Tips to Produce Top-Tier Email Communications

BY Korrea Johnston

As marketers, we know it’s best to prioritize personalization for better results, primarily via email. Fortunately, there are many ways to customize your communications beyond just using a contact’s name, such as buyer behavior, website activity, interests, and more. Here at Clark Concepts, we use our expertise to determine the best targeting approach to meet the needs of each client.

Let’s dive into some targeting approaches and case studies.


Tip #1 Timely Emails

Nowadays, there’s always a national holiday or observation that you can prepare for. Whether it’s well-known like Valentine’s Day or Black Friday, or lesser known as National Grilled Cheese Day (yum!), you don’t want to miss out on these timely opportunities to tie in your products or services. It can be competitive but try to focus on what makes your business or brand unique, so you can stand out among the rest.

Case Study: Halloween

We trialed a new “Trip-or-Treat” promotion for the Halloween season for one of our largest clients. As a transportation demand management (TDM) program and government-led initiative, this client promotes all the sustainable ways to get around the District of Columbia to commuters, multi-family buildings/residences, hotels, schools, and employers. To reach their residential audience, we created the “Trip-or-Treat” communications to promote Halloween-themed lobby events during October, where the client will come on-site to provide free trip planning assistance and candy. Though sent to a limited number of subscribers, these timely and targeted emails garnered a 200% increase in scheduled lobby events for the month. Based on this promotion’s success, the client plans to do more themed lobby events around various holidays throughout the year.

Case Study: Cherry Blossom Season

Cherry blossom season, which is also peak tourist season in the District, draws thousands of visitors to see the flowers in full bloom. Every spring, we assist our TDM client in the creation of a custom guide to the local Cherry Blossom Festival events, and then share this with commuter and hospitality audiences. As one of the most sought-after seasonal attractions, any related content tends to get a lot of traffic. In this case, one of our hospitality emails heavily surpassed the client’s average email performance as you can see in the table below. While national observances are definitely advantageous, this goes to show that localized events can positively impact your communications too.

  Open Rate Click Rate
Performance of Timely Email 28.9% 10.7%
Average Performance 18.3% 2.1%
Case Study: DC Theatre Week

Another great example is Theatre Week in the District of Columbia, which takes place in the fall. This observation marks the launch of production season by providing discount tickets to live shows, a kick-off concert, and dozens of free events and workshops. We shared an email with the client’s hospitality audience that included a custom flyer to promote the festivities and travel options to visitors. And again, this email exceeded the client’s average open and click rates.

  Open Rate Click Rate
Performance of Timely Email 32.6% 11.7%
Average Performance 18.3% 2.1%

Plan so you can time themed emails with enticing, festive, and fun language that will garner more engagement.

Tip #2 Targeted Emails

While most of us already have general email subscriber lists, it’s highly recommended that you segment your audiences to tailor communications. Ask yourself these questions when developing email content:

  • What matters to these contacts?
  • Have they expressed interest in your service or product?
  • Have they already bought into what you have to offer?

These questions can help you analyze your lists and segment them appropriately. Creating tags within the email software is the easiest way to divide and conquer subscriber lists. For our TDM client, we use the tag tools within MailChimp to create campaign-specific tags like “Biking Interest,” “Bus Interest,” and “Prospect.”

Case Study: Fall Bike Campaign

Our client’s 2021 fall bike campaign serves as just one great example that illustrates the effectiveness of using segments. In this case, we strictly focused on engaging with active participants from the past three bike campaigns to move them through the stages of travel behavior change, rather than trying to reach the general commuter audience. As part of the marketing strategy, we sent multiple emails with specific resources and weekly surveys to the bike audience. These email results heavily surpassed the client’s average open rate by as much as 65% and the average click rate by as much as 76%. See results presented in the table below.

Email Open Rate Click Rate
Seasonal Bike Tips 81% 35.7%
Bike Ride Routes 88.1% 35.7%
Group Bike Ride 81.4% 9.3%
Week 1 Survey 95.2% 83.3%
Week 2 Survey 86% 76.7%
Week 3 Survey 88.9% 62.2%
Week 4 Survey 89.1% 71.7%
Case Study: Winter Bike Campaign

We also used this approach for the client’s 2021 winter bike campaign. In this case, we segmented the audiences based on past versus new bike participants and created a workflow to automate the emails. * These emails performed exceedingly well, each garnering over 60% open rates. Details in the table below.


Email Open Rate Click Rate
Email #1: Social Media Contest (past pledgers) 79.4% 18.6%
Email #1: Social Media Contest (new pledgers) 77.5% 38.67%
Email #2: Safe Riding Tips 70.2% 7.2%
Email #3: Group Bike Ride 64.5% 15.2%
Email #4: WABA Class Vouchers 67.3% 12.9%
Email #5: Campaign Recap 65.9% 8%

Use what you already know about your audience to your advantage, by creating list segments.

*Bonus Tip*

Initially, setting up automated emails can be time-consuming, but this process will make your job as a marketer much easier once the campaign is launched because it can run on its own as you manage other tasks. We first tried out automated emails with simple “Welcome” communications to the client’s new commuter subscribers. These have garnered emails being opened 100% of the time since launching in 2020.


In conclusion, you can customize your audience’s experience with content that speaks to them. With these tips and examples, you can leverage current events, holidays, and what you already know about your audience to create fun and engaging content that will boost open and click rates!

Get in touch with us now to develop an email marketing plan that works with the rest of your goals!