Building an email marketing program from scratch can feel like one of the most daunting online conversations to begin. The inbox is a crowded place – every day companies are competing for opens and clicks, testing out new subject lines, more GIFs, bigger call-to-actions (CTA). The key is to build a wide reach and a large following while still remaining personable.  As with all good marketing you listen first, then provide value. But where and how do you begin?

This Flight School Friday, we’re here to help you kickstart your email marketing program. Here are 10 tried and tested email campaigns that are bound to initiate a long-term conversation between you and your customers.

1) Double Opt-in

First things first – before you try any of the other campaigns out, we highly recommend you to use a double opt-in, an automated transactional email which verifies that customers are happy to be contacted by you. This ensures that your recipients are interested in what you have to say right from the beginning, helping you maintain a good sender reputation further down the line.

 

 Macy's double opt-in email

This double opt-in email from Macy’s includes a clear unsubscribe link just in case, but convinces the reader not to opt out with a promotion and an affirmative, colorful CTA.

 

2) Complete an action

Sometimes, users forget to complete their profile or lose interest before they finish signing up for your product. Whatever the reason, don’t let it get you down. Use this as an opportunity to re-engage them! A reminder email is another type of transactional email that can keep customers excited about your product. Landing in their inbox will at the very least jog their memory, and could potentially catch them at a time when they’re more primed to complete the process or purchase.

 

Twitter Complete Your Profile email

This ‘Complete your profile’ email from Twitter provides a clear CTA prefaced with the 3 simple steps to follow and a rhetorical question convincing the reader to act.

 

3) Drip welcome campaign

The key to a winning drip campaign is to engage customers, drive value or enhance their experience at each onboarding step. For example, the first campaign sent to new subscribers can include an enticing, personalized subject line with their first name in it. The second action you might want to communicate on is completing an account or making a purchase. It’s also great practice to mention the original point of contact, reminding the customer where and why they first signed up to receive your email (i.e. entering their email address to RSVP to one of your webinars).

 

XXXX-Welcome-campaign-with-survey

This email from XXXX Gold is a great example of an enticing welcome email. They use a simple but striking design, friendly language and include a brief survey to better customize future email sends.

 

4) Newsletter

This is a powerful tool for building a lasting connection with a customer. Using integrated analytics, you can understand how your reader interacts with your email and adapt your content accordingly. The key ingredient for success here is to supply your customer with content that is engaging, useful and relevant.

 

Use newsletters as a medium to tell your customers about company news, product updates, promotions and leverage your thought leadership content (eBooks, whitepapers, blog articles).

 

 Icebreaker newsletter email

Have a look at this Icebreaker email. There’s an attention-grabbing header in the top left corner, clickable CTA buttons visible throughout and they include social media buttons as an additional platform to connect with customers.

 

5) Educational content

Email is also a great opportunity to shine as a thought leader. Build your brand reputation as an authority on the service or product you sell.  Stand out from the competition by sharing unique, innovative perspectives about your industry. This shows that your company is not only passionate about what you do, but also the best at what you do.

 

 SurveyMonkey educational email

SurveyMonkey does a great job of this, providing access to interesting and useful articles, with clear CTAs displayed next to each piece of content.

 

6) Reactive

This makes your company seem culturally relevant and on-trend. During the Superbowl power outage fiasco, lots of brands capitalized on this opportunity on social media, e.g. Tide – ‘We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out’, and Oreo – ‘You can still dunk in the dark’. They saw this as a chance to show a more playful side and strengthen the existing rapport with their customers.

 

Email does take a little more time to craft than a tweet would, but if you make it a practice to be flexible, your customer relationships and ROI will thank you. Krispy Kreme featured the Royal Wedding in its email marketing during the lead-up to the big event, using this as an opportunity to position itself within the climate of public excitement. Playing on this shared interest was a great way for the brand to relate to their customers and drive engagement.  

 

 Krispy Kreme Royal Wedding email

 

7) ‘Tell us when your birthday is’

 Because what customer doesn’t want an extra promotion or special offer? Sending an individual a customized email on their birthday shows them you care, as well as giving you an excuse to reach out on a day where they’re most likely to be happy and receptive. This email from Mudpie ticks all the boxes, using a woman’s face to humanize the brand, along with a simple and engaging design, and a highly visible CTA placed above the fold.

 

 Mudpie Birthday email

 

8) ‘Leave a review’

 

 Yapta Leave a Review email

This email from Yapta leverages social proof (customer reviews) to generate engagement with the brand and encourage customers to leave feedback. It’s a smart combination of making your customers feel their voices are being heard while learning how to better serve them.

 

9) Showcase your success

Another way of making social proof go the extra mile is by featuring an individual user’s testimonial – this is a good strategy to build organic WOM online and offline.

 

Yapta Customer Testimonial email

This MarketingProfsPRO email is a great example of how to incorporate a success story. It generates engagement by putting a friendly face to the name and using language suggesting that the user will improve their social status – ‘exclusive’, ‘advantage’, ‘ranks’. Also note the placement of the CTA – the natural course of a reader’s gaze ( left to right)  draws your attention to the vivid “GoPRO” button.

 

10) Referral

Organically build your customers into brand ambassadors. Companies such as Uber and Graze have demonstrated just how powerful a referral program can be as a marketing tool. Having your customers invite their friends to join is a testament to a good product and also powerful, free marketing!

 

Dropbox Referral email

This email from Dropbox not only gives the customer an incentive to refer a friend (extra space) but also creates a sense of urgency, implying that the customer will run out of space if they don’t act immediately.

So there you have it – 10 great ideas to get your email marketing program off the runway.  

Do you have any tips for optimizing these campaigns? Which of these campaigns will you try first? Let us know in the comments below!