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What is an Email Campaign? Definition, Types & Content Ideas

Dec 19, 2022 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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Email marketing has an ROI of 3200% for businesses and brands. So email marketing works. But only some email marketing campaigns do.

Especially given that users exchanged over 300 billion emails in all of 2020. So, what can you do to make your email stand out from the clutter? What goes into the making of a successful email marketing campaign?

Everything you always wanted to know about creating effective email marketing campaigns but were afraid to ask—ALL answered here!

What is an Email Campaign?

If you’ve been wondering what an email drip campaign is for a while, let’s clear some air around email campaigns. Without getting into complex definitions, let’s just say that email marketing is the process of sending emails to existing and potential customers at its most basic level.

An email marketing campaign is a series of emails with a common end goal in mind. These emails could be sent in an automated fashion (in which case we call it an autoresponder sequence), or they could be sent out as a weekly or monthly newsletter blast (also called eblast).

The overall objectives behind an email marketing campaign are usually education, entertainment, or a potent mixture of both. 

When done right, an email newsletter campaign lets you build deeper relationships with your subscribers over time, which eventually translates into increased leads and enhanced sales for your business.

Why Is Email Campaign Important?

Email marketing continues to play a pivotal role in the marketing mix in this digital age.

As the most profitable channel for a business, email campaigns help you connect and engage with potential customers. It allows you to build long-lasting relationships and drive sales. Here are some reasons to run email campaigns for your business: 

  • Increase brand awareness;
  • Drive customer engagement with the brand;
  • Boost website traffic;
  • Generate more interested leads;
  • Nurture these leads toward a sale;
  • Sell more products and add more revenue to your business;
  • Email helps you to convert & nurture leads.

And it helps you do all of this at a meager cost (as compared to the paid ad ecosystem or advertising) and, more often than not, on complete automation.

Email Campaign Types

Many small businesses and companies run a standard email newsletter regarding email marketing. That’s alright, but you can refresh your email marketing efforts and make them relevant to your audience. Here are eight types of email campaigns that you can create and use in your own email marketing strategy.

Welcome Email Series

Welcome emails are introductory emails designed to welcome visitors to your email list, inform them about your brand, and encourage them to check out your services or products. 

Standard Promotional Campaign

Promotional emails are a great way to keep your brand top of mind with current customers while attracting new prospects. They may contain discounts, sales, free trials, product announcements, and other promotional material. 

Seasonal Campaign

A seasonal email campaign effectively reminds your customers about your business during the holidays or summer. Seasonal email campaigns help promote holiday offers, events, special sales, and ‘the holiday vibe’ when customers are more likely to shop with you. For example, sending a promotional email about the latest offers on your store just before  Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Halloween or Christmas.

Triggered Email Series

A triggered email series is a series of emails that automatically send messages to users at various points along the sales funnel. Triggered email series are the perfect way to keep in touch with your customers and deliver messages when they are most likely to be interested in them.

Post-Purchase Drips

Post-purchase drip campaigns allow you to re-engage with customers after they’ve purchased your product or service. The most common post-purchase drip campaigns include thank-you emails, follow-ups for support tickets, and special offers for returning customers.

Newsletters

A email newsletter is a series of periodic emails a company sends to all its subscribers. It may contain news about the company, new products, company updates, industry trends, or helpful tips that users can benefit from daily life. Newsletters are a great way to get people to engage with your brand, learn more about your company, and find out what’s new.

Cart Abandonment Campaign

Cart abandonment emails are emails sent when a shopper leaves their shopping cart without buying anything. Cart abandonment emails remind customers about what they liked but left behind in their carts and encourage them to check out.

Re-Engagement Campaign

Re-engagement campaigns re-engage existing customers with a series of emails to bring them back to your business. This type of campaign uses automation to re-engage inactive customers and get them back to your brand so that you can increase your conversion rate.

Also read: How to Write Re-Engagement Emails That Reactivate Old Subscribers

11 Email Campaign Examples We Enjoy

There are many types of email campaigns, so choosing one that will help you achieve your business goals is essential. Here are some email campaign examples based on the different types: 

Welcome Email

Welcome emails are one of the most important emails you will ever send. It sets the foundation for the future relationship with the subscriber. Here’s an example of a great welcome email by Last Crumb:

last_crumb_example
Image source: Last Crumb

The welcome email is great at creating an instant connection. The personalized letter with an appealing header image makes the reader feel special. The talk about brand values in the welcome email is an excellent idea, as most consumers are attracted to brands with a strong ethos.  

Why does this welcome email work? 

  • Relatable and warm email copy; 
  • Simple and minimalist design; 
  • Reassurance and confidence towards brand values; 

When are welcome emails used? 

  • When someone signs up for your email list; 
  • Just after the first interaction with your brand; 
  • When a new user makes a purchase.

Monthly Newsletter

Monthly newsletters are personal letters a brand or a business sends to subscribers. Generally, newsletters have a common theme and reach out to users on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Here’s a great example of a monthly newsletter by Scott’s Cheap Flights: 

monthly_newsletter_example
Image source: Scott’s Cheap Flights

The company sends a newsletter every month touching a relevant topic and sharing their take on the issue. The newsletter email discusses the issue and also shares relevant stuff, articles, blogs, and more for the reader, just like a magazine. 

Why does this newsletter email campaign work? 

  • Reminds users about your brand or business; 
  • Adds value to subscriber’s life consistently; 
  • Shares things that they’d love to read on a regular basis. 

When to send email newsletters? 

  • Regularly, at the end or beginning of every month or week. 

Promotional Email Campaign

Promotional email campaigns tell your subscribers about your latest offers, sales, discounts, or deals on your product range. It’s a great way to remind them about you, generate interest, and increase sales by luring customers to buy. Here’s a great example by Gold Belly: 

promotional_email_example
Image source: Gold Belly

The refreshing email has a striking and eye-catchy design. Plus, the reference (and social credential) to Martha Stewart is an ice-breaker, making the subscriber consider buying from the brand. The promotional email has excellent offers, a subject line that stands out (Banana Pudding on Sale — Martha Steward APPROVED! ), and great CTAs to make an impact. 

Why does this promotional email work? 

  • Attention-grabbing subject line; 
  • Beautiful email design; 
  • Social proof embedded within the email; 
  • Great and contextual offers that tempt users to make a purchase. 

When to send promotional email campaigns? 

  • Before you plan a big sale or promotion campaign; 
  • When you want to generate incremental sales revenue; 
  • Every time you add a new product or collection to your eCommerce store.

Seasonal Email Campaign

Seasonal email campaigns are great for engaging users during the holidays or summer, especially when you’ve relevant offers or products. Seasonal email campaigns should be contextual and geared towards selling seasonally relevant products or services—for example, warm clothes during the holiday season. Look at the following example by Lululemon: 

seasonal_email_example
Image source: Lululemon

The email is sent during the winter when everyone appreciates cozy joggers and winterwear. The timing of the email, the warm vibe, and the relatable email copy make it a great seasonal email campaign. 

Why does this seasonal email work? 

  • Relatable and witty copywriting; 
  • Great and contextual offer, relevant to the reader; 
  • Warm color tones and photography. 

When to send a seasonal email campaign? 

  • During the start of the holiday or winter season; 
  • At the end of the year, as seasons greetings; 
  • At the start of the summer season promoting your ‘summer essentials’ range, if any. 

Re-engagement Triggered Email Series

Triggered email campaigns or sequences are sent based on user activity or action. For example, an order confirmation email after a user buys something from the website. Here’s a great example of a triggered email series by Freshly. 

reengagement_email_example
Image source: Freshly

The email is triggered based on the online behavior of the user and is sent to customers who’ve not ordered in a long time. The interesting and rewarding limited-time offer is a sure way to re-engage and win back lost customers. The subject line for this email — ‘Get $6.16 Dinners When You Come Back, Fam!’ is intriguing enough to make someone open the email. 

Why does this triggered email series work? 

  • Contextual offer sent at the right time; 
  • Engaging hook (subject line) topped with a valuable offer; 
  • Simple, yet powerful CTA button prompting the user to give the brand a second chance. 

When to send triggered email campaigns? 

  • To win back lost customers when they’ve not ordered in a long time; 
  • To cart abandoners after they’ve left without checking out; 
  • To engage users after they’ve checked out a particular product or page on your website. 

You can set up and automate a re-engagement campaign using campaign automation feature within Sender. Just set out the conditions to trigger the email and let Sender nurture your leads on autopilot.

automation_SMS_Email_steps

Nurturing Email Campaigns

Nurturing emails are sent to nurture prospects, influence them to buy something or even aim at inactive prospects or customers who have not engaged with your brand for some time now.

The key purpose is to move them further into the buyer’s journey and make them buy something from your store. Here’s an example from Wix:

nurturing_email_example
Image source: Wix

Wix used the special sales offer as a reason to nurture inactive or trial users to convince them to upgrade to a paid plan. Nurturing emails are a great way to break the ice, address apprehensions, or entice them, as Wix did with their email campaign. You can consider sending re-engagement emails like we miss you emails as a reactivation or nurturing attempt before segmenting a subscriber or trial user into your churn list. 

Why does this nurturing email work? 

  • Great offer, addressing the price apprehension to upgrade; 
  • Countdown timer, adding a sense of urgency to act; 

When to send nurturing email campaigns? 

  • During the awareness and consideration stage of the buyer’s journey;  
  • When someone has been on your list for some time but hasn’t spent anything on your store. 

Abandoned Cart Series

Cart abandonment is a big problem for the eCommerce industry. According to the most recent estimates, 57-84% carts are abandoned across different industries. This translates to massive losses for eCommerce businesses. 

abandoned_shopping_cart_loss

Automating a cart abandonment email can be profitable to win back your customers and increase your sales revenue. Here’s an interesting cart abandonment email template example by Luxy Hair:

cart_abandonment_email_example
Image source: Luxy Hair

This interesting email is an excellent attempt at bringing back the shopper’s attention to the Luxy Hair store. The witty one-liners in the header with a bold CTA button to complete checkout is enough to convince them to give their pick a second thought. 

Why does this abandoned cart email work? 

  • Witty copywriting in the header; 
  • Clear reasons to rethink the purchase as a separate block; 
  • Special ‘buy now pay later offer within the email. 

When to send abandoned cart email campaigns? 

  • Few hours after the cart is abandoned; 
  • Second follow-up a day after cart abandonment; 
  • Third follow-up after two days of abandoning the cart. 

Post-purchase Drip Campaign 

A post-purchase drip is an email sequence that’s triggered in the event of a sale. Post-purchase campaigns are designed to thank the user for the purchase, ask for feedback, or even upsell by providing personalized product recommendations.

Such campaigns can come in a series of 2, 3, or more emails and can be spread over weeks after the purchase. Here’s an example of a post-purchase email by the cosmetic brand Tarte Cosmetics: 

post_purchase_email_example
Image source: Tarte Cosmetics

The email is sent a few days after someone makes a purchase, thanking and appreciating them for buying something from the store. The charming compliment and vibrant color theme will surely create a strong brand recall in favor of the brand. 

Why does this post-purchase drip sequence work? 

  • Appreciation for the shopper right in the beginning; 
  • Subtle upsell with personalized recommendations for complementing products; 
  • Peppy and refreshing color and email design.

When to send post-purchase drip email? 

  • After someone completes a purchase on your store.

Upselling Emails

Upselling email campaigns are designed to offer an upgrade to your existing customers. The core purpose of sending an upsell email is to re-engage the buyer, tempting them to spend more on your products. Good upselling techniques increase the customer lifetime value for a company. Here’s a great example of an upsell email by Bokksu: 

upselling_email_example
Image source: Bokksu

The email has a clear and straightforward proposition — additional savings of $89 when someone upgrades + a 15% off. Something hard to miss for an existing customer. Topped with the add-on offer, the urgency angle (10 days only) is sure to tempt many subscribers to upgrade instantly. 

Why does this upsell email work? 

  • Clear and straightforward upsell benefit; 
  • Additional upgrade offer topped with a copy that invokes a sense of urgency; 
  • Clever CTA button with a subscript offering additional support for upgrade assistance. 

When to send upsell email campaigns? 

  • Periodically during the buyer’s engagement lifecycle with your brand; 
  • Every time an existing shopper tries to search for premium offerings (or access locked features). 

Cross-selling Emails

Have you ever visited a local supermarket where sales guys are trying to convince you to buy something or the other? That’s a cross-selling tactic — luring interested peeps by showing products they might like. In the world of eCommerce and email marketing, cross-selling involves sending contextual product recommendations that the customers might end up buying. Look at the following email by Ralph Lauren:

cross_sell_email_example
Image source: Ralph Lauren

The email is sent to a carefully segmented list of buyers who’ve just bought something from the store. The email shares recommendations to complement their purchase and complete their look. How the email is designed + the subject line ‘Complete your Look Now’ will drive engagement and potential sales, too. 

Why does this cross-sell email work?

  • Scheduled to be sent at the right time — just after someone has completed a purchase; 
  • Contextual product recommendations without the frills of a complex design or confusing options. 

When to send cross-sell email campaigns? 

  • After someone has completed a purchase on your store; 
  • Periodically, based on the buyer’s shopping behavior on your website. 

Birthday & Anniversary Emails

Who doesn’t like birthday or anniversary wishes? Well, your subscribers sure do. Running a birthday or anniversary email campaign is a great way to tell your subscribers that you care. You can share special offers, free gifts, or samples as a birthday gift. Here’s a great example by L ‘Occitane: 

birthday_email_example
Image source: L’Occitane

The email warmly wishes the subscriber and offers a free gift for every birthday purchase. The beautiful design and a valuable offer will show the recipient that the brand has really put some thought into sending this wish. Plus, the contextual recommendations are a cherry on top. 

Why does this birthday email work?

  • Free gift and shipping offer on birthdays; 
  • Contextual shopping recommendations based on buyer’s likes and dislikes; 
  • Cheerful and celebratory email design. 

When to send birthday or anniversary email campaigns? 

  • On birthdays or anniversaries of your subscribers (Segment your list based on birthdays or anniversaries beforehand). 

How to Design Email Campaign Templates

Okay! You’ve had enough inspiration for an email campaign. But the burning question remains: “How to create an email campaign?” Well, we know it’s tough to go through the ordeal of hiring someone to design an email campaign, let alone multiple. So, here’s a simple and easy way to design email campaign templates for your business. 

First of all, you must choose between text and HTML formats when sending out emails as part of your email campaign. While text allows for excellent deliverability, a beautifully designed HTML newsletter often converts higher.
Once you’re sure of the kind of email campaign you want, you should find an email marketing solution with a drag-and-drop email builder and a template library like Sender.

Sender features a high-quality drag and drops editor that allows you to design your HTML email newsletter from scratch. Often you can do this using pre-made templates without having to write a single line of code or work with a mockup, graphics editors, for that matter.

sender_builder

Email Campaign Content Ideas

Content ideas is the lifeblood of any email campaign. Content must be relevant, unique, and useful for your recipients. However, creating high-quality content can take time and effort. Here are a few content ideas for your email campaign to help you get started: 

Educational Emails

An educational email with a clear call to action and relevant content can be an excellent lead-nurturing tactic. It gives a good impression of your brand and helps move the customer further into the buyer’s journey. 

Share insights, tips, and best practices in your emails to keep your audience engaged. Remember to ask them about their needs and wants and provide solutions in subsequent emails.

Onboarding Emails

Onboarding emails allow you to start a strong connection with your prospects. This is the perfect time to create a valuable relationship between your brand and your prospects. Share helpful tips and steps on how to proceed further. 

You can also provide a quick walkthrough or summary of your product’s main feature in your onboarding emails. 

Promotions & Product Updates

Promoting your new product and sharing its benefits through a promotional email will let your customers know about the product and show them how it can solve their problems. Sharing relevant product updates to excite users is also a great idea if you’re constantly evolving your product or running a SaaS business. 

Use-Cases

Showing your prospect the different use cases and applications of your product is a good idea. It will allow them to understand the problem you solve and how your product can help solve it. Sharing real examples and applications of your product, like actual case studies, can help demonstrate how your solution can add value to their business or life. 

eCommerce

You can run an eCommerce promotional campaign if you’re selling any product online. This can include product recommendations, specially curated product lists (as gift recommendations), and special deals or offers. Such campaigns can be a great way to increase awareness, boost engagement and grow your sales. 

Events

You can send event calendars as an email campaign if you conduct business events regularly. Send out event announcements with information on upcoming events and exclusive deals. You can even send an event invite email to invite your customers to join.

Surveys

Customers have different likes and dislikes, so you need to figure out what they want from time to time. Conducting a market research study via email can be an excellent idea for an email campaign. Send a survey email asking the customers what they like and don’t like about your product or service, and then improve your offerings. This will also create a special relationship with your subscribers as they feel heard. 

Designing Effective Email Marketing Campaign — Tips & Best Practices

Designing email campaigns can be fun but challenging too. Here are a few tips and best practices to help you design and send an effective email marketing campaigns:  

  1. Understand your target audience well. Work through this backward by listing all of the problems your product or service solves, and then create your Buyer Persona by seeing what types of people are actually having this problem.
  2. Ensure an accurate list of interested prospects. You need good input to get great output. So ensure that your opt-in forms and popups are highly optimized for relevancy based on buyer persona.
  3. Segment your list. Categorize into different categories based on the audience’s motivation to buy, among other factors.
  4. Clearly understand the end goal. Document what you want through the email marketing campaign. Why are you running this campaign? Do you want maximum downloads of a particular resource, more consultation call bookings, or flat-out sales and direct revenue?
  5. Chart the prospect’s buying journey. Identify touchpoints where they will likely need education, information, and handholding. These touchpoints are where your emails fit in. More often than not, it will take more than a single email to do the job. Also, doing all of this will give you an idea of the timeline for which your campaign will run. Your email marketing campaign planner is slowly filling up now.
  6. Ensure that your subject lines involve scarcity, urgency, or even curiosity. More importantly, avoid using common spam words in your subject line.
  7. Spend time on content and copywriting. Use language and tone that aligns with the Buyer Persona of the reader. Keep it direct and unambiguous.
  8. Design your email newsletter. Use a powerful email marketing tool with an in-built, drag-and-drop email design editor. Make sure to mix and match different design elements based on your brand theme.  
  9. Add relevance with email personalization. Personalize your subject line, email copy, and design based on audience segments. Use the buyer personas to contextualize your emails. Then use email marketing automation tools to schedule emails so subscribers receive the right communication at the right time to stay relevant and drive conversions. 
  10. Follow a standard format and ensure compliance. It’s a good practice to have a great email footer and signature that mentions any information in compliance with anti-spam regulations such as GDPR, including your address and Unsubscribe options.
  11. Check your emails for responsiveness. Use a mobile responsive design and ensure readability. Then, also test your emails for inbox deliverability.
  12. Finally, be on top of your numbers. Use email marketing solutions to track open rates, clickthrough rates and other metrics and optimize your email strategy accordingly. 

Best Time to Send an Email Campaign Blasts

While there can never be a universally accepted rule on the best time to send an email campaign, there’s some good advice.

For any B2B email marketing campaign, avoid weekends, early mornings, late nights, and public holidays. Generally, just times that you don’t expect them to be online checking out their office emails.

For B2C communication, the best days seem to be mid-week—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Typical on a Monday, people seem to be loaded with work, while Friday is simply about getting through the current week into the next.

Safe times for maximum opens seem to hover between 9-11 AM.

But who are we to say? Test it out and find out for yourself.

The best time your niche audience responds best may differ from what you see here. For example, if you are an EMCee, your best times could be Friday evenings and Saturday mornings when people are busy making plans.

Also read: Best Time to Send Emails in 2022: By Email Type

Measuring Email Campaign Success 

Measuring your email campaign metrics is essential if you want to measure ROI. But before we share how to measure campaign metrics (and which ones to measure), let’s see how to measure the ROI from a marketing automation campaign. 

There are so many metrics to look at when measuring ROI. This includes:

  • Reach and frequency;
  • Clickthroughs and engagement;
  • Lead pipeline; 
  • Sales pipeline, and more.

The bottom line is that email campaign ROI depends on the impact it brings on your bottom line. Now, let’s look at some important metrics to measure your email campaign success rates: 

  • Open rate: The percentage of people who opened your email.
  • Clickthrough rate: The number of people who clicked the CTA button after opening the email. 
  • Bounce rate: The number of emails that were not delivered to the recipient (bounced back) 
  • Spam score: Number of emails dropping in spam in relation to the total number of emails sent in an email campaign. 
  • Conversion rate: This shows the percentage of people who started to take action because of your emails. For example, let’s say you’re offering a freebie to your subscribers who sign up for your list. Conversion rate will tell how many people signed up for the offer. 
  • How much time did they spend on your emails?: It’s common for subscribers to open your emails but ignore them. You can measure the time they spend on your emails to track engagement. 

An email marketing solution makes monitoring and tracking email opens, clicks, and conversions easy. You can even automate reporting and analytics with the right marketing automation tool and put success measurement on autopilot.  

Apps That Support Effective Email Campaigns

To build effective campaigns, you need a professional-grade email marketing tool, an email blast service. These feature a drag-and-drop editor, autoresponder and workflow automation, signup forms, and standard tracking & reporting. 

While many SaaS companies provide these standard features, you should only look at the best ones for your business.

The following email marketing tools stand out from the crowd for all good reasons. So let’s check them out:

Sender

Sender is the email tool of choice for ecommerce businesses wanting to send out high-converting automated email marketing campaigns while avoiding high fees for monthly usage or the steep learning curve that comes with most other tools.

It features high-quality popups and opt-in forms to collect email addresses and grow your list.

Both simple and complex automation workflows are supported for email and SMS (often called Omnichannel) messaging inside one convenient dashboard, often resulting in high ROI campaigns. Text messaging is also supported.

Integrations with Magento, WooCommerce, WordPress, PrestaShop, Zapier and other platforms are available to assist you in sending highly converting newsletters that are actually beneficial to your business.

It’s easy to be misled by its highly affordable cost (easily compared to the other top guys), thinking this may be an also-ran. However, it punched well above its “price” weight and was named Capterra as the Top rated email marketing and automation software for 2021.

Not to mention, Sender’s FREE FOREVER plan that features up to 2,500 contacts and 15,000 emails monthly (including complete access to top-tier features like automation).

It seems perfect for small businesses starting with email marketing, those testing the tool out, and nonprofits who are trying to keep their cost overheads low.

email_marketing_platform_dashboard

Mailchimp

MailChimp (recently acquired by a USA-based financial software company called Intuit) is a high-quality, AI-powered marketing automation solution provider for many business needs. 

Mailchimp features rock-solid reliability in email delivery and a feature set to boot. Its primary disadvantage is that it doesn’t support SMS messaging, which is a must-have if you are serious about building high-converting ecommerce campaigns.

Also, its less-than-intuitive (sometimes confusing) interface can involve some learning curve.

Constant Contact

One of the oldest email marketing tools around, Constant Contact has an intuitive email builder and a wide selection of responsive templates to help you create visually appealing emails. 

It also features robust contact email campaign management, and automation features most businesses need from a solid email marketing platform.

Although, their features and email designs are outdated and not innovative anymore.

ActiveCampaign

An easy-to-use email system, ActiveCampaign allows users to send and automate their email marketing campaigns. It features an in-built email design tool to create beautiful-looking HTML newsletters. 

Its standout feature allows you to split test (A/B) emails to improve your deliverability and opens. It also lists compelling marketing automation capabilities.

But the prices, unfortunately, bite so ultimately, it’s a matter of choice and preference for your own good.

There is no such thing as the perfect tool for your email marketing campaigns, just the one you are most comfortable with and the one that best fits your business needs. So choose carefully.

While it’s a good idea to keep your mind open to new ideas, inspiration, and trends, it primarily helps to take action, keep testing to find out what works, and then improvise on it with further optimization. 

Improve Email Campaigns with Refined Tips

  • Start scheduling email marketing campaigns to improve your marketing effectiveness; 
  • Always segment your email lists to personalize your marketing campaigns; 
  • Align your email marketing campaigns based on your overall business goals; 
  • Use a marketing automation solution to trigger and schedule automated email campaigns.

Also read:

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