Jun 28, 2018

Email Campaigns that Build Customer Loyalty

Anyone who has ever been involved in digital marketing campaigns probably has a solid understanding of just how simple – but also how tricky – the whole process can be. And the truth is that, no matter how much you practice, things are going to keep changing!

To add to the inherent challenges of any internet marketing plan – think key performance indicators (KPIs), segmentation, and call to action (CTA) development, to name just a few – there’s so much content out there that it can be hard to get people to even open your emails at all.    

Rest assured that email remains one of the most straightforward and effective marketing strategies out there. According to WordStream, for business to consumer (B2C) audiences, welcome emails can lead to some 320% greater revenue. And for business to business (B2B) audiences, email is one of the most important information sources.

But there’s always someone doing something to stand out from the crowd. So how can you achieve this? The key is demonstrating a little ingenuity.

Some ideas for building campaigns that really resonate with your customers and keep them coming back can be found on the WordStream website

Email Campaign Overview

Effective email marketing campaigns share a number of basic components:  

  • Choose an automation tool such as MailChimp or Marketo, and have a clear understanding of how to use it and how it will integrate with your platform
  • Create a timeline according to your campaign or event  
  • Develop quality content that fits with your offer and aligns with the sales funnel
  • Understand delivery (timing and segmentation)
  • Understand what metrics you will use to measure success
  • Follow up appropriately with each segment (nurturing and re-engagement)    

Common Mistakes

Whenever you begin an email campaign or whenever someone signs up to your list, you want to avoid your email looking like spam, at all costs! The recipient must have a clear idea of who you are and what you are doing before they see anything else from you in their inbox.

To this end, bear these tips in mind in your email campaigns:

  • Don’t use random or vague subject lines that appear to have nothing to do with your product.
  • Don’t use your personal name in connection with the emails unless it is already an established part of your brand
  • Go into your automation sequence with a clear idea of how you are segmenting. Every so often an email lands in a customer’s inbox and they’re not sure where it came from. It’s clear that they deliberately gave out their email address, but can’t remember where, when, or why.

Characteristics of a Great Email

Have you ever read an article or post that you reacted to and then shared on Facebook? What was it that made you want to share? Probably there was something that triggered an emotional response inside of you.

Be Human

Emails are no different than other forms of content – you need to make them clever, and they should be personalized and emotion-centered. They should inspire a person to take action, and whatever action that they take shouldn’t involve much extra work.   

Less Clutter, More Value

The best marketing techniques in any format are deceptively simple and succinct. One way that they prove their value is by respecting a customer’s needs, time, and, in this day and age, attention span! And you always need to be explicit about the unique value that you’re offering to your customers.

Subject Lines Matter

Sometimes we receive something in our inbox that we actually want to open. Do you remember the last time this happened, and why? What was it about the email that really made you want to go to the message and click?

Subject lines in emails function like headlines in blogs – they’re the first clue that people see. So you need to make your point stand out in just a few words!

What can you say to get them to open the email? You must speak to something that they need, get them curious, or offer them something unique.

Here are some ideas for great subject lines:

  • Customize them based on a buyer avatar
  • Speak to their expertise  
  • Highlight urgency (for example, “Sale ends this Friday!”)
  • Ask a question (for example, “Want to increase your sales?”)
  • Make them an offer they can’t refuse (for example, “Want to learn how to earn an easy $200 tomorrow?”)

Your Welcome Message

You’re going to be essentially invading a person’s private space – their inbox. To this end, your initial aim is to spark curiosity, and not annoy the reader.

You’ll have to demonstrate value or arouse emotions using just the header and description. This isn’t that easy to do – but it’s easier to engage with your audience if you get to know them first. In addition, offering them something free that is of genuine value is a great opportunity to not only get sign-ups but also improve your click-through rates (CTRs).

At the outset, you should let your audience know that you’re not going to be spamming them. Your welcome message should give them an idea of what to expect – that is, how often you will be sending emails and the types of things you will be offering.  

Nail Your CTA

Part of your subject line, email body and CTA should really be directed towards the kind of conversation that your audience is already having, or wants to have (even though they may not know it). Being able to anticipate their exact needs at a given moment is the key challenge in any marketing strategy.

With email, there’s a little more room than with social media, to the extent that your target readers are likely to open one window and be expecting to “read” something rather than just have it pass through their Facebook feed.

Your email and CTA should be conversational and as personal as possible, and lead to a clear and direct goal. You want your audience to open the email and get intrigued or excited about something that genuinely adds value to their lives, and then continue on with that conversation on your website or via an offer.  


Autoresponders (or automatic email responses) are gold in terms of time-saving, and can be used to understand segmentation. As you break down the different groups that you are emailing to, you can offer them different types of information and services at different times of the week or month.

They are great for creating a sense of urgency when you’re building a launch sequence to sell a course or other service that is time-sensitive. You can even increase the frequency and highlight discounted prices as you get closer to the date. However, ensure you don’t spam people too much if they’re not used to hearing from you often.

Autoresponders can also help with segmentation. All this means is that you are dividing your traffic into separate groups based on their preferences and behaviors. So, for instance, you can construct different sets of messages according to those who have signed up for monthly newsletters, weekly newsletters, and product updates.   


Email is a great way not only to segment your traffic but also to monitor your analytics to get a sense of customer behavior, no matter what your industry or context. Most email service providers will offer users the opportunity to gather metrics at a range of levels. The core metrics you’ll likely be interested in are CTR, open rate, and unsubscribes. Paying attention to the number of people (and segments) that unsubscribe can give you a lot of insight into where you can improve on your campaign.

3 Examples of Effective Email Campaign Strategies

Here we’ll give you an overview of what three organizations are doing to improve their CTRs and find truly next-level engagement with their audience.

Charity: Water

Charity: Water is a non-profit devoted to bringing clean water to people in need. They set up their automated email campaign to take donors step by step through the process of where their money is actually going and how it is making an impact. Once people see concrete results of what is happening with their donations, they’re more likely to have an emotional connection with the organization.

Freelance to Win

Danny Margulies of Freelance to Win makes a living from teaching people how to make money on the freelancing site Upwork. The focus of his email campaigns is clearly value-driven: he knows his audience is looking for new ways to make money independently, so he’s constantly driving home value-added propositions into people’s inboxes.

He uses subject lines ranging from “How to make $10,000/hour on Upwork” to “Why we charge too little”. And he composes his content in such a way that it offers valuable information to freelancers, with an invitation to join in on a conversation at the end (but without a hard sell).


This is a digital product design platform that sends a weekly email of their best content, but also a contest opportunity to win a shirt with their latest design. They also advertise innovative campaigns and activities like crowdsourcing on their blog.

They offer a great mix of different types of content, value-motivated engagement, and brand-awareness activities as well, offering readers the opportunity to easily scan the email and choose an item that they most want to engage with.  

Final Thoughts

Email remains a very effective marketing strategy. This is a good thing since it’s fairly simple to implement and maintain, in general – but there’s no single cut-and-dried method that will work in every circumstance. Like with every other element of digital marketing, you’ll have to dig deep to understand what your customers want, need, and value. To this end, your email marketing will end up being a key part of your customer research process as well as a core engagement strategy.

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