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20+ Tips to Create Effective Email Campaigns (with Designs!)

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7 min read

Effective Email Campaigns

By now, you’ve got the basics of email marketing down: from growing an email list to ensuring you stay compliant with all relevant legislation. That’s great. Now it’s time to take your email marketing to the next level with these 20+ tips to create effective email campaigns. We’re even throwing in some design examples to really get your creative juices flowing.

Effective Email Campaign Tips:

Let’s dive in!

Invest in a strong welcome email

Your welcome email is the first impression you give your clients. Make it a good one. After all, welcome emails get 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular email marketing messages.

Of course, the content of your welcome message depends on the product or service the client is receiving. For example, if you operate a SaaS company (like SimplyCast), your email would likely aim to have clients activate their account. Whatever the main objective of your company is, it should be front and center in your welcome email.

Here are a few examples of what you may want readers to do from the welcome email:

  • Activate their account
  • Complete a profile
  • Make a purchase
  • Download a user guide or ebook

Let’s look at an example:

 Example of Welcome Email

In the case of this email, the business wants to prompt readers to purchase camera maintenance equipment. There are a few ways here they effectively get their message across:

  • Strong, consistent branding throughout the email
  • Simple yet straightforward header image with engaging text
  • Short and sweet body message that compliments the reader while also establishing their expertise

With a welcome email, you don’t want to bog down the reader with too much information. Keep it simple and only state the information they need at that moment; there will be plenty of time to share more later.

Let’s take a look at another example:

Effective Email Campaign - welcome email

You’ll notice that this one is substantially longer than the last one, which contradicts the point of having a short and sweet message. However, in the previous email the welcome email was being sent to someone who had not yet made a purchase. In this example, the recipient has already purchased so the CTA is different — they need to activate their account. As this email is for a new client, they may need additional information such as how to contact support as well as some of the options they have within the software.

Here are some tips to take away from this email:

  • Use bulletpoints or short paragraphs to break up your text.
  • If using multiple CTAs, spread them out and put the most important one first.
  • Don’t go too heavy on the images but use them to emphasize certain points.

Focus on the flow of the email

Whether it’s a newsletter, marketing message, or informative email the flow of an email is important. This means that the content flows in a logical order and non-text items are placed logically.

Look at the flow of this email:

Effective email campaign - email flow

You’ll notice in this example that there is a main header image. The reader’s eye is then directed to the opening paragraph and the first CTA button. If they don’t click on the CTA, the listings are then side-by-side which makes the eye go left to right, as is natural for reading, before again drawing the eye to the second CTA button.

Think of it like this:

Email Flow - red line

Email design flow tips:

  • Start with an engaging header image
  • Put your CTAs in prominent locations
  • Remember to leverage left-to-right reading patterns

Try a “round-up” email campaign

If your organization is one that produces a lot of content, such as blogs, providing readers with the option to subscribe to receive new content is a great way to increase page views. It can be hard for readers to remember to check your site for new content every week so with a round-up email you can send them all the new content they may have missed.

Of course, the first step to a round-up email campaign is to have readers opt in via a signup form to receive the weekly or monthly email. Once you have a list of subscribers, you could send them messages like this:

 Round-up Email Example

With round-up emails, you’re likely going to be including more than one or two links so it has to be organized and visually appealing. In the above example, there is one main, featured article followed by four other articles. The featured article is set apart from the other articles by having a larger image, a preview of the blog, and a CTA button instead of a hyperlink. You’ll notice this email also follows the flow tips in the previous section, including the left-to-right reading pattern.

Tips for creating an effective round-up email campaign:

  • Include a very short introduction to the round-up.
  • Make sure the articles are clearly separated.
  • Use the same image in the email that is used for the article.

Now, let’s say, for example, you don’t have a featured blog and don’t want to give one post more weight over another, you could try a design like this:

Now, this example follows the three round-up email tips but presents the content is a slightly different manner. This format gives equal weight to all blogs and also gives you an opportunity to have a preview for each article. Both email examples here are perfectly valid. The one you choose would simply depend on your preference. Alternatively, you could test each to see which works best for you.

A/B split test your emails

So, speaking of testing, it’s not limited to just the round-up emails. You can A/B split test any emails and then send the one that performs best.

First off, what is A/B split testing and what does it have to do with effective email campaigns?

Well, A/B split testing is a way of determining which of two email campaigns is the most effective depending on your criteria (opens, clicks, etc.).  In order to perform an A/B split test, you would want to set up two variations of the same campaign and send them to a small percentage of your audience. One half of the sample would receive one version, the other half would receive the other. And, after the sample has been sent, the winner shall be determined, and then that email is sent to the remaining members of the audience.

Let’s say you have your newsletter ready:

In this newsletter, you have three CTAs, but you’re not sure if they would be the best performing options. If you were to duplicate this email, you could replace the existing CTAs so that it looks like this:

After seeing which email generates the most clicks, the winner is sent to the rest of the audience.

Here are a few examples of what you can A/B split test within an email:

  • Subject lines (e.g. “Bullseye Marketing Newsletter “ vs. “See what’s new from Bullseye Marketing”)
  • CTAs (e.g. “Buy Now” vs. “Plans & Pricing”)
  • Personalization (e.g. “Allison” vs. “Ms. McDonald”)
  • General email design (e.g. One column email vs. two column email)
  • Header images
  • Order of articles
  • Headline
  • Email text
  • Sender address

Here are a few tips for A/B split testing messages:

  • Don’t try to test more than one or two different things at once.
  • Make sure not to send to too few members of your audience (15% to each variation is recommended).
  • Send both emails to yourself before the A/B split test to make sure everything looks okay.

Use personalized emails as much as possible

Personalization in emails is a proven method to increase engagement with your subscribers. In fact, personalized emails increase click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10%.  So as you can see, the more personalized emails you’re able to send to clients, leads, any other subscribers, the better off you will be.

Many people know the value of adding a first name to an email but going beyond this will allow you to really engage readers. Truly personalized emails may include specific offers, geographically-targeted information, or articles relevant to the reader’s interest.

Here’s an example:

The personalization in this email is obvious: the recipient has a pet dog. You wouldn’t send this email to a cat owner. Instead, you may send them something like this:

Timing is everything

In order to ensure you have effective email campaigns, they need to be sent at the proper time or at a critical point in the customer journey. Our first section about welcome emails is the perfect example of sending an email at the right time: you want to welcome clients or leads. A welcome email wouldn’t have the same effect if you sent it three days later, right? You need to send it either when someone makes a purchase, signs up, or becomes a client.

Here are a few other examples of emails to send at key moments:

  • Shopping cart abandonment emails
  • Birthday and anniversary messages
  • Holiday promotions
  • Appointment reminders
  • Back in stock emails
  • Post-purchase survey

Typically, these timed messages should be short, sweet, engaging, and to the point. Let’s look at a few examples:

In this example, since it’s for a birthday, you could add a bit more “flair” to the email; that’s why the header image is a bit bigger. But, the purpose of the email is still straight forward: give the recipient their birthday credit.

Let’s look at a second example:

In this example, the purpose is to remind the recipient of an upcoming appointment. If your business does rely on appointments, then appointment reminders will help you cut down on the number of no-shows.

A few more tips for effective email campaigns

If you’ve made it this far: congratulations; you’re one step closer to creating effective email campaigns for your organization. Here are a few miscellaneous tips you can use to further optimize your campaigns.

Miscellaneous tips for effective email campaigns:

  • Always include an unsubscribe option. Most email marketing platforms will have this built in to comply with CASL and CAN-SPAM legislation.
  • Add social sharing and following options. These elements allow readers to either follow you on social media or share the email on the selected site.
  • Make sure to avoid these spam words in your subject line. Your subject line is your email’s first impression and avoiding these words helps you avoid the spam filter.
  • Include a way for readers to reach you. This could be an email address, phone number, or what have you — anything that readers can use to contact you.
  • Design for mobile. Most emails are now opened on mobile so make sure your emails are optimized for it.
  • Send from a real person. Avoid using generic emails like info@email.com and use an email address for a specific person.

We hope you’ve learned a few new tips to incorporate into your email marketing! Also, did you know that all the design examples were built in SimplyCast’s email editor? In fact, they’re readily available as templates for you to use! So, if you saw any you liked, sign up for a free trial and try them out!

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Effective Email Campaigns

Email Marketing

Email Design

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