To help you create a successful email marketing campaign, we’ve gathered insights from 12 industry experts, including freelance designers, CEOs, and email marketing specialists. From being relatable to your readers to mastering the pre-campaign process, these professionals share their first-hand experiences and elaborate on the key components that make an email marketing campaign truly effective.
DEEPER DIVE: Forecasting 2023 PR and marketing trends
- Be Relatable to Your Readers
- Optimize Emails for Mobile Devices
- Create Accessible Email Campaigns
- Use HTML and Plain Text Emails
- Maintain Consistency in Content
- Avoid Triggering Spam Filters
- Personalize Your Email Campaigns
- Implement Segmentation and Suppression
- Craft Effective Subject Lines
- Focus on Relevance in Emails
- Solve Problems and Ensure “Scannability”
- Master the Pre-Campaign Process
Be Relatable to Your Readers
Be relatable. Let your readers know there’s a real person behind the messaging. Use language as you would when talking to a friend or neighbor. Get a bit personal—share who you are. People are built for stories. “You write just as if I were talking to you” is one of the highest compliments I’ve received.
Lezlee Alexander, Freelance Newsletter and Website Designer/Editor, Proofreader
Optimize Emails for Mobile Devices
Optimizing email for mobile is critical and involves more than content that gets resized to fit on a mobile screen. To truly be optimized for mobile, you must ensure the content is immediately legible (without the user needing to zoom in) in both normal and dark screen modes.
Best practices for mobile optimization include:
- Use a 1-column design. If your desktop version uses 2-columns, make sure the column stacking order is correct on mobile.
- Use a font size and font style that is easily readable on a mobile device.
- If using images with text, ensure the text is easily readable on a mobile device.
Test the email in dark mode to ensure color changes do not make your logos or text unclear or hard to see and to make sure your design still looks cohesive.
One quick and easy way to ensure your design is optimized for mobile is to design in mobile view if your program offers this as an option.
Sarah Lieneke-Nickle, E-commerce Email Marketing and Copywriting Expert
Create Accessible Email Campaigns
There are over 1 billion people worldwide who live with some sort of disability. 2.2 billion people have some level of vision impairment, while 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women experience some level of color blindness.
So, if your emails aren’t accessible, you’re missing out on a significant portion of your audience—and that means leaving money on the table.
Creating accessible emails requires taking a few small steps to provide a better, more inclusive experience for all.
Here are a few tips:
- Use appropriate ALT text on images in your email to help describe the email to those who are using a screen reader.
- The color contrast ratio should be suitable for folks who have a color vision deficiency.
- Ensure the rate of animation in animated GIFs isn’t too fast to cause photo-sensitive seizures in some individuals.
- Ensure your links and calls-to-action are contextual—essentially banish the “click here” copy to lessen the ambiguity of the link for screen readers.
Use HTML and Plain Text Emails
An email will do little good if it is never received, so making sure it reaches the intended inbox by using HTML and plain text is essential to a successful email marketing campaign.
Most businesses have some forms of security that filter out scam emails based on certain criteria that are common to those communication attempts; therefore, most never reach our inbox, and the ones that do go to spam files.
Therefore, implementing a quality mixture of HTML and plain text emails to ensure it passes security checks will greatly increase their chances of reaching the intended receiver and have the effectiveness you are looking for. By using HTML and plain text, you can make certain that any other marketing strategies you plan to implement will have the desired impact.
Maintain Consistency in Content
Consistency is a critical component of a successful email marketing campaign because it helps build trust and reliability with your audience. By consistently delivering valuable and relevant content to your subscribers, you increase the chances of them engaging with your emails and seeing your brand as dependable and trustworthy.
In the long run, this consistency can pay off when you’re ready to make an offer to your subscribers. If you consistently provide value before making a pitch, you’re much more likely to have a higher success rate. Even if your subscribers don’t open all your emails, the fact that they routinely see your name and recognize your brand builds familiarity and trust over time.
When the time comes for them to engage with your services or products, they’ll be much more likely to remember your brand and take action. Consistency helps establish a relationship of trust, enhances brand recognition, and increases the likelihood of customer engagement and conversions.
Avoid Triggering Spam Filters
The worst thing that can happen to any email marketing campaign is your emails going straight to the spam filter.
In one campaign, my company found unusually low engagement rates and realized that we had set off several spam filters. To fix this, we worked on repairing our reputation with search filters by sending emails to engaged segments and focusing on quality over quantity of emails.
Personalize Your Email Campaigns
Personalization is the essential ingredient for a thriving email marketing campaign in 2023. By tailoring your message to specific individuals based on their interests, behavior, demographics, and other factors, you can create more meaningful connections with your audience. With the increasing availability of data to marketers, personalization has become more sophisticated and effective than ever.
In my personal experience, personalized emails have consistently outperformed generic emails, boasting a 29% higher open rate and a 41% higher click-through rate. There are several ways to personalize your emails, such as using the recipient’s name, segmenting your list based on demographics or behavior, and sending targeted content aligned with their interests.
Additionally, using dynamic content that changes based on the recipient’s location, device, or past behavior can also boost the impact of your email campaigns to a whole new level!
Implement Segmentation and Suppression
It is critical to have a robust segmentation and suppression list. Nobody enjoys getting “spam,” and sending it to people can damage your brand in the long run. List segmentation splits up your audience and funnels the right message to the right audience, while list suppression prevents the wrong message from going out to the wrong audience.
We’ve had wonderful conversion weeks with tiny, yet-engaged lists and not-so-great weeks with enormous, unengaged lists. Know who you’re targeting!
Craft Effective Subject Lines
When we send out our emails, we probably experiment more with the subject line than the body of the email itself. The reason is simple—unless the subject line is interesting enough to catch the audience’s attention and motivate them to click on the email; the text doesn’t even come into the picture.
So how do we ensure that our subject lines are the perfect hooks? We directly address the specific problem the email is going to solve. We keep it that simple. In addressing a prominent issue right away and providing a solution, we eliminate any doubt regarding the content of the email. Also, in delivering value, we offer the receiver added motivation to open the email.
Focus on Relevance in Emails
The biggest component I have found to be true across B2B and DTC brands is being relevant in your emails. If you know your ideal customer persona(s), then you can speak to them on a personable level and stay relevant in their inbox. The more you speak to your customers, the more engagement you will receive in return—higher open rates, click-throughs, purchases, and repeat customers.
Once your audience realizes your intent is to bring them valuable content they WANT (because you’ve done your research on them), they will desire to have you in their inboxes and see your brand as the subject matter expert in your space.
Solve Problems and Ensure “Scannability”
What problem are you solving for your reader? Is it crystal clear in your campaign?
Way too many emails ramble. They try to cram too much into one campaign, making their email less effective at achieving the primary goal: engagement.
Instead, focus on solving a specific problem that your readers might have. Be clear and concise in your messaging, and don’t cover too many topics in one email.
And lastly, people don’t read emails; they skim. This means that you need to make your emails scannable by using subheadings, bullet points, and brief paragraphs. Clearly articulate the problem you’re going to solve and explain how your solution will help the reader.
By solving a specific problem, you’ll make it more likely that your readers will take the next step in your funnel.
Master the Pre-Campaign Process
A pre-campaign process includes researching your target audience, crafting content that will interest them, and creating an email list full of relevant contacts.
One of our previous client’s problems was their inability to properly track email campaigns, leading to poor deliverables, ROI, and open email rates, which affected their bottom line. We worked to improve this area by optimizing the email production process for scalability and constructing a ticket management system. In addition, we enhanced lead organization, segmentation, evaluation, and rating and assembled a comprehensive marketing agenda to harmonize campaign objectives and facilitate collaboration among teams.
As a result, over 3.6 million emails were sent in 2022, with over 800 asset downloads and a total of 320 contents written and published to facilitate marketing campaigns. We also observed strong improvement in sales enablement and enhanced collaboration between teams.