How to create a successful email marketing campaign

Email is one of the few marketing channels that every single age demographic, from 18-year-olds to 70-year-olds, uses on a near-daily basis.

However, it’s getting harder to ensure that your emails are read and don’t get caught in the dreaded spam inbox. If you’re new to email marketing, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. 

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Start with a list

Before you can send an email, you need to have a list of people to send it to. This list should be made up of people who have opted in.

If you are brand new to email marketing and don’t have a list yet, check out this guide about how to build your email list from scratch.

Choose your email marketing campaign objective

What’s your desired outcome for this campaign? Is it to increase sales, drive product adoption, educate customers about a new feature, something else?

Each of these goals has a different messaging strategy and approach. Sending a 20-percent discount email to loyal customers won’t work when you’re trying to reengage once-active subscribers. 

Determine the type of campaign

Just as important as deciding on an objective is figuring out what type of campaign you’re going to run. 

  • Will it be a one-time sales/discount email? 
  • Will it be an automated drip sequence with multiple emails aimed at educating people about your product or a specific feature?
  • Is it a one-time email about a privacy policy or terms and conditions change? 

Optimize the sender name, subject line, and preview text

The majority of people decide whether or not to open an email based solely on the “from name,” the subject line, and the preview text.

Ideally, the from name should be recognizable and an actual person. Here are some examples of great from names:

  • Your company’s founder or CEO
  • Someone from your company’s marketing team

In general, the more you can personalize the from name, the higher the likelihood that subscribers will open the email. The absolute worst from names are

The subject line should catch people’s attention or offer value without being spammy or misleading. You can use the preview text, which is essentially the first line of the email, to continue to pique your subscribers’ interest.

Here are some examples of good subject lines and preview text.

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Write an email that’s worth reading

This almost seems too obvious to include. However, many people go into sales and marketing mode when writing emails and forget that people are going to read them.

This means you need to have a compelling reason to email your list. When you send an email, it should tell a story, offer value, and empathize with your subscribers.

This will help your email stand out from all of the noise, and if done consistently, people may start to look forward to your emails.

Send a test email before it goes live

There’s nothing worse than sending an email that’s full of typos and broken links or that looks like crap on smartphones. This is completely avoidable as every reputable email marketing platform allows you to send a preview email before you actually send the email.

At minimum, you should review your email on Gmail, Outlook, tablets, and both Apple and Android smartphones.

You should also run your email copy through a spelling and grammar checker such as Grammarly.

Finally, double-check all of the links in your email.

Measure everything

You can’t manage or improve what you don’t measure.

At the very least, you should track email opens, click-throughs (CTRs), new sales, email forwards, unsubscribes, and abuse complaints.

After you have sent a few emails, you’ll be able to see patterns and will better empathize with your subscribers. You can use this information to continuously improve your email campaigns.

Pro Tip

For more information on email open benchmarks, check out this guide.

If you follow these seven steps, you’ll be well on your way to sending email marketing campaigns that resonate with your subscribers and produce meaningful business results.

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