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Email Types

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Different types of emails

There are a lot of different emails out there in terms of the messages that we send and how we send them.

Blast emails

This is an email containing a message with just a call to action, or a CTA, sent out on a list of contacts with this sort of predefined criteria. That’s you blasting it out to everybody, hitting the button, and it goes out to a bunch of different people, and there’s a specific call to action, and that’s it. It’s just a single one-off blast message.

Drip email

This is an email which is delivered on a regular basis and it sort of builds up this larger sense of communication and community. And so, you might be sending this message maybe once or twice a week. The frequency and the regularity of it is going to depend on your goals, again, your outcomes, and your audience in terms of what they’re doing with your email.


This is probably the most popular, at least these days. They’ve been around forever, but their efficacy just continues to amaze people. And the newsletter, specifically, is an email containing news and updates that have to do with the industry or the company. And sometimes this is where you get into the stuff that only your subscribers can get access to, that sort of in-group-specific honed content or information that makes your newsletter, once again, worthwhile to subscribe to.

Using more than one type

Now, the thing with these three different types of emails, from blast emails, drip emails, to newsletter, you may end up using all three with a variety of components of your email list. Because, once again, if I subscribe to a newsletter, you could hit me up every once in a while with a blast email or kind of a drip email of, “Hey, you know, we’re going to just send this out,” not a newsletter, but maybe just an update about what’s going on maybe behind the scenes. And then there’s the regular newsletter, so you may end up looking at all three. And I know that sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But therein lies the reward, right, of using email for marketing

Other types

So a little bit more on types of emails:

  • Advocacy emails are defined as emails where you ask your contacts to take an action on your behalf.
  • An event email is where you notify recipients of an event, invite them to an event, confirm they are attending an event, and follow-up with content from the event.
  • A re-engagement email is where you try to provoke your database into taking an action in order to discover if they are still interested in your brand.
  • A welcome email is defined as the first email a new contact will receive from you. They are useful to establish your brand and to confirm email communication opt-in.
  • An abandoned cart email is triggered to remind potential customers that they have not completed a purchase, that they have items saved to their shopping basket, or that their payment details need to be reviewed.
  • An automated email is sent automatically based on pre-defined behaviors (such as a welcome email when someone subscribes to the blog for the first time).
  • A one-off email is built intentionally by the email marketer for a single purpose and sent to a unique list in the database.

It is important to label your messages, such as “Okay, hey, this week, we’re going to send out an event-oriented message,” or, “This week or this month is going to be kind of a one-off,” or, “This one is kind of a re-engagement,” a “Hello again” type of message.

Email automation

Automation plays a massive part in email marketing, and there’s a few different things to think about when it comes to automation.

Automated emails

These could include welcome emails, which, of course, you don’t want to have to send a welcome email every time to someone manually. You want to automate this process because, again, these are the kinds of emails that you’ll curate them. You’ll create a bespoke message that goes out and say, “Hey, welcome to our email list. Welcome to this or that. Glad you’re on board.”

Some event emails may be generated via automation. Some abandoned cart emails might say, “Hey, we noticed that you were looking at this particular item. Are you still interested? Would you like to come back? Would you like to be engaged with that product?” And abandoned cart emails, you never know what a reader’s going to think with that. When it comes to that technology, just kind of play it by ear. See what people say to you. Really listen to that feedback on abandoned cart emails.

And then re-engagement emails are the, “Hello, again. Glad you’re here. Haven’t heard from us for a while, or maybe we just wanted to check back in with you.” These are the things that you can automate very easily. Now, we talked about automated emails.

One-off emails

Let’s talk about one-off emails. These could be advocacy emails saying, “Hey, we’ve got a campaign running about a certain event, current things that are happening,” newsletters, and then some event emails yet again.

Automation can enable you to keep up with the churn and volume of your emails in such a way that you don’t have to have this sort of manual process of sending it out or hitting a giant button every single time, and it can provide a lot of value to your readers and to your audience.

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate inbound and outbound email marketing techniques and how they are used in marketing campaigns
  • Critically reflect on practices for managing email data and building an email subscriber base
  • Critically appraise how to optimise email delivery and email open rates for marketing campaigns

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

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    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      Email Marketing Strategy
      Eric Stoller
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      The Email Marketing Strategy module will introduce the key concepts of email marketing and enable you to develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective email campaigns. You will learn how to think like an email marketer and recognize that your subscriber list growth and quality is a key metric for the success of your campaign. Finally, you will recognize the role of various email delivery techniques as well as the importance of balancing frequency and volume of email sends.