On any given day, most of our email inboxes are flooded with a deluge of automated email newsletters that are just one more task for us on the way to work – which is to mark them all as unread without reading them or to unsubscribe.
It doesn’t seem like a good idea to add up all of that noise. However, according to Constant Contact, the average ROI for email marketing is $ 38 per $ spent. Of course, email is an important part of a marketing strategy. Success largely depends on how well you design your email campaigns.
What is an Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign consists of planned content that is distributed via email to achieve a specific goal for the company. It’s important that the recipients of an email campaign choose to receive this content and that each piece offers something of value.
Here are a few examples of different purposes your email campaign might want to serve:
- Traffic generation – Email can be an effective advertising channel for the high quality content you create on your website.
- awareness – Not everyone who chooses your email list is ready for a purchase decision. You can use email marketing to keep track of things while delivering the educational content that is most relevant to you.
- Lead nurturing – Keeping track of things can also be a good idea of how to identify the leads you have the highest buying intent and provide conversion-focused content that will “promote” them (or at least get them ready to sell).
- Revenue generation – You can create email marketing campaigns for your existing customers to promote upsell and cross-sell opportunities. You can also create campaigns to track sales conversion from leads who are about to make a purchase decision. (An example could be creating “cart” campaigns to recover lost sales.)
The possibilities for effective email marketing are endless. Do you want some quick advice? Check out these 10 email marketing tips in 60 seconds:
Ready for a deeper dive? Effective email marketing campaigns need to be cleverly written to grab attention in busy inboxes. Let’s learn how to create an effective email marketing campaign yourself.
How to create an email campaign
- Understand who you are emailing.
- Create a goal for the campaign.
- Outline the emails or emails that will be included in the campaign.
- Spend time on the subject lines.
- Write a copy that is convenient for them.
- Use a comprehensive email builder.
- Add personalization elements and great pictures.
- If necessary, add calls to action.
- Test your email and make sure it works on all devices.
1. Understand who you are emailing.
Have you ever heard the Meredith Hill saying, “If you talk to everyone, you are not talking to anyone”? What Hill is up to here is that when you water down your message to promote it to your entire audience, you leave the opportunity on the table – opportunity to create quality, specific, relevant content that speaks directly to the recipient.
With that in mind, the key to a great email marketing campaign is identifying your target audience and using email segmentation to make sure you’re delivering to the right people at the right time. When you can achieve this and incorporate it into your strategy, you can make your messages more creative and specific.
2. Create a goal for the campaign.
Even if email marketing is a relatively low risk, high reward activity, you don’t want to send email for email. In other words, you will not be successful just because you marked it off your to-do list.
Instead, you should purposely set out what you want to get out of your email as this will help you target the right audience and craft the right emails. For example, if you know you want to nurture leads from MQL to SQL, you can create a segment of MMS and create content that is educational and compelling enough to move them closer to a buying decision.
3. Outline the emails to be included in the campaign.
Once you know who you’re emailing to and why, it’s time to develop a strategy on how to get it from A (where they are) to B (where you want them to be, that Target of the campaign).
Remember, you can’t expect a single email to do everything. Your email campaign can consist of multiple emails. Take your e-mail recipients on a journey, with each e-mail serving a single purpose. This increases the likelihood that any email will be successful in its role in achieving your goal. After all, “a confused mind says no.”
For example, if you’re running a lead nurturing campaign, you may have some emails with information that can take you from the awareness phase to the consideration phase before serving more conversion-focused content.
The longer the buying process and sales cycle, the more emails you will need.
4. Spend time on subject lines.
Nobody will get to the body of your email unless they click on the subject line first. This is why it is so important that you check your subject lines carefully: they are like gatekeepers to the rest of your information.
Check out our article for the best tips on writing subject lines for emails.
5. Make a copy that is convenient for you.
Once you know the purpose of every email you send and the subject lines, you can write the copy that includes your list. Think about where your audience is on their buying journey and include the types of content that they find useful. For example, it doesn’t make sense to promote products if you’re sending an email to a segment of subscribers who are largely in the awareness stage of the buying journey.
6. Use a comprehensive email builder.
Once you’ve written the copy for your email, you’ll want to create it in the email software client you plan to use.
Different options are available depending on your needs, including HubSpot, MailChimp, Pabbly Email Marketing, and Constant Contact.
A comprehensive email builder allows you to create, optimize and personalize your own email campaigns without the need for technical or graphical experience.
7. Add personalization elements and great pictures.
Marketing emails need to be personalized for the reader and filled with interesting graphics.
Few people want to read emails that are addressed with “Dear Sir or Madam” – as opposed to their first or last name – and even fewer people want to read an email that just gives them a wall of text. With the help of graphics, your recipients can quickly understand the point of the email.
8. Add calls-to-action if necessary.
Remember, if you are taking up your audience’s time – and the inbox – with another email, there must be a period in your message. Think about what you want your email recipients to remove from the email.
In most cases, you’ll want to add a call-to-action (CTA) so that they can take further action.
Your goal behind the CTA may vary based on the travel stage of the buyer of the audience and what you want to achieve with your email campaign. For example, you might just want to keep them busy with other content, or get them to make a purchase.
Regardless of what it is, you should follow CTA best practices such as: B. ask the question with clear language and highlight it with contrasting design elements.
9. Test your email and make sure it works on all devices.
Once your emails are created, be sure to review them before hitting the “Submit” button. Effective email marketing campaigns are designed for any device that users can read their email on – desktop, tablet, and mobile. Send it to a colleague as a test and review it on multiple devices and email clients.
Would you like a quick refresher on how to master marketing email? Check out this helpful video:
Now that you know how to responsibly use email marketing, let the following masterful email marketing campaigns inspire you.
But first, download the planning template you’ll need to start creating your own lovable email marketing campaign.
Examples of email marketing
- Charity: Water: Donation Progress Update
- Brooks Sports: Desiree Linden’s Boston Marathon Victory
- BuzzFeed: Newsletter ‘BuzzFeed Today’
- Uber: calendar integration
- TheSkimm: Subscription anniversary
- Money for mom and dad: get to know your subscribers
- Birchbox: Co-Marketing Promotion
- Postmates: New product
- Dropbox: User Recovery
- InVision App: Weekly blog newsletter
- Warby Parker: Product Renewal
- Cook Smarts: Weekly product newsletter
- HireVue: customer loyalty
- Paperless mail: Mother’s Day promotion
- Stitcher: Recommended for you
- RCN: Storm Update
- Trulia: moving trends
- Redbubble: Selected Artist
1. Charity: water
Marketing campaign: update donation progress
When people talk about email marketing, many of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you receive in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This can be anything from filling out a form to purchasing a product to updating order progress. Often times, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a Charity: Water Project, their money takes a long journey. Most charities won’t tell you anything about this trip – Charity: Water uses automated email to show donors how their money is playing out over time. With the project timeline and spreadsheet, you don’t even have to actually read the email – you know instantly where you are in the whole process so you can get other things done in your inbox.
2. Brooks Sports
Marketing Campaign: Desiree Linden’s Boston Marathon Victory
When Desiree Linden won the 2018 Boston Marathon, she was the first American to win the race in more than 30 years. It was an opportunity for their shoe and clothing sponsor Brooks Sports to celebrate their long partnership. The resulting email campaign focuses almost entirely on the amazing accomplishment of the Olympic marathon runner.
With email campaigns like this one, companies can prove their loyalty and add value to the products their best users have chosen. The blue CTA button at the bottom of the email reads, “See Desirees Gear.” What better products to grab attention than what America’s latest legend is wearing?
After Desiree’s victory, everyone knew her name. Brooks Sports struck while the iron was hot with a proud email that would be safe to open and forward.
Marketing campaign: newsletter ‘BuzzFeed Today’
I already have a thing for BuzzFeed content, but that’s not the only reason I fell in love with his email.
First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They’re always short and punchy – which goes perfectly with the rest of the BuzzFeed content. I especially like how the preview text accompanies the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the following), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after:
Once you open an email from BuzzFeed, the copy is equally impressive. Just check out this glorious alt text action that takes place where the images should be. The email still conveys what it is supposed to convey – and looks great – whether you are using an image or not. That is definitely something to admire.
Marketing campaign: calendar integration
The beauty of Uber’s emails is their simplicity. Email subscribers will be notified of offers and promotions through emails like the one shown below. We love how brief the initial description is, coupled with a very clear CTA – perfect for subscribers who quickly skim the email.
For those folks who want to learn more, here is a more detailed (but delightfully simple) step-by-step explanation of how the business works.
We also love how consistent the design of Uber’s emails is with the brand. Like the app, website, social media photos, and other pieces of visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All communication and marketing resources tell the story of the brand – and brand consistency is one tactic that Uber uses to win brand loyalty.
Check out the clever copywriting and email design in this example:
Marketing campaign: anniversary of the subscription
We love TheSkimm’s daily newsletter – especially the clear design and the short, expressive paragraphs. Newsletters aren’t TheSkimm’s only strong point when it comes to email, however. Check out the subscriber retention email below in which one of his subscribers was rewarded for his two year subscription.
Emails triggered by milestones like anniversaries and birthdays are fun – who doesn’t enjoy celebrating a special occasion? The nice thing about anniversary emails in particular is that subscribers don’t have to enter any additional data and can work for a variety of senders. Also, the time frame can be changed based on the business model.
Here, TheSkimm folks took it a step further and asked Mineo if she would like to earn the title of Brand Ambassador as a loyal subscriber – which of course would require her to share the link with ten friends.
6. Money for mom and dad
Marketing campaign: get to know your subscribers
Do you think you know all about the people who read your marketing emails? How much of what you “know” about them is based on guesswork? The strongest buyer personalities are based on insights you get from your actual readership through surveys, interviews, etc. – in addition to market research.
That’s exactly what Mom and Dad Money’s Matt Becker does – and he does it very, very well.
Here is an example of an email I received from this brand once. In terms of design, it’s nothing special – but that’s the point. It reads like an email from a friend or colleague asking for a quick favor.
Not only was this first email great, but his response to my responses was even better: within days of answering the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt asking me to fill out the questionnaire and thanked them for offering a questionnaire ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically tailored to my answers. I was very impressed with his business acumen, communication skills and his apparent commitment to his readers.
Marketing Campaign: Co-Marketing Promotion
My colleague Pam Vaughan clicked the subject line of this email from beauty product subscription service Birchbox. It read: “We forgot something in your February box!” Of course, if you read the copy of the email below, Birchbox didn’t forget to put that discount code in their box – but it sure was a clever way to get their attention.
As it turned out, the discount code was actually a bonus promotion for Rent the Runway, a clothes rental company that likely fits the interests profile of most Birchbox customers – which certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s a great co-marketing partnership right there.
Marketing campaign: New product
I have to say I’m a sucker for GIFs. They are easy to consume, stand out and have an emotional effect – like the funny GIF in one of Postmates’ emails, which is not only pleasant to look at, but also makes you want some delicious chipotle.
You too can use animated GIFs in your marketing to display a fun header, draw people’s attention to a specific part of the email, or show your products and services in action.
Marketing Campaign: User Recovery
You might think it would be hard to love an email from a company whose product you haven’t used. But Dropbox found a way to say “Come back to us!” Email cute and fun thanks to a few quirky cartoons and an emoticon.
Plus, the email was kept short and sweet to highlight the message that Dropox didn’t want to intervene – it just wants to remind the recipient that the brand exists and why it might be helpful. By sending this type of email, you can encourage recipients to use your service again, e.g. B. a time-limited voucher.
10. InVision App
Marketing Campaign: Weekly Blog Newsletter
Each week, InVision employees send out a recap of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) Sometimes they also have fun polls where they crowdsource their blog. For example, this week subscribers were asked what they would do if the internet wasn’t there.
Not only is InVisions newsletter a great mix of content, but I also like the good balance between images and text, which makes it really easy to read and mobile-friendly – which is especially important because the newsletters are so long (see a snippet below) ). We also like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons.
11. Warby Parker
Marketing campaign: product renewal
What goes better with a new prescription than new glasses? The people at Warby Parker made this connection very clear in their email to a friend of mine in 2014. It’s an older email, but it’s such a good example of personalized email marketing that I had to include it here.
The subject line was, “Oh, your prescription is about to expire.” What a clever email trigger. And you have to love the reminder that your recipe needs updating.
Speaking of which, read the clever co-marketing at the bottom of the email: if you don’t know where to extend your subscription, you can find the information for an optician right in the email. Now there is no excuse not to buy new glasses!
12. Cooking smarts
Marketing campaign: Weekly product newsletter
I’ve been a huge fan of Cook Smarts’ Weekly Eats newsletter for a while. The company sends delicious recipes to my inbox every week in the form of a menu. But I didn’t just pick it up for its delicious recipes – I’m really a fan of its emails.
I particularly like the layout of Cook Smarts’ emails: each message has three different sections: one for the menu, one for the kitchen guides, and one for the tips. That said, you don’t have to go hunting to find the most interesting part of the blog posts – you know exactly where to look for an email or two.
I also like Cook Smart’s “Forward to a friend” CTA in the top right corner of the email. Email is very good at sharing through email – you should have guessed it. You should therefore also remember to remind your subscribers to forward your email to friends, family members or colleagues.
Marketing campaign: customer loyalty
“Saying goodbye is never easy … So we thought we’d give you a chance to rethink things.” That was the subject of this automated unsubscribe email from HireVue. We love the simple, guilt-free messaging here, from the fun header images to the great CTA button copy.
Not only are the design and copy here top notch, but we applaud the HireVue staff for sending out automated unsubscribe emails in the first place. It is wise to delete your subscriber lists from people who won’t open your email lists, as low open rates can seriously affect email deliverability.
14. Paperless mail
Marketing campaign: Mother’s Day promotion
When you think of “Holiday Email Marketing” your thoughts might jump straight to Christmas, but there are other holidays that are spread out over the rest of the year that you can campaign for. (Download these email marketing planning templates to get organized year round.)
Take for example the email below from Paperless Post. I love the header of this email: it provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then the subheader asks a question that forces the recipients to think for themselves: “Wait, when is Mother’s Day again? Has I’ll buy mom a card? “Underneath this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and visually appealing. Each card image is a CTA in itself – click any of them and you’ll be taken to a buy page.
Marketing campaign: Recommended for you
As humans, we long for personal experiences. When email is created just for you, it makes you feel special – you don’t just get what everyone else gets. You may even feel that the company sending you the email somehow knows you and cares about your preferences and makes you happy.
That’s why I love the on-demand podcast / radio show app Stitchers “Recommended For You” emails. I tend to listen to episodes from the same podcast instead of branching out to new ones. But Stitcher wants me to discover (and subscribe to) all of this other Great content – and I probably wouldn’t do it without that encouragement.
I think this email makes great use of responsive design too. The colors are bright and scrolling and clicking isn’t too difficult. Note that the CTAs are big enough for your thumbs to hit. In addition, mobile e-mail has functions that are useful for recipients on their mobile device. Check the CTA at the end of the email, for example: The “Open Stitcher Radio” button will prompt the app to open on your phone.
Marketing campaign: Storm update
Internet providers and bad weather are natural enemies. You’d think telecommunications companies don’t want to alert you to storm-related power outages – the only thing that makes customers feel impatient. Then there is RCN.
RCN, a cable and wireless Internet service, turned this email marketing campaign into a weather forecast just for its customers. This “storm update” put the company ahead of an event that threatened its service and allowed its users to get the weather updates they need directly from the company they are counting on for Wi-Fi.
As you can see below, the email even points out personal safety – a nice diligence that comes with the promise of responsive service. At the end of the email, RCN also took the opportunity to highlight its social media channels, which the company is making appropriate use of to keep users informed of network outages.
Marketing campaign: moving trends
I am a great advocate of thought leadership. For me, some of the best companies build loyalty by becoming the go-to places for expertise on a specific topic. Trulia – a property search engine for buyers, sellers and tenants – is the expert in the real estate business. How should i know Just read their emails, similar to the one below.
“Why don’t millennials move?” The subject line of this email campaign is before quoting interesting data on moving trends in the United States. Trulia benefits not from people who choose not to move, but from the company does Benefit from having your finger on the pulse of the industry – and show that it is important in which direction the property winds blow.
Marketing Campaign: Selected Artist
This email marketing campaign is destroying it and for so many reasons.
Not only is the design below very eye-catching – without looking cluttered – but the artwork is also user-made. RedBubble sells merchandise with designs from artists around the world. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get popular posts across the RedBubble community.
The following example shows artwork from “Letter Shoppe”. When this artist sees RedBubble with her content, she is more likely to forward it to friends and colleagues.
Not only does the email campaign contain links to Letter Shoppe’s designs (available for merchandise that will ultimately be sold by RedBubble), it also includes an endearing quote from the featured artist: “Don’t compromise on your values and only do work that you want more of.” RedBubble’s customers are likely to agree – and open other emails on this campaign for more inspirational offers.
These are just a few of our favorite emails. Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your marketing emails. Any email you send from your work email address can also be optimized for conversion with a little planning.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for completeness.