Email Marketing Tips and Best Practices: A How to Guide

Share this blog:

One of my most trusted partners and respected colleagues wrote this post just for in order to help advertisers understand what opportunities really lie in email marketing best practices. Jennifer Myers Ward has been involved the online marketing industry since 1997. She worked for for 3 years, where she won the “door desk” award for her contribution to Amazon’s UK growth. This post is for you, from her, so you can understand what’s involved in true email marketing and how to become more successful online:

“If I had a dime for every time a prospective client tells me, “yes, of course we do email marketing”, let’s just say I’d be floating on a yacht somewhere in the Caribbean right now. So what does it mean to “do” email marketing? Sending out one big email to your whole file and sitting back waiting for the sales to roll in? If only it were that easy.

Sure, for very little to no money you can sign up with some of the more simplistic email service providers that allow you to upload names and send out blasts using their WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) template builder and voila, emails are flowing. However, this is a far cry from true email marketing.

The term email marketing includes several different components necessary to produce a successful, cohesive email marketing program. What are these magical ingredients needed in the ‘recipe’ for the perfect email marketing program? There are 5 basic areas of focus: list growth, transactional emails, broadcast emails, segmented emails and auto-triggered emails.

List Growth: This is an important area to always keep in mind. List growth is the process of continuing to build the size of your email list with quality names. This can be done using simple techniques such as an opt-in box at checkout to add your new buyers to the list or even offering a discount to shoppers are willing to sign up for your email program. On one hand you are insuring that you are keeping in touch with your newest customers, and on the other hand you are ensuring that you get an email address from those shoppers who may not decide to buy at that time. There are other means for list growth such as product giveaways, promotional offers, strategic partnerships, social media plugs, etc.

Transactional Emails: These emails are not only the ones most ignored by companies, ironically they have the highest open rates, typically over 90%. Transactional emails refer to system-generated emails such as the order confirmation email, the shipping confirmation email or the account creation email. Each of these emails represents a valuable customer touch point and one that, if optimized, can help speed up the consumer’s next purchase thus increasing their lifetime value, brand loyalty and your bottom line.

Broadcast Emails: The most common emails sent, broadcast emails clog up our Inboxes while we are sleeping and usually purged in a mass morning delete in order to clean out our cluttered inbox. These are the more general/ bulk mailings to a larger part of the email list, and include messaging about sales, new products, short-term promotions, etc. Though broadcast emails are more generic in tone, they are a necessary evil so to speak. Given that most brands email on average 2 times a week, companies need to stay out in the mix both to foster brand awareness and keep potential competitors at bay.

Segmented Emails: These are emails that begin to be more targeted and relevant to your list. Segmented emails deal with a specific segment or subset of your main email list that shares common behaviors such as last purchase date, brands purchased, categories of interest, etc. With these emails you can begin to tailor the messaging and content based on known characteristics of customer groups. This is where the true power of email marketing begins, and unfortunately, where very few companies ever venture.


Buyer vs. Non-buyers

Auto-triggered Emails: These emails are the crème de la crème of email marketing, auto-triggered emails are automatically generated emails based on the exact behavior of an individual, and can be deployed in real time and with totally dynamic data. These are emails such as upsell or cross sell emails based on product purchased, replenishment emails, invitation to review a purchased product, birthday emails, cart abandonment emails, etc. Each of these has a very personalized, one-on-one feel to the message as well as the timing. Auto-triggered emails help build a stronger customer and brand relationship by making the recipient feel like the company knows something about them and cares.

Forrester Research recently reported that behaviorally triggered email campaigns have a 30% higher click-through rate and three times as many conversions as standard broadcast emails.

Cart Abandonment



Product Review/Survey

If you’re interested in speaking with Jen about email marketing services just click the link or email her here. Make sure you tell her Sarah Bundy sent you so you get your free consultation. Strategic email marketing is massively overlooked by so many organizations. I encourage you to look at creating a campaign that can and will produce exceptional results.