Published September 2018, updated July 2019
Email is one of the best channels for marketers. After all, it’s been shown to bring in an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent.
According to Salesforce, it takes at least 6 to 8 touchpoints before people are ready to buy. You need constant communication if you want to turn leads into customers. Email is the cheapest most effective way to nurture potential customers.
But there’s a lot to know. From automation, to personalization, to building a list, first-time email marketers have a lot to learn. In this post, we’ll show you how to create an email marketing campaign that delivers results.
1. Grow your list by offering value
You can’t start an effective email marketing campaign without an email list. Since email is all about communication. The more engaged people your messages can reach the more value your business will get from email marketing.
Growing your list might seem like a daunting challenge but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you already have customers you don’t need to start from scratch.
Import existing customers
You can import your customer’s email addresses into your email marketing tool. Campaign Monitor makes it easy for you to either manually upload an existing list (from Excel or Google Sheets for instance). Campaign Monitor also integrates with your favorite CRM tools and software.
Though you have to ensure you have permission to contact these people to avoid legal trouble. You can learn more by reading our guide on permissions or contacting our support team.
Get subscribers online
Your existing customers can only take you so far, to really get the most value from email marketing you need a reliable way to get a steady stream of subscribers, and there’s a simple way to do it too.
All you have to do is provide value in exchange for your visitor’s email address. We call this a lead gen offer in email marketing. What you offer can range from an ebook to a discount. But whatever it is your lead gen offer must provide value to your visitors.
Then you can collect their email addresses with a subscription form. Campaign Monitor has tools that make collecting email addresses online easy.
For example, look how FreshBooks collects the email addresses of their website visitors by offering a free eBook that provides value.
2. Create clear beautiful emails
Let’s be honest: some emails look terrible. The text leaves no breathing room and doesn’t seem to ever end. The colors are hard to look at and you can scan the entire email twice without even knowing what it’s about. You can wait to go back to your inbox.
So how do you make sure your emails don’t leave that effect on people? Well you don’t need a degree in design to send out beautiful emails.
In fact, just knowing a few principles is enough to ensure that every email you send looks great and clearly delivers its message.
Here are a few email design tips to get you started:
- Use the inverted pyramid technique: Your emails should catch attention with a prominent headline. Then build intrigue with a captivating body and finally close with a call to action. This gives it the shape of an upside down pyramid and directs attention.
- Make your call to action prominent: Your CTA should catch the attention of your readers immediately.
- Add lots of white space: More people are reading emails on their mobile devices, adding white spaces to your email’s body improves its readability.
- Use single columns: This reduces the chance of distraction and lets you easily communicate what the reader should focus on.
- Make it scannable: Most people scan before they read, so If your email copy is long, separate important points with a subheading.
See how Speck implements the inverted pyramid as well as other design practices to create a captivating email.
If you don’t want to spend the time designing your emails from scratch. Check out our free email template library to find beautiful designs you can quickly use to power your marketing campaigns.
3. Write persuasive messages
So you have a growing list, your email looks good, now all you need to do is fill it with content. You need to make sure everything in the email encourages users to take action.
Now you don’t have to be an expert copywriter to write great emails, and if facing a blank page scares you. Here are a few questions you can answer to write more compelling copy every time.
- What do I want my readers to do? Never send an email without knowing what you want your readers to do. For example, maybe you want them to read an article, buy a product, sign up for an event etc. Knowing what you want your readers to do leads to clearer more persuasive emails.
- Who is going to read this? This simple question allows you to picture the people at the other end of your email campaign. This will influence how you express certain things like words to use and even copy length.
- What do my readers care about? Ultimately copywriting isn’t mind control. If your email doesn’t offer anything of value to the reader they have little incentive to take action.
- Would I be happy if I saw this email in my inbox? This is a good way to determine if you’re on the right track. If the answer to this question is no then you need to provide more value.
4. Use personalization to improve relevance
According to a survey we conducted, email list segmentation and personalized emailing were the most effective email strategiesused by marketers.
In fact, a study conducted by Evergage revealed that 96% of marketers have been able to improve customer relationships due to personalization. And 88% of respondents in the study say that their customers and prospects expect to get a personalized experience.
It’s clear that personalization drives result and it’s easy to understand why. Wouldn’t you rather engage with an email that matched your needs and expectations? In today’s crowded inbox the best way to stand out is to deliver valuable and targeted messages.
The more personalized you can make your emails the better they will perform. Personalization goes beyond just using a first name though.
Here are a few ways to send more personalized emails:
- Segment your email list: As mentioned earlier segmentation is a powerful email strategy. It ensures that the people receiving your email care about what you’re offering them. You can segment by interests, location, age, occupation etc.
- Personalize your landing pages: If your CTA takes readers to your website, don’t send them to a generic landing page or even worse your homepage. Use the concept of message match from digital advertising and create a landing page that looks like and references the same things the email does.
- Use Transactional Emails: Transactional emails are different from other types of email because a subscriber only receives them after triggering an event. They can range from birthday notifications, abandon cart emails and even welcome emails. Transactional emails have higher open rates and click-through rates (CTR) than normal emails according to a study by IBM. You can get started with transactional emails by setting up some simple email automation.
Here’s an example of a very personalized transactional email from GasBuddy.
5. Build a relationship with your subscribers
Want to know the easiest way to boost your email engagement rates? The best way to ensure that the people you’re emailing not only open your emails but click through to your offer and convert? Simply build a relationship with them this is known as nurturing.People buy from who they trust and email marketing allows you to build this trust more effectively than any other channel. The reason your email isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped might not be because your subject lines are bad or your writing poor.It might be because you haven’t built a relationship with your subscribers, reaching out to your subscribers only when you want something from them doesn’t strengthen your relationship with them.Your email list is only as valuable as the level of relationship you’ve built with your subscribers. And the easiest way to build a relationship with your subscribers is to send them something useful regularly. You have to see your subscribers as more than just email addresses and as people with problems and needs.Your job then becomes to help them solve some of those problems. And the best way to do this is to use email automation to send your subscribers useful content on an ongoing basis so when you finally ask your subscribers for something they take action.
6. Measure and improve your campaigns
What is measured is improved and email marketing is no different. The data you get from your email marketing campaign tells you everything you need to know about making the next one better.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use email metrics to improve your campaigns.
- Low open rates: Test different send times and subject lines to see if it improves.
- Low click-through rate: Improve your list segmentation, make your CTAs more prominent, improve your offer.
- A/B test your offers: Know how many people would buy without the 30% discount.
- Design better emails: If your subscribers are mostly using Apple and Gmail clients on mobile devices, optimize your emails for mobile and these clients.
With email analytics, you can track and test every aspect of your campaign ensuring that they only get better with time.
Integrate your email with other digital marketing
Once you know how to get started with email marketing, you’ll find it’s a great tool. However, you can see even greater returns when you integrate all your digital marketing channels and combine your efforts. You’ll connect with more people and build greater trust with your biggest fans.
The modern marketer’s toolbox is broad and diverse. Bring them all together to see your greatest possible results ever.
Combine email with social media for better reach
What do your email and social channels have in common? You can probably think of many things, but one that jumps out is the audience size. Getting started with email marketing is a lot like getting started with social media. The first step is to build a list of subscribers or followers.
Once you’ve gotten started, you can combine your growth efforts. Comb your social audience for potential email subscribers. Feature user-generated content in your newsletter and include a link to subscribe to your newsletter in your social bios and stories. Cover trending topics and hot hashtags your followers like in your email newsletter. There are tons of possibilities when you combine these two channels.
Source: Really Good Emails
In this email, four different snippets are previewed. Try searching under the broader category of tech on social media and you can probably find these four topics trending high in that category. When promoting a newsletter like this on your social channel, you can tag all those topics.
Now imagine the traffic potential and the number of tech lovers who will be willing to sign up.
Landing page links fit great in emails
As marketers, we all have pages on our site we want millions of eyes on. Once you learn how to get started with email marketing, you will find the goal is similar. You want lots of attention to both. If that’s the case, why not promote them together?
Source: Really Good Emails
This example is brimming with CTA buttons to a variety of store pages. Not only is the email driving traffic to the store, but they’re also driving it to various, individual categories. The organization is better for the site, and it’s also good for the reader. Readers will always appreciate needing fewer clicks to get where they want to go.
Blogs keep your emails fresh
When your emails are fresh and engaging every time they’re opened, people will stay subscribed. Even better, they’ll keep interacting with your emails. So when you’re looking to spice up your email marketing, consider including content from—and links to—your blog.
So, if you have a killer title that’s destined to get clicks from its native site, you can use that same wording in your email, maybe even as the CTA or subject line.
Email marketing is a powerful way to grow your business and it’s not going away soon. To make sure you get the most from every email you send, you have to grow your list, design better emails, write better copy, personalize your emails, build a relationship with subscribers and then measure to improve.
Looking for more examples of how to get started with email marketing? Check out one of the best email newsletter publishers today.