Email Marketing

Email marketing effectively moves customers from one stage of the Customer Journey to the next.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing develops relationships with potential customers and/or clients via engaging, entertaining and educational emails.

Does Email Marketing Work?

With the growing popularity of social media, chat bots, instant messaging, and videos, does anyone even use email? Isn’t email marketing and old, outdated, and spam-ridden?

Actually, email marketing is alive and still the most effective marketing channel to connect with leads and customers. Email is nowhere near “dead”—and if executed properly, it will help you exponentially grow your business or organization.

Why Use Email Marketing?

Email marketing can be used for branding, engagement, acquisition, retention, direct sales, reactivation, generating traffic, and getting referrals. This makes it one of the most versatile digital marketing tactics to grow your business and help you reach your goals. But it’s important to understand why email marketing should be used.

Interestingly, it’s not for profit or growth. The outcome of strategic email marketing is indeed profit and growth, but the purpose of email marketing is to effectively move your customers from one stage of the Customer Journey to the next.

Customers travel along a virtual path as they get to know you. In the beginning, they’re only just becoming aware of you, but as they move along, by the time they become customers, or even better, repeat customers, not only do they know you, they promote you to everyone they know because you’ve helped them.

This journey, from awareness to conversion to promotion, is the Customer Journey. As your customers travel this path, their lifetime value increases as well, adding profits and stability to your business or organization. It’s through email, and the application of the right methods, that the journey is expedited.

Email Marketing Methodology

Email marketing is more than broadcasting an email every time a new blog post is published. It’s more than sending email alerts when you have a promotion or sale. To understand how diverse and powerful email marketing is, you need to understand the different types of emails, their timing, and the different campaigns that connect with your subscribers.

3 Types of Emails Used In Email Marketing

  1. Transactional – to provide customer service.
  2. Relational – to engage subscribers and nurture relationships.
  3. Promotional – for generating sales.

Each type of email facilitates a different interaction with subscribers.

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails get sent by automated systems, confirming actions taken by your prospects and customers. The average revenue per transactional email is 2x to 5x higher than standard bulk email. Here are 8 types of transactional emails, along with some tips for raising their transactional value:

  1. Order Confirmations – Order confirmation emails have a higher open rate than any other type of email. That makes sense if you think about it: the recipient has just given you money and wants to verify the details of their purchase. This email confirms the purchase, sets expectations, and finishes the transaction. The customer is excited about their purchase—which means it’s a great time to add an additional offer or ask for a referral.
  2. Purchase Receipts – Receipt emails, like confirmation emails, have a high open rate, but they’re rarely leveraged for growth. Why not make an offer as well?
  3. Shipping Notices – Another email that excites customers is a shipping alert email, telling them their purchase has been shipped and when it will arrive. Alerts get customers excited about their purchase. What could you add to leverage that excitement? Could you ask them to tell their friends? What about a social share?
  4. Account Creation – This email goes out when an account is created for a new purchase or membership, providing login information. Getting access to a closed group is a bit like getting a present. These customers/members are feeling excited and happy. Why not ask them to do something—say, to share their excitement with their friends in social media?
  5. Return/Refund Confirmation – If someone requests a return or refund, this is a fantastic time to make them an offer or give them a coupon. While they aren’t satisfied, they can get excited about your excellent customer service. Your goal here is to re-engage customers, perhaps by offering something different that would fit their needs better or by providing a coupon code. Creatively addressing customer concerns can help you re-engage them.
  6. Support Ticket – As with Return/Refund Confirmation emails, support ticket follow-up emails give you an opportunity to add tons of value. If someone received great support, you can easily ask them to share their experience or extend their happiness by giving them a coupon.
  7. Password Reminders – Most password reminder emails contain little more than a link. Why not make an offer or announce an upcoming event?
  8. Unsubscribe Confirmations – Here is one last opportunity to remind subscribers what they’ll be missing if they drop off. It’s highly unlikely most will change their mind, but while you have the chance, might as well make a final pitch in you last communication with them.

If you can have an appropriate offer for each of these emails how much growth would that add to your business? How much more movement would you get through the Customer Journey? This is the thinking needed to win at email marketing. With email, big changes are not necessary to realize big movement. Small tweaks can have very big effects.

Relational Emails

Companies that use email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost! Here are 8 types of relational emails for getting similar results for your business or organization:

  1. New Subscriber Welcome – This email should be sent immediately to every new contact. It introduces them to your brand and tells them what to expect, including the benefits of being on your list and the value you intend to provide. Welcome emails should set expectations and add value.
  2. Gated Content Delivery – Gated content is valuable information that isn’t freely available online. To access the information, you must “pay” with either your email address, a social share, or something similar. Typically, lead magnets and opt-in offers are free in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
  3. Newsletters/Blog Articles – Whenever you create content, you should use email to distribute it to your subscribers. These emails can be short and simple, introducing your topic and providing a link to access it.
  4. Webinar/Event Confirmation – This type of email is both relational and transactional. You’ve asked someone to block off some time to put you into their schedule. They’ve made a commitment to you. You need to confirm that commitment. The transactional aspect is a confirmation email with the webinar’s date and time. But they’re also relational because the exchange is similar to Gated Content Delivery.
  5. Survey/Review – Surveys can help you learn more about your customers’ interests. It can also help you segment them so your offers will be precisely targeted to their needs.
  6. Social Update – Update your followers on changes in your company or your product. This can help you build excitement as well as preparing them for what’s coming up.
  7. Contest Announcement – Contests build excitement and attract new subscribers. Current email subscribers should be the first to hear the news, though. After all, they’re probably your most avid fans.
  8. Referral Request – After any positive interaction with subscribers, it makes sense to ask for a referral or positive review. Think new purchase, resolution of a problem, or just a friendly email with a kind word.

Relational emails, regardless of why they’re being sent, should be “human” rather than scripted, and they should always provide value. Remember to spell out the next steps and encourage people to take those steps right away.

Promotional Emails

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message. Here are 8 types of promotional emails that fit this powerfully productive profile:

  1. Promotional Content – Promotional content is perceived as valuable to your audience and generates sales for you. Promotional content shouldn’t be overused, but balanced with relational content. It’s a good way to engage subscribers.
  2. New Gated Content – Gated content aims to attract new subscribers, but existing subscribers are likely to want it as well. Why not send it to your email list to get them re-engaged and move them along the customer journey?
  3. A Sale Announcement – Sale announcements get more engagement than any other type of email. Clearly, if you want to make a bunch of sales, have a sale.
  4. New Product Release – The goal of email marketing is to guide new subscribers all the way through the Customer Journey, transforming them into promoters. Why? Because promoters are hyper-responsive and typically want everything you produce. Make sure they know about new items or features by creating a series of announcement/promotion emails.
  5. Webinar Announcements
  6. Event Announcements
  7. Trial Offers
  8. Upgrade Offers

When to Send Each Type of Email (And to Whom)

Email service providers deliver emails in one of two ways:

  • Broadcast emails are sent manually to an entire list or a segment of a list. They work well for promotions and content emails.
  • Autoresponders are set up in advance to be delivered when someone performs a triggering action.

Most email marketing (barring promotions and content emails) should be automated. Keep in mind, though: it is possible to over-automate, creating long, complex campaigns that keep your subscribers stuck in a particular phase of their Customer Journey. The goal of email marketing is to expedite the Customer Journey, and the more emails at each stage of the journey, the greater the odds someone will be entrenched in that stage, slowing their overall journey.

Email Marketing Triggering That Works

Here are the 8 triggers that are most common in email automation:

  1. New Subscriber – When someone subscribes, their welcome and indoctrination should be automated to create a great first impression.
  2. Lead Magnet Request – Most new subscribers join a list to get a lead magnet. Automating delivery ensures they get it within minutes of their request.
  3. Event Registration – If someone registers for an event, a confirmation email gives them the details they’ll need, including date, time, and any access information.
  4. Purchase – Similarly, if someone makes a purchase, they want confirmation that their order went through. A purchase receipt does just that.
  5. Clicking A Link In A Segmentation Campaign – Segmenting allows for customized emails to each subscriber’s interests. Their behavior—clicking a link in an email, for example—can be used to trigger an engagement campaign. This way, people who don’t care about the topic won’t see the campaign. But everyone who cares, not only sees the content, they see the promotion as well.
  6. Excitement About Your Brand – Referral requests can be automated to follow up purchases and other behaviors that indicate they’re engaged and excited about your brand.
  7. Cart Abandonment – One of the easiest ways to increase customer value is to move people off the fence just prior to a purchase. When someone adds products to their cart but doesn’t complete the transaction, that should trigger a reminder email.
  8. Not Engaging with Your Emails – Re-engagement is how subscribers are reactivate who have stopped engaging with your emails. Each of these triggers should set off an automated email campaign designed to follow up the triggering behavior and encourage people to take the next step in their Customer Journey.

Understanding Email Timing

Subscribers should be excited about getting your emails, and you want them to open and engage with them. There are two approaches to make that happen:

  1. Segmentation sends emails to the people who will be most likely to respond favorably. No one sees a promotion they aren’t interested in, and people feel like their emails are tailor-made for them.
  2. Timing is about understanding where subscribers are in their Customer Journey and only sending emails that are appropriate for that phase.

The 5 Phases of Email Marketing

It’s easier to send the right message at the right time when they coincide with different stages of the Customer Journey.

1. The Indoctrination Campaign

This is a triggered campaign sent immediately after someone subscribes to introduce them to your brand and set expectations. It establishes your authority, helps subscribers understand the value you’re going to provide, and gets them excited about you and your brand. Use this campaign to:

  • Welcome new subscribers and introduce them to your brand.
    • Re-state the benefits they’ll get as a subscriber.
    • Put your best foot forward. Send them a “best of” campaign, listing the content your existing subscribers have engaged with the most. For example:
      • Your highest shared content, whether it’s video or a blog post
      • Your highest commented Facebook post or Facebook Live
      • A piece of content that has gotten rave reviews
  • Tell them what they can expect.
    • Tell them what to expect, using this framework: here’s what we’re going to do; here’s what you need to do after we’ve done it.
  • Tell them what they need to do next to get the biggest benefit from you and your brand.
    • Encourage whitelisting by saying something like:
      • “The information we provide—even the free information—is very important, and if you’re not getting it, you’re losing out. So here’s what I want you to do:
        • Whitelist this email address. [Include a link to instructions.]
        • Create a folder where you can save all our messages.
        • Don’t auto archive any of them. (Read them and use them to help you!)

Think of the indoctrination emails as a first date with new subscribers. Show up in your best clothes, tell your best stories, and focus on building relationship with your new subscribers.

2. The Engagement Campaign

This is an interest-based, triggered campaign sent after a subscriber takes a specific action that makes a relevant offer (and sale) to your subscriber. For instance, maybe they visited a page or downloaded a lead magnet, but they didn’t take the next action presented. The goal of this campaign is to engage with the subscriber, reference the positive action they’ve taken, and tell them the next logical action that will end in a purchase.

Use this campaign to:

  • Turn subscribers into buyers by prescribing the next logical step based on what you know they’re currently interested in.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Acknowledge the action they just took
  2. Try to overcome the objections they’re experiencing.
  3. Prescribe the next logical step. Clearly spell it out.
  4. Ask them to buy..

3. The Ascension Campaign

The ascension campaign is an interest-based, triggered campaign that makes a relevant offer (and sale) to a subscriber immediately following their triggering behavior.

Use this campaign to:

  • Expedite and accelerate the Customer Journey.
  • Turn new buyers into multi-buyers by prescribing the next logical step (or nurturing them until it’s appropriate to take that step).

Like the engagement campaign, this campaign is triggered by a subscriber’s action—generally a purchase—and presents the next logical step with your brand. In many cases, it fills the gaps in your funnel, improving your results. You see, each additional offer is a stopping point where customers might decline and exit your funnel. This sequence is designed to follow up that offer, provide extra incentives to buy, and overcome any objections for not buying.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by referencing the action they just took. (Don’t address the action they didn’t take: “We noticed that you didn’t buy our core product, so I’m sending you this email.”) Congratulate them. Acknowledge their excitement. Build on that positive energy.
  2. Address and overcome the objections that might be keeping them from taking the next step.
  3. Clearly spell out the next logical step, so they know what they need to do.

The goal is to turn one-time buyers into multi-buyers. To do that, the value being provided should be articulated by reminding them of the benefits they’ll receive, increasing their interest and excitement.

But before pushing a sale, ask these two important questions:

  • QUESTION #1: What is the next step I want them to take?
  • QUESTION #2: Do I have any reason to believe they are ready to take that next step?

These questions are important because your offer must be appropriate for the stage of the relationship. If you move too fast or push too hard, subscribers will be uncomfortable and leave. If they’re not ready to take the next step, don’t ask. Nurture that subscriber until the time is right, and then make an offer.

4. Segmentation Campaign

This is one of the only email campaigns that isn’t automated and triggered by a subscriber’s behavior. Instead, this promotion is broadcast to your entire database (or a large segment of it) with the goal of segmenting your subscribers by interest.

Use this campaign to:

  • Pique the interest of subscribers who are “stuck” in their CustomerJourney.
  • Get them to segment themselves based on what they’re interested in now.

The goal is to send more emails to the people who engage with your campaign and fewer emails to the people who don’t. This approach may seem counter intuitive, but it works because it demonstrates you’re listening:

  • If you listen to what your subscribers are saying, they’ll convert more.
  • If you listen to what they want, they’ll engage with your brand more.

Ideas for Segmentation Campaigns

  1. Content: blog posts, video, or gated content. When someone engages with content—indicating interest in the topic—send them an engagement campaign with promotional content based on that topic.
  2. Special offers: coupons, flash sales, or special promotions.
  3. Events: webinars, demos, workshops, or even one-on-one phone calls.

5. The Re-Engagement Campaign

The reality is that not everyone will engage with your emails. Their interests or circumstances will change. And no matter where they are on the Customer Journey, they can become inactive. A re-engagement campaign is designed to re-engage any subscriber who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in the last 30 to 60 days.

Use this campaign to:

  • Call out inactive subscribers and get them to start engaging with your emails again.
  • Get them re-excited about you and your brand.

Steps to follow:

  1. Identify inactive subscribers—anyone who hasn’t clicked on an email in the previous 30 to 60 days.
  2. Give them a reason to re-engage with your emails. For example, take the direct approach, and ask if everything’s okay: I noticed you haven’t been opening or clicking our emails, and I just wanted to send an email and ask, “Is everything O.K.?”
  3. Remind them of the benefits of being a subscriber.
  4. Tell them what they’ve missed. As you would in an indoctrination campaign, send them some of your best content.

But what if it a re-engagement campaign doesn’t work? Simple. Stop emailing them. Inactive subscribers raise your costs and hurt your deliverability.

Why Email Marketing Works

Email marketing consistently generates the highest ROI of any marketing activity. Email is most effective when coordinated with content and advertising campaigns—to indoctrinate new subscribers, nurture those relationships, and move them quickly through the Customer Journey.

Email Marketing Metrics

  • List Growth – The number of new subscribes as compared to the number of unsubscribes. The ratio needs to be positive.
  • Delivery Rate – The percent of messages delivered to the recipient’s inbox relative to the number of emails sent. A delivery rate of 95+ percent is ideal.
  • Open Rate – The percent of messages opened by the recipient relative to the number of emails sent.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) – The percent of email messages clicked relative to the number of emails sent or, in some cases, relative to the number of emails opened.
  • Unsubscribe Rate – The percent of emails that lead to an unsubscribe relative to the number of emails sent.
  • Complaint Rate – The percent of emails marked as Spam relative to the number of emails sent.

TIP: Email delivery rate will go up if the open rate and click-through rates go up and unsubscribe rate goes down. This is why segmented email campaigns that target people at their specific stage in the Customer Journey are encouraged. Email Marketing should strategically boost opens and click-through while minimizing unsubscribes.

Email Marketing Terminology

  • Customer Journey – The development of a relationship with a prospect that takes them on a path from awareness of your business, products, and brand to rabid fan.
  • Broadcast Email – An email sent out to all email subscribers or a segment of your email subscriber list.
  • Triggered Email – An email sent automatically when a customer or prospect performs a specific action. For example, a relevant offer might be sent to someone who fills out a lead form.
  • Promotional Calendar – The 30-day and 90-day calendars containing the planned email campaigns that will intentionally move a prospect through the customer journey,
  • Email Storyboarding – The process of planning the structure, timing, and content of an email campaign.

Email Marketing Services

Our approach to email marketing follows the methodology outlined above. The email marketing deliverables per client are unique and are certainly not limited to the following:

  • Email marketing strategy development and deployment incorporating the methodology explained above
  • Meeting with you weekly or monthly to review email campaign analytics
  • Content development – Built with your email marketing goals in mind
  • Tailoring your email marketing campaign to your specific industry context
  • Design template development
  • A/B testing consultation (subject lines, content, templates, etc)
  • Making sure that your messages are functional and beautiful across email clients and platforms, including mobile and tablets
  • Training you/your team on campaign design and maintenance
  • Helping you build your contact list to reach the maximum number of potential customers
  • Guidance on lead-nurturing best practices
  • Guidance on post-purchase email campaigns to help with up-sells and increase repeat purchases

We work with, support and recommend the following email platforms.