5 Tips to Develop a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

5 Tips to Develop a Successful Email Campaign
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The world of advertising used to revolve around print media and television commercials. The advancements made in computer technology and the Internet has given businesses a new, powerful tool to get the word out – emails. Creating a targeted email marketing campaign with ‘gotcha’ style takes practice and planning.

# 1 – Get Their Attention

The subject line makes or breaks an email campaign. A boring topic is going to send your piece right to the virtual trash. Build around your subject line. It’s one of the most critical elements. Without a thought-provoking message there, the rest of the email really doesn’t matter. People use their computers these days for social interaction, news, movies and games. They take multitasking to a new level. When a consumer opens the inbox, time is of the essence. A witty or attention grabbing subject line will make them stop in their tracks and click to see what they are missing.

# 2 – Talk to Them, Not at Them

Make the content relevant and personal to each person that reads it. Consider the audience when you are composing the message for this communication. If you are the owner of a store that sells many different products, create a campaign for different audiences. You might promote baby clothes to new mothers or jeans to teenagers. If you send information about every product to every potential customer, your message will be marked as spam quickly.

Talking to them also means making it personal when you can. Use a name when possible in both the text of the email and the subject line. Generic forms are tedious, but when you put a name on it, suddenly it becomes personal and significant.

# 3 – Keep Them Talking

Word of mouth is a powerful tool and so is an email marketing campaign. Marry them together by creating a message they will share with their 250 friends on Facebook or the 500 followers they have on Twitter. You want an email they will share on Pinterest and Tumblr with family. Create content that is jazzy and makes the masses want to talk about it.

# 4 – Call Them to Action

Call to action is a term often seen in marketing blogs or articles, but what does it mean? The email you send to subscribers or customers makes them want to do something, but they may not know how to get there. Give them clear directions pointing the right way. Click here, find it, try the new, buy it now – these are all call to action phrases. Inspire readers to do what you want them to do.

# 5 – Keep It Clean

An email with broken links and misspelled words will cost you. Check the copy thoroughly for errors. Use a spell and grammar checker to ensure you are giving readers clean, professional copy. Check all links and send the first email to yourself to make sure it looks right.

Ten years ago, email marketing may have seemed like a waste of time. Today, it is an effective tool to increase sales and drive traffic to websites. Get the most out of email campaigns by taking some time and creating a plan to get good return for the effort. You want it to be successful right?

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Author: Grady Winston

Grady Winston is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

60 thoughts on “5 Tips to Develop a Successful Email Marketing Campaign”

  1. It is important to always reevaluate your email campaigns. Run an A/B test and actually see what is working. I love the tips you’ve given, now the key is figuring out how to tailor that to your unique customers.

  2. Rightly said- I completely agree that email marketing has evolved into an effective marketing strategy that has the ability to draw traffic, convince and persuade. Thanks for sharing these informative tips.

  3. As an Email marketing person, I cannot help but be in complete agreement with this post. Also, I’d try to keep the number of ads displayed on my mail to a minimum. Don’t make your content sound like a marketing pitch. It does not work. I wouldn’t want to listen to a sales pitch, leave alone make the consumers listen to one. Keep it simple and personal with your Call-To-Action buttons and then watch the phenomenal response.

  4. This information is about as spot on as it can get, Sherryl!

    The one thing that I’m sure/I hope people take from this piece is what you wrote re: ensuring a call to action is present in your campaign.

    I’ve only run two, large email campaigns in my time. The first I was petrified to put in any real call to action as I didn’t want to bother people – can you believe that?! 😛 Needless to say I didn’t do too well. My second bite at the cherry was a very, very difference scenario and with call to action in-toe the results were lightyears better than my first outing!

    Don’t be afraid to call your readers to action; the worst they can do is ignore you! 😛

    1. Hi Adam,
      I wish I could take the credit for writing this article but it’s actually a guest post by Grady Winston. I do agree with him. Calls-to-action are so important not only in email but on landing pages and in our site. What is it that we want our website visitor to do? It needs to be clear.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s good to hear from someone who failed once and achieved success the second time. I don’t have a lot of experience with email campaigns myself but I have run into this with PPC ads and a lot of the marketing concepts are the same.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What is Your Twitter Strategy for Following Someone?My Profile

  5. Very good points. I am from the media world and have used email marketing with some success. As you mentioned, the key is catching their attention.

  6. I have been asked a number of times how to build a big email subscribers list. My only answer to them is to generate high quality content which solves visitors problems. When I started blogging e-mail marketing was not on my mind. I worked hard on writing good and captivating content and it paid off. People started to subscribe to my newsletters and overtime I had some thousand e-mail ids in my subscribers list.

  7. Thanks for sharing your tips, e-mail marketing can be tricky but is highly effective too. Relevant and personal content spells out the difference. Thanks.

  8. I agree that developing an enticing subject line is an imperative task, the rest of the message is nothing without an effective one.Thanks for sharing your insights.

  9. Really nice write-up, Grady. (Nice to meet you!) “Talk to them, not at them” is a top-notch tip. As most email marketing software has personalization features, this makes it quite easy to drop in a real name at appropriate spots.

    My favorite “other” tip for email newsletters is to give recipients a clear way to unsubscribe. While we want them to stay around, giving them an easy way to opt-out is appreciated as a sign of respect.

    1. Hi Vernessa!

      It’s great to see you here. (I need to hop over to your blog. I haven’t been there in a while.) Personalized emails and newsletter subscriptions are great. It shows that the sender has taken that extra step. To me, they’re much more professional looking than a generic email.

      Not only is the unsubcribe option appreciated, it’s the law. Thanks for the reminder.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Add Follow Buttons to WordPress without a PluginMy Profile

  10. A lot of businesses like Spas and massage therapists have greatly benefited from email marketing. However it is just a complementary technique that must be used in tandem with other marketing techniques. Great points otherwise. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Dipa,
      Email campaigns do need to be run in conjunction with other tactics. A good point to keep in mind is to create specific landing pages (on your website) that correspond to the email campaign. For starter, when the person lands on the page, they should immediately recognize where they are. If your email campaign is promoting a specific product. That’s what they should immediately see, along with the call-to-action including an easy way to complete the transaction.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Your Email Address Part of Your Brand?My Profile

  11. I think another key factor is the frequency of emails. Too often and recipients can start feeling spammed. Too little and you won’t build up a good relationship. I think once a week is pretty good – what are the views of others?

    1. I feel like the general consensus is once a month, typically in some kind of newsletter. Overload on a daily / weekly schedule can overload some people’s mail boxes and cause a negative backlash.

  12. Email marketing is a cost effective way for any marketer. These are great tips and pretty useful. A proper combination of these strategies can help create a good campaign. Creating targeted emails is an important thing to do.

  13. Excellent post! As a reader, I like it when the sender asks a provoking question and solicits a response on their Facebook or simply via reply. This is good not only for the social interaction, but it will also educate you on what people think about your emails.

    1. Becca,
      Asking questions is definitely a great way to engage with people. Thanks for taking the time to let us know that you enjoyed Grady’s article.

  14. And I also think that you shouldn’t overuse advertisements, because the majority of people who will receive such e-mails will consider them as spammy ones

  15. I think the third tip will prove to be one of the most helpful tips in email campaign. No matter how clean, how beautiful or well written your email is, if you can’t get people talk about it, then that defeats the purpose of advertising for it. The purpose of advertisement is to attract people’s attention and incite them to want to buy the product. Moreover, you want more people do know about your product, and you want your customers and other people to do that job for you. So while I agree with all the other tips offered here, I couldn’t agree more on the third tip.

    1. Thanks for letting us know that tip #3 is your favorite. I wonder how many people make it easy to share their email on social media sites. In a previous article that I wrote (about branding your emails with your domain name), a lot of readers were talking about incorporating your social media profiles in your signature line. You haveme wondering now how common this tactic is implemented. I’m going to start paying more attention to this!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Content Writing: The Most Formidable Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

      1. Leaving emails and social media profiles is definitely a very common tactic among various SEO. Signature lines have proven to be a very effective way of generating traffic for your site. However, this tactic is good as long as you don’t overdo it. Going crazy about social networks on a signature line could be potentially harmful since many sites will view it as spam.

    1. Sure thing, it’s really all about engagement and providing information relevant to your audience. In this realm content is king, and you need to be able to give information that readers will relate to, talk about, connect with, and want to share throughout their own network. Multiple ways you can do this, first of which being just to provide primo content that people will naturally promote and be drawn to. Second is to engage your audience in that conversation through social platforms (twitter, blogs, pinterest, linkedin, etc). If people want to be fed information they will find it wherever they can, people go on social media to be social. Thus…you need to be social as well. By asking readers questions and responding to their concerns, you connect with them on a deeper level and establish trust and rapport, which will hopefully turn them into raving fans who promote your brand without you having to do any further work.

      Perfect example of this technique – this response to your question.

  16. Email has developed into the indispensable tool for marketing campaigns because of its features like ability to reach many in a single attempt, instantaneous mail delivery with zero incurred cost. Customizing the emails with respect to the likes of the intended recipients can help in obtaining heavy client base. With the availability of affiliate marketing, one can obtain huge number of potential clients with their information and reach them via emails, thus accelerating their campaign.

  17. Hi Grady,
    I completely agree with you, email has become a very popular as well as a cost effective source of marketing, if used properly by the marketer. The pointer you shared in this post are very beneficial. I personally have seen that the emails are always loaded with irrelevant content that the individuals close the mail without reading. The email sent as a marketing technique should be short and crisp and wrapped with relevant information.

    1. Hi Aayna,
      Thanks for weighing in on this topic. I agree completely with you that emails should be short, crisp and relevant. I need to immediately see what the benefit is to me to read an email. If it’s a blatant sales pitch, I’m hitting the delete button as quickly as I hang up on unsolicited phone calls. 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress BlogMy Profile

    1. Really? 200+ newsletter? you must really love to read emails! I have twelve different addresses only to avoid receiving unsolicited emails!

  18. These are great points! Unfortunately most people, who would like to use e-mail marketing, don’t know these informations! I hate it when I check my inbox and it’s full of ads. I mean they should select each e-mail for who to send it. Thanks for sharing!
    Sandy recently posted..Stay healthy, stay fit! Summer tipsMy Profile

  19. Sherryl — the subject line is the most important element in an email. It’s like the headline of an ad. It’s got to get your attention. Another word for it is a “grabber.” Your subject line must grab the readers by the throat and drag them into the body of the email. Sounds draconian but it’s true. You can’t be timid.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Use Buffer to Schedule Your TweetsMy Profile

    1. Jeannette,
      I love the picture you paint of grabbing your readers by the throat. LOL It reminds me of the article I posted about “stalking” the popular kids. Those are both images that elicit some sort of response. 🙂 In addition to using “grabbers” in our email subjects and ad headlines, we need to use them in our post titles too. It does make a difference.

      As always, thanks for dropping by and adding to the discussioin.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

  20. Excellent tips. It probably goes without saying, but I think one of the most important things to consider is whether you have permission to send out an email and you follow anti-spam laws. Most people know that sending out emails to a list 5,000 addresses you bought for $50 is a no no. However, there are gray areas like, is it ok to include someone who gave me their business card at that conference last year? If you have not been in touch the person may have forgotten and may mark your email as spam. Therefore it is always a good idea to include a permission reminder such as “you are receiving this email because you sign up at my website or dropped you business card into a fish bowl at a conference”. In fact most email marketing system will enforce this and guide you in making sure your campaigns are compliant with anti-spam laws.
    Lashan W recently posted..Using LinkedIn for Small BusinessMy Profile

  21. I am often surprised at what works and resonates with an audience and what doesn’t. Especially in email subject lines. But after seeing a subject line that really works, and then putting myself in the audience’s shoes, the “why it works” seems so apparent and I wonder why I didn’t see it before. The key is to put yourself in the audiences shoes and see it from their point of view from the beginning. It takes practice.

  22. Very good points. I am from the media world and have used email marketing with some success. As you mentioned, the key is catching their attention. Otherwise you have wasted your and their time. Making it personal and well constructed after, is an absolute.

    Marketing a business is hard enough without wasting time on something that has little to no chance of success. Spending the time to insure it is something worthwhile to the recipient is absolutely necessary.
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Trip To France: Sightseeing & Adventures – Week 1My Profile

  23. Great suggestions Grady! Basically it’s all about writing in a journalistic way and adding calls to action. Word of mouth you get anyway with an interesting text.

    Far too many people concentrate on what they want to say instead of what their customers/readers are interested in and hence fail. Once they get out of that trap they will start getting results – no matter where in the world they are.

    Personally am of the opinion that the catch with email marketing is that far too many people abuse it. Am really tired of getting un-solicited offers from people I have agreed to connect with on Linkedin. So anyone considering an email campaign should be careful about who they contact. Too many people marking their emails as spam can lead to problems with the email address they are using. And if the campaign targets a small area they can get a bad reputation.
    Catarina recently posted..Will US companies have problems doing business in Russia?My Profile

    1. Catarina,
      Thanks so much for reminding us that we need to be very careful that our emails aren’t marked as spam. It’s inevitable that someone may find an email from us and flag it but (as you say) if this happens often, we risk having our account marked as spam. I know of a blogger who recently had his account with MailChimp deleted because they accused him of violating their TOS.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tracking Changes to Your Website Blog and Social Media StrategyMy Profile

  24. Hi Grady,

    Yes – When it comes to using email as a large part of your marketing efforts you need to incorporate it with your existing social media marketing campaign as to get the maximum exposure out of your efforts. Make use of social buttons as to give them the option to share directly from the email is one of the easiest ways to drive targeted traffic from your email campaign down a pre-designed sales funnel and by using captivating and interesting CTA and Social Sharing buttons for an example you will increase the likelihood of a social share from a visitor.

      1. I think incorporating email marketing with social media will certainly be more impactful…been doing a bit of email marketing but never thought about this before..

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