email marketing
Peter Spoleti / Vertex Markets Inc.

Targeted Email Marketing. A, Inexpensive And Effective Marketing Tool. What you Need to Know.

Inexpensive targeted email marketing campaigns can help you reach your marketing goals.  

Email marketing campaigns are one of the cheapest ways to advertise your business, but email blasts can easily get lost in the inbox shuffle. To get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, take time to develop a concrete process that attracts your subscriber’s attention and leaves them wanting to take action. This article will address setting goals, developing campaign ideas, creating effective subject lines, and choosing the images that best represent your message and brand.

Email marketing ROI

How to develop a marketing campaign

  1. Outline a clear goal.

The first step in creating a successful email marketing campaign is to outline a clear goal.

Some questions your team should address as you launch your first email campaign:

  • What is our primary goal with this email campaign?
  • Who is our target audience, and what types of language, offers, and information do they care about?
  • Did we implement measurable goals? If not, we aren’t able to determine the campaign’s success or failure?
  • What action do we want prospective clients to take upon viewing our email?
  • How long are we going to use this campaign before reevaluating it?

The answers to these questions should help you determine the type of campaign that best suits your needs.

2. Determine the type of email campaign.

There are several types of email campaigns that you may deploy, depending on the nature of your business and your goal.  The following are some of the most common types of email campaigns:

  • Sale or promotion: A sale or promotional email alerts current or prospective customers to a time-limited offer. You may also use promotional emails if your business or sales are seasonal.
  • Newsletter: Newsletters are not appropriate for all businesses, as they tend to omit a direct call to action (or CTA) for the reader – with the exception of directing them toward online communities. The goal of most newsletter campaigns is to become a source of trusted information and raise the business’s overall profile.
  • Reengagement email: When an existing customer stops patronizing your business, you could deploy a reengagement email to win them back. Reengagement emails can help you increase brand awareness and remind former customers of your services, especially if your business is seasonal.
  • Transactional email: While not always considered in email marketing, transactional emails are quite important, especially for online businesses. A transactional email, also called a trigger email or behavioral email, is sent to a customer in response to a transaction. A transactional email might be a confirmation of an order, a response to a specific question, or a confirmation of a refund in progress. Another common triggered email scenario is an abandoned cart email, which can be helpful for online retailers looking to reduce the number of abandoned carts at checkout.
  • Lead nurturing email: A lead nurturing email can be a transactional email or a promotional email. However, lead nurturing emails are usually typed individually by salespeople who are attempting to move leads through the customer journey, rather than sent en masse as promotional and transactional emails often are. Many companies use sets of customizable form emails for lead nurturing scenarios to ensure consistency and streamline communication for sales staff.
3. Compile a mailing list.

For transactional and reengagement emails, your mailing list will be self-generated from your existing customers’ contact information. New email campaigns intended to target a new patron, rather than existing or past customers, will require a fresh list. You can obtain mailing lists in several ways.

Buying a mailing list

Lots of companies sell mailing lists. Large companies targeting small businesses, like Vistaprint and, offer mailing lists at affordable prices. The best email marketing services and top list broker services like these usually offer somewhat customizable lists. So, you may be able to choose between targeting individuals and targeting businesses, specifying ZIP codes, ages, industries, sales volume, and gender, for example.

If your business is all right to cold emailing, these big-box lists are not the worst place to start, but you get what you pay for. Boutique and high-end email marketing and mailing list firms offer tailored lists that fit your business, and such firms usually offer other marketing services, such as copywriting and graphic design.

Gathering leads online

If your website has decent traffic, you can gather leads directly by asking for users’ email addresses. Many businesses do this by offering a newsletter or a discount for new customers (for instance, “Sign up for 20% off your first order”).

To create a web form that can capture contact information without any coding, you can use a drag-and-drop style like the one Mailchimp offers. If you use an easily shareable form, you can link it to online advertisements, casting a wider net for leads than you would get directly from your website.

Creating your own mailing list

Some businesses are better suited to smaller, more focused mailing lists, and such lists can be partially or fully self-compiled. Networking events and trade shows are excellent opportunities to make contacts for your mailing list, but research works well too.

Market segmentation is the first stop on the path of creating your own mailing list. Many marketing departments begin the process of creating a campaign by identifying one or several profiles of the ideal customer. The thought is that if you cannot describe your potential customer, you cannot sell to them. [Read related article: 7 Ways to Build a Quality Email List]

4. Identify your ideal customers.

Your profile of potential customers should be specific enough to do your market segmentation for you. Let’s use a fake lawn company called Great Greens as a case study. The first thing a good marketer would note is that anyone who hires Great Greens is someone with a lawn to maintain, so homeowners and property managers are immediately the main targets. Since one of those groups is B2C and the other is B2B, two profiles may be necessary.

The other obvious segmentation is location. A lawn company is probably operating within a certain radius, so collect the applicable ZIP codes and rule out everything outside of that. Identifying all the property management companies within a few ZIP codes is a matter of a little online searching, which leaves the B2C profile.

The profile of your B2C company depends on the service or product you offer and who you want to offer it to. For example, if you decide you want Great Greens to be a high-end landscaping service, not one that offers small contracts, account for that in your customer profile. Then you need to imagine how that person makes buying decisions and how they like to be informed.

Using market segmentation like a marketer

With a little imagination, it’s easy to picture Great Greens’ ideal client, and similar profiles can be constructed for any type of client. The information above provides clear guidelines for gathering leads based on home type (detached, with a lawn) and proximity to Great Greens. This ideal client also has relatively high income, so a good marketer would tell you it makes sense to focus on neighborhoods with a high median home price. Median home prices are a matter of public record and easy to obtain on websites like Trulia and Zillow.

A broad email marketing campaign, targeting high-income homeowners with lawns in your area, is a good way to begin your advertising. You have three options here:

  • Purchase email addresses for people in the areas you’ve identified.
  • Do research online, starting with physical addresses and names, and working your way back to email addresses – which is time-consuming and requires some digging skills.
  • Consider a well-placed local advertisement or snail mail marketing campaign, since physical addresses are easier to find.

How to write marketing emails that get results

An email is an opportunity to connect; however, if you are going to do the copywriting yourself, apply best practices.

1. Craft a great subject line.

Emails with attention-catching subject lines are more likely to be opened. The key is to keep your subject line short and to the point. Consider what your customers want to hear from you, not vice versa.

If you’re writing a subject line to notify potential customers of a sale, for example, focus on the sale itself. There is a tendency among amateur writers to overwrite, but subject lines are short by design.

Remember that most of your potential customers will read the subject line and nothing else. If you only have one sentence to make your sale, what do you want to say in that sentence to increase brand awareness? Always focus on what you can do for the patron, not how you want your brand to be perceived. You can convey your brand identity in other ways, like through word choice and design.

2. Be focused and clear

Focus is on the top of the list when building a successful email marketing strategy. Each email you send should have only one purpose; don’t try to make your customers aware of every service and every promotion you offer in one email.

If you have a lot of information to convey or your services are complex, consider doing a full email series, with targeted emails presenting different topics. Plan your topics from initial customer introduction of your products or services through the sales process to purchase. A newsletter with educational content on your products or services is an additional option business with a complicated customer sales process. Either choice you decide on, use an organized process when executing.

Ideally, targeted emails should be brief and to the point, similar to cover letters for job applications. What are you offering or showcasing, why is it better than the competition, and how can the customer get it? Don’t get so caught up in gimmicky taglines that you forget vital information like where your business is located, links to your website, or your hours of operation.

If you are not a natural writer, you might begin the process by writing in simple terms and adding finesse later. This can be helpful for clarifying which information is important and establishing the right order in which to present it.

Using the local swimwear line example, you could start out with something like this:

  • Our swimwear is a luxury product. Our brand is Swim Elite. Our swimwear is locally designed and handcrafted. We are having a 50% off sale. The sale lasts through August. You can order items on our website link listed here. People should order soon, while they can.

That’s not much of a sales pitch, but it illuminates the important information. For example, the mention of the 50% sale should happen earlier, since that is the main purpose of the email. Plus, customers need to know the product is both high-end and local, and you want to promote the name of the brand.

Once you’ve covered the basic information, you can now brighten the message. These are some examples:

  • Swim Elite is offering 50% off our luxury swimwear line! Our sale on locally designed swimwear only lasts through August. Order now!
  • Swim Elite’s luxury swimwear line is now 50% off through August. Order our locally designed swimwear while the offer lasts!

3. Include a CTA.

One of the most common mistakes novices writing targeted emails make is not including a call to action (CTA). The CTA is a core of copywriting and exactly what it sounds like: a call for the reader to do something.

Keep your CTA short and clear. If you can’t figure out what your CTA should be, it may indicate that your marketing strategy is unclear. Without a clear goal, it’s impossible to create a successful marketing campaign. 

These are some examples of CTAs:

  • Order now!
  • Register for this event today.
  • Request a price quote now!

4. Focus on engagement.

Higher engagement should be a priority of a short-term goal of your sales process. You can achieve engagement by directing your readers to additional content, your blog posts,  social media accounts, and educational content within the campaign itself, to help move prospects down your sales funnel. Your language concentrate on brand’s message and provide expertise in your industry that your competitors aren’t offering.

These are ways you should engage your audience:

  • Add links to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Include the option to follow your social media pages.
  • Include links to your blog page
  • Include thought-leadership content in your emails.

5. Personalize the emails.

Personalized emails tend to perform better than generic email blasts. Personalization entails more than inserting the recipient’s name in the subject line, though. These are a couple of ways to create personalized emails:

  • Send targeted email campaigns based on a group’s interests, needs or demographics.
  • Follow up on any replies you receive.
  • Look into technology that can help analysis the potential data generated by your email campaigns.

6. Don’t spam your email lists.

Don’t flood your clients with too many emails, or they will end up in the spam box. It is more efficient to limit your emails to important notifications. Use the format to advertise special events, sales or new product offerings.

7. Watch your language.

The type of language used in your marketing email influences the response to your campaigns. For instance, write in the second person to give a personalized feel, and use actionable language to increase response rates. Phrases such as “brand new,” “limited time,” “today only,” and “last chance” can create a sense of urgency for readers to open your email and follow your CTA.

8. Test your copy first.

An expert marketer knows that all email advertisements need fine-tuning before their release. Use A/B testing to get the best responses from your campaigns and test each feature separately – including the subject line, body and CTA.

9. Keep your email lists up to date.

Maintaining your email distribution lists is worth the time and effort. Make sure addresses are inputted correctly and updated as needed. Although you want to attract new subscribers, you also want to make sure current subscribers receive your mailings.

Choosing images for marketing emails

The text in your emails is only part of the marketing puzzle. Ensure the images are not violating any copyright laws, are of high quality, add to the overall message and identity of the brand, and look good on mobile devices, laptops, and desktops.

Email marketing automation 101

Once you’ve established a marketing strategy and your campaign is ready to be initiated you should consider using marketing automation software to modernize your future email campaigns to collect data to fine tune your ongoing and future campaigns.  Email templates, including design templates, are a staple of many SaaS marketing products. Another useful feature is the option to schedule emails, customize them with customer names, track deliverability and open rates, track click-through rates, and automatically send trigger emails. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are popular marketing automation products, but there are dozens of others.

Some email marketing automation tools are also linked to larger popular CRM systems (like in the case of HubSpot, which offers a free trial,  and Salesforce), which can help your sales staff track the customer journey through your sales pipeline.  

Tip: If your company already uses a dedicated CRM, see if it offers any add-on tools to streamline your email marketing.


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