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Types of Email Marketing Campaigns: How to Maximize ROI

Mariana Krasteva

August 9, 2022

Email has been one of our most powerful marketing tools for over four decades, and it’s only becoming more important in the digital age. 

Believe it or not, the first email marketing campaign dates back as early as 1978. It aimed to promote Digital Equipment Corp by sending product presentation invitations to 400 recipients. Although it was also considered the first spam, the campaign generated an astounding $13 million in sales, achieving a remarkable return on investment for the company.

Now, almost half a century later, 64% of small businesses have integrated email marketing into their marketing strategy, and 77% of marketers report achieving increased engagement in their email campaigns. By 2023, email marketing revenue is expected to hit almost $11 billion. So, why not claim your share of this jackpot?

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Email marketing campaigns offer an impactful and cost-effective way to reach, engage, and convert your audiences. They can go a long way in maximizing the effect of your marketing efforts without draining your budget.

To take full advantage of this opportunity, you need to determine your goals, know your target audience and buyer persona, and identify the types of campaigns that will best help you achieve your goals. 

Then, you have to break your campaign into individual emails and plan the content and schedule that will work for you and your audience. 

And finally, you need to write your emails in a professional and engaging way. 

As complicated as this all may sound, email marketing is not as intimidating as you might think. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common email marketing campaigns, explore how AI-enabled tools can help you streamline your marketing efforts, and provide examples of successful email marketing campaigns to give you inspiration for your own business. 

Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in by discussing the basics of email marketing.

What is an email marketing campaign?

An email marketing campaign is a set of email messages scheduled to deploy over a determined period. These individual messages share a common overall purpose, depending on the type of the email campaign and the particular goal and occasion that have inspired it.

Running an email marketing campaign involves building email design, content, and contact lists, not to mention implementing an analytical process to track the campaign’s performance. It's an important tool for engaging your existing customers and attracting new ones. The purpose of sending an email is to convince the reader to take action through effective calls-to-action (CTAs) that can range from downloading a report or whitepaper to signing up for an event or making a purchase.

When you design an email, it should be visually appealing without being distracting. Since many people check their email on their phones, making sure your design is compatible with mobile screens is also important. Use easy-to-locate and clear CTA buttons and readable fonts with supporting images. 

However, to get to your CTA, the recipient must first open and read your email message. That’s why it’s essential to develop an irresistible subject line. This is where tools like Copy.ai’s Free Email Subject Line Generator can come in handy. 

This AI tool will help you create a list of attention-grabbing subject lines in a matter of seconds. All you need to do is provide details about your business, your product, and the intended goal of your email.

An email marketing campaign isn’t just one thing, but there are several different types, each of which serves a very different purpose for your overall marketing strategy. 

Newsletter

An email newsletter is a series of emails marketers send subscribers to provide them with helpful tips, alert them to relevant news about the brand or organization, or educate them on specific topics. Roughly 81% of B2B marketers identify newsletter emails as the most used content in their marketing funnel.

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Newsletters usually include new products, features, services, upcoming events or conferences, etc. They can also cover important news related to your industry or niche that you think your readers will find interesting. Sometimes, companies may promote discounts or special offers in their newsletter emails as part of an overall marketing campaign. 

Image Source: Figma

As you can see, there are no rules for what should be included in your newsletter emails. No matter what you include, newsletters are a great way to keep your audience up to date with the latest news and offers and stay top of mind for potential customers.

So, how often should you send your newsletters? The answer can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. It all depends on your business goals and your target audience. That said, most experts recommend sending no more than 8 newsletter emails per week—you don’t want to spam your readers, or they’ll stop opening your emails. 

Drip campaign

Drip campaigns are a series of carefully scheduled messages delivered over a set period of time. Drip campaigns allow you to send email messages at specific intervals to educate your audience and guide them through the sales funnel to conversion.

Note that drip campaigns are sent to your customers regardless of their actions (we’ll explain this in the lead-nurturing section, so stay tuned). For example, lead #1 will receive the same email of your drip campaign as lead #2, lead #3, etc.

What are the benefits of email drip campaigns? 

They can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Turning cold prospects into warm leads
  • Increasing engagement with potential customers
  • Educating your audience about your brand or products/services before making any direct sales pitches
  • Building relationships with existing customers
  • Creating brand awareness and loyalty

Moreover, drip campaigns make it easy to communicate with customers on an ongoing basis. Once you've created your initial drip campaign, you can schedule new messages at any time. This helps you automate your marketing efforts and stay in touch with customers to keep these leads warm. 

Now, let us look at drip campaigns specifically tailored to the B2B sector. The following image shows you an email drip campaign by the ecommerce platform Shopify—more specifically, their onboarding email series.   

Data Source: Shopify

As you can see, this campaign includes several types of emails: 

  • Welcome email
  • Value-add content email
  • Feature spotlight email
  • End-of-trial-reminder

The objective of the sequence is to educate the audience and move them through the sales funnel towards conversion. 

Welcome emails

Welcome emails are one of the first interactions users have with your brand. They’re sent immediately after someone signs up for your product or service, making them a great way to help new customers get acquainted with your business and guide them through the onboarding process. They can build trust, authority, and credibility while increasing customer retention.

Let’s look at the Shopify example.

Image Source: Shopify

Shopify sends a welcome email immediately after a prospect signs up. This email aims to announce the beginning of the free trial. The also has a celebratory tone and clearly lays out the next steps. 

The brand may also notify their audience that they will receive additional tips on using their product in the next few days, which is typical for a drip campaign.

Generally speaking, welcome emails are intended to get users on board with your brand. You’ll want to provide value by highlighting what makes your business unique while encouraging your prospects to engage with future email campaigns. 

Value-add content emails

These emails aim to educate your prospect and establish yourself as a resource to them. Therefore, it’s important to provide information in a way your audience can easily understand and apply. Shopify, for example, provides free online courses and a help center. 

Image Source: Shopify

This email aims to help the audience explore resources and get started with these free online courses. The idea is to make it easier for customers to achieve faster results. Otherwise, they may think it’s too difficult to set up the process and consider switching to a competitor.

Image Source: Shopify

Another example of value-add content is teaching the audience how to discover different products to market using their platform. Shopify knows that if their customers don't sell their very first product quickly, they won't be able to find value in the platform and won't subscribe for the next month. 

So, during your drip email campaigns, consider providing as much value as possible to teach your audience and move them down the sales funnel. Here are more ideas for useful value-add content emails:

  • Information about an industry trend or statistic 
  • A list of resources your prospect will find helpful or interesting
  • Links to articles, videos, and other resources that will help your prospect learn more about your product or service

Also, consider including success stories from customers who have used your product or service successfully in their business. This strategy is great for showcasing your product's positive impact on someone else’s life, giving newer prospects a reason to believe in your product, too.

Feature spotlight emails

A feature spotlight email highlights a specific feature of your product or service. These emails can also be used to promote a product's new feature. The goal is to encourage customers to use this feature to improve their lives and foster customer success. 

This strategy can help build brand loyalty by providing value to your audience and keeping them up to date on new developments with your business and products. Take a look at the next example.

Image Source: Shopify

The goal of this email is to prepare the audience for their launch. Shopify encourages users to customize their shop by choosing from the predefined themes offered by the platform. This feature will save them valuable time, which they’re likely to appreciate. 

When creating your own feature spotlight email, focus on one specific feature at a time. If you want to highlight two or more in your campaign, break them into separate emails, so you don't overwhelm readers with too much information.

Also, try to keep it short and sweet. Feature spotlight emails should focus on one main point. If possible, add some supporting evidence from happy customers or other sources to prove that what you're saying is true. 

Finally, include a CTA at the end of your email and make sure you give readers a reason to click.

End-of-trial-reminder emails

These are the emails that move your audience toward conversion. Nine days after the customer has registered, Shopify begins to urge them to choose a pricing plan. 

Image Source: Shopify

The idea behind this email is that when Shopify’s audience reaches this stage, they should be prepared to start selling. That's why Shopify encourages them to let their store go live and choose a pricing plan or they won’t be able to make sales. If they don’t get started, Shopify reminds them three days later that there are only three days left before the trial ends. 

Image Source: Shopify

It's important to send out a reminder email before any trial ends. This helps increase conversions because customers who are on the fence about buying will take action when they see a deadline. If they don't convert, send one more email on the day of their trial expiry.

Image Source: Shopify

This is the last chance you have to get your prospect to make the move on your product or service. If they haven’t converted yet, this email is the best way to turn a prospect into a paying customer.

A good trial-ending reminder email has all the elements of an effective sales pitch. It uses persuasive copywriting, strategic CTAs, and a strong offer. If you do all these things well, you can turn even the most stubborn customers into loyal advocates.

Lead nurturing campaign

Lead nurturing emails are sent when someone interacts with your website or other content. Say a prospect takes a specific action on your website, like downloading a white paper or clicking on a link in an email—you’ll want to follow up with a lead nurturing email to move them down the funnel. These messages can also include special offers, discounts, and other incentives. No matter what, the main goal of lead nurturing emails is to encourage people who have expressed interest in your product or service to convert into customers.

What’s the difference between drip campaigns and lead nurturing? Drip campaigns are sent to your audiences regardless of their behavior, while nurture campaigns are delivered to your customers based on their interactions with your brand. 

Lead nurturing campaigns can be broken down into three stages:

Lead nurturing emails at the awareness stage

This stage is about building awareness of your brand and products and educating prospects on how your business can solve their problems. Therefore, you'll want to share educational content such as blog posts, ebooks, case studies, and other resources that help prospects become familiar with you and your offerings.

For example, let’s say you’re a software company, and a new lead goes to your website and signs up for a free report. This will trigger the deployment of a thank-you email in addition to the resource your potential customer showed interest in.

Image Source: HubSpot

This email serves as a “Welcome” message, congratulating your new contact on their new asset. What’s more, you might also send them a series of emails that gradually introduce them to other aspects of your business. This helps make buying easier for them and increases the likelihood of purchasing from you.

Lead nurturing emails at the consideration stage 

At the consideration stage, your new contacts are still exploring their options and may not be ready to buy immediately. They might be looking for more information or need more time to decide. At this point, it's important that you continue providing educational information so the customer can make informed decisions about whether or not they need your product or service.

Note that there’s another audience you should be aware of: the people who have expressed a desire to make a purchase or have even added a product to their cart but no longer engage with your website. You should send these leads a nurturing email reminding them about their uncompleted purchase and the potential benefits they’re missing out on if they don’t follow through with the transaction. This is where cart abandonment emails come into play.

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Sending abandoned cart emails will keep customers engaged with the rest of the buying process, preventing you from missing out on potential sales and revenues. We’ll come back to cart abandonment shortly, so stick around. 

Lead nurturing emails at the decision stage 

Decision stage emails are the last emails in a lead nurturing sequence. They’re designed to push your audience toward a sale, so they should be sent after you’ve already built a relationship with your prospect. 

Image Source: Sephora

You may want to offer a discount to nudge them gently yet urgently. Since it's important for your prospects to feel confident about their decision-making process, you can help them build confidence by asking questions about their concerns and objections and providing answers that address their needs and concerns. For example, suppose someone says they're worried about shipping costs or delivery times. In that case, you could provide information about free shipping or overnight delivery options that might make it easier for them to take action.

Cart abandonment series

As promised, let’s take a closer look at abandoned cart emails. 

Cart abandonment series are a type of email marketing campaign sent to customers who have added products to their cart but haven’t finished the checkout process. The purpose of these emails is to convert customers who have left their cart without completing their purchase.

Abandoned cart emails can help you increase sales by reminding people about their abandoned cart, motivating them to complete their purchase, and providing incentives for completed purchases. Take a look at the example below. 

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Abandoned cart emails are the last chance for a business to win back customers who have left their shopping cart without buying anything. There are plenty of reasons why customers abandon their shopping carts—they may have forgotten to add an item, lost interest in the product, or simply been distracted by something else.

Here are some benefits of using abandoned cart emails:

1. Recovering lost revenue

Shopping cart abandonment is estimated to cost retailers as much as $4 billion every year. Once shoppers leave their carts, they rarely return, so it's important that you try everything possible to get them back before they leave for good.

2. Increasing average order value

People who abandon their carts typically aren't ready to buy—they're just browsing or comparing prices and products on other sites while still in your store's checkout area. By sending these customers reminders about items they've put in their carts but haven't purchased yet, you can encourage them to complete the checkout. 

Your chances of making the sale increase even more if you offer an extra discount as a final argument in favor of your brand over the competition. 

So, how can you go about writing your cart abandonment emails? Here are some tips for getting it right:

  • Be transparent about why people might have abandoned their carts
  • Make finalizing the order as easy as possible for your customer by including a link that allows them to resume their checkout exactly where they left off
  • Offer a discount or free shipping to help reduce any price sensitivity
  • Include photos of the abandoned product(s) 
  • Offer additional products or services that go along with their abandoned items
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Include a clear CTA 

Timing is important—it won’t make sense to send an abandoned cart email as soon as the customer leaves your site without completing the purchase, but don’t wait too long either or they may completely forget what they were shopping for. It’s good practice to send your first email between two and four hours after the customer left their order uncompleted.

Announcement

Announcement emails spread the word about something new in your company. They’re a good way to inform people about changes and new business or industry developments. Relevant announcements can include:

  • New product launches
  • Product updates or improvements
  • New features of products/services offered by your company
  • Upcoming events related to your business or industry (e.g., conferences)
  • Changes in prices for products/services offered by your company
  • Notifying customers of important changes in policies and procedures (for example, if you've moved offices or made changes to your privacy policy)

Note that these emails are not a sales pitch. Rather, an announcement email aims to deliver important information regarding the product or services you are providing.

This can be as simple as a brief news description and a CTA to help drive action. 

The following example from Asana shows how to do it right without being pushy.

Image Source: asana

What should an announcement email include? The best thing about announcement emails is there’s no right or wrong way to create one. You're on the right track as long as you’re sending out valuable, relevant information that your customers want to know. 

Announcement emails can help you grow your business by keeping customers up to date and engaged with your brand over a longer period.

Referral email

A referral email is an email that includes a link to a referral program where the customer can refer their friends, family, and colleagues. The offer will vary depending on your business, but it typically involves a discount or reward for each person they refer. 

Image Source: The Body Shop

This type of email is used to boost customer loyalty and increase sales by encouraging existing customers to recommend your business. This is an effective way to effortlessly increase your customer base and attract new customers at different stages of the purchasing process.

Referral emails can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Gaining new customers
  • Generating new leads
  • Promoting specific products and services
  • Enhancing customer loyalty

If you want to write an effective referral email, here are some guidelines:

  • Make it short and sweet: The longer your referral email, the less likely it is that people will read the whole thing.
  • Keep it personal: Referral emails work best when they're written from a personal perspective rather than as a generic marketing message sent out to dozens or hundreds of people at once.
  • Use the right tone: Be careful not to come off as overly pushy or salesy. Avoid being too formal or using too many exclamation marks.
  • Offer an attractive reward: The reward doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, but it does need to be something that will make people want to refer your brand to their friends and share their own stories. You could offer discounts or free items from your store or product line, or you could consider offering gift cards from popular retailers like Amazon.

Referral emails encourage customers to share your company’s products or services with others. These emails aim twofold: to increase revenue by encouraging new customers to purchase goods or services from your company and to create brand awareness that makes you more visible and recognizable in the market.

Event invitation email

The purpose of these emails is to inform potential customers about an upcoming event and encourage them to participate in it. This could be a conference, webinar, presentation, or new store opening. 

This type of email marketing campaign is important for any business looking to grow their customer base. You can also use these emails to promote your new products or services and boost sales.

Event invitation emails usually include a link to the event landing page where people can sign up.

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It’s important to include all the necessary information about the event so users can decide whether they can and want to attend. This includes:

  • The date and time of the event (preferably in local time)
  • Location of the venue where it will take place
  • Whether participants need any additional materials (e.g., a laptop)

Event invitation emails are usually sent around one month before the actual date of the event. This gives people enough time to plan ahead and make arrangements to attend. Sending an invitation email can drive traffic to your website, attract new leads, and increase your revenue.

9. Thank you email

A thank you email campaign is sent to your customer after they have completed an order on your website or app store. It usually contains information about their order and useful tips for using the product or service they just purchased.

Thank you email marketing campaigns are the best way to show appreciation for the customers who have purchased from you.  This helps build trust and loyalty with your buyers, so they make repeat purchases and stay loyal to your brand. 

How exactly do you go about writing a good thank you email?

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Start by thanking the customer for their purchase and expressing how much you appreciate their business. You can also tell them about any extra benefits they'll get when buying from your store, such as free shipping or discounts. 

Be sure to mention the specific item they bought in the email. This will make the reader feel valued as an individual customer rather than just another number in your sales funnel.

Finally, include an incentive for future purchases. A "special offer" could be an exclusive discount code or free gift that only applies to first-time buyers—something that encourages them to buy from you again. Make sure it's relevant! If they've just bought a wedding dress, don't offer them another one.

To put it briefly, a well-executed thank you email marketing campaign can help increase your sales, reduce your cart abandonment rate, and improve the overall customer experience.

Conclusion

Emails are a tried and trusted form of marketing because they are inexpensive, effective, and easy to implement. Most importantly, they allow you to deliver your brand message in-house without relying on a third party. When done correctly, email marketing campaigns can help you drive sales, build customer loyalty, and see more success for your business. 

Remember that sending the right message at the right time can encourage your existing customers to make another purchase or convert your leads into buyers. 

With this in mind, plan your emails carefully to make sure they're useful and relevant. Take into account your audience’s preferences and purchase history. Select the type of email marketing campaign that will best match your goals and bring the most value to your customers.  

No matter which email marketing campaign type, the Copy.ai Free Email Subject Line Generator can help you attract your audience's attention and persuade them to open your email. After all, it doesn’t matter what your emails say if nobody is opening them!

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