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How to make an email marketing strategy - tips for marketers

Email marketing can be a forceful element of a marketing strategy when done right. Read on to see 10 steps that can help you create an effective email marketing strategy.

With the new digital marketing channels arising a common concern for many marketing departments has been that email marketing is dead. The truth is that email marketing is still vital to any powerful online marketing strategy.

The number of active email accounts are expected to hit 4037 millions in 2020. With 99% of consumers checking their email every day, a carefully planned email marketing strategy can undoubtedly have a significant impact on your marketing efforts.

1. Establish goals for the email marketing strategy

Prior to setting up an email marketing strategy it’s crucial to decide on goals. Common email marketing goals to work towards include:

  • Building relationships
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Market products
  • Nurture leads

Defining a number of strategic objectives will help you stay on track throughout different stages of your campaign.

2. Build an organic email list

In order to do sendouts per email, you need a list of email contacts. Leave the option to subscribe easily available in order to encourage subscriptions. Another idea is to offer something for the user in exchange for his or her email address. This could be anything of interest to your target group, be it a template, free trial, webinar or similar.

Tempted to take a shortcut and buy email lists? Don’t do it. Not only can bought email lists contain fake contacts, they can further end up damaging your reputation. Emails sent to bought contacts often end up in the spam folder and the audience might not be interested in the topic of your sendouts. This affects click-through and opening rates, and ultimately the success of your campaign.

If you send an email campaign through Adtraction it is required to answer where the recipient subscribed to your list due to privacy concerns.

3. Segment your contacts

Once your email list is ready, it should be segmented. Segmenting your list will help you understand who your subscribers are and how you can target them. If person X opens an email about subject Y, you possess valuable knowledge that should be used to tailor communications.

Segmentation further allows you to personalise your email which can increase the success of your campaign.

Below are a number of variables you could use to segment:

  • Demographics (gender, age, location, title)
  • User behaviour
  • Engagement
  • Lifecycle stages

4. Keep the email list clean

It may sound counter-productive to delete users, but it isn’t. Your email list is your most valuable asset and unless it’s programmed to remove inactive contacts automatically, you should manually check in from time to time to remove unsubscribed users.

Keeping your list up to date will help you ensure that engagement levels are reliable and valid.

5. Create compelling subject lines

The first thing a recipient will notice when receiving your email is the subject line and it might be the decisive factor as to whether a user opens your email or not.

There is no fixed formula for crafting a compelling subject line but personalisation, for instance including the recipients name is found to improve CTR. In addition, specific offers and discounts might be included in order to motivate the recipient to open the email.

Below are a number of other tips that can help you craft subject lines:

  • Keep them short
  • Avoid phrases associated with spam, for example «free» and «earn money»
  • Phrase the subject line as a question

6. Tone, timing and testing

There is no clear answer to what is the best time to send emails. It is therefore recommended to regularly test different timings to uncover what time brings the best opening and click through rates.

The same can be done for the tone and brand voice and other details such as font sizes, color, and different call-to-action buttons – thoroughly test your emails across different devices and check which ones get the best response.

7. Craft an attractive design as part of your email marketing strategy

An underrated yet important factor in developing a successful email marketing strategy is to develop a harmonic design that can help you drive conversions.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind while designing your templates:

  • Use a vertical layout
  • Include white space
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Make the CTA button prominent
  • Avoid too many images
  • Include share buttons for social media
  • Share complete contact details in the footer

8. Set up a schedule for your emails

Rather than sending out too many emails, plan for a set schedule to keep regularly in touch with your recipients.

Set up an email schedule before sending out the first email. Based on the objectives of the campaign, decide on frequency and timing. If you are sending out email campaigns with Adtraction there is a maximum of one send out per week per campaign.

9. Mobile first throughout the email marketing strategy

With mobile accounting for 46 percent of all email opens it needless to say that mobile optimisation should be taken into consideration while designing your email marketing strategy.

Unless your campaign is optimised, users might end up seeing oversized images and text blocks that simply don’t look as if they were meant to be in that email.

  • Avoid including large files in your emails
  • Resize images to fit the proportions of your viewers screen
  • Break up content by using short, concise sentences and paragraphs
  • Utilise a responsive template
  • Use CTA buttons with suitable proportions
  • Use colors for the CTA buttons to leave them more prominent
  • Preview all emails on mobile phones before sending them out

10. Easily accessible opt out option

Over time recipients may decide they no longer wish to receive your emails, and will want to opt-out from receiving further communication.

It is a legal requirement to provide an unsubscribe option in every email sent, and that unsubscribe action needs to be reachable within one click for recipients.

It’s important to allow people to unsubscribe with ease.


When done right, email marketing can be an incredibly effective way to reach your audience. With email inboxes still being the place where people want to receive information, let's just say that email marketing isn't dead.

We hope the tips and tricks above can help you build a successful email strategy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to if you have any questions about working with email marketing with Adtraction.

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