart abandonment, re-engagement, transactional, and special occasion messages
  • Incorporate automated, trigger-based emails into your strategy
  • Leverage a powerful, full-featured Email Service Provider (ESP) like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC)

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your email program will or should run on auto-pilot. The inbox is a sacred but crowded space, and you need to do everything you can to create your own niche within it. And for this, optimizing your email campaigns is crucial.

Try these 4 email optimization strategies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

  1. Personalize the Messaging

According to Salesforce, 52% of customers expect to receive personalized offers. And email is a great way to deliver such offers because it is a very personal form of communication available to businesses today. Your customers appreciate personalized communication that recognizes them as individuals is tailored to meet their specific needs, and doesn’t annoy them with over-aggressive marketing messaging. To satisfy all these objectives, email is ideal.

The more personalized your email, the more likely that recipients will:

  • Open it
  • Click on links within it
  • Convert into paying customers

In fact, recent research reveals that personalized email marketing can:

  • Increase open rates by 26%
  • Boost conversion rates by 6X or more

You know what’s the best thing about email? That you can add personalization to many different elements. Implement basic personalization, such as a subscriber’s name in the subject line or greeting, or implement more advanced personalization by dynamically changing email content based on a subscriber’s gender, location, age range, etc.

Other email personalization ideas for SFMC:

  • Include special offers or promotions based on subscriber demographics or purchase history
  • Create tailored content specific to particular subscribers
  • Provide recommendations based on past purchases or cart behaviors
  • Send customized birthday or anniversary emails with a discount code or free gift
quirky birthday email from Chipotle
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This quirky birthday email from Chipotle includes a free gift offer to make the subscriber feel special.

  • Send dynamic emails where the content adjusts automatically for each subscriber

Relevance is a critical part of personalization, so make sure your content grabs subscribers’ attention in their crowded inboxes. Gather information about subscribers, create segments, and tailor content for each segment. Segmented emails get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks when compared to non-segmented campaigns, so make sure you don’t skip this step. You can create data filters in Email Studio to segment your subscribers, or you can write SQL queries in Journey Builder in the Automation Studio window.

After segmentation, you can create personalized content for each segment and email type, such as:

  • Welcome emails to new subscribers
  • Upsell emails to converted subscribers
upselling email from Grammarly places the 20% discount upfront
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This upselling email from Grammarly places the 20% discount upfront, so the recipient knows exactly what they can get and why they’re special to the company.

  • Re-engagement emails to existing customers
  • Encouraging/thank you/referral/appreciation emails for loyal/long-time customers
Skimm simple appreciation email offering
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Skimm gets it right with a simple appreciation email offering recipients a chance to win cash prizes as a thank you from the company.

Saje referrals email template
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By asking for referrals, Saje shows how much it appreciates the recipient and what the recipient can receive by providing referrals.

Leverage SFMC tools like Journey Builder, Email Studio templates, and Content Detective to discover the right audience, build personalized journeys for each subscriber and create personalized content that engages, delights, and converts.

2. Create Compelling Subject Lines and CTAs

The average white-collar worker receives 121 emails per day. When they are drowning in emails, how can your emails stand out? With a compelling subject line!

Your email’s subject line is the first thing a person sees before even opening an email, so it must catch their attention, make them curious, and compel them to open the message to know more. That’s why a powerful, personalized, relevant, or witty subject line is essential.

Create an optimized subject line that addresses a reader’s concerns or needs. Customize it with their name or company name. In a few words, show that you have the solution for their specific challenge. Make the language actionable to encourage them to open the email.

Some other great practices to optimize your subject lines with SFMC:

  • Use power words e.g. “introducing”, “special” and “offer”
  • Include personalization with the recipient’s name, birthday, location, etc.
  • Use emojis for light-hearted or fun emails; they can increase open rates by 4.2%
  • Add incentives to increase open rates by 50% or more

Make sure you match emojis or incentives to the email’s tone and purpose.

Create two versions of the subject line for the same email and perform A/B testing to identify the one that performs best. It’s easy to set up A/B testing in SFMC Email Studio. Once you finish the setup, you can test subject lines, send times, content, pre-headers, from name, CTAs, and many other email elements.

Along with subject lines, actionable CTA links or buttons are a great optimization tool for SFMC emails. Use these best practices:

  • The link or button is clearly visible
  • Add more than one CTA or place the same CTA in multiple places
  • Place at least one CTA above the fold
  • Add urgency that encourages action
  • Use white text and contrasting colors to improve visibility and readability

3. Leverage SFMC Templates

One of the easiest ways to optimize email marketing in SFMC is with reusable, on-brand templates. SFMC provides dozens of built-in templates and a drag-and-drop template designer. Use the templates as-is or customize them with content blocks, custom fonts, and your brand’s colors and logos. You can choose to create your own templates with custom HTML and reuse them for multiple email campaigns.

Create different templates for different types of emails: one for welcome emails, one for abandoned cart emails, one for birthday emails, etc.

Automated abandoned cart emails from Pacsun
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Automated abandoned cart emails like this one from Pacsun are a great way to boost conversions.

Some good practices to leverage templates for email optimization with SFMC:

  • Before finalizing a template, send out a test email with that template and preview it in different email clients
  • Create mobile-friendly, responsive templates with content blocks in SFMC Content Builder
create responsive templates with content blocks in SFMC Content Builder
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  • Test templates with different text blocks and design elements such as images, buttons, and layout
  • Automate routine template approvals with “Content Builder Approvals”
  • Include shareable links wherever possible, and always include an unsubscribe link
  • Add personalized videos to templates to increase CTR by 200-300% and retention rates by 35%
Vimeo onboarding email template
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Vimeo adds a video to its onboarding email to delight new users right from the get-go.

  • Create interactive email templates using Content Builder’s “Interactive Content” section to boost engagement with welcome emails, product interest emails, feedback emails, and limited time offer emails

4. Optimize Send Times with SFMC Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO)

Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO) in SFMC Journey Builder can help you automatically determine the most optimal time to send emails to each subscriber on your send list. STO uses 90 days of email engagement data so you can predict when each contact is most likely to engage with your messages over the next 24 hours. The tool evaluates multiple different factors and criteria plus each contact’s latest weekly engagement data so you can send emails at the right time to increase engagement.

To access Einstein STO, click on the Einstein Tab in the Navigation bar within SFMC. For multiple emails in a customer journey builder flow, drag and drop the ‘Einstein STO’ activity before each email activity. Use Einstein Engagement Scoring to identify customer segments based on likely engagement.

Check the STO dashboard to view analytics that predicts future message engagement. Visualize optimal predicted send times by the day or hour for all contacts, and then choose the best time for batch sends.


By optimizing your email program in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you can connect with your audience in more personalized, one-on-one ways to improve engagement and boost ROI.

In addition to the four strategies highlighted here, another powerful way to optimize your SFMC email campaigns is with automation and analytics. With SFMC automation and Salesforce-certified email specialists such as the Email Uplers team, you can quickly create new segments, set up multiple campaigns, accelerate lead qualification, and build customer journeys. You can also identify relevant metrics and key performance indicators to measure campaign performance, optimize workflows, and increase the chances of campaign success.

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Chintan Doshi

Chintan is the Sr. Manager Email Marketing & CRM at Email Uplers. He loves email marketing and has been in the industry from last seven years. His track record of email marketing success covers building email programs from scratch and using data-driven strategies to turn around underperforming accounts.



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