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4 Techniques for an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

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August 7,2013

By Steve Lazuka, Zerys for Agencies

A client of ours recently learned a hard lesson about email marketing campaigns. They noticed an unusual amount of unsubscribes coming in, so they set up an automated response acknowledging the unsubscribes and asking for feedback. Of course, most of the recipients didn’t bother to reply, but the few who did told them almost without exception that their main reasons for leaving were:

  • The emails frequently landed up in junk folders
  • The subject lines weren’t always clear about what the message contained to pique interest
  • Topics were often irrelevant to them personally


This prompted the client to analyze what they were doing and look for updated methods of making their campaigns more effective. After all, compiling and sending out emails takes time and money, neither of which most marketers have available to waste.

Here are the 4 main techniques learned in the process:

Intelligent Subject Line
Your subject line is more important than you think. Not only can it land you in the spam folder, but research shows you have four seconds in which to grab your recipient’s attention. Unless readers have auto-preview enabled, your subject line is all you have to convince them to open the email or you’re dead in the water.

  • Use your company or brand name. This can increase open rates by 5% or more by making it clear that the email comes from a credible source.
  • Keep it short. Most email clients don’t display more than 40 or 50 characters including spaces, so if the important stuff is at the end of a long sentence the reader won’t see it.
  • Change it for every edition. Using a subject line such as “Monthly Newsletter” every time is a sure-fire way to get readers to hit the delete button without opening it.


Your subject line is your virtual packaging. Taking the time to make it great will boost your email open rates. Track the ones that work best and use them to guide you in future email marketing campaigns.

Segmented Lists

Newsflash: Your customers aren’t all the same. Even if your product focuses on a narrow niche market, you’re likely to have several different types of buyers, who could be in different stages of the buying cycle when they get your email.

For example, an email marketing campaign for computer tablets can’t target back-to-school buyers who need to purchase now and baby boomers who are starting to price tablets with identical messages.

By segmenting your mailing lists based on tightly-identified customer personas you can personalize messages for each group. Use your customer records to identify the different groups and make your messages as relevant as possible.

Limit the Promo-Speak
No-one wants to be sold! To quote Queen’s famous line from Heaven for Everyone: “in these days of cool reflection / You come to me and everything seems alright”. The customer wants to come to YOU, not have you come to him. So limiting the promo speak will not only keep your email out of the spam filter, but will give your reader the perception that you’re providing value instead of just trying to sell him something.

At all costs, avoid using:


  • Spammy phrases such as “once is a lifetime opportunity!”
  • Language such as “urgent,” “hot” and that Titanic-sized sinker: “Free!”
  • A series of CAPITAL LETTERS (email marketing protocol calls this “shouting”).
  • Lots of different-colored fonts—they shout “junk mail” from the rooftops, and
  • Never, ever use a bunch of !!!!!! in a row!


Provide quality, well-written information that’s brief, to the point and upbeat, and your open rates will benefit from your efforts.

Clear Calls to Action (CTAs)
Ok, this is the one place where you can ask your reader to do something–and get away with it. Firstly, CTAs should be in jpeg format as buttons or banners, so the spam filters can’t read the wording. Second, don’t just use your CTA once at the end of the email. Repeating it several times throughout the body of the email is a simple and effective method of increasing click-throughs.

Third, it’s vitally important that the wording doesn’t scare readers off. Asking them to “buy now” before they are half-way through the email is like asking for a commitment on the first date–it’s premature. Rather, direct readers to a landing page offering additional, detailed information and coax them there to sign up or buy.

Creating an email marketing campaign doesn’t have to be hit and miss. Get it right by following the latest best practices and be sure to get–and listen to—feedback from your audience.

Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media, creators of the Zerys Content Marketplace and Zerys for Agencies content marketing platforms. Follow Steve @SteveLazuka


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