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EMCA Design and Science

A little bit of both

February 17, 2020
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What is Email Marketing Competitive Analysis (EMCA)? It’s a management technique that involves two things: a little design knowledge and a little science. Every marketer needs the ability to be creative like a designer while applying data like a scientist.

To set up a viable email marketing strategy, you need to research the best practices of your competitors and do a comprehensive marketing analysis. By using the right email analytics techniques to figure out the success of your competitors, you improve your future mailing campaigns. Read on to find out what competition is making well and seven programs that can help you to mimic their achievement in your own marketing.

Sending cadence

In today’s digital arena, email marketing is vital to business growth. If you’re new to email marketing, try to heat your list and research the appropriate email cadence so you have no negative impact on your business. In other terms, do not block: this should be your # 1 rule.

Email marketing is a great place to start with your competitive analysis. Start by signing up for some of your top competitors’ newsletters and look at the frequency of their emails. Do they send emails, weekly, or just occasionally? This allows you to tread into the customer’s shoes and see if their email marketing campaigns are being disrupted. What email benchmarks should you target?

Subject line

When an email appears in our inbox, the first thing we see is the subject line. That is why it is important to create an interesting subject line using clever copy and a good hook.

Competitive analysis can help you understand new and exciting subject line strategies. How do other brands in your field speak to their audience? Do they use humor? Deadline? We can establish their emails as industry leaders using authentic voice. Let’s do a brief marketing analysis of these excellent subject line examples:

“Agreements that make us proud (unlike our nephew, Steve)” - This Groupon subject line made us laugh big. It saturates the marketing of the group with personality. If it fits the tone and market of your brand, try something comparable.

Another good example is the subject line of Crunchbase: “China Falls, Sleepy Unicorns, Deals are not great in Texas. This strange mashup of words draws attention and subscribers are interested in the story.

Email design

Pay specific concern to email design, since images play a considerable part in the story. When conducting a competitive analysis, pay attention to the use of color palettes, branded elements, interactive visuals, images and fonts.

When you conduct a competitive analysis, you will see that your competitors use branded items in their newsletters to further legitimize their brand. Find the placement they chose for their logo. A good practice is to follow your brand’s logo color palette and integrate it into email design. If you want to use white-label marketing automation tools, you can upload your logo to the white-label platform and it will place your symbol in the email template. Reading your email in web fonts will make your emails visible all the time and under all conditions.

Mobile friendly heart

Phones and tablets do not show signs of slowing down, when new people enter the workforce and become consumers.

As we learn from recent research, General Z users check their email more than once a day and most of them are online. This means you neet to optimize your email designs for mobile. Mobile devices are a great source of traffic and conversion. Mobile optimization does not mean low sales. So, look at competitors ’mobile practices. Their emails vary depending on the mobile user experience. What if it does not optimize your opponents for mobile? Well, this is a great opportunity for you.

Call to action

Consider how your competitors use calls to action. Do they use creative copy? Specific Colors? How can you achieve this in your own emails? Consider testing different CTAs to discover which one works best. Your competitors may have worked out the same. You need to consider placement and design.

The landing page

In most instances, marketers create email campaigns for special landing pages. The success of your campaign depends on effective landing page design. Analyze this connection between your competitors’ emails and their landing pages. Are they equal in appearance? Is this a logical continuation of the marketing message displayed in the landing page email?

Clarity is the key to the landing page success, and it starts with the copy. Keep the landing page content as short as possible; don’t carpet-bomb the page with tons of unnecessary scrolling. Short copy, simple design and CTA conversions are keys. Look at your competitors' landing pages and decide how to improve the experience on your own landing page.


Don’t miss the opportunity to copy your competitors’ approaches to personalization. Do they send personal emails based on web behavior? What positive components are they using? Remember that email personalization does not end with “Hi [first name]”. This idea will most likely mean that the email has the information the user wanted when connecting with your website.

For example, you can send users different emails based on triggering events that happen on your site. For example:

  • A user sees a certain product in the store
  • A user could not login
  • The user has signed up for your mailing list
  • The user left a shopping cart without concluding the transaction

The Ends

An interesting design is not enough to improve conversions: you need to have a good understanding of what other companies in your industry are doing. Comprehensive competitive analysis can help you uncover best practices that match your marketing.

  • First, search for messages that your competitors use in the subject line to persuade users to google and open them to email.
  • Try to figure out how other companies connect with people searching for specific categories on their website. Give your store what they’re looking for in terms of customer behavior.
  • Surprise customers with your personalized approach.
  • Keep your email and landing page design concise and don’t overwhelm users with text. Your copy should be clear and succinct.



The Mailman

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