From Kelly Forst September 2, 2021
Do you want a successful email marketing campaign? Then you have to do more than just send random emails to your audience.
Did you know that people send 306 billion emails every day? That number is likely to reach 361 billion by 2024. It may seem like a saturated field, but marketers report that email marketing is their leading method for acquisition and retention.
Email marketing, when used correctly, is a powerful tool.
However, if you don’t follow email campaign best practices, it’s easy to get lost in the multitude of emails people receive every day. Your goal should be to get noticed in an inbox full of offers and provoke a reaction from your audience.
What is an Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign is a series of timed emails designed to get a specific audience to take a desired action. Email marketing campaigns can welcome new subscribers to your list, promote an event, announce a sale, highlight a product, and send valuable emails to your prospects. According to a 2018 report:
- 40% of Millennials and 33% of Generation Z prefer email promotions to other channels.
- 80% of Americans check their email at least once a day and 1/4 check several times a day.
- 62% are more likely to check emails on their smartphones and expect responsive design.
How do email marketing campaigns work?
Email should be part of your digital marketing strategy – collaborate with other campaigns and target key audiences to achieve a desired goal. That means your emails should be tracked and metrics collected so you can see how each part of your email campaign is impacting your audience.
Types of Email Marketing Campaigns
There are different types of marketing campaigns. Some brands will run advertising campaigns by default, but this becomes a brand-centric approach that alienates customers. In a solid email marketing strategy, you’ll use a number of different types of campaigns.
Welcome email campaigns: Your first few emails introduce new customers and subscribers to your brand. Think about the impression you want to make with your welcome email campaigns (tip: don’t drive sales first!).
Maintain email campaigns (drip campaigns): Tied to a lead magnet, all of the emails in a Nurture campaign are sent when a lead speaks to you about an offer (such as a free guide or an eBook). These emails should help convert the lead from being interested in the initial offer to being interested in your brand.
Email advertising campaigns: Emails promoting your sales, events, webinars, and products are critical to driving engagement, but they can be overdone quickly. Getting the right email to the right person at the right time is a killer campaign that’s worth its weight in gold.
Customer support email campaigns: Support your existing customers with your email marketing campaigns, because customer loyalty is more efficient than customer acquisition. How do your campaigns support the leads that have already been converted?
How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
To get great results, you need to do more than just send random emails. Your campaign should be carefully planned and tracked for effectiveness. Here are the top steps you should take when running an email campaign.
Identify your goals
You should never take a step without having specific goals in mind. Your marketing goals should be clearly defined so that you and your team are on one side. Setting goals may seem intimidating, but they serve as a benchmark to see if you’re getting the traction you need from your campaigns. Always write SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely.
Segment your audience
Your audience is made up of a multitude of people at different stages of their journey with you. It won’t do anyone any good to treat your email marketing as a single tube of content.
Segmenting your list will allow you to send relevant email to specific parts of your audience. You don’t want to send a local event announcement for people in another country. You certainly don’t want to send out the same introductory emails to a loyal customer that you would send to a new lead.
You can segment your email list based on the following elements:
- Professional title
- Point in the buyer’s journey
- Past purchases
- Activity on the site
When planning your campaigns, take into account which target groups you are addressing and design the content accordingly.
Set campaign schedules
Set the time period during which your campaign will run. Your campaigns should be a succinct series of related emails, which means you will need deadlines for sending emails and getting reports.
It’s more effective to keep your emails in sync with corporate events, product releases, seasonal dates, and content releases. Create a content calendar to create a defined picture of when campaigns are completed and published.
Map your email content
With the help of your segmented lists and your content calendar, you visibly organize your content to show who you are reaching out to and how content is served to them at the right time. The content calendar helps align the content with the publication dates, while the table of contents helps you see what types of content you are sending.
A content calendar for email marketing can contain segments such as:
- Branding (information, updates, reputation)
- Promotional items (sales, events, webinars, products)
- Maintain (drip campaigns, sales funnel emails)
- Customer support (tutorials, how-tos, guides, DIYs)
- Automated response (welcome emails, shopping cart reminders)
- Personalized content (special offers, recommendations)
Once you figure out where your scheduled emails are, you may notice a strong trend in one area and a shortage in another. Filling in the gaps can help you craft a more robust email marketing strategy that covers all of your basics.
Write your email content
Don’t wait until it’s time to send an email to compose the email. Create your campaign before you send your first email. You can adjust the content at any time.
If the goal is to be careful and strategic with your email, you want to make sure it all comes together from the start. When writing your content, keep this in mind:
- Write in your brand voice and stay consistent with your other content.
- Insert images and graphics in a dynamic and mobile-friendly layout.
- Cut off unnecessary language so as not to waste the reader’s time.
- Create a subject line and opening sentence to generate interest.
- Write for the audience (not your brand) and personalize your content.
- Add a single CTA that stands out and matches the campaign goal.
Test your email
Don’t just start firing emails. Test them to fix as many problems and bugs as possible. You can create a “pre-flight checklist” to check the following:
- All links and buttons to make sure none are damaged or in the wrong place
- Image sizes (compressed to load quickly)
- Grammar and spelling
- Formatting: Check the display on different devices and email clients (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.)
By testing your emails, you can also ensure that your content is fully operational by the deadline set in your content calendar. You can then schedule your emails to be sent at the best times for your target audience to increase your open rates and click rates.
Measure your campaign success
Finally, choose key metrics that tell you whether or not you are achieving your specific campaign goals. While you may be nervous about defining your goals, there are things worse than failing – especially moving forward without realizing your campaigns are failing. Metrics are critical because if your campaign doesn’t work as expected, you need to prepare for the future.
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