There’s nothing obvious about great email marketing.

Sure, we all know the basic formula for success — reaching the right people with the right content. But, how you narrow down who those people are and what kinds of content will track with them is a process that takes a lot of skill, not to mention a little bit of luck.

What’s the secret? Well, there’s no single thing you can do to magically hit all of the right marks with your emails. But there are certain tasks that will make effective email marketing a lot more achievable — and surprisingly, lots of marketers are neglecting them as part of their strategies.

When it comes to email marketing, you have to be creative. And often, that means thinking outside the box and trying tactics that aren’t all that obvious. With that in mind, here are six things every email marketer should be doing to increase success.

1. Sending a Welcome Email

Opportunities for engagement are the highest right when someone subscribes to your emails. Statistics show that welcome emails have an impressive average open rate of 82 percent, versus just 21 percent for the emails sent after.

This stat tells us two important things: average open rates for emails aren’t terribly high, and the welcome email is a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on engagement. Use it as a place to slip in a high-impact CTA or consider putting in a promotion or some other goodie that might incentivize future openings and engagement.

2. Signing Up for Competitor Emails

As many as 87 percent of marketers use email to distribute their content organically. If you want to know the kinds of content your competitors are putting out there, then you have to start registering for their emails.

Getting on your competitors’ email lists is a good way to stay aware of what sort of strategies they’re putting into action. It’s also extremely beneficial for informing your own content strategy. Rather than imitating, though, look for broad takeaways that you might be able to put to use — such as the utilization of user-generated content or series-driven campaigns.

3. Consulting With Other Departments

We really can’t stress enough how important it is to work outside of the marketing silo. Your sales and support teams have a ton of unique insights that can help you better understand your audience, including certain topics and areas you should cover in your email content.

Make sure your marketing team aligns with other departments by checking in with them regularly. These check-ins are a chance to see if there are any informational gaps you should be addressing. We recommend having regular brainstorm meetings once a month or a quarter, where you can discuss common customer and lead objectives, questions, and issues that can inform the content you create. Also, utilize tools like Slack or Zoom to quickly connect when needed, which will help keep the content flowing when timing is crucial.

4. Surveying Your Audience

Nobody knows what your audience wants better than your actual audience, and surveys are an excellent way to tap into their thoughts.

Aside from being the number one way to get customer feedback, surveys allow you to go straight to the source to figure out what areas you should be focusing on more and what areas no longer serve your cause.

Aim to survey your audience at least once per year, or perhaps once per quarter, and to use those insights to drive your strategy moving forward. Customer surveys can do more than just inform your blog topics. Their insights can be used across numerous departments to make your entire business operate more efficiently.

5. A/B Testing

A/B testing is one of the best ways to find out what email factors will most likely lead to conversions, and therefore should be a mainstay within the process of introducing new formats, templates, or timelines.

To do it, narrow in on exactly what you’re testing, whether it’s a subject line, a date and time to send your emails, or something else. Then split your contact list randomly and send one email to one group and one to the other. Give yourself about five days to gather results, then see what performed better. From there, you’ll know what route you should take moving forward.

Another option is to take a small sample of your list and break it off into two groups. Send one test to the first group and another to the second. Measure results and whichever tactic was most successful, use that when sending your email to the remainder of the list.

6. Sitting in on Sales Calls

We mentioned already that you should be bringing sales in on conversations, but you should also be listening to theirs. It never hurts to hear firsthand what your sales team’s process is like and how they talk about your product or service to your audience. Sitting in on calls will help you ensure continuity of your brand identity and message and allow you to be a fly on the wall to pick up on overarching themes and challenges.

You can’t be on every call, but do make a point of hopping on once in a while. Who knows, you might learn something you didn’t know before about what your audience wants and needs to move further down the funnel.

Don’t lose out on easy wins. Make sure to incorporate the six tactics above into your email marketing strategy so you can increase your chances of successful outreach.