The Do's and Don'ts of Crafting Effective Email Marketing Campaigns


Email marketing is popular for a reason. Although it’s one of the older digital marketing channels, it is also one of the most effective. In fact, the average ROI for email marketing campaigns is approximately 3,800%, or $38 generated for every dollar spent. When executed well, email marketing offers businesses an opportunity to send beautifully crafted, targeted campaigns that customers will actually open and respond to. In a study conducted by Marketingsherpa, it was reported that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email. Compare that with social media, where only 17% of those surveyed said they would like to receive promotions. However, these findings raise the question: if email marketing is the preferred method of contact, why do some businesses have so much trouble implementing it effectively?

Email marketing isn’t quite as simple as flipping a switch. Productive email marketing campaigns are involved, time-consuming endeavors that require more than a fire-and-forget mindset. As such, there are a number of problems many businesses forget when designing their campaigns. To combat these issues, it may be helpful for business leaders to take a look at what these problems are, and then identify what makes the most effective email marketing examples.

How often should I send email to customers?

When it comes to identifying the best email marketing examples, the advantage lies with those organisations that focus on quality over quantity. With so many different companies vying for a customer's business, email is a particularly competitive channel. More sending isn’t better in this case. DB Marketing reports the email open rate is highest when companies send two emails per month. Of course, there may be times when a one-off email message is appropriate, but businesses utilising only the right emails for the right campaigns — rather than an avalanche of messages — will drastically increase their ROI. Once you’ve got eyeballs, your messaging must be relevant to the customer. To remain competitive, businesses must tailor their email marketing campaigns to their leads/customers. With this in mind, it’s no surprise then that 60% of marketers use conversion rates (the “conversion” from a visitor to a paying customer) to evaluate an email’s effectiveness.

Utilise segmentation and targeting.

Businesses can target specific audiences with personalised message using segmentation. When businesses segment their leads or customer base, they set themselves up to target each group with the right message at the right time, rather than just casting a wide net made up of one single message. This is important, because customers respond better to information that is relevant to them. In a study conducted by Direction Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails generated more than half of all revenue from all email marketing campaigns. If segmentation seems too complex or big-data driven for a business to implement without assistance, there are many software solutions designed to perform this task automatically. This software can look at the interactions with the leads or customers over time and send automatically generated personalised emails. Here’s a common subject line example from a segmented list:

Deal Alert: Flights from [name of client’s city] as low as $79!

Because it targets customers from a specific city, they’re more likely to open this email versus an email that simply claims flights are on sale. One iteration or another of this example is seen frequently, yet it’s one of the best email marketing campaign examples because it uses customer preferences to build a simple, targeted email campaign. This is just one way businesses can optimise email marketing on leads and customers.

Make copy and content that resonates.

The content of an email marketing campaign is what compels a lead or customer to act. Use actionable language, personalise where possible, write in the second person, make the content relevant, and be brief. Visuals can be effective and snappy language can catch customer attention, but before anything else, marketers must make their message clear. The top promotional email marketing examples usually include some visual asset along with very brief copy touting whatever special offer is being shared. Here’s an example:

From Los Angeles to Honolulu, only $239 each way. Hurry, sale ends soon! Book now.

A picture of an island paradise in Hawaii is all many readers will need to click through. While a click-through may not lead directly to a conversion, the idea has been planted. Those readers might then sign up for “low fare alerts,” allowing the company to nurture them along until they are someday ready to commit to a purchase. Until then, the company continues to send clear, visually attractive, brief, and relevant emails.

Leverage the power of CTAs.

Calls to action (CTAs) are perhaps of the most important components in a marketing email. Including a call to action button instead of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%. Conversion rates on CTAs are primary indicators of a successful campaign. That said, a call to action is more than just a sentence telling a prospective customer what they should do next. To make CTAs more effective, consider the text itself. The text of the CTA should say exactly what you want the customer to do, but the language should also indicate a low commitment level. Click Here is too generic. The customer is not going to “click here” just because you put a fancy button with Christmas lights around it in your email. Instead, altering the button to read Shop Now has been proven effective. It has also been shown to have higher conversion rates than one that reads Buy Now. Buy Now is less effective because customers are not as willing to immediately commit to a sale viewing an email. Learn More is also an easy, simple call to action example that has a proven track record.

Implement a nurture track.

A nurture track will automatically trigger timed follow-up emails based on a lead’s behaviour and information. Instead of a single blast, emails are personalised based on the customer’s stage in the buying process, which is known as the customer lifecycle. Here is a great email marketing example of nurturing the customer journey:

Greetings from [name of eyeglasses provider]! Hope you’re doing great.


We’re writing because it looks like your prescription will expire on [date of expiration] (that’s pretty soon).

If you’re thinking about new glasses, it might be convenient to purchase them before your prescription expires. We’d be happy to help you find an amazing pair!

Shop men. Shop women.

This example is effective because it uses customer data (prescription expiration date) to market products and services. At the same time, this email could easily be generated automatically based on the customer’s prescription expiration date. It’s simple. It’s clear what the email is about and what action the customer can take to do business with the company. But is it effective? Well, when one considers that nurtured leads produce approximately 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

When it comes to ROI, there are few marketing channels that have the potential to pay off as big as email marketing. However, without the right strategy, that potential is unlikely to ever materialise into anything concrete. To get the biggest bang for your buck, research the data-driven examples of successful businesses, and adopt the practices that will fit your organisation. After all, even with all of the tools and systems available to assist you in reaching your customer, the fact is that at the end of the day, the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaign relies on you.

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