What is an email marketing campaign and what makes it successful?
In a few words, and email marketing campaign is one in which a business or service provider sends emails to potential customers or its existing customer base to encourage recipients to take action or engage with the sender in a way that generates sales or, at the very least, leads to new potential customers.
A successful email marketing campaign is achieved when the recipients of your email take the desired action and interact with your website. This puts you not only in front of their eyes but also on their minds, something that can lead to future sales or recommendations.
Email is not dead, and won’t be any time soon
According to the most recent statistics, those who claimed that email is dead have been proven wrong, with the number of emails being sent and received each year growing exponentially. In 2017 alone, 269 billion emails were sent and received worldwide every day. This number grew to 281.1 billion in 2018, and it is expected to continue increasing with an estimated 347.3 billion emails sent and received each day in 2023.
These statistics provide us with one important fact: even with the wide availability of smartphones, messenger apps, and other digital forms of communication, email is still the most sought-after way to get in touch with others. In short, when you do the math, an email marketing campaign is probably the easiest, most cost-effective way to reach a large number of people with a single click.
Making your email marketing campaign successful from the start
While nobody starts out thinking their email marketing campaign is going to fail, the truth of the matter is that it’s not as simple as sending an email to thousands of people. Success takes work, even with such a simple idea—there are steps you must take in order to ensure your desired outcome. With this goal in mind, here is a list of the 12 most important dos and don’ts of a successful email marketing campaign.
1. DO determine who will be on the receiving end of your campaign – Before you get started on an email marketing campaign, you must determine who you want to reach. To this end, you will need to build an email list that includes people who are interested in your products or services. But how do you get their email addresses to begin with? The solution is simple: invite them to subscribe on your website, either by using a subscribe button throughout your site or with an exit-intent popup that will give them the option prior to leaving a webpage.
2. DO set goals for yourself and your campaign – One of the first things you must do when looking to run a successful email marketing campaign is to set goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you plan on doing it. Some of the most common goals for an email marketing campaign are the following:
- Attracting new subscribers – You can do this by letting them know about your business and the value you offer, which will then lead to building a relationship with them.
- Increasing engagement – Regardless of whether you want to make a sale or promote any services you offer, this goal focuses on your viewers interacting with the content of your website, which includes any information on your business.
- Providing value to existing customers and subscribers – What is it you would like to offer to your loyal customers? Whatever it is, let them know!
- Bringing inactive subscribers back into the fold – Have you noticed a decrease in traffic to your website? Let your inactive subscribers know what you’ve been up to and tell them about any new services or products you have to offer.
3. DO decide what kind of email you want to send – Are you looking to promote your business, offer new services, or showcase special sales? Do you want to send a newsletter or provide your subscribers with the most recent information about your business? Or maybe you simply want to welcome new subscribers or let them know their purchase is on its way. The importance of knowing what type of email you want to send is that it will help you use appropriate wording in the body of the email. This is, in essence, what will attract new customers and drive sales.
4. DO use technology to your advantage – One of the best ways of creating a successful email marketing campaign is to use available technological tools to your advantage. These tools, such as analytics, software integration, automation, templates, and workflows (among others), will help you send promotional emails, segment your audience, target emails by demographic, schedule updates, and respond quickly to your customers, all of which are the basis of a successful campaign.
5. DO create an eye-catching subject line – The first thing a subscriber will see when you send an email is the subject line, and that is the moment a successful campaign is made or broken. A subject line that attracts the reader’s interest will lead him or her to open the email and continue reading whatever it is you have to say, so think about it thoroughly before you choose one and keep in mind the following tips:
- Keep it short – Recent studies have shown that the best subject lines are between 40 and 50 characters long, so use your space wisely and catch the reader’s attention early on.
- Make it straight and to the point – Tell your readers what to expect when they read your email. There is no need to be vague or misleading. This is one case in which honesty is the best policy.
- Avoid trigger words – A study conducted by Litmus and Fluent shows that at least 50% of email users have felt tricked into reading an email due to what its header said. This is even more noticeable when dealing with promotional emails, so make sure you don’t use words in the header that could send your emails directly to the spam folder and, again, don’t be misleading. Remember: An upset lead is one you will never be able to draw back to your business.
- Personalize your subject lines – Adding the reader’s name to your subject line will ensure their engagement and draw their attention. Personalization is one of the best ways of letting your subscribers know you are thinking of them, so show some warmth and catch their eye.
6. DO make sure the body of your email is short and sweet – Nobody wants to read an entire litany when they open an email, so make sure you keep yours short, but not so short you can’t get your message across. There are some tips to keep in mind when writing the body of your email, ensuring you keep your reader’s attention and lead them to act, including:
- Create a great hook right at the start – This is where you catch your reader’s attention and make them want to continue reading. Having a great hook at the start of the email will lead to increased interest in what you have to offer and ensure the success of your campaign.
- Make your reader comfortable – While writing a short email is the best way to go, remember not to pitch your offer right off the bat. This will make you look aggressive and turn off your readers. Instead, tell them a personal story that will make you seem just as human as they are and create an emotional connection with your business.
- Personalization is key – Remember to use your reader’s name throughout the email, as this is an important part of a successful campaign.
- Engage your readers from the get-go – Useful information, interesting content, resources, statistics, polls, and surveys are not only good tools to educate your readers, but also keep them engaged with your products or services.
7. DO collect data and follow up – It is important to realize that the collection of data, analytics, and demographic information is a sure way to make future campaigns even more successful. Additionally, following up on your initial email is a good way to add previously left out information, get to know your customers, and receive their input, which can help you shape future mailings.
8. DON’T bombard your readers – While following up on your initial email will show you are invested in your business and subscribers, sending too many emails will only turn your readers off to what you have to offer and ensure your mailings end up in their spam folders. A good way to plan the number of emails you send is to wait 3 days after the initial one to send a follow up. Once that is done, wait 3 weeks before you send another one unless your reader answers with specific questions, in which case, respond immediately.
9. DON’T overuse images – It is common knowledge that the majority of emails are opened on mobile devices, and because of limits on data usage, many people will simply disable images on their phones. If the aesthetic of your email depends on a large number of images, it may never be read. Additionally, images may take a long time to load, and you don’t want your reader’s initial interest to wane as they wait. So, add a couple of images, but make sure your message gets across in text form.
10. DON’T forget to add a call to action – A call to action can be as simple as clicking on a link that leads to your website or filling out a subscription form for future content on your site. No matter how great, compelling, or engaging your email is, not adding an actionable link can lead to failure. After all, a single email is not enough to show your readers everything you have to offer.
11. DON’T forget to add a physical address to your email – This doesn’t only add legitimacy to your business, it is also the law. Of course, you don’t have to add your home address for the world to see—using a valid PO Box is perfectly acceptable.
12. DON’T ever sell your subscribers’ email addresses – Just. Don’t. This is not only illegal; it can lead to lawsuits, fines, and worse.
As you can see, successful email marketing campaigns are not only about serialized, automatically sent emails. The entire concept must be personalized, interesting, and engaging. These days, more and more people are attracted by campaigns that offer something, added value that can be in the form of interesting content, important information, facts and figures they did not know, human interest stories, or other similar matters. They are also about making people feel important and special, which is why personalization is so important throughout the campaign.
Calling your potential customers by name, showing them you can offer exactly what they need, and letting them know their business is special to you will not only achieve a successful marketing campaign or increased sales. It will grant you the one thing many businesses only dream of: return customers who will not only give you their own business but will also recommend you to friends and family knowing that you can provide exactly what they require.
In the end, successful email marketing campaigns depend on the humanity present in the email itself. Gone are the days of automated and robotic-sounding chunks of text. These days, the most successful campaigns target people who need to know they are seen as such, not just as leads or dollar signs. So keep things simple, keep them personal, and keep them interesting, and you will soon see the success your hard work can bring.