How to Create a Successful Email Campaign

Email is a free and easy way to reach a lot of people with your marketing message. So naturally there’s a lot of competition out there for your customers’ attention. How can you make an impact in a world of 8-second attention spans?

What Is an Email Campaign?

First, let’s look at what an email campaign really is. Some marketers refer to individual emails as “email campaigns.” But experience shows that a carefully planned and timed series of related emails gets better results. After all, you wouldn’t expect a presidential candidate to give one great speech and take off for the rest of the campaign. Experienced marketers refer to individual sales pitches as an “email blast,” and a multipart blitz as a “campaign.”

Multipart Campaigns  Keep Your Brand Top of Mind

People need time to warm up to a new company or idea, so creating just one email blast to introduce your company may be a waste of time and energy.  And for product or service-oriented marketing emails, the timing and delivery may not be perfect for every single customer.

According to Litmus, even if your customer has opted to receive emails from you, they spend less than 8 seconds deciding whether or not to read it. So no matter how well-crafted your first email might be, it may still end up being ignored or deleted because it arrived at a time when your customer was busy with other things. That’s why it’s better to send a series of emails on the same topic, while making sure to keep each one engaging and brief.

Newer customers will be at a different place in the buying cycle than older customers – meaning that some are still getting acquainted with the company, some may be ready to take the plunge when enticed with offers and coupons, and others may be ready to upgrade.

It’s almost always more effective to plan a stream of shorter, well-executed emails — perhaps 6 to 10 of them, spaced a week apart — that introduce the company, and then offer tidbits, stories, insights, special offers, and discounts. Keep each email short, include bright visuals, clear pricing, and actionable visuals, like  “order” or “learn more” buttons.

Here are some examples of how a multi-part campaign can be used to build your business:

  • Before tax deadlines, a CPA firm sends a series of emails offering services and free, helpful tips
  • Before Christmas, a candy and gift basket company sends a series of emails with different gift ideas
  • Leading up to a book launch, an author releases a series of tantalizing excerpts and pre-publication offers

If you get a low response to your first email campaign, don’t give up. In fact, you should dig in to fine-tune your marketing strategy. Common mistakes business owners make in a single email blast include making the email too long and text-driven, being vague about pricing, and talking about who you are and what you do — instead of solving a customer’s problems.

Use Colorful Graphics, Go Light on Text

Don’t try to explain your entire business or all your products in one email. Pick one clear message and package it with some professional-looking photos and graphics. Keep the email as short as possible — preferably contained in one screen so readers don’t have to scroll down much to see your entire message.

Identify a Problem, Offer a Solution

When choosing your sales message, refrain from talking about yourself, your business, and how wonderful your products or services are. Instead, point to a simple need that you know your readers have, and say why your offer will help them. Let the quality of your message and graphics convince them that you are the best.

Jennifer Sicotte, marketing consultant at Sicotte Creative shares this advice: “Treat your email list customers like insiders. People love being in the know or the first to try something. This is your opportunity to reach out to your biggest fans — your customers — and offer them special sales, coupons, and new product information. Segment your mailing lists based on purchasing power. Platinum buyers should receive different information or discounts than your bronze-level purchasers. You can try the reverse of this, too, to encourage your bronze purchasers to level up. Before you send, review your call to action. Does it make you want to drop what you’re doing and buy? If not, rework it.” 

Escalate and Overlap Your Messages

Sending a series of short, related email blasts will give your readers more than one reason to contact you, and more than one opportunity to do so. For instance, with the holidays coming up, retailers could start by offering something for parties and entertaining, then different gift solutions, and finally some great deals on shipping.

Always Include One Clear Call to Action

Of course you will want to include links to your website, email list, blog and social media. But for each email choose just one destination to feature. It needn’t always be your website. If you provide a service, you might want to drive people to your blog — partly to boost traffic, but also to get them to rely on you for solutions and advice.


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