Contrary to what novices in the field might think, email marketing involves more than just sending out one-off emails to leads in your mailing list. Rather, it is a complex process that involves many activities, from content creation, to audience segmentation, to scheduled distribution. Fortunately, email marketing software has enabled companies to automate significant portions of this process, leading to some impressive results.
Modern-day marketing emails are customised to suit personal tastes and contain content that is relevant for every subscriber. They are distributed according to a dynamically generated calendar, which ensures that they are delivered at the most opportune moments. However, in order to reap the benefits of automated email marketing, you have to go through a lengthy setup process, which can be tricky for newcomers.
If you are finding yourself in such a situation, the best course of action would be to try and mimic what other successful brands are doing. Through repetition, you will learn how to create your own email marketing campaigns in the future. So to bring you up to speed with the current state of email marketing, we will provide 5 success stories involving some of the more well-known brands operating in online space. But before we do that, lets first go over some of the ways in which you can improve your email marketing strategy.
Creating an Effective Email Marketing Strategy
What is a good email strategy? The basic idea is simple enough – your strategy should take into account all of the assets at your disposal (your mailing list, your marketing team, your budget, etc.), and specify a way in which each of them can be utilized to achieve the goals you want accomplished (subscriptions, sales, conversions, etc.). But the devil is in the details, which include:
- having custom-designed email templates, for the purpose of providing a unique UX for each individual prospect. Personalized emails are a must in an age where the average consumer is bombarded daily with generic, spammy, email marketing content.
- utilizing the power of artificial intelligence, for the purpose of automating your email marketing workflow. AI-powered email marketing tools can provide a significant boost to your workflow, allowing you to automate many of the tasks involved in email marketing, including creating subject lines, adding relevant keywords, designing actionable CTAs, etc.
- focusing on optimizing your emails to achieve better click-through rates. Factors which determine how “clickable” your email is include the quality of your marketing copy, how prominent your CTA is, the perceived value of your offer, etc.
- setting up an email distribution schedule in order to reach out to subscribers at the optimum moment. AI marketing automation tools can help you determine the best time for sending out emails to each subscriber, and they can also provide data-based suggestions about the length they should be.
- creating effective subject lines, to instantly capture the subscribers attention. Each of your subject lines should be carefully crafted to provide the maximum amount of information, in as little space as possible, while also being tailored to the individual subscriber through the inclusion of relevant personal info, such as their name and title.
If you are constrained with time, resources, or personnel, and are thus unable to implement an email marketing strategy, you can always hire outside help. For example, if you wish to run an excellent campaign, you can consult one of the digital marketing experts from this list.
On, a Switzerland-based performance shoes brand is known industry-wide for its use of traditional email marketing methods. On knows its principal audience consists of individuals that value personal achievement and experience above all else, so they use email marketing as an extension of their broader User Experience strategy. Once an athlete, or a running enthusiast subscribes to their newsletter, they are automatically sent a welcome email containing a range of products from their latest collection. Along with it, they receive a shoe selection guide, to help them pick out the right kind of footwear. Further automated emails are then sent out at regular intervals, nudging the person to share information on their running habits, such as whether they run for sport, recreation, or as a hobby, the number of miles they run, etc. Based on this data, On then sends out even more automated emails, usually to remind them that they should start shopping for their next pair of shoes.
Mumsnet is a popular parenting site in the UK, and they have leveraged email marketing automation to great effect. Their motto is that parenthood is a journey that starts the moment a woman first becomes pregnant. And if you are willing to provide your due date to the company, they will start sending out helpful newsletters to you, with a focus on educating you about the different stages of your pregnancy, as you move through them. Mumsnet also takes into account other kinds of information you provide, to further customize its automated emails, you can be sure to receive relevant content no matter the situation you find yourself in. This shows how automation can go hand-in-hand with customization. Mumsnet email marketing campaign is also a great example of how to use email triggers. And the more information you have on your customers, the better you will be able to respond to their needs.
ZURB is one of Silicon Valley’s foremost product design companies. Their audience consists primarily of designers, but they also cater to company CEOs, as well as digital marketing experts. ZURB utilizes email marketing to bring its subscribers up to speed on the latest trends in design, with a focus on delivering informative, actionable content. Their email marketing strategy involves using several different newsletters, each reserved for a different product line and customer group. ZURB’s executives weren’t keen on using email marketing automation from the outset, but they changed their mind soon after they tried using it. Once they did all the preparatory work, they left their email marketing on auto-pilot, and started reaping substantial rewards. ZURB’s email marketing approach is best exemplified by their automated welcome emails. Whenever a lead signed up for their newsletter, they would receive a specially tailored email. ZURB perfected these emails over time, and each successive iteration brought them better results – their open rate is close to 75%, and their click-through rate is not lagging far behind at 45%.
BuzzFeed needs little introduction as a brand – their status as one of the most popular online content outlets is well-known. It then comes as no surprise that BuzzFeed is also one the top players when it comes to effective email marketing. Their email marketing portfolio contains more than 20 custom newsletters, each of which caters to a specific segment of their audience, from health and fitness, to beauty, to animals, to daily news. The results are impressive – email is among the top 5 referral channels for BuzzFeed as a whole. What’s even more impressive is that BuzzFeed’s email subscribers are highly engaged – they spend 3 minutes longer on average on the main website if they came to as a result of opening a newsletter. BuzzFeed makes extensive use of email marketing automation. A good example of the former would be their “4 Week Get Fit Challenge” – once a visitor subscribes to it, they will start receiving a series of emails at regular intervals giving them tips on how to get into shape.
Apartment Therapy is a brand dedicated to helping consumers with everyday household tasks, whether they are trying to decide which couch to buy, how to store food during the winter, or where to hang their decorations. Apartment Therapy accomplishes this mission by connecting its subscribers with online resources on how to make their homes more comfortable, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing. Their chief means of content delivery is automated email marketing. They use tools such as a Campaign Monitor to manage their followers, disseminate content, and divert traffic to their website. The feature that sets their email marketing apart is a focus on providing multi-part lessons straight to their subscribers’ inbox. Once a customer signs up for a lecture series, they will be taken through daily lessons on various aspects of the topic they are interested in, whether it be baking, cleaning, or making decorations. This approach has been paying off greatly, with click-through rates hovering above 55%.
Automated email marketing enables brands to get in touch with subscribers at the appropriate time and place. It is a great way to develop an audience that is willing to open, read, and act upon marketing emails. So whether you are a freelance marketer looking to expand his digital arsenal, a small business aiming to strengthen its online presence, or a member of a larger marketing operation, there is little downside to getting acquainted with the current state of email marketing.