How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign (No, it’s not dead).

How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign (No, it’s not dead).

Philippa Dods
17 August 2018

“So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do. If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience. Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience. If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.”

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

Today, with so many consumers and businesses on social media, it’s easy to think that that is the only place you need a presence. However, what many brands are missing is the fact that the inbox is the one space that you as a brand can “own” – you have control over how your relationship develops with each subscriber.

This is why, we believe, email marketing is more important now than ever before.

The problem is that most brands don’t know how to do it right. That’s why we’ve dedicated this article to help you find the right consistency of urgency, attractiveness and effectiveness to successfully implement in your next campaign.

How to run a successful email marketing campaign

Nail the Basics

Before we dive in, we’re going to assume you’ve got the basics covered. If not, creating your campaign will be a complex and time-consuming activity that achieve the polar opposite of what you want out of your leads (running away as quickly as their digital legs can carry them, rather than having you top-of-mind and eventually purchasing your product or service).

  • Database: Firstly, you should have built up a substantial database over time with each person’s name, company and contact details.
  • Permission: In the case of email marketing, “Forgiveness is easier than permission” is not true. Each person on your database wants to know: how often you will email them, how relevant it will be to them, whether they get discounts or first try at beta, what you will do with their contact details and most importantly, if you will spam them.
  • Pitching: The basics also include an understanding of when and how to pitch (i.e. not in the newsletter, maybe in a product update).

email marketing campaigns

Attraction: Make it Stick to Make Them Stay

Regardless of how incredible your content may be, if it’s not a beautifully designed email, it’s going to get zero eyeballs.

  • Design: Your design has to be flawless and your content has to be laser-focused. Remember your reader has 32 tabs open, a ringing phone, a sea of notifications and an eight-second attention span, while they’re reading (read: skimming) through your email. Make it attractive to make them stay.
  • Mobile: This past quarter, 68% of emails were opened on mobile devices. If you’re not ensuring your emails are user-friendly, you’re losing out. Send sample mails and open on your phone to be certain.

email open rate on mobile devices

Practicality: Think About the User Experience

  • Hyperlinks: Include hyperlinks – they’re great for readers who want to navigate to more content and they’re great for us because they’re trackable – you can get a much better idea about what your database is interested in learning more about.
  • CTA: Perhaps the most obvious, but commonly forgotten; a clear call to action button (or three) is vital. We suggest adding one at the top and bottom of your email to maximise success.
  • Reply address: Having isn’t the friendliest nor does it encourage engagement. It makes it clear that it’s a mass-send so takes away personalisation, they’re more likely to be flagged as spam so won’t end up in your audience’s inbox, and not allowing feedback means you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to improve your email marketing strategy.


Though they’re all important, the most important three email analytics are open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribes.

  • Open rate: Your open rate will tell you how well you’ve built your relationship; if the number is low, it means that people have started to delete upon receipt, which means you need to work harder on providing value and/or managing expectations.
  • CTR: If your CTR is low, it means that your message is either not targeted enough, or simply not getting through. In this case, focus on improving your copy.
  • Unsubscribes: If your unsubscription rate is high in relation to your opt-in rate, then you’ve passed the point of building value and writing good copy – you’ve got some work to do. Identify when several people are leaving at once and take action based on that.

Think about how many emails you receive daily. How many are still unread? Are you even reading them from start to finish or just skimming? How can you expect the region to drop everything to read yours if you can’t even get through someone else’s that you’ve subscribed to? Remember to wait until open rates and CTRs are high and unsubscriptions are significantly low, before you take action – if it’s just a couple here and there, don’t take it personally.

meltwater dashboard - email marketing and analytics

Want to add to our list what worked for you? Our inboxes are always open.