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Key E‑Commerce Strategies for 2020

Guide to the Customer Lifecycle, AI & Personalization

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How to create and execute a successful email marketing campaign in 2020

Insights Feb 19, 2020 Milana Jovic 7 min read

According to Ray Tomlinson, the man who invented electronic mail, it’s very likely that this was the very first email message he sent to himself in 1971. 

Almost 5 decades later, his pioneering effort has evolved into our everyday means of communication both business and personal. 

Despite being pronounced dead on several occasions, thanks to spam that flourished in the mid-90s and early 2000s, email marketing is still very much alive. 

Moreover, almost 60% of marketers say that it’s their No. 1 source of ROI. 

But, in order to be a part of this statistic, your email marketing campaigns need to be carefully created and executed. 

Here’s how to do it in 2020. 

Set Your Goals 

Not every email campaign has the same purpose. 

Some are used to bring you new customers while others should help you keep the existing ones, to name just a couple of objectives. 

So, before mapping out your next email campaign, think about what exactly you want to achieve. Some of the most common email marketing campaign goals include:

  • Welcoming new subscribers and introducing them to your business
  • Increasing engagement with your existing subscribers or customers by sending them useful content and tailored offers in order to make an initial sale
  • Re-engaging inactive subscribers 
  • Boosting your sales with targeted promotions
  • Building loyalty with your customers by offering discounts, different perks, and providing added value. 

Your email copy should reflect and be aligned with these goals. 

Based on the list mentioned above, we can conclude that there are three general types of emails:

  • Relational emails. These emails should deliver value to your recipients, without being overly-promotional. Weekly newsletters with curated content, freebies, coupons, e-books, blog posts, reports, surveys, and any other type of content that can help you forge a strong relationship with your prospects are examples of this kind of email. 
  • Marketing/promotional emails. In a nutshell, these contain a commercial message and should prompt your recipients to take action and convert or purchase. Welcome emails with an offer, which also belong to this category, can generate as much as 320% more revenue than other promotional emails.
  • Transactional emails. These are technical, one-to-one messages sent to confirm that a transaction or action has been completed. Shipping notifications, password reminders, and order confirmations belong to this type of email. 

Further Reading: We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on email deliverability to help you get your emails to the inbox.

Build Your List

Having clean data is essential for the success of your email campaign.

If your contact information is inaccurate, incomplete, or obsolete, then you’ll have a high bounce rate and poor deliverability. Both of these will not only result in campaigns that don’t perform well, but will also hurt your domain reputation. 

Essentially, email service providers use inactive or outdated email addresses as honeypots – spam traps. If your emails end up in some of those traps, you’ll be marked as a spammer. 

To avoid this unpleasant scenario, grow your list organically and clean it on a regular basis – get rid of unsubscribes and hard bounces even if that means that your list will significantly shrink. At least you’ll know that remaining prospects are genuinely interested in your emails.

Here are some tips on how to grow your list: 

  • Use a signup form on your website. If visitors like your home page and content, they’ll gladly leave their address so that you can send them newsletters and offers. 
  • Produce superb content and gate it. 
  • Use social media platforms to drive signups. This is an effective strategy if you have a significant social media following. 
  • Host free webinars. By sharing your expertise with your target audience and educating them on how to solve some relevant pain points, you’ll get them to sign up. 
  • Build visually appealing landing pages with attractive imagery, compelling copy, and irresistible calls-to-action. 
  • Don’t forget to include an unsubscribe link in your emails. This is required by regulations, but it’s also a must because potential recipients want an easy way to opt-out. 

After you’ve built your list, slash it into different segments based on their demographic characteristics and other parameters such as location, past purchases and behaviors, or the amount spent. Segmentation will allow you to send tailored and personalized emails that will have better open, click-through, and conversion rates.   

(Hyper)Personalize Your Emails 

Nobody wants to receive generic and bland emails clearly sent to hundreds or thousands of other people. 

Forget about the one-size-fits-all approach. 

To be effective, your email campaigns need to be personal and tailored to your recipients. You have to make them feel special and unique if you want to develop a deeper relationship with them. Otherwise, they’ll feel as if you’re just trying to push your agenda and promote yourself. 

A personalized email demonstrates that you know and understand the needs, interests, and issues of your prospects. And that your main goal is to help them. 

It shows that you listen to them. 

However, nowadays, personalization goes well beyond cramming your recipients’ first name in your subject line or copy. 

For effective ways to personalize your email, take the following into consideration:

  • Are you reaching out to a subscriber or a customer who has already purchased from you?
  • What stage of the customer journey is your recipient at? 
  • What’s the price range of your customers? 
  • Keep track of the products they have purchased and don’t recommend the same item
  • Analyze their browsing and onsite behavior

54% of customers are more than happy to share their personal information with brands in exchange for receiving better and more targeted offers. 

But, how can you achieve this granular level of personalization? 

By leveraging automation it’s possible to easily segment, customize, and schedule your campaigns in advance. Powerful automation tools allow you to do all this with just a couple of clicks. 

Exponea Note: Exponea offers powerful tools for planning, building, and executing email campaigns. Explore what’s possible.

Polish Your Subject Lines 

Given that an average office worker receives on average 121 emails every day, we can conclude that your recipient’s inboxes are flooded with messages. 

That’s why it’s essential to cut through all the noise and capture their attention the moment they start browsing their inbox folder. 

The best way to make a memorable first impression is with the help of a properly crafted subject line. 

Let’s discuss what makes a show-stopping subject line:

  • It’s not deceptive. Be honest with your recipients, even when you don’t want to reveal it all in your subject line. 
  • It offers value. Your subject line should be enticing. When your recipients see it, they should immediately understand what’s in it for them and what they will get/learn/ if they open your email.
  • It’s short. As more than 50% of people check their email on their mobile devices, make sure that your subject line displays on every screen in its entirety. This refers to your emails in general – make them mobile-friendly. Aim for somewhere between 40 and 50 characters. 
  • It leverages the first-person perspective and an actionable approach
  • It’s intriguing, drives urgency, and triggers curiosity

Networking subject lines have to be particularly catchy and attention-grabbing as you’re reaching out to other professionals and industry experts with the purpose of networking. And you really need to stand out from the crowd to get noticed. 

The pre-header (a short sentence displayed next to the subject line that describes the content of your email) also provides you with an additional opportunity to interest your recipients and get them to click on your message. 

Create Compelling Copy 

The first rule of high-performing copy says “less is more.”

Don’t get carried away and bore your recipients to death with essays and lengthy narratives. 

Short and to the point is the best way to keep your recipients interested. 

Another important factor is relevance. Provide your recipients with content they would like to read. This has everything to do with understanding your audience and their needs as well as with segmenting your list. 

For example, you wouldn’t send a piece on the best ways to recruit a new hire to a CEO – why would they want to read an article clearly intended for an HR officer? 

Some of the techniques that are worth giving a try include:

  • Telling a personal story. That way you can humanize your outreach and make it more relatable. 
  • Mentioning the benefit in your first couple of lines and illustrating how this particular offer will make your recipients’ life easier. 
  • Using visually-oriented content. Videos and infographics can be consumed and digested more easily than text. Also, it won’t hurt if you add some funny GIFs. 
  • Polls, surveys, and tests will keep your prospects engaged. 

All this applies to sales emails, but given that they’re challenging to compose, especially when we’re talking about cold outreach, it’s best to have some professional sales email templates at hand and test their performance. 

Finally, it’s of critical importance to create a prominent CTA button. It should be large, easily visible, and legible, and to make sure that your recipients will click on it, place it above the fold – near the top of your message. 

Use the first-person perspective and action-oriented language to prompt your prospects to take action. 

So, something along the lines of “Download the ebook”, “Save your spot” or “Buy today and save 30%” will do the trick. 

Do Follow Up

Last but not least, following up with your recipients is a critical factor that determines the success of your campaign. 

You can’t expect that you’ll achieve your goal with one or two emails. An email campaign should consist of several timely follow-ups. Their number depends on your industry and type of business. That’s why you should test different options and find the sweet spot. 

Establish the right frequency and timing that will help you stay on your audience’s radar, but won’t annoy them to the point of flagging your messages as spam or unsubscribing. 

Creating and executing a successful email marketing campaign in 2020 boils down to offering your recipients exactly what they expect and tailoring your outreach to meet their needs.  

What Should You Read Next? Author's Hand-Picked Recommendation:

Key E‑Commerce Strategies for 2020

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meet the author
Milana Jovic
Milana Jovic is a digital marketer and search engine optimizer. After getting a degree in marketing and economics, she started focusing on B2B and SaaS industry. Interested in combining traditional marketing strategies with new technology-driven tactics. 

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