When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
But if people don’t believe those reasons, they don’t buy either. As long as you seem like a friend who’s trying to help them, people are likely to believe that you’re sincere and that buying from you is a good decision. That’s one of the main reasons email marketing can work so well; it’s relatively easy to come off as a friend. Especially the other two email marketing strategies are good for making people see your good intentions. That said, if your offers don’t make people think you’re genuinely trying to help them, something is wrong.
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Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.
Engagement (formerly the middle): Email marketing strategies for this phase deliver education and then point to a product’s benefits, offering a gentle sales lead. Customers have a growing interest in your product, but some might stay in the engagement phase for a while—perhaps visiting your social media pages to find out more about the product before purchasing. If customers are going to abandon the sale, it’s likely to be in the engagement phase, which is where re-engagement email campaigns come in.
Remember, the precise metrics you use, segments you choose, and journeys you map will vary greatly depending on your customers, brand message, and business model. That’s why it’s so important to put in that early work to define your marketing status and objectives. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to strategizing but hope this guide has given you a good grounding in the direction your thinking should be going.
Don’t talk down to people. I think this should be obvious. But looking at the email offers I get, clearly it isn’t. Don’t tell people, “Not buying this product would be idiotic!” or “Only a fool doesn’t understand the value in this service.” This whole email marketing strategy relies on you making people understand the value they can get from you. And sometimes that means making people see the downsides of not buying. But you can do that in a friendly, respectful way.
Their email marketing strategy and plan was to optimise their email subject lines because this was the first place that their customers would engage with. To do this, they used an AI generating subject line tool called Phrasee. There are plenty of increasingly sophisticated AIs out there which can do this kind of thing. Phrasee worked for Dominos because it capitalises upon being specific to brand voice, and is optimised to drive action.
But if people don’t believe those reasons, they don’t buy either. As long as you seem like a friend who’s trying to help them, people are likely to believe that you’re sincere and that buying from you is a good decision. That’s one of the main reasons email marketing can work so well; it’s relatively easy to come off as a friend. Especially the other two email marketing strategies are good for making people see your good intentions. That said, if your offers don’t make people think you’re genuinely trying to help them, something is wrong.
You split your email subscriber list into “cold” vs. “warm” leads so you can compare similar groups of customers in this test. You prepare two versions of your email—one with the normal subject line, and one with a much shorter, punchier subject line. You send half of your cold leads the normal subject line and half of your cold leads get the new, exciting subject line. You also send half of your warm leads the normal subject line, and the other half get the new subject line.
Everyone's busy and their inbox is already full. Why add to the problem with a longwinded email? People generally like short, concise emails better than long ones because concise emails have an obvious focus. Plus, when your users are scanning through all their emails in a short amount of time, they're more likely to find the overall message before deciding to take any action.
When you’re working with marketing emails, always think about recipients on an individual level. Consider where each recipient is on their journey with you. Notice opens, click-throughs – any engagements or behaviours, and pin down behavioural patterns which often point to purchase. Every time you send out an email campaign, you'll be collecting behavioural data, use it to inform your email strategy.
People tend to think of evaluation as something you do at the end of a campaign. In fairness, doing a full evaluation at the end is a massively important part of any campaign strategy. But it’s also helpful to evaluate as you're going along. Lots of brands make the mistake of closing their ears to ongoing issues and save any feedback for the end of campaign evaluation.

Then, once a person has completed a particular event in the application (like creating their first campaign), we use the API to change the ‘Created Campaign’ custom field to ‘Yes’ on their subscriber profile. Finally, we set up a custom segment to get a list of people who meet the criteria ‘Created Campaign=Yes’ and ‘Uploaded List=No’ and then sent them an automated email encouraging them to upload their list and complete the send.

People buy when they feel that they have good reasons to do so. So, you need a strong value proposition (=great reasons for buying what you sell). If you don’t have it, you can’t be able to give people good reasons for buying. If you don’t know what—specifically—would make people see value in your offer, how could your email marketing (or any marketing) be effective?
Demographics: Certain demographics like age, gender, job title, and other information that informs your buyer personas can be a good way to segment customers and customize messages. For example, a financial company may want to send retirement-themed emails to customers seeking information on offering their employees benefits and emails about college loans to university-based customers.
Make your offers feel relevant. If you offer people something they don’t think is relevant for them, they also think you don’t know them or understand their situation. Segmenting people based on their interests, problems, company sizes, and other things can help with that a lot. But it’s not enough. Your offer might be a perfect fit for them, but how you present it has to be a fit, too. Focus on describing their problems, how they’ll use the product or service, and what they will have in the end. Don’t talk about it from your perspective. No one really cares what you think about your product as much as they care about what they’ll get from it.
Embedding images, animation, and vids in an email are tricky, as these elements often mess up during the transfer from one platform to another. A multitude of email clients, operating systems, and connection speeds make this an area in which to proceed with caution. Videos and animation are undeniably eye-catching and engaging, so it may be worth the risk of a dropoff to include them.
When it comes to deciding how to craft that perfect subject line, there appears to be really only one area to avoid: the subject line of 60 to 70 characters. Marketers refer to this as the “dead zone” of subject length. According to research by Adestra, which tracked over 900 million emails for its report, there is no increase in either open rate or clickthroughs at this 60-to-70 character length of subject line.
I wish I’d known that email marketing isn’t about the channel or the sending technology, it’s about the individuals receiving the email. It’s about making the email offer/content as relevant and valuable to them as possible. It’s about leading with marketing and letting the technology bring it to life, not the other way around. Kath Pay (Founder of Holistic Email Marketing)
The transition email – Remember, every potential customer is currently using something else to do what your product could do for them, and the act of switching from that process to using your product is a barrier you need to overcome. This email should focus on outlining a simple and easy process for making the switch from their existing solution to using your product to solve their problem.
Hello, Steven. Nice article. You have hit the nail on the head. I too believe that both old and new marketing needs to compliment each other to get the desired result. I feel that with data from new marketing solution like social media shall be added to old tools like email marketing and direct mailers to make them more efficient and bring real business value. Thanks for highlighting the points.
We also love how consistent the design of Uber's emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand's story -- and brand consistency is one tactic Uber's nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

I wish I’d known that email marketing isn’t about the channel or the sending technology, it’s about the individuals receiving the email. It’s about making the email offer/content as relevant and valuable to them as possible. It’s about leading with marketing and letting the technology bring it to life, not the other way around. Kath Pay (Founder of Holistic Email Marketing)


It's important to take advantage of the window of opportunity when your company or brand is at the top of your prospects' minds. You can really get a pulse of what future engagement will look like by what people do when you email then within 24 hours of their subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for an offer, and so on. Plus, it's a great opportunity for branding and setting expectations.
At worst, you might think I’m a bit weird for caring so much about sound quality. Or you might think I’m really weird if you knew that my loudspeakers are computer calibrated to my room. Or you might question my priorities if you knew I set up my office, so that my desk is nearly in the middle of it… mainly to be able to enjoy music better. But we’re all weird in some ways (and I’ll let you think this is the weirdest thing about me).
Sometimes low-hanging fruit is as easy as it looks. Personalizing emails, as well as segmenting them—a marketing technique that teases out your subscriber list to send relevant emails to specific subscribers—can offer significant returns. Segmenting emails allows you to target specific groups of subscribers, which leads to substantial increases in click-through rate.
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