What makes effective email marketing campaigns?

Lucinda Batchelor avatar

Lucinda Batchelor

Firstly, it’s important to make sure we’re all on the same page. When we talk about email communication, we’re not talking about emailing a friend or family member, we’re talking about business to customer email marketing – a communication platform that allows your business to promote products and services to customers.

That said, if you want to make sure your loved ones open your emails, you still might find some noteworthy tips to improve your open rate!

Let’s explore the elements that make up effective email marketing campaigns.

Ones with eye-catching subject lines

The subject line is your hook – it must be short, inviting and informative. It also must:

  • Be no more than 10 words: Thank you for signing up – here’s 10% off
  • Make them feel special: Happy Birthday Emma, a gift for you
  • Offer an incentive: Buy one get one free
  • Ask a question: Did someone say summer sale?
  • Use action-orientated verbs: Grab your chance to WIN £1,000
  • Avoid using all caps: DON’T MISS OUT | Your discounts expire soon
  • Refrain from too many exclamation marks: Thank you for purchasing with Example3!

Ones that carefully consider what’s above the fold

You want to encourage your customer to carry on reading the rest of the email, to open a link or download an app, for example, so it’s vital you carefully consider the content they’ll see at first glance. The content that goes above the fold should sum up everything your email is trying to do to make it easier for the user and to boost your conversions. Here are some of key elements to include: a heading, a call to action, attractive graphics, and your logo.

diversity effective email marketing 2

Ones that have the right tone

When writing an email, consider your brand’s tone of voice and make sure it’s consistent with how you normally speak to your customers. If your brand is a little tongue in cheek, then keep your emails the same but don’t add too much fluff – get to the point – people want to know what’s going to benefit them over everything else.

Ones that present the reader with other communication avenues

You’ve sent out an email, great! But did you include your social media handles or your customer service email? Make sure you put all the information your customers need in an email and position it at the footer – this is where people will look. By helping your customers, you’re helping your brand.

Ones that have a CTA at the top and bottom of the email

To make sure your customers never miss the opportunity to click through, have a call-to-action at the top of the email (above the fold) and at the end of your email. This will improve the scanability of your email, which will increase customer interaction because they won’t have to work hard to find the offer or message.

Ones that are personalised

When your customers sign up and agree to share their data with you, leverage this data to send out personalised emails and capture conversions. For example, when a customer signs up, do they tell you their date of birth? Here are some good examples of using birthdays to make a customer feel special:

diversity effective email marketing 3

Ones that offer a friendly reminder

Perhaps your customers were busy and left their shopping in their online basket or maybe they’re waiting for payday? Whatever the reason, a great way to boost conversions is to send a polite reminder with a link that takes the customer straight back to their basket for an easy checkout.

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Ones with a clear and brief message
Don’t overcomplicate your email, keep it concise. Keep your sentences short and stay on topic. Make sure that the body of your email is relevant to the subject line and separate actionable points to make them stand out.

1. Bad email example2. Good email example
Subject: Items waiting…

Hi Susan,
You left something in your basket when shopping with us. If you would like to carry on shopping, use our discount code to help you complete your purchase. The discount code for 10% is: D1scountc0de01
Kind regards,
Example company 01
Subject: Forgotten items? Here’s a discount!

Hi Susan,

We noticed that you added some items to your basket. Here’s a 10% discount code for you to use when you complete your shop: DISCOUNT10

Your items have been saved in your basket (link here), so you can easily return to where you left off.

Happy shopping!

Have a question about your order? Email us at
  1. In the bad example, the subject line feels somewhat accusatory and does not bring the discount code to Susan’s attention, making it less appealing for Susan to open it. If, by some miracle, Susan does open the email, the chunk of text isn’t easy to scan, the discount code gets lost in the paragraph and the tone of voice feels cold and robotic. And should Susan want to ask a question, she will have to go out of her way to find contact details.
  2. In the good example, the email recipient is aware there’s a discount code to be had but the subject line doesn’t give away how much, encouraging Susan to open the email. When Susan opens the email, the points are clear, the discount code is easy to find, the tone is friendly, and there’s a way for Susan to get in touch if she needs help with the order.

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