How to run successful email marketing campaigns
By: Joe Barron
Email tips, Email marketing, Marketing,
Email has been around for a fair old while.
Over 50 years, in fact! The first email was sent way back in 1971.
But it’s still top dog when it comes to marketing channels that really work - beating social media, SEO and affiliate marketing to snatch the crown.
It’s an incredible tool that allows you to communicate with your customers, drive sales, and raise brand awareness.
But it has to be done right!
In order to run a successful email marketing campaign, you need to make sure you plan and execute it properly.
Not to mention analyse key metrics to inform future campaigns.
Want to find out how?
Read on for the full scoop on all things email marketing, as well as key tips and tricks to make your campaign fly.
What are email marketing campaigns?
First things first:
We need to be clear about what email marketing campaigns actually are.
An email marketing campaign is an email, or series of emails, sent from a business to current and/or potential customers with a commercial incentive.
A commercial incentive might be to increase brand awareness, drive engagement, nurture leads or make a sale.
Let’s take a look at some popular types of email marketing campaigns:
1 - Welcome email series
A welcome email series is triggered when a subscriber signs up to your email list or makes an initial purchase.
It’s a great way to introduce new customers to your brand and to spark their engagement from the off.
These emails should be concise, with a clear CTA.
2 - Newsletters
These are one of the most well-used email campaign types.
Normally sent out on a regular basis (such as weekly or monthly), newsletters are an opportunity for brands to share updates and news with their subscribers.
They are therefore informational in nature rather than promotional.
They’re a brilliant way to build trust, encourage long-term engagement and keep you top-of-mind with your customers.
3 - Cart abandonment campaigns
These are emails (or a series of emails) sent to customers who visited your site, added something to their cart but left without completing the purchase.
These are highly valuable tools.
Studies show that they can make your company $5.81 per recipient.
4 - Re-engagement emails
These do what they say on the tin:
They’re sent to customers who aren’t actively engaging with your brand, in the hope that they will spark their interest and re-engage them.
Top tip: include a special offer or discount to make re-engagement messages extra attractive.
5 - Post-purchase drip campaign
This is a series of emails sent out after a customer has made a purchase.
Its aim is to optimise the customer experience and make them feel looked after.
You could, for example, ask them for a review, or offer them a discount on their next purchase.
This will hopefully incentivise them to return for more!
6 - Seasonal campaigns
These email marketing campaigns are sent at specific times of the year, advertising a relevant product or service.
A discount on summer holidays to beat the January blues.
Time it right, and these can be highly effective.
What are the benefits of email marketing campaigns?
Email marketing campaigns offer a huge number of benefits.
But we’ve whittled it down to our top 5:
- The ROI is enormous
- They reach a vast audience
- You can communicate directly with your subscribers
- They’re easy to automate
- They’re easy to personalise
Let’s dive into these in more detail:
1 - The ROI is enormous
The return on investment on email marketing is a whopping $42 for every $1 spent.
Email marketing campaigns are low cost, but the results are undeniable.
They’re also easy and affordable to scale.
This means that you can send a mass mailout to a large number of people and not break the bank while you’re at it.
2 - They reach a vast audience
Email’s user base is mammoth.
90% of adults use email regularly, so you can be fairly certain that your email will be seen.
Globally, email is a channel that's accessible for a range of age groups (and tech ability!).
3 - You can communicate directly with your subscribers
Email marketing campaigns allow for your B2B marketing collateral to land straight into the inboxes of your subscriber list.
This is a rare opportunity to have a direct line of communication with your customers.
And because email communication is permission-based, you’re more likely to be met with a positive reaction.
Another big plus of email marketing campaigns is that you own the list of recipients, rather than a third-party platform.
And this means:
You’re in full control of who you market to!
4 - They’re easy to automate
There’s a load of marketing automation software out there that'll make your life a heck of a lot easier.
With the right tool, you can schedule your email series in advance, ensuring regular communication with your audience.
You can also set up automated workflows - this is when customer actions trigger specific emails.
5 - They’re easy to personalise
Email marketing campaigns are easier to personalise than those run on social media.
And personalisation is what’s going to take your email marketing campaigns to the next level.
Research shows that personalised campaigns increase revenue by as much as 760%.
Stay tuned for more on how to personalise your email marketing campaigns…
How should you plan an email marketing campaign?
Just like with everything else in life, planning is key.
As Benjamin Franklin put it:
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
There are 4 key steps to follow before you embark on your email marketing campaign.
Follow these to guarantee success:
- Identify a clear goal for the campaign
- Build a targeted list
- Use segmentation
- Think about timings
Let’s take a closer look at them.
1 - Identify a clear goal for the campaign
Before you think about creating an email campaign, you need to think about why you’re doing it.
And you’ve got to be specific.
You should have one really clear goal for your email marketing campaign.
Having more than one goal will muddy the waters.
This can lead to problems, like your subscribers getting confused. And this can have a really negative impact on your email marketing success, such as plummeting conversion rates.
But more about goals:
Your goal can be specific or broad.
Just make sure it matches your overall business goals.
Do you want to boost brand awareness, nurture existing leads or drive sales?
The clearer you are at the start, the better (and more measurable) your results will be.
2 - Build a targeted list
It’s fairly obvious that in order for your email marketing campaign to be a success, you need people to send it to.
And not just any people:
You need to build a list of active subscribers who are interested in your brand and have given you permission to send them emails.
How to go about building a list?
Consider adding a sign-up form to your website (as long as it’s not too disruptive to the user experience).
Or why not offer a discount to prospects in exchange for their email address?
It’s also good practice to regularly clean out your email list to ensure there’s no inactive customers or incorrect email addresses.
It’s better for your deliverability rates to have a smaller list rather than a longer one which includes some duds.
And whatever you do:
Never buy an email list.
It might be tempting, but it will damage your email sender reputation in the long run.
3 - Use segmentation
This is where you can really separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to your email marketing campaigns.
Nowadays, blanket email campaigns sent out to your entire subscriber list don’t cut the mustard.
Divide your list into smaller sub-sections using the B2B data you’ve gathered about them.
You could segment by customers’ demographics, interests or actions (such as whether they’ve subscribed to your newsletter or not).
Once you’ve effectively segmented your list, you can then send targeted communications to each group.
This will improve the success of your campaign no end.
4 - Think about timings
This is a critical step when it comes to planning an effective email marketing campaign.
You need to consider the optimal time and day of the week to send your emails.
Take into account specific details about your buyer personas, such as their behaviours and their timezone.
You also need to map out:
- How long the campaign should run for
- How regularly you want to communicate with your customers
Go back to your original goal; think about whether it can be achieved with a single email, or multiple.
Bear in mind that you don’t want to overwhelm your audience by contacting them all the time, but you also don’t want them to forget about you. Try to find a happy medium!
Plan out a thorough workflow that establishes your timeline, how many emails will make up your campaign and roughly what each one will contain.
How should you execute an email marketing campaign?
Now you’ve planned out a stellar email marketing campaign, it’s time to set about creating it.
We’re going to run through 5 best practices to ensure your email marketing campaign is executed to perfection.
- Write eye-catching subject lines
- Craft personalised copy
- Draw your readers in
- Think about design and display
- Include a clear CTA
1 - Write eye-catching subject lines
This is one of the most important elements of any email marketing campaign.
A subject line determines whether a recipient wants to open your email or not.
And with email inboxes being more crowded than ever, you really need to make sure your subject lines pop.
Keep them short and snappy and always personalise them.
You really need to capture your recipients’ attention here; a bad or lazy subject line means that your email will just go straight to the Trash folder!
2 - Craft personalised copy
You need to write content which is personalised to your buyer persona.
You want your recipients to feel like you’re talking to them, and them alone.
Using their first name is a good place to start, but it shouldn’t stop there.
You could personalise according to their location, purchase history or their position in the buyer journey.
It makes a huge difference to open rates and CTR.
3 - Draw your readers in
Your email needs to engage readers and make them want to read the whole thing.
You can do this by:
- Keeping it short, sweet and easy to read
- Not being too salesy or pitching too early on
- Including a personal story to get readers on your side
- Using a friendly and conversational tone
This will drive engagement and conversions like nobody’s business.
4 - Think about design and display
The design and display of your email marketing campaign is as important as the content.
Your email’s design should complement your brand aesthetic and clearly highlight your CTA.
Don’t overcrowd your email with too much text or too many images.
And of course:
Ensure it’s readable on all devices and screen sizes!
5 - Include a clear CTA
Every email in your campaign should have a clear call-to-action that aligns with your campaign goal.
A CTA encourages readers to deepen their engagement with your brand, such as signing up to your newsletter.
The CTA must be clear, simple and designed in a way that makes it stand out from the rest of the email.
How should you measure the success of email marketing campaigns?
Email marketing campaigns don’t end the moment you press send.
It’s crucial that you analyse your campaign metrics; by doing this, you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t.
Meaning you can refine your efforts for future campaigns.
There are several metrics to monitor, the key ones being:
1 - Open rate
This, unsurprisingly, gauges how many people have opened your emails.
It monitors how engaged your subscribers are, and in particular how successful your subject lines are.
2 - Click-through rate (CTR)
This tracks how many people clicked on a link in your email.
It’s a useful way of discovering how valuable your recipients find your content.
3 - Unsubscribe rate
This tells you how many people have clicked the unsubscribe button in your emails.
If this number is high, think about how you can make your content more relevant to each buyer persona on your contact list.
Which metrics are most important?
Prioritise whichever of these 3 aligns most strongly to your campaign goal.
And make sure you measure your results within the context of your industry at large.
Otherwise, the data is fairly meaningless.
Hopefully, this has given you a good insight into what email marketing campaigns are and how to make a success of them.
Hungry for more? Check out Mailtastic’s guide to email signature marketing.