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18 tips on running successful email marketing campaigns

27 November, 2013

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It’s been a while since I talked about using email marketing for promoting your business, so I thought it was time for a refresher. Whatever the size of your organisation, email marketing is an essential part of your integrated digital strategy. Email campaigns can help to promote your organisation instantly, build relationships quickly, and you will learn a lot about campaign performance in a short period of time. All of this for very little cost too.

But where do you start? Are there any fundamentals you should remember when building successful email campaigns? Here are a few pointers to get you started.

6 ways to measure email campaign success

What makes a successful email campaign? Well that depends on what you want to achieve. You need to think about measurement at the start. There are standard metrics that you’ll want to measure, like email open rates and click through rates from the email to your website or landing page. Here are some things you can do to start measuring campaign success:

  • First, see how accurate your data is by tracking the amount of bounce backs you receive.
  • If you are starting from scratch and don’t know what results to expect then benchmark against your sector. The email marketing service provider Mailchimp provides average email campaign statistics categorised by industry and by company size. You could use these to set your own metrics and to help you refine ongoing campaigns.
  • See which messages get customers to click through by building tracking code which sits behind the links in your email (or use a free service like
  • Confirm customer interest and engagement by using data capture forms.
  • Establish when the email is most effective by measuring the results on the day and time it’s sent – try varying when you send campaigns and compare the results.
  • Test the effectiveness of different subject lines, by sending half your contacts one type of headline, and half your contacts another type of headline – then comparing.

8 ways to make your email efficient

Once that email lands in an inbox you need to be confident you’ve done your best to ensure that it will be opened and read. Here are a few tips to help give you the edge:

  • Subject line – the first thing the recipient will notice so make sure it’s succinct and relates to the email content. Avoid capitals as they can flag the email as spam.
  • From address – would you believe that it really influences the open rate? Use a more personalised approach with your name as the sender rather than a generic email address. Seeing ‘info@’ or ‘admin@’ makes the email feel like a piece of unsolicited contact. You could test this though by splitting your data and sending the emails from different addresses to see which address works for you.
  • Preheader/1st line of content – as I have highlighted before, many businesses make the mistake of neglecting the preheader which is often visible when you open your inbox. You could make the most of the preheader by placing your offer upfront to entice the customer to read further.
  • Personalise – target the email to the reader. Not only are you like to get a better response but the recipient wants to feel like an individual not like they’re part of a mass marketing campaign.
  • Images or text – many email providers block images so if you’re heavy on imagery and light on text your message won’t get across. You can get around this by using background colours.  A blank white screen is less likely to invite the recipient to click on the ‘show images’ button.
  • Get straight to the point – your main message should be in the first paragraph as different screen resolutions can show part of the email and if your message is below the fold the audience may not read it all.
  • Unsubscribe – add an unsubscribe link at the bottom so customers can opt out of your emails. That way you will only contact those who are interested and increase the chance of a more successful email.
  • Safe sender – ask the recipient to save your email address to their address book. The email should go through spam filters and images will be visible.

email marketing

 Mobile phones and other formats

  • According to market-leading email test and analytics company, Litmus, 48% of all emails are read on a mobile device, so your email must be mobile optimised to ensure that it is read. I make it sound simple but you must remember that different devices display the same email in different ways as do different email clients. So test it on as many of the main email clients as you can and on different tablets and mobile phones to make sure everyone can read it.

3 ways to stay informed

I hope you now feel more comfortable about starting and improving your email campaigns but if you would like some email marketing training for your business please get in touch. For further information on the email marketing course I offer and email marketing consultancy I provide please call me on 011 33 20 21 21 or message me.

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