Effective Email Marketing – Proven Methods

Email remains the most effective and the cheapest communication channel. However, using it for marketing purposes is not as obvious as it may seem. Therefore, it is worth following certain rules instead of discovering them by yourself through trial and error. This article explains how to create effective marketing campaigns using this channel.

Types of Email Communication

An email message is a very broad concept, because every message is different. And emails differ because they can serve different purposes. Let’s look at the most popular types.


A newsletter is an email message sent to a specific group of subscribers with a specified frequency. It contains up-to-date information that is interesting from their point of view. In marketing, these are periodical messages about new products and services offered by the sending company. They are often accompanied by an invitation to read an exclusive content piece prepared by a given brand – an in-depth blog article, a report, an eBook, a podcast.


An autoresponder is an automatic email message with predefined content, which is a component of an email marketing campaign. It is sent to a specific recipient after meeting a certain condition, e.g., a triggering behavior. Autoresponders allow you to automate selected actions in an email marketing campaign, enhancing the subscriber’s impression of having a fluent conversation with the brand.

Sales Catalogs

This is a type of email that aims to present certain products to prospective customers. This is simply an advertising mailing. As a rule, such a message presents selected items divided into categories, offering a limited selection, which makes it easier to make a purchase decision.

Informative Emails

It is a type of newsletter created for internal use. It is sent to employees, business partners or shareholders. Its purpose is to inform about the current situation in the organization, its plans, intentions or expected changes. Information emails are the basic internal PR tool.

Transactional Emails

These messages are typical for online stores, marketplaces (e.g., eBay), etc. They usually relate to the transaction being carried out, i.e., they confirm the purchase, receipt of payment, preparation of the shipment, etc. The content of the transaction message is highly personalized, depending on the actual action taken by the recipient, e.g., a specific purchase. Its template, on the other hand, has been prepared in advance, and sending it is triggered automatically upon the occurrence of a given event.

Email Marketing Systems – What Are They?

In practice, it is impossible to carry out email marketing activities ‘manually’, i.e., without an appropriate tool to manage this process. Sending messages, e.g., from within Outlook or directly from e.g. Gmail, would make as much sense as digging a well with a spoon. Email marketing systems are used for this type of automated sending.

These are software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools that help design, run and measure the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. They allow you to create a professional message template without knowing the code (the so-called visual editor), manage the contact database (including contacts imported from another source, e.g., an Excel file), send emails to thousands of recipients at a time, and view delivery statistics, the number of openings messages and link clicks.

Email marketing systems use reliable mailing servers, offering their users constant technical support. Their price depends mainly on the number of messages sent per month or the size of the contact base kept on the account. Importantly, email marketing tools can be integrated with other popular applications, e.g., social media, CRM, Google Analytics.

Email Campaigns – How to Get Started?

To start your adventure with email marketing campaigns, first determine who will be the recipient, i.e., define the target group of your activities. Then think of a specific purpose for your email campaigns and choose the form they will take. Then start collecting subscriber’s email addresses following the below suggestions.

Building a Solid for Email Marketing Contact List

The effectiveness of your email marketing activities depends directly on the quality of your subscription list. So don’t neglect it and don’t take shortcuts. Buying someone else’s mailing list is not only illegal (GDPR), but it also simply won’t get you any meaningful results. The rule is simple: you must collect subscribers to your mailing database yourself, from among people potentially interested in your products or services.

How do you do it? Offer subscription to the mailing list to your online store visitors, offer access to unique, quality content (eBook, report, podcast, etc.) in return for completing a simple form. You can also give a small discount code for purchases in your online store in return for entering their email address. Inform about each of these actions on your social media profiles.

Also, remember to periodically clean up your list of subscribers, i.e., remove addresses that do not respond to your mailings, so that they do not unnecessarily lower your statistics (see below).

Customer Segmentation

The people in your mailing database are all different, so you can’t send them all the same messages. You need to segment your list and prepare several messages, separate for each segment.

And what is a segment? It is a group of your recipients that has some common characteristics, e.g., customers who have made only one purchase or are regular customers and spend large amounts of money with you. Send separate messages to each segment that respond to their specific needs. In this way, you will increase the chance that they will find a particular communication more interesting, and therefore increase the likelihood that they will open it, click it and benefit from it. Figuratively speaking you will shoot without a miss.

Message Personalization

Try to make the recipient of your email feel as if you are writing to him or her directly. No, I don’t mean calling him by his first name – that’s obvious and doesn’t impress anyone anymore. Use dynamic content and include information selected based on their previous behavior. These can be, for example, recently viewed or purchased products, a product category that interests them or an offer related to their place of residence. This will increase the effectiveness of your email marketing activities.

Matching the Title to the Email Content

Remember that the title of the message is an advertisement of its content. If you mis-sell the content, no one will know it, because they simply won’t open your email. Be inventive and brief, but don’t make any promises you can’t deliver. Intrigue them and encourage to open, show that it’s worth it – but don’t overdo it. Prepare several versions of the subject line and don’t be afraid to test them (see below).

Call to action

Call to action (CTA) is the key element of your email message. You send it not so that the recipients can read it, but so that they take a specific action – make a purchase or at least get to know your offer. Therefore, remember to always include a CTA in your emails. Let it be a legible button with the text Buy, I want to know more etc. and with redirection to a specific place in your online store.

Email Campaigns Testing

If you think your message has a good, catchy subject – well, think again. You better check it out. Prepare two versions of the topic and perform a simple A/B test: send a message with the first version of the topic to a half of a given segment, and the second version to the second half, and see which variant will have more openings.

You can conduct similar tests for different message contents with the same subject.

Email Campaign Effects Analysis

Once you take care of your subscription list and its segmentation, as well as personalization of messages and an attractive call to action, the fun is not over. You still need to measure the effectiveness of mailings and their continuous optimization. What key indicators do you need to pay attention to?

  • Open rate, which is the percentage of recipients that open your emails. If it is small, it means that you have a low-quality database, so people registered in it are not interested in your product or service. Spend some effort building a high-quality contact list.
  • Click-through rate, i.e., what percentage of recipients clicks on links in your emails. If it is low, work on your call to action, improve its attractiveness and visibility.
  • Unsubscription rate, i.e., what percentage of recipients unsubscribes from your database after receiving a message. If it is high, then you have random subscribers there. Change the settings for subscribing to your database so that a double opt-in confirmation is required and temporarily stop giving discount codes as an incentive to sign up.

Also, check which links are clicked the most and at what time your messages are opened the most. Use this information to improve your campaigns.

Who Is Email Marketing For?

For everyone. Email marketing has been successfully used for years by virtually all types of business.

ROI in Email Marketing

ROI stands for return on investment. It is a profitability index measuring the effectiveness of a given activity. ROI can be expressed as a percentage or as a number.

In the case of email marketing, ROI can be impressive. For example: 4F, a well-known sports brand, achieved a 12-fold return on investment thanks to email marketing automation. On the other hand, the Nocowanie.pl portal, thanks to the personalization of offers, obtained a CTR of as much as 60%!


The rules of creating subscription lists and messages discussed above will help you create effective email marketing campaigns. Regardless of what you send, you will increase the chance that the recipient will open your emails.

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Written by
Jarek Wasielewski
Digital Content Specialist at ExpertSender
After work: local historian. Double bass enthusiast.
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