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What Is An Email Campaign and Why Do I Need One?

An email campaign is an email (or two or three) written with the intent to sell a product or service—or at the very least, spark interest in a product or service. Effective email campaigns make it easier for your business to make sales, sign on new clients, and/or upsell to current customers.

Email marketing is not a new concept. In fact, the world’s very first email was sent wayyy back in 1971. And before that decade was over, crafty salespeople had discovered how to send blasts of e-messages that promoted their products and services.

Interestingly, the first email marketing “blast” raked in about $13 million worth of sales. Considering inflation, that would be nearly $80 million in today’s market. Not too shabby.

Of course, things have changed since then. Consumers are much warier of spam emails and increasingly less likely to even open an email with a sales-y appearance. But with a wee bit of legwork, you can make email marketing work for you and your business. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is an Email Campaign?

You’ve heard of email, obviously. But what, exactly, is an email campaign?

Generally speaking, email marketing includes a wide range of techniques with a wide range of end goals. You could target past customers, present customers, future customers, or all of the above. The goal could be to sell a product, increase your social media following, promote a sale, or remind your readers that you are hella cool.

The possibilities are, quite literally, endless.

An email marketing campaign is an organized effort to achieve one specific marketing goal via email. If that sounds simple, it’s not. Creating a successful email campaign takes quite a bit of strategy. But trust us, the results are more than worth the effort. (More on that later.)

5 Common Types of Email Campaigns

Remember when we said that the possibilities are endless with email marketing? Well, that’s true. But over the last few decades, certain strategies have proven more successful than others. Here are a few of the most tried-and-true approaches to email marketing:

#1: Welcome Emails

Here’s the basic idea: someone signs up for your email list and then receives an automated message from your business in their inbox. Usually, welcome emails are short, sweet, and appreciative. They introduce recipients to your brand and outline what to expect in the future. They may even provide a link encouraging recipients to check out a popular product or service.

#2: Promotional Campaigns

Is your business running a sale, announcing a new product, or offering a free trial? Then a promotional campaign will come in handy. These campaigns are designed to inform and remind customers of whatever it is you’ve got going on.

#3: Triggered Email Series

In our opinion, the best kind of marketing email is an automated one. With a triggered email series, you can literally sell in your sleep.

These automated messages are sent whenever an email recipient does something to trigger the campaign. The recipient may have left an item in their virtual shopping cart, bought a product that pairs well with another product you offer, or signed up to be notified when an item comes back in stock. Triggered email series are super effective because they are typically of special interest to their recipients.

#4: Seasonal Campaigns

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Cheery Kwanzaa to all! Seasonal campaigns are saved for a special time of year, whatever that might mean to you. They can promote a sale or event, or simply offer well-wishes. Either way, they’ll encourage your recipients to be thinking of you throughout the holiday season.

#5: Drip Campaigns

If you’ll remember, we’ve actually talked about drip campaigns before. A drip campaign might fall under any of the four categories we’ve mentioned above. The difference is that instead of the one or two emails of a traditional campaign, drip campaigns are an entire series of emails that are sent out on a strategically-timed schedule. We think they’re pretty fun. (Read more about drip campaigns here. Or, to see a fun drip campaign in action, check out this one from ToasterTubs.)

An email marketing campaign is an organized effort to achieve one specific marketing goal via email.

Why Do I Need an Email Campaign?

Email marketing campaigns sell. This has been proven over and over and over again, in virtually every industry. In fact, the average ROI (return on investment) of email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent. That’s why email marketing is considered the most lucrative form of marketing.

But getting money directly in your pocket is just one piece of the puzzle. Email campaigns also offer these advantages for business owners:

  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Learning more about your customers and what they like
  • Generating more leads

Plus, email marketing is pretty cheap compared to other forms of selling. You won’t spend anything other than the price of time and research!

How Do I Create an Email Campaign?

After all that, we know you’re sold on the idea. But how do you run a successful email campaign? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Start by Building Your Email List

A killer campaign won’t do you any good without a healthy list of people to sell to. If your email list is looking a little scrawny, focus on fattening it up before you do anything else. We recommend an exit-intent pop-up to nab visitors to your website before they leave.

Then, Identify Your Primary Goals

Once you have a healthy list of people to send to, sit down for a moment and identify your top marketing goals. Is selling your product the end-all-be-all? Or is there something else you’d like to achieve first? Whether you’re looking to say hello, promote an upcoming event, or send season’s greetings, identifying your goal is the vital next step.

Make Sure You Know Your Audience

Sure, you might know to whom you are sending an email. But do you really know know . . . ya know?

When it comes to marketing, a little data goes a long way. We recommend that you do some basic research via Google Analytics. This will give you basic information about the demographics of those who view your content. From there, you can make some assumptions about what will speak to your audience and what won’t.

Take Advantage of Technology

We mentioned Google Analytics, but there are actually a ton of tools available to help you get started. Zoho Campaigns is a great tool for beginners and has a range of super-affordable plans. With this kind of tool, you can manage your contacts, gain access to email templates, compare the success of different campaigns, and do so much more.

Continue to Adapt

After your first, second, and third email campaign, you’ll have a much better idea of what works for your business. From there, you can continue to adapt and evolve so that you repeat past successes and avoid future failures. We can’t wait to see what you do!

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