Marketing May 28, 2015 Last updated May 28th, 2015 2,340 Reads share

The Ultimate Actionable Guide to Persuasive Email Marketing Campaigns

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The world’s most diverse market, in which interaction is possible on a global scale, is the internet. In this regard, the importance of expanding into online retail solutions is undeniable. In these times of digital leverage, the significance of email marketing campaigns has come to the forefront, more than ever before. But to successfully utilize this superb communication tool, one must know the tricks of the trade.

Taking the cue from some of the world’s most successful email marketing campaigns, we’ve compiled a list of the top six – just for you.

#1. Leveraging the power of actionable Language

There are two specific areas in an email that must be acted upon. One of them is the subject line, which comes with its own set of specifications and requirements. The other is the main body of the text. Both, however, could benefit from the use of actionable language.

Of course, one might use verbs like “Come”, “Get”, “Go”, but that’s too direct a method to entice the more challenging customers. An indirect approach, writing in second person, is the smarter approach. Primarily because it:

  • Doesn’t ask to do something but instead presents a need.
  • Then offers to fulfil that lack and thus generates a) traffic, and b) conversions.

Take a look at the approach taken by Warby Parker. Simple, efficient and sweet, they use terms such as “We’re mailing because…” or “we recommend” rather than a “Do this right now.”

#2. Benefits, not features is the catchphrase

One of the earliest marketing lessons in B-School is that aggressive salesmanship might be just as bad as a laid-back attitude to it. The important thing is to find a middle ground, and in the case of an email marketing strategy, it translates to the use of benefits and not features. The Volkswagen Jetta commercial, for example, is a great example of this – helping sales jump up 17% by using this strategy. The commercial does not exhibit its features in SEO Keyword-like terms, such as “torque”, “horsepower”, or “engine capacity”. What it does however is stress on the fact that, in case of a car crash, it might be the only thing standing between you and death.

So how does benefits vs features work then?

  • By selling emotions
  • By connecting to clients
  • By being from the point of view of the customer

In terms of email marketing campaigns, this translates into something like the Ikea newsletters or Princeton review campaigns. For example, Princeton sends mails from affiliate colleges that focus on how the course might help students rather than just the curriculum.


#3. Use eye catching subject lines

In a study of over 200 million emails, it was seen that open rates ranged from 93% to 0.5% – and while factors include frequency, sender, nature of messages, one of the most important reasons for such wide disparity is the subject line.

So what does an ideal subject line look like?

  • Anything that avoids words such as “free”, “help”, “percent off” and “reminder”.
  • Is brief: a good rule of the thumb is to include just about 50 characters, no more and no less.
  • Personalized, if possible, to include name of recipient/locational details/topical allusions.
  • Avoids repetitive taglines for subsequent mails.

Sometimes, this is the only thing that saves a mail from being deleted immediately upon receipt, as evinced by the data given below.


#4. Creating demand with scarcity and social proof

This technique has worked for thousands of retailers across the globe, whether they’re selling dresses or GRE prep material. The funny thing is that scare techniques actually work, particularly if there’s proof of its popularity.

The best example of this method is exhibited in today’s flash sale mechanisms, where manufacturers and e-retailers benefit from the method of creating a supply-demand imbalance.

An email marketing campaign can benefit from:

  • Creating scarcity: “Hurry, last chance to get up to 50% discount”. Key words to use: “hurry”, “act now”, “limited period offer”.
  • Giving “social proof”: Indicating that thousands of people have already claimed the deal, so you might miss out if you wait any longer.


#5. Never doubt the influence of personalization

Would you like a generic birthday present or something customized? Think of an email on similar terms as well. The better the personalization, the more likely it is that the customer will be interested in your product. Stratified emails are the latest in a list of email marketing techniques, catered to a very specific segment of users.

To analyze the open rates of mails, one must delve deeper into statistical data, leveraging tools like Mailigen for campaign reporting. According to eMarketer, segmentation can lead to increased open rates, lower opt out rates, and retention as well.


The power of personalization extends to – a) subject lines, and b) the mail content.

Rather than sending a “Hey all! We know you’re out there, and this is a [generic] product that may or may not suit you,” send something like, “Hi, [Name], we know you’ve been looking for something like this and we thought you might like these instead!”

#6. Compelling email content: relevant, crisp and with a CTA

Content of any email is extremely underrated, particularly when it comes to its structuring. Most people do not appreciate that the user has a limited span of attention, for which writing must be as eye-ball grabbing as can be. In an ideal world, all newsletters would follow the following practices:

  • CTA: One that is “above the fold”, that is, accessible without scrolling down.
  • Briefness: Continue with the practice of being brief in both subject line and the main text. Brevity is an extremely important element, as one might find from Elmore Leonard’s book 10 Rules of Writing.
  • Relevant: Content must always be relevant to the needs of the users.
  • Sentence style: Crisp sentences, rather than roundabout ones, create maximum impact.

A good email marketing campaign is one that takes into account the following – audience needs, brevity of language, catchy subject lines, personalization, benefits rather than features, and actionable language. Promoting retention, number of clicks, and traffic, it’s the only way to run a successful business.

Images: Author’s Own


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Kuldeep Bisht

Kuldeep Bisht

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