10 ways to create email marketing campaigns that convert

6 minute read
10 ways to create email marketing campaigns that convert

Email marketing campaigns are still one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing toolkit.

For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $40. In addition, email is the main driver of customer retention and acquisition for small and midsize businesses. About 81 percent of small and midsize businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel and 80 percent for retention.

Email marketing is truly about the art of relationship building, which can then lead to sales. Through your email marketing campaigns, you have the opportunity to bond with your potential customers and existing customers.

The following are 10 ways to create email marketing campaigns that convert to that sought-after sale.

Understand your audience

Knowing your target audience is critical for any digital marketing channel if you want to be successful with your efforts.

But true understanding goes beyond simply identifying key demographics such as age, gender, location and so on. You should thoroughly research your target audience to learn about their interests, needs, preferences, problems, perspectives and principles.

By doing so, you’ll avoid creating generic email marketing campaigns that get lost in the noise of cluttered inboxes. About 70 percent of millennials are frustrated with brands sending irrelevant information. Instead, you’ll be delivering messaging that will catch the attention of your recipients and encourage them to engage with your content.

Check out our seven tips to determine your target audience.

Segment your contact list and get personal

Once you understand your audience, you should take the next step and segment your email contact list. Segmentation allows for more personalized messages, which can lead to higher sales conversion rates in your email marketing campaigns. This is due to the increased relevance and value of personalized messaging.

Segmentation can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Those who have purchased from you
  • Those who never have purchased from you
  • Age range
  • Geographical location
  • Interests

The sky is the limit, but the power of your segmentation is directly tied to the strength of your contact data. The more you know, the more you can segment and personalize your email marketing campaigns.

In fact, about 80 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Personalization ideas include:

  • Using the subscriber’s name in the subject line and/or email copy
  • Including the name of a real service representative instead of the company name in the “from” field
  • Using different visuals in emails to appeal to different customers
  • Leveraging demographic and geographic data to create more personalized content
  • Targeting product or service recommendation emails based on previous buying decisions

Learn more about audience segmentation and personalization.

Embrace the basics of psychology

You don’t need a PhD in psychology to leverage the basics in your email marketing campaign. By doing so, you can improve your email conversion rates.


  • Color psychology
  • Subconscious understanding
  • FOMO, or the fear of missing out
  • Visuals that can spark emotions

Learn more about color psychology and FOMO, and how they can boost your marketing effectiveness.

Include one effective call-to-action

One of the simplest ways to help convert an email recipient to a purchaser is to stick to one call-to-action per email. More than one dilutes the power and ultimately the effectiveness of getting them to do anything at all.

That CTA should be clear and concise that’s hyperlinked to wherever the consumer needs to go to complete the action, such as “claim discount” or “read it here.” Of course, the nature of your CTA depends on the goal of your email marketing campaign.

Invest effort in your email subject lines

You may be spending a lot of time on the content of your email, but don’t let your subject line be an afterthought. Truly, your email subject line is the likely the first (and possibly the only) thing your email recipients will notice about your email.

If it’s not compelling enough, they’ll never even open it. On the flip side, if you overpromise in the subject line and underdeliver in the full email, you break trust and risk appearing as spam.

Focus on using impactful words, invoking emotions and being as clear as possible.

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Go beyond the sale by offering free value

It might seem counterintuitive at first, but one of the best ways to build up your email contact list and grow trusting relationships that ultimately lead to sales is to offer free value through your email marketing campaigns.

Free value refers to educational, inspirational, motivational and/or informative content that’s free of charge. It’s about offering content that benefits your audience without asking for anything in return.

When you spread out the “hard sale” type messaging with more free value, your email recipients are more likely to purchase from you when you are selling. This is because of the relationship that is being nurtured through alternative content.

One way to approach this is through email drip campaigns, where you can even include pieces of your brand story and social mission (if you have one) to better connect with your recipients.

Learn more about email drip campaigns.

Stay relevant and concise

Just because you aren’t as constrained by the character limitations of a text message or tweet doesn’t mean that your email should read like a novel.

Your audience has the same time limitations and inclination to skim as they would on any other digital marketing channel. So, you want to get to the point quickly.

The more concise you can be while remaining relevant and engagement, the more likely your email will lead to a sale.

Get exclusive with your offers and discounts

Are you offering your email subscribers the same discounts and other incentives that you’re giving across multiple digital marketing channels?

Remember that your email contact list has already signaled their interest in your business by subscribing in the first place. What can you offer specifically and exclusively to them as a reward?

Of course, when offering anything exclusive, make sure you communicate that, so your email recipients know they’re special and can’t find a better deal elsewhere.

Leverage user-generated content

User-generated content, also referred to as UGC, is any type of brand-related content that’s created by your customers. This includes photos, videos, posts, testimonials, reviews and so on.

UGC can generate about a 73 percent increase in email click-through-rate, while about 82 percent of consumers say user-generated reviews are extremely valuable.

In other words, UGC is an effective form of social proof that helps grow consumer trust and boosts the likelihood of a sale. And you can collect this content from your other digital marketing channels (such as social media) to then include in your email marketing campaigns.

Check out our 10 tips to encourage more user-generated content.

Test and monitor your email marketing campaigns

Testing is the only way to ensure that your email looks the way you intend and that your email marketing campaign acts the way it should. But beyond meeting that basic standard, using A/B testing can help you optimize your campaigns even more for better conversion results.

In addition, monitoring the performance of your email marketing campaigns is critical to understanding what’s working and what’s not. And that information can help you create more effective campaigns in the future as well.

In conclusion

Because there is so much that you can do in any given email marketing campaign, start simply with your goals and who your target audience is. Then, go from there. The key to a higher email conversion rate is to build relationships with your subscribers that keeps them wanting to open your emails. But every brand is different, so keep experimenting and monitoring until you find what works for you.

Also, check out our 16 tips to increase your overall sales conversion rate.

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