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How to create the best email marketing campaigns

Email marketing campaigns are a popular and efficient way for marketers to drive sales and develop deeper relationships with customers. However, maintaining a high rate of engagement requires constant improvement. The successful email marketer always keeps a finger on the pulse, and an updated set of tools and strategies in their briefcase.

Step 1: Define the purpose of your email marketing campaign 

The starting point of every successful email marketing campaign is getting aligned with your purpose. Do you want to welcome a new customer or trigger a sale from an existing one? Every component of your email campaign - from the subject line to the email template and call-to-action - should be designed according to this defined purpose. 

Here is a summary of the main types of email marketing campaigns.

Welcome emails

Welcome emails are based on a multi-stage campaign aimed at welcoming new subscribers and introducing them to your brand and what it has to offer. First impressions are very important in campaigns of this kind. It’s an ideal time to introduce your line of products or service offerings and open a dialogue. Ask your new subscriber to complete their data and enter their interests and preferences. This way, you’ll know early on whether they are interested in special promotional offers and whether they prefer to be contacted on a weekly or monthly basis. This can even be a great opportunity to present a special offer and convert a new subscriber into a purchasing customer.

Trigger and transactional emails

Trigger and transactional emails help nurture existing customer relationships, ensure consistent sales, and initiate new customer relationships. Trigger emails are emails sent automatically, as part of an automation flow, in response to a specific action (or inaction) made by a subscriber or customer on your website. For example, trigger emails might be sent in response to a user joining your email list, a password reset, or to a customer abandoning their shopping cart. Transactional mails, on the other hand, are emails sent in response to an order, a purchase, or similar transactional customer action. For example, these emails could include order confirmations or shipping information.

Cross and upsetting offers

Product recommendations offer email marketers enormous potential when it comes to driving greater sales and customer engagement. Cross and upsetting offers are prompted by a purchase,  registration or similar action, with the email contents adapted accordingly. For example, a customer who has recently completed a purchase in the webshop is automatically sent an email recommending a complementary product. And perhaps the email even includes a discount code especially for them. The goal is to encourage follow-up purchases, the purchase of higher-quality and higher-priced goods, or a wider variety of purchasing choices.

Customer care

Taking a proactive approach to customer care, that goes beyond regular communications, helps email marketers establish an ongoing dialog with regular customers. Customer care emails can include targeted customer satisfaction surveys inviting feedback on how to improve your services, and specially incentivized customer-binding emails that are sent when certain tolerance limits have been exceeded. Customer care emails can also be sent in reaction to changes in your customer’s status; for example, if a customer has a change of address you can send information and promotions tailored to their new location. Or you could react to the first signs of inactivity by inquiring whether the customer would like to suspend mailings for a time or prefers receiving them less frequently.  

Reactivation

Reactivation emails are sent at the first sign of lagging customer interest to inspire re-engagement. This can include emails that present a special offer, or emails that request the subscriber updates their customer information—and those who click the link are rewarded with a shopping coupon. Successful reactivation depends on the effective monitoring of subscribers. Both early detection of decreased interest and excessive contact frequency help to prevent customer inactivity and, ultimately, customer withdrawal. It’s essential to define at what point a customer is to be considered inactive, based on their failure to open or click your emails. The timeframe you employ will also depend on the natural lifespan of your products, services, and promotions.

Step 2: Personalize your email content 

The more personalized your email marketing campaigns, the greater the performance potential. The trick many people think of when it comes to personalizing emails is including a dynamic field that allows for the recipient’s name to appear in the subject line or email body.

However, a more advanced and effective way to achieve personalization is by segmenting your email list. Segmenting by demographics and behavior enables you to adapt your message and target your content so that it resonates with each recipient. For example, email marketing campaigns can be segmented by factors such as age group, location, and purchasing behavior. With this information, you can offer each segment product and content recommendations that are relevant to them. Even the subject line, email copy, and images can be adapted to make the contents and language more relevant to each segment.  

Step 3: Write engaging email copy

Every successful email marketing campaign should include engaging, on-brand copy. This starts with a compelling subject line that drives recipients to open the email. Using actionable language such as “buy,” “save,” and “don’t miss” (as in “Don’t miss your chance to [insert activity]”) can help prompt an email open. And don’t forget the accompanying preview text—this should summarize the key message and value recipients can expect to receive upon opening the email. 

Once the email is open, the recipient should be greeted with a clear message and a prominent call to action. The body of the email should follow a logical structure and include short, focused paragraphs. Readers should be able to scan your email to quickly gather the main point. 

Finally, make sure that your call to action cannot be missed. This could take the form of a prominent button that links readers to a specific landing page where they can take further action. The copy here should be brief and action-oriented.  

Step 4: Optimize your email for mobile devices 

As much as 50 percent of people regularly read their email on a mobile device. Make sure that your email marketing templates are designed for easy reading on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. 

When it comes to optimizing your email marketing campaign for mobile devices, several key design elements should be taken into consideration. The display size of text, images, and graphical elements should be adapted for reading on different sized mobile devices. Avoid a floating layout or columns. Usability should also be optimized for easy scrolling and link touchpoints. The design should also support an optional switch between portrait and landscape mode. 

The good news is that many leading email campaign software solutions help you optimize for mobile devices, with little or no adjustments needed.

Step 5: Send your email marketing campaign at the right time 

What good is your email marketing campaign if the recipient doesn’t even see it? Increase the chances by making sure your email marketing campaign software includes send time optimization - it can increase the open rate of your email campaigns by 25 percent. 

Utilizing AI and machine learning technology, send time optimization solutions create a profile for each recipient and analyzes their response behavior to determine when they actually check their inbox. Your email is then sent to each individual at a time that matches the rhythm of their life. The longer the customer or subscriber relationship, the more accurate the optimized send time becomes.

In other words, send time optimization ensures that your email marketing campaign is received during key, attention-grabbing minutes, and doesn’t get lost at the bottom of the inbox with a bunch of other messages. 

Learn more about the best time to send email marketing campaigns here.

Step 6: Analyze campaign data for future improvement 

Once your email marketing campaign has been sent, it’s time to start gathering the information that will enable you to improve the next one. Data gathered during a campaign can be used to augment an existing database and this, in turn, lets you more accurately define segments and roll out more finely-tuned campaigns. 

Some of the essential analytics tools successful email marketers should be using include post-click tracking and attention analysis via heat maps, as well as general reports that let you review the mailing’s most important statistics and compare them with previous campaigns. Measures to pay attention to in reports include the number of opens, clicks, and unsubscribes. As an advanced step, you can even employ a live analytics tool to review your entire set of recipient action data in real-time using a customer segmentation technique such as RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) which indicates the probability that your customers will react to a campaign in the future.  Complete solutions such as Episerver visitor intelligence analytics make it possible to collect and analyze these key data insights automatically.


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