The Most Effective Email Marketing Strategy
by Kimberly O’Hanlon | September 9, 2022
A 5-step guide to creating a sustainable strategy that will lead to growth and success.
Email Marketing is an essential pillar of a marketing strategy, as it is the leading form of communication between businesses and their consumers. It can be used for an array of goals, such as driving sales, boosting your brand awareness, nurturing leads, keeping your consumers engaged, and increasing consumer loyalty and lifetime value.
Here’s a 5 step guide to creating the most effective email marketing strategy for your business.
Step 1. Define Personas
Personas are the number one key component of a successful email marketing strategy. Similar to how a structure requires a blueprint before the building process can start, personas are the blueprint of an email marketing strategy. A persona is a composite sketch that represents a segment of your target market. It can include the general demographic, personality, needs, wants, values, influence, and other characteristics. Here is an example of a Starbucks persona:
Personas enable you to send the right email to the right person at the right time.
With personas, you can effectively customize a specific message that will appeal to your target market’s needs. This is also the most efficient and effective way to reach your audience to build brand awareness. You can create your personas by conducting an analysis of your database. Use reporting tools such as Excel or Tableau to reveal important demographic and engagement information. At a company level, you can look for elements like the number of customers by industry, average revenue by industry, and number of customers by geographic location. Another way to find information for personas is to send surveys to consumers or directly ask for interviews.
Step 2. Goal Setting
Consider your business model. There are different types of email content that are most likely to be profitable to each type of business model. Here are some examples:
|Online Retail||Generate Sales||Discounts, promotions, select merchandise, new product lines, recommended products based on past purchases.|
|Lead Generation||Maintain Relationships||New product lines, tips and suggestions, useful information about a company’s domain or expertise, promotions or discounts, referral requests.
|Search Engines||Generate Leads||Deals on packages.|
|Online Media||Increase time spent on website||Site’s content to encourage regular visits to website|
|B2B Services||Maintain Relationships||Lead nurturing, case studies.|
Step 3. Create Segments
Segmentation will marry personas and consumer journeys, and is the act of thinking in groups. Consider the buyer’s journey: awareness > consideration > decision. Based on where your consumers are in this journey, you can create a personal and contextualized experience through target emails. By strategically segmenting your consumer list, you will increase the likelihood your consumers will engage with your email and make a purchasing decision. In addition to segmenting by personas, you can divide your list by the following elements:
- Past purchases
- Past email response
- Customer preferences
- Device (desktop or mobile device)
In some instances, you can send a “broadcast” email to certain segments of your email list, or you can send an email to your entire list and change parts of the content based on segmentation.
Step 4. Build Schedule
Create an email marketing schedule for the upcoming year to stay organized and on track with your email marketing strategy. A schedule will help you plan ahead, produce better work, keep your team in the loop, and have greater control over your goals. It is very important to ensure you are emailing your list at a steady cadence, which could be once a week, once a month, or once a year. The timing will vary based on your goals.
Send out emails as often as you can create content that is valuable.
Depending on your segments and goals, some emails will be on the schedule while others will be automatically sent based on a “trigger.” Examples of triggered emails include sets of emails in a customer journey that are sent when an individual initially fills out an email capture form or signs up to receive a newsletter. Other emails should be scheduled to be sent in accordance with the defined goals.
Your timing will power your emails. Use the data you have on your contacts, such as when they open, click, and convert, to schedule your emails when they are most likely to engage.
Step 5. Content Writing
Consumers value content that seems like it is coming from a friend, rather than a corporation. First, be trustworthy and ensure your list knows exactly what to expect when they sign up to receive your emails.
Write a compelling subject line that will pique the curiosity of your consumers. The preview text should continue the message. Your email content should have clarity, purpose, and a primary goal in mind. Your tone should be conversational and respectful. Don’t just email when you need something from your readers. Empathize with their pains and struggles, and offer useful solutions and tips. Keep your emails short and sweet. Ask questions, and add personal touches based on your defined personas. Using the word “you”, asking questions and using numbers encourages email engagement.
Your email should portray a minimalist design that is reflective of AIDA. AIDA is an email model that stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. It appears as an inverted pyramid. Use this to organize the structure of your emails by funneling your consumer’s attention to the desired action and goal of your email. Use short paragraphs, bolded headlines, and bullet points.
Stick to one CTA (call-to-action). What should the reader do, and why should they do it?
Remember, email is a communication channel, not a one way communication mechanism. A solid email marketing strategy should attract, engage, and delight your consumers, helping you to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.
Beashel, A. “The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas + Free Templates.” Buffer. https://buffer.com/library/marketing-personas-beginners-guide/
Hartzell, R. “Build Your Email Marketing Calendar with These Tips and Templates.” Mailcharts. 4 Aug 2021. https://www.mailcharts.com/blog/building-an-email-marketing-calendar
Henneke. “37 Email Marketing Tips for Messages that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked.” Copyblogger. 15 Jan 2021. https://copyblogger.com/37-email-marketing-tips/
Hubspot Email Marketing Certification. https://academy.hubspot.com/courses/email-marketing
Larson, J and Draper, S. “Digital Marketing Essentials.” Copyright © 2019 by Edify Publishing Patel, N. “A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing.” Neil Patel. https://neilpatel.com/blog/beginners-guide-email-marketing/
Kimberly O’Hanlon is the Senior Director of Admissions at Sessions College. She held an active role as the Vice Chair for her city’s Arts and Cultural Commission for three years, where she managed projects that encouraged cultural diversity and improved livability through art.