Email remains one of the most powerful tools in the marketer’s toolbox. However, it’s not as simple as throwing together a few words and images, sending them out at random, and sitting back while the dollars roll in. Instead, having a thoughtful email marketing strategy in place will help you avoid the most common mistakes.

Email marketing strategy basics

A savvy email marketing strategy gives you a cost-effective avenue for communicating with your target audience, building brand awareness, and driving conversions.

What is an email marketing campaign, exactly?

An email marketing campaign is a targeted, coordinated series of email messages sent to a specific audience with the aim of promoting an offering. These campaigns can take different forms and serve varying purposes, like increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving sales, or nurturing customer relationships.

By using strategies like audience segmentation, personalization, and performance analysis, you can create effective email campaigns that reach the right people with relevant, engaging content, resulting in higher open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately, better ROI.

While email marketing campaigns do require management, monitoring, analysis, and optimization.

Components of an email marketing strategy

Email marketing strategies go beyond the copywriting and design that goes into creating an email. When creating effective email campaigns, each of the following points should be addressed throughout the life of the campaign:

Audience segmentation

Email marketing strategies include the division of email lists into smaller segments based on demographics, behaviors, purchase history, or preferences. These segments enable marketers to send more tailored messaging to each segment, increasing relevance, click-through rates, and conversions.

Personalization

In 2023 and beyond, personalization is not just a trend but rather an expectation when it comes to effective marketing emails. Email content can be customized based on the recipient’s data, like their name, location, or purchase history, to boost relevance and engagement.

A/B testing

The email marketing process involves constant iteration to improve the effectiveness of email campaigns. A/B testing is the perfect way to do this, by testing different elements of an email to optimize future emails. A/B testing might test out subject lines, images, copy, calls to action, and even button colors to identify what works best.

Analytics and tracking

No effective email marketing strategy is complete without the tracking and analysis of data. Analytics can reveal important metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, to measure the performance of your campaigns and help you make data-driven decisions for improvement.

Essential email marketing tips

Before hitting send on any email, go through this checklist of non-negotiable tips to make sure it meets the basic requirements of a successful email marketing campaign.

Craft a compelling subject line

Use attention-grabbing and relevant subject lines to increase the likelihood of your emails being opened.

Optimize for mobile devices

Remember that emails are likely to be opened on a mobile device, so ensure your campaign emails are mobile-friendly and look great on phones or tablets.

Make sure your email list is cleaned up

Regularly update your customers lists to remove inactive subscribers or invalid email addresses, which can negatively impact their sender reputation and deliverability.

Meet regulatory requirements

Adhere to laws and regulations in the geographic region in which your clients operate to make sure they don’t run into any legal issues.

The process of creating an email marketing strategy

Set goals

Define the objectives of your email campaigns, which may be increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales, for example.

Build an email list

Email campaigns can only be sent to people who have consented to receive emails. This means you’ll need a process for collecting legitimate sign-ups, such as a website form or lead magnet.

Design email templates

Creating a few visually appealing and responsive email templates that align with the brand and can be regularly reused will save you the effort of having to design new emails from scratch all the time.

Determine the writing style

Email copy should be informative, relevant, valuable, and reflective of the brand voice that subscribers expect. Creating guidelines for copywriting will make it easier to craft effective email campaigns down the line.

Create a schedule

Through email automation, email campaigns automatically send messages to recipients on a set schedule, or upon certain actions being taken. The creation of an email marketing strategy includes determining what this schedule will be.

Test and iterate

Create a plan for what analytics will be evaluated, and how they will be used to optimize future mailings. Create a plan for A/B testing and determine how observations will be used and recorded.

How is the email marketing process different from other marketing functions?

Email marketing is both older than many other marketing functions and, in some important ways, better suited to the future of digital marketing.

It offers direct communication with subscribers

By sending emails straight to the inbox of your target audience, you can establish a one-on-one connection that is more personal and engaging than other forms of marketing, like social media or paid advertising.

It’s permission-based

The permission-based model of email campaign marketing means that recipients must explicitly opt-in to receive communications from a brand. This consent-driven approach ensures that email messages reach people who have already demonstrated a genuine interest in your business’s offerings.

This makes email campaigns effective in terms of speaking to a more narrow and relevant subset of prospects, but it also has important repercussions for the future of marketing. As privacy laws and expectations change, owned channels like email lists become increasingly important components of a future-proof marketing strategy.

The price is right

With relatively low operational costs and potentially high returns on investment (ROI), email marketing can be an affordable way for businesses of all sizes to reach their target audiences. In comparison, other marketing channels can require substantial investments with less precise targeting and audience engagement.

It offers impressive analytics

The email marketing process allows for robust tracking and analytics, making it easier to measure campaign success and make data-driven decisions for improvement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates can easily be monitored and analyzed to optimize email campaigns continually. Some other marketing functions, especially in traditional media, offer much poorer opportunities to collect and apply data.

It’s highly customizable

Through effective use of segmentation, it’s possible to craft effective marketing emails that are highly tailored to recipients’ preferences. This can help you build strong relationships with your audiences and keep them interested.

It’s infinitely scalable

The email marketing process is highly flexible and scalable, enabling your business to adapt your campaigns according to your specific needs and goals. As your email lists grow, your email campaigns will continue to deliver results and ROI.