Many talk about the expected Return on Investment for email marketing being $40 per $1 spent.

Although I love this stat and I believe that many can achieve even more than this, it’s important to understand how your email marketing is being used before setting expectations. Below are a few examples as to how email marketing can be used for your business and what to look at when trying to increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts.

For Sales

When it comes to creating sales or promotional emails the numbers are pretty straightforward, right? How much did it cost to create and send the email vs. how much money did it generate? If you were a daily deal company, it may be that easy. However, when it comes to the habits of today’s consumers, this black and white view may need a few shades of grey … no leathers needed here (unless that is what you are selling).

Here are a few things to pay attention to when trying to increase the expected ROI for your next promotion:

Are you sending to the right people? Many companies lack segmentation in their email marketing strategies. If you try to send to everyone you may be discouraged by the results, since it’s important to know that not all of your subscribers are buyers (YET). What I mean by this is that some people may not have the need for your product at that time or they may have just subscribed to you emails because you have an excellent blog and they would like to get updates of your posts.

It is important to try to segment your subscribers based on behaviours and sign up purpose. For example, for people who signup from your blog pages, you may want to have these in a separate list from people who signed up on your pricing page. I think this is step one of setting up your next promotional email: Segment your lists. This isn’t cheating! For the people who aren’t in your buying category, you can send them more of a “warm up” email to entice them to move into that category.

What are the selling points? The other day I was speaking with a friend that had issues with a product they were trying to promote. They had segmented their list and had a series of 3 emails to promote their new product. All of the emails had the same information and were pointing to the same landing page. The issue with this is redundancy.

If you have an idea to set up a series of emails, I sure hope you have a reason for this. People receive a lot of emails. Sending too many emails with the same info will only disappoint your subscribers. When trying to promote a product if you want to have a series of emails, make sure to find reasons to send that series. Are you focusing on different selling points? Is time of the essences? If that first email didn’t get the result you were looking for what improvements can you make with the next one? This is also a perfect opportunity to learn more about your subscribers. Having different selling points will give you insights as to what your subscribers are more interested in. For example: If you are selling computers, you may have 3 different emails that focus on computers for Gaming, School or Work. This will help you create more in-depth segments on your subscribers to increase your engagement rate later on.

Do you have a fluid buying process? Is it easy for your subscriber to understand and buy the product or service you are promoting? I have seen cases where companies have complicated rules or just don’t have an easy and fluid process to buy. For this last case, the most common mistake I see is an email that promotes something but the call to action just dumps the subscriber on their home page. It’s important to use landing pages to keep the flow of the sale. Using landing pages allows you to focus on the promotion and get specific feedback to better your next promotion. If you just dump subscribers onto your homepage, they may get distracted with other areas of your site and totally miss the reason they came to your site in the first place.

In regards to providing easy to follow steps to redeem this promotion, be sure to use your channels properly. Often times companies try to include everything in the email. Remember, you have less than a 3-second likability opportunity with email. The promotion needs to WOW me and intrigue me to click on the call to action. Once you have me on the landing page, you have more real estate to explain the steps or rules to qualify. Think of your email as the doorway to the promotion, not the promotion itself.

Measure. What is the goal? For this last point, I want to remind every marketer to measure what they do. It’s easy to get lost in the idea of just sending emails and pushing people to landing pages. If your results are just focused on looking at the sales numbers, you won’t know why your sales are going up or down… If your marketing efforts include multichannel strategies, be sure to set specific milestones and overall goals to reach that pertain to your email efforts exclusively, and, of course, do the same for the other channels involved but be sure to keep them separate. Doing this will help you understand the true value of email marketing. If the goal isn’t reached, the milestones should help you understand how to improve your next campaign.

Key takeaways? Divide and conquer.

These are suggestions that any marketer can follow and implement with their own strategies. Today, customers are crossing and subscribing to many of your channels: Your website, emails, social, etc. Be sure to set clear paths for each, measure by stages and stay focused! Jumbling it all together will only drive you crazy and discourage you and your team.