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Simple Steps to a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

By Business.com Editorial Staff
Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: August 3, 2017
Photo credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

A carefully devised email marketing strategy is crucial to the success of one's business. Be sure to incorporate these three qualities into your email campaign.

Despite email marketing facing fierce competition from Facebook ads and other paid channels, I'd argue that it is still a critical marketing channel. A Direct Marketing Association (DMA) survey showed that email campaigns had a median 122 percent ROI – more than four times higher than other marketing channels such as social media advertising and PPC, proving that a successful email strategy is crucial to business.

In times past, marketers relied heavily on email as their go-to marketing strategy and as a result, it is harder to gain attention, hence the necessity of engaging emails. The prevalence of information in our digital world means that every consumer has hundreds of emails flooding into their inbox. Every email you send must be inviting, exciting and alluring to potential consumers. Consumers have the ability to mark an email as spam or to unsubscribe from your mailing list, so you must craft an email that won't give someone a cause to do either.

How do you ensure that your email is one of the four that gets remembered? Your email must be more trusted, more relevant and more strategic than the others. In short, it must be engaging.


Emails are automatically more engaging when they come from a trustworthy source. If a consumer is surprised to receive one of your emails, they are more likely to mark the mail as spam. People like routine, so seeing an email from an unknown or unexpected company in their inboxes often has a negative impact on their perception of your business.

Try to send emails that are similar in theme, look and writing style so as to build a rapport with your consumers. A constant change in written and visual styling gives the impression that each email is being sent by a different person or company, failing to lull the recipient into the sense of routine for which a good emailing strategy strives.

Another factor to consider is the opt-in method. A successful emailing strategy will ensure that each recipient has opted in of their own accord and thus wants to receive your email in the first place. This reduces bounce rates and lowers the numbers who unsubscribe. There are three main methods of opt-in that you must consider: single, double and opt-out. Single opt-in requires no confirmation and involves a one-time transferral of email details. Double requires confirmation in some form – for example, an initial email that includes a link one must click on to confirm that they want to subscribe to your emails. The final type is opt-out, which means your email is automatically added to an email list and you need to opt out. Each option has its pros and cons, but make sure you adhere to the laws of the land – in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides strict guidelines against certain methods such as the opt-out method so people are not unnecessarily spammed.


An engaging email knows its audience and caters to it perfectly. A successful method to ensure the relevance of each email is the segmentation of mailing lists and subsequent targeting.

Assigning labels to subgroups of your audience and then constructing an email personalized to this segment results in more conversions than just simply emailing all elements of the emailing list without discrimination.

In fact, a study by Alchemy Worx found that email marketers estimate that 30 percent of email revenue derives from targeting to specific segments. Targeting and segmentation can be based on any demographic you think would suit your clientele; age, gender, profession, geographic location and personal interests are all good starting points.

Another way to judge the relevance of your emails is by looking at behaviors. Knowing how your customers behave or are behaving online is an insightful way of knowing when to send out emails. Social media activity and internet searches are often good indicators of when to send out an email. If a member of your subscription list begins searching for a product you currently offer, why not send an email? This sort of behavior should trigger you to send specific emails, as the right email at the right time can result in higher conversions and revenues than generic campaigns.


The strategy behind your campaign must also be carefully thought out to generate the best engagement. When devising an email strategy, you must take into account all aspects of your audience to ensure the overall campaign is a success. An easy strategy to implement that has been proven to increase customer interaction is personalization. Now, I've already discussed the use of segmentation and targeting to help make the emails appear relevant to all areas of the readership, but it can also help with personalization. Altering form and language to suit each demographic can increase engagement.

The time of the day and the day of the week are also two big factors that a marketer must incorporate into their strategy if they are to create a successful campaign. The locations and professions of your readers play huge parts in when you should send out your emails. You can't send out an email blast to group of young professionals during their 9-5 workday, nor should you send an email to an Australian at the same time you would an American. Targeting and segmentation play a role here again, to ensure people are checking their inboxes when your email comes through rather than it getting lost in the multitude of other emails sent at awkward times.

Integrating these three characteristics into your emails will make them more engaging, which in turn will allow you to develop a successful emailing strategy.

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