Email Marketing Campaigns: Make Sure the Shoe Fits
by Julie Weishaar
December 28, 2020
Email Marketing Campaigns: Make Sure the Shoe Fits

Do you send out email marketing campaigns to your target market? Are you looking for more customers or clients? The obvious answer is a resounding “YES” – why else would you be in business?

There are a multitude of options available both online and offline to use as part of your marketing strategy.

But if you, as a small business owner, cannot put yourself in the shoes of your potential target, your marketing message will fall on deaf ears.

Even if you are doing everything right, if you do not look are your company offerings from the eye of your target audience, you might just be missing the boat.

Email Marketing Example

I was recently editing an email marketing blast for a client that exemplifies this concept.

The client was producing an email blast in the hopes of receiving donations for a private school to help get them out of financial debt.

Her concern was valid. She didn’t want the reader’s first response to be “Ugh! Another appeal for money“.

Unfortunately, we are all bombarded on a daily basis with TONS of emails, letters, phone calls, etc. either asking for money, asking for business, promising instant wealth, etc.

This is part of the territory of doing business or trying to remain afloat in today’s world. So, what can we do?

We have no choice but to try even harder to make our message stand out in the crowd. You want to make darn sure that our message is perceived in the way it was intended to be perceived.

It is All About Them

Ensure that you are delivering value to our target market. We have to change our thinking from “me, me, me” to “you, you, you”!

So, what are some ways to get your message read? Your message must be compelling enough to the reader to make them want to read on.

The email subject lines are your first line of attack. In the case of the aforementioned client, our subject read: “Don’t let this happen to your children“.

Because our children are so precious to us, we want to read more to see “what” we do not want to happen to our children.

The next step is to find the right hook that will compel the reader to keep reading. Do they really care about a school they might not know anything about?

Probably not. But they do care about their own children. The approach we took was to find a recent story in the news about children who have gotten into serious legal trouble. Sadly, this is not difficult to find.

The Email Composition

The email began with a brief summary (and link to the article) about a particular story and included quotes from the police chief giving his opinion about why certain young people today get into trouble.

It included not being raised with the values and morals necessary to develop into conscientious and responsible members of their community.

Then came the plea for financial support. Is this type of tactic immoral and trying to capitalize on the misfortune of others?

No – because my client genuinely believes in the value of her school and is genuinely interested in providing the children with the right training so that they will NOT end up like the children in the news.

How do you make your email marketing message stand out?

Below are several email marketing best practices to help guide your success.

Segment Your Email Marketing Campaigns List

Email segmentation is the process by which you break up your email list into smaller, more targeted groups that share a common specific set of criteria.

Its purpose is to enable you to further personalize your emails by sending content and offers most relevant to each segmented list.

Segmenting your list leads to higher open, click, and conversion rates.

According to HubSpot’s 2020 State of Email Marketing, some marketers reported as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

Personalize Your Emails

In addition to addressing your emails to a person by name, the more personalized the content of the email is, the more likely the recipient will pay attention.

For example, are you more likely to read an email that is addressed to “Hey there”, “To Who it May Concern”, or “Hi Mary?” I would choose the latter unless my name was not Mary.

The more data you collect about your leads, the more personalized the email content can be.

It would be a time-consuming and monumental task to manually collect data about each person on your list.

You can do it by looking through their social media accounts and reading their profiles. But why would you spend time doing a valuable task that you can automate?

Email automation solutions will enable you to create emails that reach the right audience at the right time by sending automated messages while leveraging automation tools.

A series of emails is sent out automatically when triggered by specific actions of your leads or subscribers.

There is an enormous number of automated email marketing programs from which to choose.

Below are a few of the most well-known email systems:

    • OptinMonster
    • HubSpot
    • Marketo
    • Campaign Monitor
    • Constant Contact
    • AWeber
    • Mailchimp
    • GetResponse

Although it will take some time and testing to set up the triggers, schedule, and email content, this is a process you only have to do once.

After the process is set up, the emails are sent out automatically. Of course, you will want to try and test different combinations of subject lines, triggers, content, and schedules.

But it sure does beat the time and resources needed to run an effective email campaign manually.

Create Your Email Campaigns

Now that you have segmented your list and know to personalize your message, it is time to create automated email campaigns for each of your lists.

An excellent example of the first email to include in your series is a welcome email. It should be informative, clear, and actionable.

It should also align with how each lead ended up on your list.

For example, if a website visitor exchanges his email address for a downloadable white paper, be sure to mention this in the welcome email.

Other welcome emails best practices include:

    • Be sure to deliver value
    • Include a call-to-action
    • Make your headlines compelling for higher open rates
    • Track recipients’ behavior and steps in their customer journey
    • Keep it simple by only referring to one thing at a time in each email
    • Use clear value propositions
    • Write emails for short attention spans by using headings, subheading, and bullet points

Examples of other automated email campaigns you can write include:

    • Opt-in confirmations
    • Abandoned cart
    • Thank you for purchasing
    • We miss you to those who have not taken any action or opened any email recently

Remember to monitor the performance and test all your email campaigns so you can make improvements where necessary for better results.

Include a Call-to-Action

Most emails should include a call-to-action. Of course, there are sometimes when it is not necessary, such as a thank you, birthday, or another event-based message.

Think about what you want the reader to do after reading your email. Do you want them to make a purchase, read a blog post, or sign up for an event?

Make sure it is crystal clear in the email what it is that you want the reader to do. If it is vague, ambiguous, or missing, rest assured they will not do it.

Do not forget that those in your target market on your email list have different needs. Make sure you know their shoe size before sending them emails so that they fit.

Originally published August 8, 2010; republished 12/28/20 to add custom video and update content

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  1. Jeannette Paladino

    Using something in the news as a hook to your email blast or blog will not only get you more traffic, it will reinforce your own message.  It will alert readers that the subject is important because it's in the media and provide that valuable third-party endorsement for your own message.

    • Julie Weishaar

      Thanks Jeannette for your input. You know, the reason I put the question in the blog post about whether or not this an ethical procedure is because that is exactly what I asked myself when I contemplated the idea. But the sad reality is that not referring and linking to the misfortune of others will NOT make it better for those who are in trouble but it might help others from getting into trouble.

  2. Sherryl Perry

    Great example Julie. Writing a good subject line for an email can be key to getting it read in the first place…. a lot like writing a good headline for your blog post!

  3. Julie Weishaar

    Thanks Sherryl. This is they the email subject and headlines are also the most difficult to write.


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