By 2025, over half of the world’s population will have an email address—about 4.6 billion people. In essence, that means that no other digital marketing tool comes anywhere close to the reach that an email marketing campaign does.
But simply slapping together some content and pressing send isn’t quite going to cut it, no matter how good your email marketing software is. In order to make the most of this opportunity and deploy a successful email marketing campaign, there are some fundamental guidelines you need to follow.
Follow the 10 tips in this article and you can be sure that your emails will build customer engagement and deliver sales.
What Is An Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign is a series of emails that are sent out over a set period of time. They're sent to a group of subscribers who have given their permission to receive emails from you (spamming is not cool or effective)!
Every email campaign should have a particular goal or call to action (CTA). If it’s a promotional email series, the aim might be to have a subscriber make a purchase, while the goal of a transactional email might be to inform a customer about their recent order to ensure a good customer experience.
Types Of Email Marketing Campaigns
The email marketing campaigns you create will vary greatly from business to business and industry to industry, but there are some standard types of emails that most businesses are likely to create at some point:
A welcome email series is usually sent to someone as soon as they join your mailing list. It’s important to get the style and content of the email just right as it will help form the first impression your new subscriber has of your business.
It’s a good opportunity to showcase what your business is about. Many businesses also like to include special discounts for new customers—the average open rate for welcome emails across all industries is nearly 70% (compared with 20% for other emails) so it can be a really good opportunity to build customer relationships and even make sales.
The goal of a promotional email is to get a subscriber to make a purchase or register interest in purchasing. Promotional emails are generally used to tell customers about sales, special offers, or new product ranges. The average email conversion rate across all industries is 2% - 5%, and while this might not sound high, providing you have a large email list you could still have high sales.
A good promotional email will be highly personalized and feature products that the subscriber is likely to be interested in. When I got married, I received lots of promotional emails about discounts on holidays thanks to the hours I spent googling for honeymoon ideas.
Newsletters are a form of email campaign designed to help build a relationship with the customer. By contacting your customer on a regular basis (hopefully with useful and insightful content) you will stay top of mind so that when your customer comes to make a purchase, they will automatically think of you.
Newsletters can be a surprisingly effective way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. When I worked at a law firm, we would send out a monthly email newsletter covering all the latest changes in our area of law. Not only was it incredibly useful for our contacts, but it demonstrated our industry expertise which helped generate new business inquiries.
After welcome emails, transactional emails have the highest open rate of any other emails (studies show between 40-50%). Transactional emails are usually generated automatically after a particular action, such as an order being placed or an order being shipped.
They’re a really important part of good customer service but they don’t have to be boring. For example, when sending an order confirmation email you could include images of the product being used or tips for looking after the product within your email automation—all of which can help build brand loyalty.
Abandoned cart emails are a type of automated email which gets sent to potential customers who leave your website before purchasing the items in their shopping cart. Often an abandoned cart will include an incentive like a discount or free shipping to encourage customers to complete the purchase. This can be particularly effective for expensive purchases like a new camera, where the customer might need a bit of extra encouragement.
There’s no point in having a massive contact list if most of your emails go unopened. Re-engagement emails help with this—they are usually sent to contacts who are not engaging with your brand. For example, not opening your emails or using your service if you have a physical site like a gym.
These types of email campaigns are designed to win back customers who are genuinely interested in your business while getting rid of those that don’t want to be on your subscriber list anymore. This ensures you have an engaged audience which improves your email open rates and even email deliverability—the higher your open rate, the less chance your emails will end up in spam.
Tips To Run A Successful Email Marketing Campaign
Let’s dive into our top 10 email tips which will help guarantee a successful email marketing campaign!
1. Build a Segmented Email List
To have a successful email marketing strategy you need to know your target audience and this relies on segmentation. Building a segmented email list involves breaking your contact list down into targeted groups according to different criteria such as their behavior (e.g. past purchases) and demographic (e.g. where they live). You can then use this information to send highly relevant email campaigns which get opened.
2. Identify Your Goals
It's important to identify your goal for the email marketing campaign for two reasons: 1) it will help you create an effective campaign and 2) it means you will be able to track the success of your marketing efforts.
For example, if you decide that the aim of your email campaign is to get people to sign up for your new yoga course then you can make sure the content and layout of the design are all geared toward getting the reader to click through to sign up. You will then be able to judge whether it has been a success based on how many people do so. Just be careful about having multiple CTAs (call to actions)—any more than two and you risk confusing your subscribers and diluting the effectiveness of the email.
3. Know Your Email Subscribers
It’s vitally important that you get to know your subscribers, or audience, so you can send relevant content. Some of this is common sense—if you’re a water charity, then your email subscribers are likely to have an interest in environmental issues, sustainability, and supporting other charitable initiatives so an effective email marketing campaign will align with these values.
Once you have an audience profile, it’s important to keep refining it. You can do this by running customer surveys, adding extra questions to your email opt-in and signup forms, and tracking how your audience interacts with your business. This will help you send personalized emails which are far more likely to be opened and successful.
I recently joined the mailing list of the baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen and now I receive regular emails with food and recipe recommendations completely personalized to my daughter’s age. The friendly and helpful email content inspires trust, and I keep going back to their products as a result!
4. Plan Emails and Follow Ups
Once you know the goal of your email campaign and you have your segmented list, you can start planning your emails. It’s important to consider how often you're going to distribute the emails, as well as the CTAs and content in each email. Consistency is key—all the emails within a campaign should fit together and reflect your brand and campaign goal.
Your subscribers should know what to expect—it’s no good sending your welcome email promising your subscribers loads of useful content and then not sending anything for 6 months.
5. Craft an Engaging Subject Line
An engaging email subject line can save your email from disappearing into the inbox abyss. Email lines should be attention-grabbing but not too clickbait-y. Using your audience profile, think about what language is likely to strike a chord with your subscribers, and don’t forget to personalize your email headings too for extra impact. Remember that over 70% of people read emails on their mobile devices so keep titles short so they don’t get truncated.
Bedding company Dusk recently sent me an email using personalisation and a question in the subject line to grab my attention:
6. Spend Time on Design
It’s worth spending time to create an attractive, professional email design. Good design will not only reflect your brand style and color palette but will also drive subscribers to your CTA.
Don’t forget about the end-user experience, though—lots of images could result in an email that doesn’t load properly. I’ve experienced this myself when sending out a webinar invite. The email was overly designed so the CTA buttons wouldn’t load properly and our sign-up rate was poor. We got around it by reducing the images, keeping the design simple, and putting CTA links in the text, not just in the images.
Email marketing tools such as Active Campaign and Mailchimp make creating eye-catching emails really easy, with drag-and-drop email builders.
7. Write Engaging Email Copy
It’s not just about the title—your email copy needs to be top-notch too. That means well-written, persuasive email content which speaks to your customer in a language they understand. Remember the audience profile we talked about—the copy should use the kind of language your customers use and be tailored to their behaviors and values. It’s not just about text and images. Including video in your emails has been shown to increase click rates by 300%. Video can be particularly effective for visual brands like fashion companies.
Make sure you personalize your content as much as possible, so for example, if you’re a recruitment company emailing your subscribers about job opportunities, your email should feature jobs and career information that is relevant to them and their industry. Personalization can improve click through rates by nearly 26% according to studies.
8. Send, Test, and Track
The beauty of email marketing is the sheer volume of analytics you have at your fingertips. Most email marketing services will enable you to track open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates and run a/b testing.
Using these metrics you can get really useful insights into your audience and what appeals to them. You can then use this information to optimize your future email campaigns to make them more effective.
9. Save Successful Templates
Another benefit of testing and tracking your campaigns is that you can save successful emails and use them as templates for future campaigns. This makes email an incredibly effective form of content marketing for all businesses, even small businesses with limited marketing resources.
When I worked as the sole marketing manager at a legal firm, I used a few core email templates for all my emails which saved me a huge amount of time.
10. Use The Right Email Marketing Tools
A successful email marketing campaign relies on using the right email marketing software. Luckily, there are so many email providers out there now with really attractive pricing. Even if you’re a small business, for a few dollars a month you should be able to find an email tool that allows you to create audience segments, set up email marketing automation and templates, and create in-depth analytic reports.
Many of the more sophisticated email apps feature lots of integrations so you can easily align your email campaigns with your other marketing channels like your website, social media accounts, and CRM.
Lots of email service providers like Hubspot and Mailchimp will allow you to sign up for free trials so it’s worth trying out a few options before you commit. You’ll find that different providers excel in different areas—for example, Drip is a very effective email marketing tool for ecommerce businesses while SendGrid is a particularly good multichannel marketing platform.
Email marketing campaigns are an essential part of your marketing strategy. Just make sure you are following the fundamental rules in this article to get the most out of your campaigns!
If you’re looking for further email tips, check out our Email Marketing Best Practices For 2023. And while you're here, be sure to subscribe to the CMO newsletter for our latest marketing insights, tools, trends, and techniques!