Skip to Content
Email message on screen in laptop. Message reminder concept. Newsletter on computer. Vector illustration in flat style.
Share This Post

If you’ve read our Definitive Guide to Email Marketing, then you already know this statistic:

Email marketing campaigns generate an average ROI of 36:1.

While you’re digesting that fact, there are a few other points to make that should help you understand why email marketing is a practice you can’t afford to ignore.

  • 99% of email users check their inbox at least once a day
  • Mobile users prefer getting brand communications via email than via any other source
  • 50% of people make a purchase because of a marketing email at least once a month

When you couple those facts with the knowledge that email automations allow your email marketing efforts to be largely hands-off once the initial setup is complete, you get a pretty compelling picture.

Setting up an Email Campaign, Step One

Work SMARTer: Setting Goals

All of your marketing efforts – including your email marketing – should be focused on one or more business goals. When you have solid and clear goals in mind:

  • You can shape your efforts to target specific goals
  • You’ll know how to measure your success and progress
  • You’ll have a framework for making decisions
  • You’ll be better able to avoid “scope creep” and doing things that aren’t going to help you on your road to success.

When you’re considering email marketing, you need first to ask yourself: “What do I want email marketing to do for my company?” As you work through your answers, ask yourself if a particular goal is SMART:

  • Specific: Your campaign goals should be specific, addressing one particular aspect of your business. So, instead of “I want to improve my business,” say, “I want to increase sales.”
  • Measurable: If you can’t measure progress, you can’t measure success. The best goals have some kind of metric involved: “I want to increase sales by 5%.”
  • Attainable: Your goals must be realistic. Even the best email marketing in the world probably can’t increase revenue at your vintage clothing store by a billion dollars. While your company’s vision can be lofty, try to keep individual goals bite-sized.
  • Relevant: Individual campaign goals should tie into your overall vision. If your company’s vision is to be the most prominent vintage clothing retailer in Savannah, GA, then opening a location in Terre Haute, IN, is not relevant.
  • Timely: You need a target date against which you can measure success. Without a definite deadline, your goals will languish and eventually be forgotten. So, each goal should have a deadline baked in: “I want to increase sales by 5% over the next two quarters.”

Other than that, there are few limitations on the goals you can set for your email marketing campaign. There’s (almost) no area of business that can’t be improved through effective email marketing. Companies use email daily to:

  • Increase brand recognition and awareness
  • Engage with diverse audiences
  • Build affinity for their brands, products, and services
  • Improve customer experiences and satisfaction
  • Streamline transactional communication (orders, invoices, etc.)
  • Launch and promote new product and service lines
  • Nurture leads along every single step of their buyer’s journey
  • Remarket to leads that have abandoned their buyer’s journey
  • Perform high-value market research
  • And thousands of other goals

So, how do you get started using email marketing? Just like any other marketing effort you undertake, the basic framework should look pretty familiar:

  • Determine your business/marketing goals
  • Write a strategy addressing those goals
  • Create beautiful and engaging marketing collateral to help meet those goals
  • Launch your new campaign
  • Evaluate your efforts and adjust as needed

In this month’s article, we’ll look at the early stages of setting up an email marketing campaign: creating goals and building a strategy.

Setting up an Email Campaign, Step Two

Developing a Winning Strategy

Now that you have your goals, you can start to build a strategy to address them. Your strategy won’t contain the word-for-word text and design of every email you’re planning to send. Still, it should give you a good framework for your campaign’s overall tactics, the frameworks of your automations, and the general gist of the messaging for each communication. You’ll also need to give some thought to how you intend to gather your recipients’ email addresses.

Types of Email Campaigns

There are two main types of email marketing campaigns: periodic campaigns (also called eNewsletters) and automation campaigns (also called drip campaigns).

Periodic campaigns (eNewsletters)

A regularly delivered message stream that users join and exit midstream. Your messaging will change for each delivery date and usually follow a standard format. There’s no specific “first” or “last” email. Users join through a link on your website, a different email stream, a social media post, or other source. Think of it like subscribing to a magazine—your first issue will be the first one that comes out after you subscribe.

Periodic campaigns can be effective at reaching audience members at almost every step of the buyer’s journey:

  • They increase brand awareness and build brand reputation among users who don’t need your products/services yet.
  • They provide consumer education for shoppers who are looking for products/services like yours.
  • They promote your unique value propositions to shoppers who are deciding between companies that sell the products/services you provide.
  • They keep your business front-of-mind for shoppers throughout the entirety of their buyer’s journey.

Automated Campaigns

Automated campaigns are more targeted. The user enters the message stream after activating a “trigger” (usually by taking some action on your website, social media, or digital ads). This action starts a series of highly specific, targeted messages depending on the trigger. The automation can run for just a couple of messages or several messages in a row. Some example automations might include:

Automation Type Description How Does it Help?
Welcome Automation One or two messages that are triggered when someone signs up to receive your newsletter, downloads a resource off your site, or enters their email address in order to receive a promotional coupon. Increases brand awareness and brand reputation.
Nurturing Automation Four to twelve messages that are triggered when someone makes a specific email inquiry, fills out a form, engages with a link or video embedded in a welcome email, or otherwise indicates a higher level of engagement than “just browsing.” These messages lean heavily into highlighting your company’s main value propositions. Increases audience understanding of your unique value propositions
Sales Automation Similar to a nurturing campaign, these automations focus on promoting a specific product or service. They might include testimonials or other social proof to highlight how a product/service solves a particular pain point. Improves awareness of a particular product/service and promotes conversions
Post-Purchase Automation These campaigns are activated when someone completes a purchase on your eCommerce site. Messages might include feedback/review solicitations, offers for returning customers, and more information about products the customer purchased. Solicit feedback, promote repeat business, and further improve consumer confidence.
Remarketing Automations These automations trigger when someone abandons a shopping cart or fails to follow up on a service quote. They may provide additional offers/discounts, highlight additional value propositions, or otherwise encourage the shopper to complete the purchase. Helps keep your business front-of-mind for shoppers who may still be deciding.
Sunsetting Automation These are used to thin your mailing list. When someone ignores several of your messages in a row, the campaign gives them one or two last chances to engage before removing them from your mailing list. Improves your email open rate and removes low-quality leads from your list.

Your audience members can be seamlessly transferred between automations depending on their current engagement level and where they are in their buyer’s journey.

Matching the Message to the Goal

As you look at the goals for your email marketing campaign, ask yourself, “Which of these types of email campaigns will best help me get where I’m going?”  That answer might be a single type of email campaign, or it might require a combination of different tactics.

As an example, a goal of increasing sales of a particular product might be met through a combination of:

  • Messages in your eNewsletter stream containing a promotional offer for the product.
  • A nurturing campaign for users who view the product on your website and click on a “Learn more” button.
  • A sales automation containing testimonials from buyers, sent to users who go so far as to load the product’s online configurator app.
  • A remarketing campaign offering additional discounts to shoppers who added the product to their cart but never completed the purchase.

However you choose to leverage email marketing for your sales goals, remember that there are nearly infinite combinations of ways to attain those goals, so spend some serious time examining your goals and the options available to you.

Setting up an Email Campaign, Step Three

Building Your Contact List

The final step in starting email marketing is to decide how to collect your recipients’ email addresses. Many companies make a significant error at this step by buying a mailing list.

While that may seem like an easy way to get the email addresses of thousands of potential customers, it’s also an easy way to get labeled as a spammer. Nobody likes unsolicited email messages, especially not marketing email messages from a company they’ve never interacted with.

Our recommendation is always to take the time and effort to build your own mailing list. By requiring people to opt into your messaging actively, you’re ensuring a few things:

  • Only people who have an active interest in your company will receive your messages.
  • Your message open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate will automatically be higher than if you used a pre-existing list.
  • You’ll see fewer unsubscribes and will be far less likely to be reported as a spammer.
  • Your future email campaigns will be more successful because you’ve demonstrated your dedication to good email marketing practices.

You can provide dozens of ways for users to opt into your messaging, but one of the easiest and most effective is through contact forms on your website and landing pages. By strategically placing these forms across your digital properties, you can automatically enroll users into precisely the right messaging campaigns and start delivering them quality messages that support your goals – without any intervention on your part.

 Does This All Seem Like a Lot? We Can Help.

Once you have your goals, strategy, and mailing list tactics set, you can begin building your actual message templates, writing compelling email content, and building out your campaigns on your chosen platform.

If this all seems like a lot, you’re not wrong. While email campaigns are largely set-it-and-forget-it once they’re established, getting them set up correctly can take serious time and effort.

Fortunately, you have a marketing partner on your side with years of experience leveraging email marketing techniques to move the needle for businesses like yours. When you entrust your email marketing to the pros at M&R, we provide you with full-service email marketing – from building a strategy and creating eye-catching and informative messaging to day-to-day management of your ongoing campaigns. Give us a call and let a member of our Sales team show you how we can make email work for you!

We’ll Put Your Brand in the Inboxes of Thousands of Potential Customers. Call Today: 478-818-6319

Did you love this article? Then sign up for our monthly eNewsletter so you never miss one.

Detailed Marketing Deets

Want some profound insight into all things marketing? Check out our Definitive Guide Series for detailed information, tips, and advice regarding:


Email Marketing


Geofencing & Location-Based Marketing

Local SEO

Marketing Plan

Search Engine Marketing

Social Media Management