Ah, email marketing.
No other channel quite compares, does it?
With its low costs, ease of use, and ability to reach a global audience, it’s no surprise that email automation is a marketing favorite.
While 57% of marketers say they’ve been successful at implementing automated email marketing campaigns, a whopping 38% have reported the opposite.
From running into content planning snags to not segmenting audiences properly, there are specific reasons why some campaigns outperform others.
And that’s where this article comes in.
If you’re ready to uplevel your email marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right spot.
In today’s article, we’re taking a look at seven best practices you can use to create automated and targeted email marketing campaigns.
Ready to learn more?
Let’s get into it.
Why create automated and targeted email marketing campaigns?
Anyone can throw an email together and mass send it to their lead list — but is that true marketing?
Put simply, no.
Marketing isn’t an email dump, a random social media post, or a brochure you drew up in Canva. True marketing requires intentionality, purpose, and strategy.
And that’s why automated and targeted email marketing campaigns work so beautifully.
Intentionality? You can’t create targeted campaigns without it.
Purpose? How else can you know what to automate?
And strategy? That’s the lifeblood of your marketing efforts.
In other words, automated and targeted campaigns tick every box. They turn bland, meaningless email marketing attempts into a conversion, relationship-building system.
And over time, this system capitalizes on itself so you can scale your marketing — and your business — in meaningful ways.
And that’s what makes automated and targeted email marketing campaigns worth prioritizing.
Not that we’ve got that squared away, let’s take a look at those best practices we promised you.
1. Don’t forget about data security
To create targeted emails, you’ll need to collect first-party data from customers so you can personalize your content for them.
But collecting data is tricky.
You have to make sure you’re following privacy laws across multiple regions. You have to guard customer data with a firm grasp. And most importantly, you have to make sure the data you’re collecting never gets leaked into the interwebs.
The solution? Protecting customer data comes down to ensuring you have the right identity and access management systems in place.
Here are some quick tips to help you keep customer information safe:
- Hire a cybersecurity expert to conduct a data security checkup on your business and data solutions
- Hire a cybersecurity expert to train your marketing staff on how to keep customer data safe
- Get clear on GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) guidelines and EDPB (The European Data Protection Board) rules
Here’s some more important information you need to know about cookies:
2. Learn the nuts and bolts of email marketing automation
To make the most of email marketing automation, you first have to get clear on how to use it.
Spending a month planning a quarter’s worth of campaigns only to run into technical issues later is a waste of precious company time.
By understanding automation before planning your campaigns, you can get one step closer to creating targeted emails that convert.
So, learn everything you can about email automation.
Be sure to find out:
- How email automation works
- How to set up automated campaigns
- How to create targeted campaigns
- What automation features are available and how to use them to your advantage
- Automation best practices
- Automation triggers
- Automation recipes and when to use them
- Automation roadblocks, pitfalls, and common snags
- Top automation tools and the pros and cons of using each one
- What to do if an automation gets stuck
- How to report faulty automations without harming your campaigns
3. Plan your campaigns and automations well in advance
And speaking of planning your campaigns, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to plan your content well in advance.
Planning your campaigns ahead of time removes unnecessary burdens off your marketing team and helps you amp up your automation efforts. Also, you can’t set up automations without having campaigns ready to go, right?
When deciding on a time frame, consider the ebbs and flows of your business.
For instance, if you’re always slammed at the end of the month, save content planning for a slower time. If you rely on freelance marketers to plan campaigns, get clear on their capacity levels before finalizing deadlines.
At the minimum, aim to plan your content 30 days in advance. If possible, try to plan your content 90 days out so you have ample material ready to automate in the future.
Here are some additional benefits of planning your campaigns and automations in advance:
- Content planning promotes consistency — aka the magic every business needs to build customer connection and trust.
- Content planning helps you stay organized. From requesting custom graphics to scheduling photo shoots to hosting interviews, planning helps ensure you have plenty of time to organize it all.
- Content planning alleviates overwhelm. Planning saves you from the dread of not knowing what to post.
- Content planning helps you track progress. See what kind of content resonates with your audience so you can create more of it in the future.
Further Reading: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Build an Email Marketing Strategy
4. Segment your audiences
If you’re looking to create highly targeted campaigns, you’ll need to get used to segmenting your audiences.
Segmenting your audiences isn’t a fancy marketing fad — it’s a killer technique used to help you tailor content to specific target groups.
You can segment your audiences by funnel type, like this:
- Raving fans/brand promoters: VIP customers that tell everyone they know about you
- Established customers: Repeat buyers you’ve had for a while
- Cold leads: Prospects at the top of the funnel who’ve just heard about you and need to understand what value you bring to the table
- Warm leads: Prospects in the middle of the funnel who like you but need more nurturing
- Hot leads: Prospects at the bottom of the funnel that are almost ready to convert
Or you can segment your audiences by personas and specific needs.
For instance, if you sell natural cleaning products, then you might have the following segments:
- Stay-at-home moms looking for monthly subscriptions to natural cleaning products
- Enterprise retail brands looking to buy natural office cleaning kits in bulk
- Eco-friendly brands looking to stock their shelves with wholesale cleaning products
Save this information for tip number six, which we’ll get to in a bit.
Further Reading: How to Use Email Segmentation to Boost Marketing Conversions
5. Plan every campaign with a focus on value
One of the reasons email marketing campaigns fail is because brands aren’t providing enough value to their audiences.
Because here’s the deal …
Customers are craving more value than ever before.
Not just any kind of value. Not the average how-tos or surface-level inspiration. They’re craving tremendous value.
They’re craving life-changing advice, solutions to painful problems, and pleasant surprises. But most of all, customers are craving connection, authenticity, and humanity.
So how can you tick all of the boxes when it comes to creating value?
Well, you can literally tick them off by creating a Value-Driven Checklist.
A Value-Driven Checklist is a list your marketing team can run through to make sure they’re always including value in their email marketing content.
Here’s an example of a Value-Driven Checklist you can use:
- Does the content include thought leadership aspects, such as quotes, expert reflections, or case studies?
- Does the content teach our audience something?
- Would this content inspire our audience?
- Does this content solve audience pain points and/or problems?
- Is the content engaging?
- Are there any storytelling components that tug on emotion, use social proof, or aim to build trust and connection?
- Are there any engaging visuals that can help pull the reader’s eye down?
- Would our audience share this email with a friend or on social media?
- Does this content follow the 80/20 rule or is it overtly promotional?
Further Reading: 12 Inspiring Email Marketing Campaign Examples to Spark New Ideas
6. Personalize your campaigns by audience segment
Targeted campaigns are essential to nurturing each audience segment, but they’re even more fundamental if you’re offering a niche product, like bank accounts for college students.
A college customer has different banking needs than a business customer or a loan customer would have, so it’s important to speak to each segment differently.
Here are some ways you can personalize your campaigns by audience segment:
- Customize your language and messaging to each segment
- Solve problems and pain points that are specific to each segment
- Personalize your offers and promos by segment
- Use pop culture and milestone references specific to each segment
- Highlight core needs by individual segment
- Customize your tone, brand elements, and style for each segment
- Customize your value-adds by audience segment
- Vary your images, videos, and graphics by audience segment
And here are some personalization tips you can apply to all of your audience segments:
1. Send an automated welcome email to new opt-ins
Always send a welcome email when a new lead opts into your list. Automated welcome emails sent by e-commerce players in 2020 had a conversion rate of 51.9 %!
2. Send an automated email after purchase
Help customers feel valued by sending a thank you email after they make a purchase.
3. Send an automated email after cart abandonment
Entice customers to complete their purchase by sending them a nudge after they’ve abandoned their shopping carts. According to the chart above, automated cart-abandonment emails in 2020 had a 33.89% conversion rate.
4. Address recipients by name
A super simple way to tailor your email content is to refer to your recipients by name.
It’s as easy as swapping:
“Dear email list subscriber,”
5. Write for humans
Humanizing your copy is pivotal to helping your audience feel like your content was crafted just for them.
7. Practice good email hygiene
Cleaning out inactive opt-ins from future campaigns, keeping your existing list warm, and practicing healthy email sending habits are the top components of good email hygiene.
Here’s how to practice healthy sending habits and keep your list clean:
- Ask opt-ins to verify their email addresses and confirm their subscriptions before officially adding them to your list
- Use an email verification tool to make sure you’re only sending content to verified addresses
- Keep your data clean and up to date
- Remove bounced and/or invalid email addresses from your list
- Use an email deliverability tool to check for potential issues and cyber threats before sending out content
- Track your email marketing performance, learn from your mistakes, and course-correct as needed
- Test each campaign vigilantly
- Follow all data and privacy laws specific to email marketing
- Use anti-virus plugins and keep your software up to date
- Proof your content for errors and broken links before hitting send
If you’ve been looking for something to nudge you in the right email marketing direction, we hope this article has done the trick.
By staying on top of best practices like the ones we shared today, we know you’ll create automated and targeted email campaigns that not only convert — but that also nurture long-term customer relationships.
For a quick refresher, here’s a recap of the seven tips we shared today:
- 1. Don’t forget about data security
- 2. Learn the nuts and bolts of email marketing automation
- 3. Plan your campaigns and automations well in advance
- 4. Segment your audiences
- 5. Plan every campaign with a focus on value
- 6. Personalize your campaigns by audience segment
- 7. Practice good email hygiene
And that’s it for today!
Did you like this article? Craving more email marketing tips? Head over to our business and marketing blog for more tasty marketing morsels like these.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
Hero Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash
Email Marketing Campaign FAQs
1. Promotional emails – used for special offers and discounts
2. Transactional emails – automatically send a series of messages in response to an action taken by the customer such as when they make a purchase
3. Lead nurturing emails – allow marketers to build relationships with leads over time that can eventually be converted into customers
4. Newsletters – informational messages sent out periodically with valuable content and company updates.
These are the steps on how to create an email marketing campaign:
1. Create attractive visuals and compelling content that will draw your readers in.
2. Research current trends and topics to uncover the most effective strategies, ensuring that each message you craft contains useful, informative content.
3. Be sure to work on improving delivery rates by establishing an email list with accurate contact information.
4. Use analytics platforms and A/B testing strategies to further refine your campaigns for maximum success.
Yes, email marketing campaigns work. They can be an incredibly effective way to increase sales and gain visibility in the market. Utilizing this tool, businesses can reach thousands of customers at once with targeted messages tailored to individual audiences, pushing for higher conversion rates and greater engagement for their product or service. Though success can vary, email marketing has the potential to create dramatic impacts when used correctly in concert with the right strategy.
The “5 Ts” of email marketing: target, test, track, transform, and treat. It’s important to first identify your target audience so that you can craft emails that appeal to their interests. Testing different approaches and optimizing such areas as content, call to action, graphics, etc., will help ensure you’re optimally engaging recipients. Once you have a campaign running and your emails start getting delivered and opened by subscribers, it’s critical to track progress.
The purpose of email marketing is to offer businesses an opportunity to reach a wide audience and promote their products or services. It allows them to send personalized messages directly to people’s inboxes while also providing useful metrics that measure the performance of campaigns. Companies can easily build a list of interested customers and use email to reach out with new offers that may excite customers and drive conversions.