How To
24 min

Email marketing strategy: How to build the perfect email and increase sales

Momina Asif
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

This guide will cover the most important elements of your email marketing strategy, why email marketing is so important, and some email copywriting tips.

Creating an effective email marketing strategy can be challenging. 

Building a holistic strategy that fits your broader digital marketing plan can be even harder. 

Fortunately, when you break down the different elements of a solid email marketing strategy, it’s not quite so daunting. Best of all, once you have it down, you could see huge improvements on your ROI.

So, are you ready to get started? 

What is an email marketing strategy?

An email marketing strategy helps businesses identify their target audience and intended goals, create effective marketing messages, and execute plans to achieve their marketing goals. 

A solid email marketing strategy includes: 

  • Relevant ways to reach out and connect with your target audience 
  • Data-driven plans for email content creation and execution 
  • Analysis of results for constant optimization 

Why is an email marketing strategy important?

According to Statista, the total number of email users worldwide is expected to reach 4.6 billion by 2025. So, email marketing has huge potential for marketers to reach a wider audience. 

With the right strategy in place, you can drive significant revenue for your business. 

However,  you won't harness the true potential of email marketing without a solid strategy. Here are the top 4 reasons you need an email marketing strategy today. 

1. Email is your property 

Remember when Instagram had to roll back various changes because of a huge backlash against Reels? 

Platforms like Instagram can change how your content is displayed and how often it shows up.. On the other hand, while it's important to invest in social media marketing, you have complete control over:

  •  How your email looks
  • Its format and content
  • How it appears in your audience's inbox 

2. Email marketing is effective 

Despite the many marketing disruptions and consumer expectations changes over the last couple of years, email has remained an effective platform for marketers. 

In fact, global email volume rose by 14% from 2020 to 2021, and 319 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2021. 

According to The State of Email Marketing by Validity, for 39% of marketers, email effectiveness held steady in 2020. For 30% of marketers, there was actually a slight improvement.

3. Email helps retain customers  

Email is an excellent medium for both customer acquisition and retention. 

With strategies like lead nurturing and email automation (which we will discuss later), you can set up personalized flows to re-engage your audience and turn them into loyal customers. 

4. Email gets more engagement

The average organic Facebook Page post sees just 0.07% engagement, while an average email open rate is 21.33%.  

A higher engagement:

  • Increases sales
  • Boosts brand awareness
  • Builds brand loyalty 

A survey by SaleCycle showed that 59% of respondents were influenced to make a purchase through marketing emails

5. Email marketing has a higher ROI 

According to Statista, for every $1 invested in email marketing, brands earn an ROI of $36. 

Better yet, if you are in the eCommerce or consumer goods industry, this ROI increases to $45 for every $1 investment! 

How to create an email marketing strategy 

Gauri Manglik, the co-founder of Instrumentl, emphasizes getting the basics of your email marketing strategy right. 

She continues, "When you're just starting, it can be easy to get caught up in trying out new campaigns. But if you don't have a solid foundation of email marketing in place, your campaign will fail." 

Here is a list of four steps to help you get the basics right for a successful email marketing strategy. 

1. Conduct an audit

You can't create a solid strategy without a thorough discovery audit. 

The purpose of the audit is to learn everything about your business before diving in. It will help you spot new opportunities, identify gaps and flaws, and make informed decisions. 

Here are a few things to consider during your audit:


  • Benchmarks: How well are your emails performing compared to your industry average? 
  • Design: Does the email design work well for your audience? Are there specific themes? Does a particular template work better than others? 
  • List: Did you recently clean your email list? 
  • Audience: Do you understand your target audience? For example, have you considered their paint points, preferences, likes and dislikes, and more? 

Compile all the data from your audit and see what's working, what needs improvement, and what you should eliminate. 

2. Set business goals 

What do you want to achieve through your email marketing campaigns? Some common goals include: 

  • Increasing your email subscribers
  • Improving sales and revenue 
  • Reducing churn rate
  • Increasing the customer lifetime value
  • Boosting brand visibility

The goals you set will determine the actions required to achieve them. So, take some time to figure out what you want to accomplish with your email marketing strategy, and then focus your efforts on it. 

For Tim Clarke, Director of Sales at SEO blog, defining your goals is one of the first steps toward creating a solid strategy. 

He says, "When you understand what you aim to convey and how your business helps address your customers' concerns, you'll be able to build better emails that resonate with your brand."

3. Understand your target audience 

You need to know your target audience:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Behavior
  • Interests 

Knowing these things will provide your audience with a better experience. 

You can segment your audience into different groups and send personalized content based on their preferences by having as much data as possible. 

Ask your audience relevant questions to personalize your emails and make them relevant and engaging. For example, if you are a productivity company, ask them about their goals, average work hours, and whether they work in-house or as remote workers. 

By getting personal with customers, you can send them the content that's most valuable to them. 

For Samar Owais, an email marketing strategist, putting your customers first and providing a personalized experience based on their journey should be the top priority of any business. 

She explains, "Providing a better experience means not sending first purchase offers to existing customers or sending promotional campaigns to customers who bought at full price a few days ago. It means focusing on building a relationship with your customers that goes beyond offering discounts." 

4. Choose the right tool 

An email service provider (ESP), also referred to as an email marketing platform or an email marketing service, is a tool that lets you build and send emails to your email list. 

Almost all the tools available today have features like:

  • Drag-and-drop builders
  • Customizable templates
  • Automation flows
  • Segmentation
  • A/B testing 

You can also track email metrics and optimize your emails for better results. 

How to build an email list with effective lead generation 

Now that you know how to start building your email marketing strategy and why it’s so important, let's move on to the nitty-gritty of email marketing strategy. 

The first step is building a solid email list. 

To get the highest ROI possible, you must build and maintain an engaged email list that continually grows with quality subscribers. 

Let's look at four ways to get people to sign up to your list. 

1. Add a sign-up form on your website 

When prospects visit your site, you can get them to engage with your company and remain up-to-date through a sign-up form on your website. 

Encourage them with an offer they can't refuse. For example, you can give them 10% off on their first purchase in return for their email address. 

Source: SwipeWell 

2. Get sign-ups from social media 

Share your sign-up form on your social channels and build an engaged email list. You can also share some reviews with your audience and encourage them to sign-up to get value. 

Double down on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by sharing snippets of the most valuable content you’re including in your emails. 

For instance, the pop rock band Imagine Dragons added a link to their newsletter for early access to concert tickets. 


Source: Twitter

3. Collect emails with gated content 

You can actively collect leads through gated content like:

  •  Ebooks
  • Checklists
  • Survey report
  • Whitepapers 

People are hungry for informational content and are willing to share their email to access that knowledge. Ensure your lead magnet isn't super generic and provides value to your audience to leave a lasting impression. 

"High-value lead magnet means high open and click-through rates," says Liz Willits, marketing instructor at the University of Vermont. 

She continues, "If your lead magnet is highly valuable, and it's free, your subscriber realizes that your other content will be valuable too. A great lead magnet builds trust and increases long-term opens and clicks." 

HubSpot asks for information like name, email address, and company name to access their free resources and ebooks. 

Image Source: HubSpot

4. Collect emails in-person 

You don't have to rely exclusively on online channels to collect emails. Instead, you can ask people to share their emails in exchange for company swag at a marketing conference. 

There are so many ways to be creative when collecting emails from prospects. Just make sure to focus on the value you are providing to your audience, and people will come running. 

Should I buy an email list? 

You should never buy an email list, and many ESPs (like Mailchimp) doesn't allow users to add a purchased email list. 


Well, sending emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought and didn't consent to receive anything can get your emails marked as spam. You’ll also see a high unsubscribe rate. 

So, don't purchase or rent a mailing list. This includes lists scraped from third-party sources like public websites. 

Everyone on your email list should have opted in to receive emails from you. Make sure you have their permission, and include an unsubscribe link to every campaign you send. Federal anti-spam laws require you to give people the option to unsubscribe from your list.

That's why 61% of people prefer marketing emails over social media or direct mail. If they don't want to hear from you, they can just hit unsubscribe and go about their day. 

How to clean your email list

You should regularly clean your email list to ensure you aren't sending campaigns to emails that are no longer in use. Also, remove any invalid entries or duplicates to maintain a healthy email list. 

This will improve the engagement rate of your emails and provide you with more valuable data insights.

To clean your email list, you need to::

  • Create a segment of all the subscribers who haven't opened an email in the last three months
  • Send a re-engagement campaign to this segment, asking them if they still want to hear from you
  • Delete all the subscribers who don't reply or recommit to your email list

Top 5 email marketing strategies to try today

So, you’ve built a great email list. Now, it's time to start sending email campaigns. 

According to HubSpot, the most effective email marketing strategies are:

  • Segmentation (78%)
  • Personalization (72%)
  • Automation (71%)

We’ll discuss all of these and other top email marketing strategies below.


1. Send personalized emails 

According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with businesses that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

Email sees the highest impact of personalization compared to other digital channels. 

Source: MarketingCharts 

So, how can you personalize your emails? 

To start, focus on collecting zero-party data. This is data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. Then, segment your subscribers based on that data. 

If you see a group of people interacting with a specific product type, send them emails relevant to that product. 

This email from Huckberry is the perfect example of using customers' preferences to provide a personalized experience. 

Image Source: Really Good Emails


Here are some other ways you can personalize your emails:


  • From name: 68% of Americans say they base their decision to open an email on the "from" name. Adding a from name also gives a human touch to your emails. 
  • Recipient name: Add your recipient's name in the subject line and email copy so it looks like you’re addressing them directly. 
  • Add dynamic images: Use images that change based on your audience's location or demographics. 

2. Build segments to send relevant emails

People get email fatigue when they receive too many marketing and promotional emails. To avoid this, segment your audience into groups and send them relevant emails. 

Segmentation is key to effective personalization. Getting key customer data is the building block for segmentation. You can segment your audience based on things like:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Industry
  • Engagement
  • Preferences
  • Past purchase history

Wellness brand Nuun saw a 950% increase in website traffic from emails and an 820% increase in revenue generated from email marketing.

They did this by segmenting their audience based on their preferences and sending highly-personalized emails recommending products relevant to those segments. 

Image Source: Milled 

3. Focus on mobile-first design 

According to HubSpot, most email views come from mobile (41%), followed by desktop (39%). 

Image Source: HubSpot

Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns are not optimized for mobile devices. So, with a mobile-first design, you can stay ahead of your competitors and provide a great experience to your customers. 

To improve your mobile email design, you should:

  • Shorten your subject lines. Subject lines over 30 characters get cut off on mobile devices
  • Make sure the preheader text expands upon the idea in the subject line 
  • Avoid a long, text-heavy email, especially if it's a promotional or announcement email
  • Keep your CTA buttons large enough so your readers can easily tap on them. Also, keep the CTA content short and snappy 
  • Due to limited space, a one-column layout works better for mobile devices 
  • Design your emails for dark mode, as 81.9% use dark mode on their phones 

After designing your email, check it across multiple types of devices before sending. 

Skincare brand, The Body Shop, uses short subject lines and emojis to fit the mobile screen and stand out in the inbox. 

Their emails are designed for mobile, with minimal text and a pop of color that aligns with their brand identity. 

4. Double down on email automation 

As your email list gets bigger, sending emails manually to your audience can be pretty challenging. This is where email automation comes in. 

According to Statista, email marketing is the most often automated channel. Businesses rely on automation to send timely emails, build better customer relationships, sell more products, and increase revenue. 

There are a lot of emails you can automate, including: 

  • Welcome series
  • Post-purchase follow-ups
  • Cart-abandonment reminders
  • Thank you emails
  • Product reviews
  • Milestone emails 

According to Invesp, 74% of people expect to receive a welcome email when they subscribe to a mailing list. When you get a new subscriber, sending them a warm welcome email can help turn them into engaged customers without any extra effort. 

If you need to craft engaging welcome and thank you emails, sign up with Copy AI and generate thousands of emails in less than 10 seconds. 

Look at this welcome email from Danner that immediately rewards customers for signing up, keeping their customers anticipating more promo codes and sales offers.

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

According to Klaviyo, automated post-purchase emails have a click-through rate that's 2.8 times higher than the average email campaign. 

This post-purchase email from Ilia, a beauty brand, shares its values of being against animal testing and being pro-sustainability. It also encourages customers to send their empty products back so they can recycle them responsibly. 

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

5. Always A/B test your emails 

A/B testing can help you improve tremendously, and the possibilities of A/B testing different elements of your email are endless. Through quality assurance, A/B testing, and spam testing, you can increase your email ROI by 28%

You can test the effectiveness of things like:

  • Subject line
  • Preheader text
  • CTA
  • Discounts
  • Images
  • Email copy
  • Time and day when you send an email
  • Plain-text emails vs image-heavy HTML emails

Remember to test one variable at a time to get the best results from your A/B tests. This allows you to understand what your audience responds to the most. 

For example, if you edit your subject line copy and include an emoji, you won't know whether the open rate increased because of the emoji or the change in the content. 

How to write the perfect email

Almost 5 in 10 respondents of a Statista survey said they preferred receiving business communications through email on their smartphones. 

So, creating a perfect email that gets recipients to immediately open it is important. To do so, you need to understand the essential parts of making an email great. 

Let's look at all the parts of an email and see how to improve each section. 

1. Subject line 

Your subject line is the first thing your subscribers will read. In fact, 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. 

To optimize your subject line, here are a few tips:


  • Keep it short. We recommend using no more than 7-8 words and 50-60 characters.
  • Be straightforward and to the point. 
  • Be creative, but don't rely on deception to increase open rates. 
  • You can also add an emoji to make the subject line more compelling. 

Chris Hardee, an email copywriter, shares his tip for writing a persuasive subject line: building curiosity. He says, "Create a curiosity gap in your subject lines. If you do it right, you can tease your reader with a hint of what's coming, getting them to open your emails." 

Create compelling subject lines with Copy AI’s free subject line generator. Just type in what your email is about and generate thousands of variations of engaging subject lines. 

The clothing brand, Cotton On, sends some of the most creative and attention-grabbing subject lines. Have a look at this subject line below: 


Image Source: Milled 

2. Preheader text

The preheader text comes right after your subject line and is a great way to provide more detail about your email. 

To make preheader text work, you should:


  • Include new information that's not already mentioned in the subject line 
  • Personalize it by adding the recipient's name 
  • Make it creative and complement the subject line with the preheader 

Drizly, an alcohol delivery platform, had one of the best subject line/preheader combos. 

3. From name

Another essential factor that determines whether your recipient will open the email or not is the "from" name. 

You can use the company's name to indicate who sent the email. If people receive an email from a company they like, they will immediately rush to open it. 

Another option is to use a human name like "Chris from Copy AI." This way, you can make the email sound more personalized and help your recipient visualize the human behind the email. 

To make your emails more personalized, you can add a different "from" name for different audience segments based on the key account manager who deals with their account.

4. Email body 

Your email copy has one purpose: keep your reader interested until they reach the CTA and click on it. 

Your email copy should be short and sweet. Don't add huge blocks of text, as it can overwhelm the reader. 

Instead, focus on one idea per email, and don't try to promote everything in a single email. If you’re sending an email about a new product, keep it limited to that product launch. 

Asana, a project management platform, designs their email with minimal content and organizes it with subheadings and bulleted lists. 

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

Pro-tip: Don't use link shorteners,like, in your emails. This can hurt your email deliverability. Due to the risk of spam, email marketing platforms often penalize emails for using link shorteners. 

5. Call to action 

Some might say your call to action (CTA) is the most important part of an email. The CTA button helps subscribers take the action you want them to take. For example, you may want them to buy your product, register for a webinar, or download an ebook. 

Some of the best practices for your CTA button include: 

  • Make it attention-grabbing. Your subscribers should immediately recognize a CTA button when they open the email. 
  • Use action-oriented CTA copy with active words like "buy now," "act fast," and "shop today."  
  • Double down on the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by sharing that the offer is limited to two days or for a limited time. 

Check out Copy AI's free CTA generator if you need some inspiration for crafting action-oriented and compelling CTAs

Chobani, a food company, gets customers to visit their website by painting a beautiful picture of different recipes. Subscribers can access the full recipe by clicking on the CTA, which is action-oriented, simple, and to the point. 

Image Source: Really Good Emails

6. Email imagery

Images in emails are an amazing way to say more with fewer words. That’s why it’s smart to add an image that stretches across different screen sizes. You can also add GIFs to make your emails more engaging. 

Additionally, consider using images as the focal point of your email, and add small blocks of text to complement it. However, ensure that your chosen image is relevant to your email. 

Also, optimize your emails for both dark and light modes. Try using transparent backgrounds and optimizing your logo and social media icons to do this.

Instead of using blocks of text to explain animation, Adobe simply added an illustration and let the GIF do the talking. 

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

7. Unsubscribe

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, every email must contain an unsubscribe option so your subscribers can opt out.  

As marketers, an unsubscribe button can be a bit scary. After all, it gives your audience a way to stop hearing from you. However,  remember that having an unsubscribe system filters your email list and keeps it healthy. 

To make the most out of your unsubscribe section, here are a few tips to follow:


  • Add a clear link that says "Unsubscribe." Make it visible and apparent to your subscribers so there is no ambiguity. 
  • When a recipient clicks on the unsubscribe link, you can lead them to an email preference center. This way, they can reduce the emails they receive from you rather than leave altogether.
  • You can also add a feedback form that asks the recipients why they decided to unsubscribe.  

Email copywriting tips for writing compelling content

Writing email copy that resonates with your audience takes practice. To hook your readers and convince them to take the desired action, follow the tips below. 

1. Keep the email scannable 

Instead of reading every word, most people scan emails and decide whether they want to give it further thought or not. 

With people spending 10 seconds reading brand emails, it's crucial to write emails that are to the point, short, and concise. 

To keep your emails scannable, be sure to:

  • Put the most important part of the email at the beginning 
  • Keep the message brief and try to sum it up in a paragraph or two 
  • Keep it organized. A newsletter with more text should be organized with subheadings and bulleted lists to make it scannable 

2. Create a sense of urgency

By creating a sense of urgency, readers fear missing out on promotions, sales, or other rewards. This way, they are encouraged to act immediately. 

Here are a few ways you can create urgency with your email content:


  • Add a deadline and clearly state the offer is valid for the next two days or will expire on a particular date. 
  • Emphasize scarcity. If the product is a limited edition or there is little stock left, communicate that to the readers. It will force them to either act immediately or miss out on the product.  
  • Use time-sensitive words in your subject line and email copy. Phrases like "limited-time offer," "buy now before it's gone," and "limited seats left" encourage subscribers to act quickly. 

Atoms, a footwear brand, creates urgency and FOMO by saying their limited collection of shoes will sell out by Christmas. 

Image Source: SwipeWell 

3. Write for one person

To write compelling copy, you need to make it personal.

Instead of writing for thousands of people, imagine you’re only writing the email for one person. Pretend you are sitting with a friend, colleague, or family member and communicating this email to them. 

Be sure to:

  • Let them know about the exciting sale offer or the new product launch 
  • Tell them all the things that are relevant and interesting to them 
  • Keep it conversational and ask questions 

4. Avoid fluff and industry jargon 

Ranting on and on about your company or offer will not do you any favors. Just stick to a few sentences and avoid fluff. 

Adding to that, email is not a platform to show off your knowledge of your industry. So, skip the industry jargon and add terms your audience will understand (and won't need to Google). 

Tracking your success

At this point, you’re well on your way to creating an awesome email marketing strategy.

Finally, it’s time to learn which email metrics to track so you can stay on top of how your campaigns are performing. This allows you to improve results and consistently grow your revenue. 

There are five key metrics you should definitely track. 

1. Open rate

Open rate measures how many people open your email. While open rates vary widely based on your industry, a good open rate lands between 17% and 28%. 

Keep in mind, however, that with Apple's Mail Privacy Protection feature, the open rate can be an unreliable metric to track. In fact, 43% of marketers changed how they measure email performance. 

So, instead of just relying on open rates, look at the metrics below that give you a better idea of how your emails are performing. 

2. Click-through rate 

Click-through rate (CTR) measures the percentage of people who click on a link or a CTA in the email. These rates also vary, but you’re doing a good job if your CTR is between 2 to 5%

CTR is an important metric to keep an eye on, as it provides insight into how many people on your list are engaging with your content and are interested in learning more about your offer.

3. Conversion rate 

Conversion rate is the percentage of people who clicked on a link within an email and completed the desired action, such as buying a product or registering for a webinar. 

Conversion rate is directly tied to your CTA, and it’s one of the most important metrics for determining the extent to which you're achieving your goals.

4. Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate measures the percentage of people who opt out of your email list from a particular campaign. 

The industry standard for an unsubscribe rate is 2% or less. 

5. Bounce rate 

The bounce rate shows the percentage of total emails sent that were not successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox.

There are two kinds of bounces to track:

  • Soft bounces: These happen because of a temporary problem with a valid email address, like a full inbox or a server issue. In this bounce, the recipient's server may hold these emails for delivery once the issue is resolved. 
  • Hard bounces happen because of an invalid, deleted, or non-existent email address. Remove these email addresses from your list to keep your email sender's reputation healthy. 

Nail your email marketing strategy and drive higher ROI

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach customers and grow revenue. 

With the email marketing strategies mentioned above, you can start sending tailored and relevant emails to your audience. 

Don’t forget to keep testing what's working for your business and improve consistently based on your results. 

Finally, if you need help writing engaging subject lines or perfect welcome and thank you emails, sign up with Copy AI today.

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