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5 Steps to Creating Great Email Campaigns

How to create your best email campaign yet

Email marketing can be simple, affordable, and very effective– which is why most businesses and brands of all sizes have tapped into this as an essential marketing tactic in the past decade. When not done properly though, these campaigns can be a waste of time and money, sometimes even leading to a decrease in database size when recipients decide to unsubscribe from your communications. This post has some sure-fire tips you can start using today to make sure that all of your email campaigns are a home run.

When it comes to making the most effective email marketing pieces, keep in mind that:

  1. Subject lines with fewer than 10 characters have an open rate of 58%, and personalized (variable field) subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened (Adestra July 2012 Report).
  2. 82% of consumers open emails from companies (Litmus).
  3. 7 out of 10 people say they made use of a coupon or offer from a marketing email within the past seven days. (Blue Kangaroo Study).
  4. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
  5. Email open rates are noticeably lower on weekends than on weekdays. Sending four emails in a month instead of one significantly increases the number of consumers that open more than one email (Express Pigeon).

So what does this information tell us, in a nutshell? Subject lines are important, the majority of consumers are opening emails, offers will lead to conversions, and timing and consistency are key. Now, let’s break this down into the five steps that are going to ensure your campaigns aren’t just good, but great.

Step 1: Know your goal and build your content around that

Start with the goal of the campaign or email itself. Use a list of questions, similar to below, to outline how and what exactly you will communicate. We know now that subject lines are imperative. Know who you’re talking to, personalize with variable fields where possible, and make your message as relevant to that person as possible—segmenting is key! We call this “context”. Infusing your content with as much context as possible yields maximum open rates and super-high conversions. So ask yourself:

1. What do we want to achieve (email SMART goal)?
2. Who are you sending to (segmented list of recipients)?
3. How will we convince them to open (strong subject line)?

 Step 2: Determine an offer

We know offers, coupons, promotions, etc. lead to higher conversions. What’s more, they also make your recipients feel valued, strengthening their loyalty to your brand. In this step, decide what you want your recipients to do (your CTA) and how you will convince them to do that (your offer). Below are the items of the question list to fill out in step 2, as well as some example CTAs.

4. What do we want them to do (CTA)?
5. What will we give them in return (offer)?

Step 3: Draft the content

What information needs to be provided to make sure your readers understand what action you want them to take? What additional information, besides the offer itself, will convince them to do so? What legal language needs to be included? Email body copy can sometimes be tricky. Overdoing it will lead to lower conversions, and not providing enough will also lead to lower conversions. What is the sweet spot? Check out the example below of an email I think hit the nail on the head with their content and why.


Now, keeping this example in mind, answer the following questions for the campaign you’re building:

6. What information do I have to include (legal, disclaimers, etc)?
7. How can readers contact us (contact info, website, social links)?
8. Do I want to include a link for people to share this offer with other people via email and/or social?
9. What else can I offer to further convince them to click through the email?
10. How will the email be designed to encourage conversion?

Step 4: Set a send time and schedule

Look at past emails for insight on what times and days your emails performed best. Schedule your campaign emails according to these insights. If you don’t have a good enough idea on this, make a point to start trying new things and testing! Given the stats we provided earlier, you at least know that you should avoid weekends and make sure each individual email appropriately fits into the rest of your monthly marketing calendar. Schedule your messages and set up as much automation as possible to make your life easier as pieces start to go live. Consider the following to ensure your plan is effective:

11. When do I think my recipients are most likely to click through this email? What emails have I sent before that worked really well and what day and time was it sent at?
12. When will this email be sent?
13. How does this fit in with the rest of our email calendar for the month?

 Step 5: Report on success

No email campaign is successful without post-campaign reporting. Report against the SMART goal you set and gather insights that will help create even more successful email campaigns moving forward. Document these findings and share them with your team. Save them somewhere to refer back to when building your next campaign. There are a lot of marketing automation and email marketing tools that make logging your actions and seeing what really works really easy.