Our expert advice for creating successful creative email campaigns
What are the most important considerations for an effective
creative email campaign?
Top level factors that need to be considered when creating
effective creative email campaigns are:
Distribution list – Quality is more important than quantity when
it comes to your distribution list. Engaging with a few hundred
dedicated followers and readers will have more impact that
sending to thousands who simply delete your email. Spend time to
ensure your data list is relevant and appropriate.
Content – Make sure content is relevant to your readers. This
might mean that you need to segment your distribution list into
sub groups to ensure each group receives relevant content to
Subject lines – Make sure your campaign subject line hits the
mark. This is an area that is often used for A/B testing where
two versions of a subject line is sent to two individual seed
groups to begin with. The most effective subject line that
receives the most opens, will then be used for the remainder of
the distribution list. Whatever you decide, try to make sure it
is less than 50 characters and contains an action oriented verb
if you are wanting to promote action. Never use the word
“newsletter” in your subject lines as this will almost certainly
reduce your open rates.
Mobile optimisation – Today the world has gone mobile and almost
half of all marketing emails are opened on a mobile device
first. Therefore it makes sense to have a mobile optimised email
if you want people to read it and take action.
Schedule and timing – Timing is extremely important for email
campaigns. There isn’t a single right answer for this; the key
is to use some thought and experiment with timing and schedules.
A B2B email campaign for IT services might work best on a
Tuesday afternoon, while offers for last minute weekend hotel
breaks might be more effective on a Thursday lunchtime. Once you
have found the optimum timing, make sure you stick to it. Also
consider the regularity. Some creative email campaigns benefit
from weekly sending schedules while others will be better as
monthly or quarterly.
How effective is email marketing?
Poorly executed email marketing campaigns are not just ineffective
but are also annoying to the recipient, not to mention potentially
illegal. At Fourleaf, we focus on creative email campaigns that
are targeted, ethical and effective.
However, the individual effectiveness of an email campaign will
vary widely according to the specifics of the subject and
audience. For example, an inventive email campaign to existing
customers in a niche Hobbyist area such as model planes, could
deliver an open rate of between 25% and 35%, while a consultancy
services company might only achieve between 15% and 20%. The click
through rate will also be quite different with around 4% to 10%
for niche hobbyists while only 1.5% to 5% for consultancy
services. Therefore, it is wise to not focus on the norms of email
marketing as a whole.
We do however recommend that clients always set ambitious but
reachable targets with a series of KPI’s such as open rates, click
through rates, unsubscribes and sign-ups. By having a measurable
set of targets we can ensure that our campaigns stay on track and
deliver good returns.
How does tracking of email marketing campaigns work?
What makes good quality creative email campaigns stand out from
other marketing forms such as direct mail, is the tracking
capabilities. When a direct mail is sent in the post, you have no
way of knowing what happened to it, whether it was read or thrown
away. With email marketing, tracking can provide an in depth
analysis of who opened your email, how many times they opened it,
whether they clicked on any links or if they forwarded the email.
This kind of insight is invaluable as a marketer. Using the data
from analytics to inform decisions will also significantly help
you generate returns.
Once setup, the tracking of email campaigns is completely
automated and works via simple unnoticeable image downloads within
the email. When a download is triggered, it reports back to your
email analytics that an “event” has taken place and this can be
seen in your analytics dashboard.
What is the best email marketing service/software?
We are often asked what is “the best” solution but in reality
there is not a straightforward answer. At Fourleaf we do not
recommend a one size fits all for which email platform or software
you should use. Over the years we have used many different systems
which all have their own benefits. While we do have our
favourites, we recommend software providers on a case by case
basis depending on client requirements. This can be based on:
Cost – Some services will provide free plans which are perfect
for lower volumes or occasional senders. Other platforms are
more cost effective for large volume sending.
Functionality – Sometimes our clients need, or will benefit
from, specific functionality such as A/B testing or social media
Integrations – It is not uncommon that we are required to
undertake third party integrations with other systems and
software such as CRM solutions. In these cases it might rule out
certain email software providers.
We combine all these factors to make our recommendation on which
is “the best” email marketing service or software for your
specific needs. The most valuable thing you can do is to carefully
think about and document all of the requirements you have.
Selecting the right solution for the right reasons from the outset
is imperative as changing platforms later can be extremely time
What are the Legal considerations of email marketing?
Marketing via email is not that much different to other forms of
marketing. To ensure you comply with the law, you must still
adhere to sensible rules. However, the laws surrounding email
marketing are a lot more complex than many marketers realise. It
is also important to note that B2C and B2B email marketing laws
In either case, you must provide users with a simple way to
unsubscribe or opt out of further emails. Usually this is handled
automatically via an unsubscribe link or a simple reply email but
it can be via other methods if needed. As long as their email
address is removed from your list within 30 days of opting out,
you have complied with your obligations.
You must also be clear and honest as to who you are, the fact that
you are selling something if that is the intention of the email
and the details of any promotions, offers or conditions.
If you are sending to a business in England and Wales (which can
either be a Limited company, PLC, LLP, school, hospital or
government department), you are allowed to send speculative,
non-opted in emails as long as they are relevant and in a business
If you are sending to B2C emails, you can only send email
marketing or campaigns to people that have given you permission to
do so, also known as “opted in”. This opt in process usually
happens at the point of signup to an email list, at the time of a
purchase or at the attendance of an event etc. Just because
someone is or has been a customer, does not give you the automatic
right to email them in a marketing campaign.
The main point to learn is that email marketing law is not
straightforward. You should either do your homework or make sure
you use a professional creative email campaign service provider
Additionally, while there are legal aspects you must make sure you
adhere to, we always advise our clients to also adhere to best
practice guidelines. Although not mandatory, legal requirements
best practice rules are there for a good reason. They hold you in
people’s minds for the right reasons, rather than the wrong ones.