Email Marketing Still Works: If Done Effectively

mail marketing single large imageTracking the engagement of potential customers on a website has become second nature to most marketers. Even a relative novice to online marketing understands the fundamentals: time on page, conversions, shares, scroll depth, etc. But, it’s important for marketers to go beyond the basics.

One of the issues, or areas of misunderstanding, that we often come across is the lack of consideration of the pathway that a consumer will follow in the earlier practice of email marketing. There is a process that most follow as they engage with the email messages that crop up consistently in their inboxes on a daily basis (if, that is, those emails aren’t stopped at a firewall or relegated to a junk mail folder).

Here we take a look at that process:   


The subject line is critical here. It’s the subject lines that either attract your attention—or don’t. Consequently, these subject lines must be written to stand out in some meaningful way in the recipient’s inbox.

Consider how you interact with your emails. They show up in your email box, stacked on top of each other. You likely first review the sender to determine whether the sender is familiar to you. If not, you’ll look at the subject line. That subject line needs to address some personal or professional need and compel you to some action–in this case clicking to open the email. That means it needs to be written from an “outside in” point-of-view. Not all about YOU, but all about THEM. Some simple online research using tools like Google Adwords, Quota, Twitter and others can give you some indication of what your target audience is most interested in.


Keep it short and simple (KISS). Consumers are busy and – particularly if they’re not already engaged with your organization – you need to hit them quickly with some key points to initiate some desired action. Move away from the use of long, gray blocks of copy in favor of short copy blocks broken up by headings, bulleted lists, images, etc. Get to the point quickly and focus on your audiences’ needs and interests. WIIFT (what’s in it for them?).


Chances are you want your recipient to click some link that will bring them to a landing page where they will initiate some action–requesting a white paper, asking for additional information, placing an order, etc. Make that pathway clear by leading the recipient to it through both copy and graphic elements. Make the “call to action” prominent and compelling — again, offering some meaningful benefit and/or compelling reason to act (e.g. limited time offer, time sensitive information, etc.) can boost the odds that your email message will achieve desired results.

Closing the Loop

This is where we see the greatest missteps being made. Too often the landing page will reiterate, even expand upon, the information contained in the email. But, think about the consumer pathway. You’ve already compelled them to action; now you need to deliver on your offer. Quickly. Don’t stall the process by launching into another sales pitch. If your call to action was, for instance, “Request our white paper,” when they click the link they should be taken immediately to a place where they can download the white paper — not to more copy.

Review and Revise

The pathway we’re proposing is a broad framework. You’ll likely need a few iterations to find what works best for you, keeping in mind that not all customers, products and services are the same. As AJ Argawal writes for Forbes, “You should always be optimizing and retesting your various email campaigns. A/B testing campaigns are easily run from your mailing list provider. You can harvest detailed stats and begin to refine your future campaigns.”


Email marketing isn’t a particularly popular tool these days, owing in large part to its perceived lack of effectiveness. However, we feel that email marketing doesn’t fail because it’s not effective; it fails because it’s not being used effectively!

If you’d like to boost the odds that your email marketing efforts will achieve desired results, we can help!

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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