10 Steps to Create a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

It’s easy to underestimate email. While no longer the newest or fanciest communication channel on the block, good email marketing is still one of the most effective tactics for activating, retaining, and engaging your audience.

This fall, IABC Waterloo was fortunate enough to have local email marketing expert Courtney Cassel share her tips for creating successful email campaigns with us. Hosted at the beautiful Kitchener Public Library, attendees walked away with practical insights to put into play right away.

Here’s are the steps to creating a great email campaign we learned from Courtney:

1.     Create a strategic roadmap:

Take the time to figure out what you want to achieve before launching off. What are the aims of your email campaign? Will the campaign require a one-time, single deployment, or a set of triggered automated emails? Set SMART goals up front to ensure you can measure success along the way – you can’t have a successful email marketing campaign if you don’t know what success looks like!

2.     Customize the design

When choosing or designing a template for your emails, the most important thing is to make sure you’re optimized for mobile since so many people will be reading the mails on your phone. You should start off by creating three templates: one short form, one long form, and one plain text. From there, make sure you focus on conveying your brand in the best light by focusing on consistency in terms of fonts, colours, call to actions, image styles, and more.

3.     Craft the subject line

Try out different formulas and see what works for you! Examples include “[Number] Reasons Why [Something You Should Do/Try],” and How to [Achieve Benefit or Result].” Other tips shared are to use personalization as much as possible and to avoid too much punctuation so your email doesn’t get flagged as spam.

4.     Draft the email

Aim to make your copy as short, concise, and personal as possible, advises Courtney. Start with a strong hook that tells people why they should care about the email. What will they get out of reading further? Don’t forget to include a strong call to action so people know what to do next.

5.     Always test your mail (and then test again)

It’s a good idea to A/B test your email to ensure you’ve picked an approach that’s appealing to your target audience. Some good things to A/B test? Everything! A few top areas Courtney covered, include: your subject line, hook sentence, copy length, copy language, call to action copy, call to action colour, time of send, and day of the week.

6.     Track success and ROI

When it comes to measuring your campaign, there are endless metrics you can take into account. What you decide to closely track will depend on the initial goals you established in your campaign. A few areas you might cover: engagement over time, time spent in the email, bounce rate, spam reports, open rates, click-throughs and performance in different geographies. You can also look at Google Analytics to find out more about the people who took action on the email and if they converted further.

7.     Make sure your email is compliant to GDPR and CASL

Courtney also shared the requirements of CASL and GDPR with us – which are essential to follow for legal reasons. For CASL, the main takeaways are to obtain express consent before communicating with someone, provide identifying information that shows who is sending the email, and to provide an easy-to-see unsubscribe mechanism. You can find out more about CASL on this Government of Canada site, and read all about GDPR in this Litmus blog.

8.     Build a stand-out landing page

So you’ve created a stand-out email, what next? Now you need somewhere to send your audience. Landing pages are sites that are intended to persuade visitors to take one specific course of action. These can be a really effective spot to link to from email campaigns. Courtney shared the formula of what an ideal landing page looks like. The best landing pages typically include the unique selling proposition, pain points, a hero graphic, key benefits, call to action, social proof, and compliance.

9.     Drive traffic

Focus on driving traffic to your site where you can get people to sign up to your newsletter. This is a great way to lock down engagement over time. You might consider avenues like Google Pay Per Click ads, SEO work, social media strategies and more to build up site traffic to grow your email subscriber list.

10.  Launch, segment, and learn

Once you’ve sent out your mail, make sure to track learnings and adjust your approach as needed. Based on people’s interactions with your mail, you can also create segmented groups to be able to send more effective emails. For instance, you might create a segment of people who are interested in a certain topic if they consistently click through on emails relating to that topic. Then you can market and personalize to them more specifically over time.

Want to learn more actionable tips like this? Attend the next event in the IABC Waterloo Digital Marketing Series. Our next two events will cover Instagram branding and SEO myth-busting.

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Kaitlyn Holbein

Kaitlyn Holbein