What The Most Successful Email Campaign Owners Are Doing Differently

Somewhere in that heap of unnecessary, boring, written-in-comic-sans, emails, there could be an important gem which you know might outshine all others and catch your attention.

And if you can’t point out what those kinds of emails do to make you interact with them, let us help you.

What do they do differently?

The happiness of receiving an email might not be as common today as it was in the past, but email marketing is more effective than ever.

Be it a trigger email or a newsletter, according to Smart Insight’s 2018 research, it is still the most effective marketing channel.

And here’s why emails are still going strong.

Magic is in the name: Personalise

First things first – Personalising emails can straightaway improve your open rates by 29% and click-through rates by 41%.

In fact, one of the biggest reasons behind the success of outreach campaigns was email personalization.

And it is not a surprise because seeing our first names in an email (or anywhere) triggers a rush of dopamine that, in turn, makes a personalized email campaign a bigger success.


  • It builds an instant connection, arouses curiosity and makes the reader instantly open your email.
  • It builds trust. Especially coming from e-commerce sites and companies, it is crucial to establish a certain level of trust.
  • It shows effort on your part and makes the customer feel valued.

In fact, brands have been using this tactic for building up their brand value for years.

Remember when Coca Cola put people’s first names on their bottles for their “Share a Coke” campaign and suddenly gained new-found popularity?

Actually, as a result of this campaign, the traffic on their Facebook page had hiked by 870%.

Source: Netstripes.com

So turns out, Mr. Dale Carnegie knew what he was talking about, when he said that “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language.”

Even when it comes to email campaign personalization in 2019, brands have upped their game like never before.

For instance, Sephora, a well-known makeup brand, not only personalizes the email body but also their subject lines and offers. They even have set triggers to send customers personalized rewards as a part of their loyalty program.



Adding a compelling CTA is the last puzzle piece of designing a perfect email campaign. And they are NOT just bright buttons with catchy texts.

The truth is, every element, from a fascinating subject line to engrossing content, is what makes your CTA irresistible.

So what can you do?

  • The right placement: This is a long continuing debate. Some experts say that your CTA must be “above the fold”, which means, it should be visible to the readers without having to scroll down.

    Others argue that a CTA button makes more sense at the end of the email.

    We can’t say if any of these viewpoints are wrong because they are both based on strong reason. However, we suggest, if your email is designed for the reader to quickly understand the intent from its first look, put the button above the fold.

    And if it is a more content-comprehensive campaign then putting the CTA at the end will be more effective. (After all, if the reader shouldn’t scroll down to find the CTA, they surely shouldn’t have to scroll back up).

  • The quantity: More CTA buttons = more chances of the reader clicking on it, right?


    Placing too many CTA buttons is simply counter-productive and can overwhelm the reader if not placed tastefully.

    So even though it might seem like a good idea, using a CTA in email marketing is about finding the perfect balance between simplicity and options.

    And if you HAVE to use more than one CTA button, then

    • Make them aesthetically and functionally more specific rather than repetitive
    • Optimize their placement according to the readability of the email

Like here, Issue has used a “reverse pyramid” approach to guide the readers focus on their one and only CTA button.

However, for using more than one CTAs, this amazing email campaign by Zendesk is all kinds of perfect.

They not only used CTAs eight times, but they have also made each button action specific and according to the section of the email it is placed in. This stands out to be a brilliant example of a gripping, and hence effective, email marketing campaign.

  • Verbs, colors, fonts: There are too many of them and it is important to pick the right combination.

To make an effective CTA, just remember a few points:

  • Incorporate contrast and make your CTA button stand out.

  • Use simple fonts over decorative fonts, unless the theme of your campaign and email require it.

  • Add a sense of urgency – “Start trial NOW” works better than “Start trial”

  • Use specific verbs – Use “read” for reading and “buy” for buying. Using something generic like “Learn more” to direct the user to your e-commerce site does not spell out “good email campaign”.

  • Use first person – Instead of “Start your free trial”, using “Start my free trial” has proven to give better results for email campaigns.

  • AND make it look like a button (instead of simple text) – Bottom line is that your button should be visible and not camouflaged with the rest of the text.

For instance, in this Reiss email campaign, while everything looks harmonious, their call to action is easy to miss out, does not give the reader a sense of urgency, and does not address them personally.

Tread carefully with HTML

Out of all the possible email marketing faux pas, this is the most avoidable and dangerous at the same time.

Sure, HTML gives you the power of graphics that can take your branding to the next level and leave a lasting impression. But at the same time, when overdone, it can be disastrous.

For instance, Foodtown’s email campaign here has clearly overdone the graphics. From their fonts to the size of their product images, everything is making this image look cluttered and without a clear direction or CTA for the reader.

And on the other hand, Cook Smarts here has constructively made use of images and text. With the right placement, font size, image size, and highlighting techniques, this whole campaign is working in perfect congruity.

The reader gets a direction for movement of content and knows what text to read first and where to look for its image reference, thereby building upon its relevance.

In the end, visual content has the highest value in the digital market today but still, DO NOT “over-graphify” your emails. Period.

Keep the SPAM triggers at bay

Over the years, as email marketing progressed, search engines and email platforms made themselves smarter about what words are associated with an email being spam. This algorithm now works to automatically filter out the emails contain these text combinations into the Spam folder.

So, obviously, for driving a successful email marketing campaign, you should be aware of these spam-triggering words and stay clear of them. Words that look more like click bait and less like genuine campaign intents are more than often marked spam.

For instance, words like, get paid, you win, $$$ or !!!! can shoot your email marketing down the cliff.

At the same time, there are some words that drive a campaign to success. The best of these words is the recipient’s first name and other personally impactful words like “you/your/us/we”.

The omnipresent smartphone

What seems like an apparent practice, can many times be overlooked by companies and brands while designing their email marketing campaigns.

The result?

Not-so-good customer experience.

With 75% of emails being opened on mobile devices, it is crucial for brands to pay attention to email optimization for all kinds of devices.

We all like to think of our email campaigns to be working and leaving a massive impact on the reader. But the fact of the matter is, not always your graphic-heavy email campaign will look as it is supposed to in the recipient’s mailbox.

Like here, American Apparel’s promotion mail gives the impression like it belongs in the junk folder even before the reader can skim through it to find their brand name.

For our 8 seconds-long attention span, this shows the importance of email optimization for mobile devices.

What not to do?

Many a time, we are so engrossed in doing everything right that we turn a blind eye to the things that we might end up doing wrong. And when it comes to email marketing, the most important of those things is the etiquette of email.

First of all, always remember that you are going to be a guest in somebody else’s private inbox, then proceed forward and avoid these “bad manners”.

Not getting permission

Not only is this annoying to the recipient who did not sign up for it, but emailing without permission is also a breach of privacy and punishable by law.

Make sure that every contact of your database has agreed to receive updates and emails from you.

This is why buying email lists is highly frowned upon. Instead, build up your customer list organically and give up the easy way out, it is not effective and can be dangerous to your company.

Unintentional (or not) spamming

Sending more emails might seem like a good idea but the science of email marketing research suggests that it may end up losing your valuable customers.

Find out an ideal frequency of your emails. For instance, you can start off on a thrice-a-month basis and then according to the response of your customers, you can personalize your campaign and gradually increase email frequency.


Email automation can help you in gaining maximum outcome out of your campaign but if overdone, it can be hazardous. Simply because this can lead to the previously mentioned point about Spamming, your brand can end up suffering because of automated emails.

So draw a line between automated mass emails and personalized non-automated emails to keep your customers satisfied.

Hiding the unsubscribe button

We cannot stress this enough – this is wrong and again, punishable by law.

According to can-spam act 2018, every marketing email that you send out needs to have an unsubscription option for the recipient.

That’s why we at Sender.net include unsubscribe links after the email’s body.

Last words

In today’s mostly-AI-dominated world, emails are still the strongest medium for reaching out to your target audience, just like they were two decades ago.

The only thing that has changed is the manner of presenting the information. And it is nothing less than necessary for companies to evolve with this change, do more research and please their customers with better emails. After all, the customer is the king.

Onward & Upward,

Sender.net Team

Contributed by Deepasha Kakkar who is a visual marketer, founder of Crackitt, and a consumer behavior aficionado. She helps businesses & organizations hone their identities, craft their brands, and share their
truths using beautiful handmade animated videos and compelling infographics. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.