How To
8 min read

How to Write an Email Marketing Campaign That’s Effective

Kevin Jusino

August 31, 2022

This article will give you pro tips, tactics, and solutions that can take average work and transform it into a work of art that helps your clients and company get what they want effectively and easily.

Email campaigns have been a primary marketing tool for decades, and for a good reason: They’re incredibly practical and yield real results. The strategy is almost 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. 

That’s right—your favorite email platform isn’t just good for sending messages to friends, family, or coworkers. You can use the tool for various purposes, from newsletters to announcing new product launches

So, what exactly does a proper email marketing campaign look like? Most importantly, what separates a successful campaign from one that will be sent straight to the trash folder? Stick around—we’ll teach you everything you need to know. 

What is an email marketing campaign? 

An email marketing campaign is an email sent from a business to one or more customers or prospects. These messages are usually crafted with a specific marketing purpose (i.e., to sell a product, gather customer feedback, etc.). 

The best email marketing campaigns manage to engage customers, which might look different depending on your objectives. For instance, success might mean encouraging recipients to follow your social media accounts, pre-order an upcoming product release, or attend an in-person event. 

Of course, creating an email that manages to capture customer interest and generate leads is an art form. Fortunately, it has already been tried, altered, and perfected by thousands of businesses in the past, which means you can follow a clearly defined set of pre-established steps to write a great email marketing campaign. 

Step 1: Create a plan 

First, you’ll need to define your goals and objectives before dedicating time and money to a campaign. 

To help get you started, here are some key factors to consider before beginning any type of marketing campaign. 

  • Know your audience: You can only begin planning your campaign once you fully understand your target audience. You will likely already have completed this step, but it’s worth reviewing your customer base to ensure your marketing content is as effective as possible. 

  • Establish goals and expectations: You need to decide what you wish to gain from your campaign — this will be your primary goal. Do you want more traffic or sales? Are there other objectives that may need to be met for you to achieve this goal?

  • Determine your timeline: Marketing campaigns can last for hours or years. It’s best to decide the length of your campaign early to avoid wasting time and money. Ask yourself: How long do I have before my budget runs out? Is there enough time for sales representatives at my company to respond if needed during an online sale event (i.e., Black Friday)? When will this campaign end so I can start promoting another product or service?

  • Set up a budget and stick to it! Everything rides on this step, so be sure you’re paying close attention as you plan. You need to have a well-planned budget to keep your campaign from falling apart down the line. What are the costs associated with your service provider? Are you paying someone to write your emails for you? Will you need to cut the campaign short if your return on investment doesn’t meet expectations? 

Step 2: Organize your contacts 

An email marketing campaign isn’t very useful if no one reads it! Once you have your primary goal and objectives, you can finally start deciding who you’ll send your emails to. 

Of course, compared to writing a direct email to a customer, campaigns require more work to manage. Rather than contacting one recipient at a time, you could reach anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people at once, depending on how large your business and contact list are. 

The best way to build a database of email addresses is by having people sign up for your newsletter or opt-in list. That way, there's no confusion about who you're sending emails to and no question about whether they want to receive them in the future. 

Thankfully, there are more ways than ever to capture customers’ emails. Try some of the following strategies:

  • Put a newsletter sign-up form on your website: This is probably the easiest way to start gathering emails, and you’ve likely seen all over the internet. Add a sign-up box and a call-to-action at the bottom of your homepage to watch subscribers start rolling in. 

  • Advertise on your socials: Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or a giant corporation, social media is invaluable for building brand awareness and engaging your customers. A weekly Instagram story or TikTok reminding customers to sign up for your email list can quickly increase your subscriber database. 

  • Create sign-up incentives: Sometimes, receiving monthly store updates or new product announcements isn’t enough to convince a customer to give you their email. This is where incentives can be incredibly powerful, convincing even the most stubborn visitors to hand over their contact information. For instance, you might enter every person who signs up in the month of August into a raffle, immediately grant them a 10-percent-off coupon, or offer a “freebie” (i.e., an e-book, informational course, etc.) when they sign up.

  • Increase your brand recognition: Once you’ve built up enough buzz, your business’s reputation can do most of the marketing work for you. If your brand is universally liked, most customers will happily sign up for your newsletter without needing a nudge. Of course, this loyalty isn’t acquired overnight, so don’t forget to nurture your brand’s image as you work on the previous strategies.  

Step 3: Choose an email service provider 

Now that you know your campaign's purpose and target audience, it’s time to determine how you’ll deliver your emails. 

This is where an email service provider (ESP) comes into play. These are platforms like Gmail, Outlook, and others, most of which are either free or charge a monthly fee for email campaign management. 

Still, not every ESP is built the same—especially regarding business marketing. One solution might be great for sending messages to friends or family, but it could be too limiting when trying to contact hundreds of customers simultaneously. 

So, how can you be sure you’re picking the best ESP for your marketing campaign? There are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • A good reputation: You need the most accurate, accessible solutions possible when writing, delivering, and tracking your campaign. Ensure your chosen company has excellent customer support and a solid history of solving issues quickly and effectively.

  • Features that fit your needs: If you’re a small operation, you might not need the same tools as a multinational company. Fortunately, there are many different ESPs out there offering more (or fewer) features than others. Be sure whatever option you choose works best for your specific goals and objectives! 

  • A free plan or trial: Sometimes, it’s worth taking an ESP for a test drive before committing to it for your campaign needs. Many companies offer free trials that allow potential customers to try their services before making a purchase. It’s a good idea to use this period to examine the platform’s functionalities and judge whether it might be a good fit for your company’s needs. 

  • Great delivery rates: This term refers to your ESP’s ability to confirm whether or not an email has landed in a customer’s inbox. This makes it one of the most obvious indicators separating a good provider from a bad one, as a low delivery rate means your efforts and money will likely go to waste. In general, you’ll want to avoid any ESP with a delivery rate lower than 98 percent. 

Step 4: Write engaging content 

You’re more than halfway there! With these foundational steps out of the way, you can put your writing hat on and get ready to craft content your readers can’t get enough of. 

It’s safe to say this is the most important part of your email marketing campaign. Content is what will grab readers’ attention, teach them about your business and your products, and encourage them to buy. Nail it, and your emails will practically do the work for you! 

Writing strong email marketing campaigns is fairly straightforward as daunting as this might sound. Keep the following factors in mind as you start drafting your content.  

  • Keep it relevant: Customers never want to feel tricked or cheated into clicking on your email. So, while your subject line should be catchy, you want to ensure it relates to what you’re writing about in the body text. Furthermore, any links in your emails should lead somewhere relevant (not just a 404 error page). 

  • Write a standout subject line: This is what will encourage recipients to click on your email! Aim for somewhere around seven words, but don’t be afraid to spruce your subject line up with emojis, punctuation, and more to let your brand’s personality shine. If you’re having trouble with your subject lines, try using Copy.ai’s free generator to help you brainstorm potential ideas—just avoid including anything that reads like “clickbait.” You can also A/B test your subject lines to see which option gets a better response, then deliver that version to most of your audience. 

  • Prioritize clarity: Like your subject line, the body of your email should be concise and informative. Write in the second person (this means using pronouns like “you” instead of “I” or “we”), as this will bring your reader into the email rather than making them feel detached. And don’t forget to be actionable! Words like “buy,” “click,” and “download” will encourage your reader to complete your desired action. However, be wary of overstuffing your copy with these verbs, as this may become too “salesy” and turn off potential customers. 

  • Highlight the benefits: Though it might sound cruel, most customers don’t know why their purchase is good news for you. Rather, they want to know what buying a product or service means. So, highlight the value you’re providing in your email. Is the new product you’re announcing guaranteed to solve a problem in their life? Is your service better than similar offerings on the market? Let them know! 

  • Personalize where possible: Remember that marketing emails can also be valuable to your branding efforts. Since these campaigns constitute direct communication with your customers, you have a major opportunity to use your distinctive brand “voice” to set yourself apart from competitors. So, take a look at your branding goals and insert some personality. Even a few simple changes in word choice can humanize your email and make recipients feel like they’re reading a message from a friend rather than a salesperson. 

Step 5: Design an attractive template 

Your email template will be the foundation of your emails, so you need it to be eye-catching, easy to navigate, and built with accessibility in mind. If you’re just getting started with email marketing campaigns or have never created one before, there are several best practices to follow. 

  • Invest in aesthetic appeal: You want people who get your emails to keep reading after they open them. A template that is hard on the eyes could be enough to turn prospects away, so spend time ensuring yours is the best it can be—but not so complex that it distracts from your main content. This is where hiring a graphic designer can come in handy. 

  • Confirm compatibility: Make sure your template is responsive and compatible with all devices and email clients, especially mobile users! According to Litmus's 2018 Email Client Market Share Report, 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices, while only 2% are opened using desktop computers (the rest come from other devices). If you don't have a universally responsive design, you could be missing out on a major chunk of recipients! 

  • Incorporate branding: Remember how we said your email content is a branding opportunity? Well, your template design is another one! For instance, you can include your brand’s colors, fit a logo in the header, or place your slogan at the bottom of the email. 

Step 6: Measure performance 

Once you’ve created your email marketing campaign, it’s time to implement it and measure its performance.

There are three main ways to measure your campaign’s success. 

  • Clickthrough rate: This tracks the number of email recipients who received your email and clicked it. Use the following equation to calculate yours: 

Clickthrough rate = (Total clicks/delivered emails) x 100   

  • Conversion rate: This refers to how many people completed that desired action you defined earlier, like buying a product or signing up for your upcoming webinar. Use the following equation to calculate yours: 

Conversion rate = (Total completed actions/delivered emails) x 100   

  • Return on investment: The next obvious performance indicator is your overall ROI. Use the following equation to calculate yours: 

ROI = [(dollars made - dollars invested)/dollars invested] x 100   

Conclusion 

There you have it: all the tips you need to plan and execute a killer email marketing campaign! From identifying your main goals to designing a gorgeous email template, you can always return to this guide for proven strategies. 

And remember, if you need some help drafting your emails (or any other business content, for that matter), don’t hesitate to utilize Copy.ai’s free writing tools to put your best foot forward! 

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