According to Demand Gen Report’s 2016 Demand Generation Benchmark Report , 77% of B2B marketers say email is the top channel for driving leads. And, the Direct Marketing Association states that email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent. It is no surprise that email is considered a major driver for today’s marketers. But, with people complaining of overflowing inboxes, it is time to move beyond the old spray and pray approach to throw as much out there as possible to see what sticks. Instead, here are five tips to optimize email efforts to achieve the best results.

Remember the Ingredients of a Good Email

Most recognize the basics of a good email – the content and call to action or offer. But what are the other key ingredients?

Good Subject lines- You only have one chance to make a first impression, and–as far as your email is concerned– the subject line is it. You don’t have a prayer, if your message isn’t even opened. Most people know to avoid words like “free” in their subject lines but you should also avoid common words associated with sales, like “help,” or “reminder.” These words don’t always trigger a spam filter, but many recipients with ignore them. Tell them exactly what they’re getting such as “New Research Report,” “Industry Infographic,” or “Webinar Invite.” And finally, test subject lines to see what works best.

Proper List Segmentation- The goal of segmentation is to match the message with the buyer and ensure you are communicating relevant information. This includes firmographic and demographic elements such as industry and geography as well as behavioral data points such as the person’s interactions on your website, responses to campaigns and preferences.

The Right Format- There is a time and place for everything so be sure to consider whether your next email is HTML or Text. While HTML are beautiful “marketing” messages, Text comes across as more personal (even if sent through an automated process). HTML is typically appropriate for formal invitations or announcements as well as ebook promotions or newsletters and text gives the impression of a one-to-one outreach as if giving someone a special invitation.

Responsive Design- We are all on the go and have a number of technologies and devices available for use. With this in mind, it is essential to build emails with responsive design that will adjust based on the size of the screen for a mobile or desktop device. And, don’t forget the number of email clients and internet browsers. Make sure you have tools in place to test how your emails will render across all the different platforms.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Deliverability

You can have award-winning creative and copy, but it won’t generate ROI if the emails never reach the inbox. Email deliverability is a critical component of email marketing strategy but it is most often neglected. There are many factors that affect deliverability but the single most important is a clean and up-to-date list. Additionally, you must protect your sender reputation. Sender reputation is the scoring of a sender’s emails based on thousands of data points to determine the quality of mail sent. If you have a poor reputation, you will have difficulty getting your emails through so it is important that you are only mailing to subscribers and following good practices so you don’t damage your reputation in a way that would prevent your emails from making it to the inbox.

Incorporate Email as Part of a Broader Strategy

To truly be effective, email should be part of a broader strategy. MarketingSherpa states that an alarming 79% of leads never convert to sales, so if you are just sending one-off emails with a bunch of disjointed messages, you are missing a huge opportunity.

Traditional bulk email is manual to produce and is quickly becoming less effective. It is critical for marketers to take a more engaging approach and find a scalable way to deliver personalized content at the right time during a buyer’s journey via multiple channels including social, calling and advertising. Nurture campaigns are designed to do exactly that. They can help you develop relationships with leads by surfacing content that’s uniquely relevant to them at the right time during the buying cycle. Once set up, these automated campaigns run without marketing’s involvement.

As you get more successful with your email efforts, you will need a way to prioritize quality leads. Lead scoring helps marketing prioritize and process leads through the funnel at the right time to help sales improve the efficiency of their outreach. A lead scoring model works by applying values to key lead engagements, such as clicking on email, visiting a web page on your site or completing a form. As your leads engage with your digital content, they accumulate a score based on the values assigned to each action. Once a lead’s score reaches the threshold you determine for being sales-ready, the lead is automatically pushed to the CRM and assigned to a salesperson.

A lead scoring model can dramatically improve your overall lead management strategy, create efficiencies within the sales process and improve conversion rates.

Arm Yourself with the Right Technologies

The need to create a consistent experience across all prospect and customer interactions and the amount of data involved makes it impossible to do without technology in place. To facilitate alignment and ensure no leads leak out of your funnel, ensure you integrate marketing automation and the sales CRM. You will save time and resources by having a process and system in place to prioritize outreach and coordinate activities.

Measure and Adjust

There are many different metrics but is important to track performance so you can understand your campaign effectiveness and make improvements where needed. For email, you should measure opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes and inbox placements. There is no right answer for what these results should be as every organization is different. You simply should strive to make incremental improvements with each new email campaign. And, be sure to move beyond these basic metrics. Marketing shows its real value by showing the number of sales accepted leads delivered, marketing’s contribution to pipeline, cost per lead and contribution to revenue to name a few. The important thing is to measure results so you can improve performance.