12+ Email Marketing Strategies for Engaging Campaigns (2023)

12+ Email Marketing Strategies for Engaging Campaigns (2023)

Top-notch email marketing strategies are what separate experts from novices. Anyone can create an email campaign, but consistently creating content that engages your audience, drives sales, and grows your email list is another thing.

Your email marketing strategy is more than goals and tactics. It's about choosing the right campaign at the right time to support your marketing team's (and business') overall goals.

Email marketing is no longer just about sending generic messages and hoping for the best. It has evolved into a sophisticated and strategic endeavor.

From the moment a customer joins your mailing list to the enticing promotions that beckon them back, you need email strategies that work. Below, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about building and choosing email marketing strategies that drive results.

What is an email marketing strategy?

An email marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan for how you'll use email to accomplish a specific goal. Goals could include the following:
  • Grow subscribers
  • Build awareness
  • Boost sales
  • Increase upsells and cross-sells
  • Increase sign-ups
  • Drive registrations
  • Improve customer retention
  • Promote engagement
  • Start conversations
Once you have a goal, build and choose email marketing strategies to make it a reality.

For example, you might want to focus on your welcome emails to improve customer retention and grow your email list. And if you want to boost sales, consider promotional campaigns or abandoned cart emails.

Email marketing strategies vs. email marketing best practices

Browsing the web, you'll likely come across dozens of so-called email marketing strategies that mention segmentation, subject line optimization, and personalization. These are great recommendations but not strategies—these are email best practices.

An email marketing strategy is a specific plan for how you'll use email to achieve a business goal. Want to drive sales? Launching an abandoned cart email campaign or discount campaign could be a strategy. Want to build awareness and engagement? Sending email newsletters or customer story highlights could get the job done.

The following aren't email marketing strategies—these are just best practices you should always follow, regardless of your campaign: Again, these are great tips and best practices but not strategies.

Why do you need an email strategy?

Without an email strategy, you're just sending emails into the digital stratosphere and hoping something good happens. You might find success from time to time, but it's not sustainable.

An email strategy helps you connect the dots between your goals and your outcomes. It helps you strategically use email to achieve business results.

However, it's not just about achieving results—it's also about avoiding unwanted consequences.

For example, say you send an email blast to boost sales. You might also cause email fatigue and unintentionally increase your unsubscribe and spam rates.

An email strategy helps you put all the pieces together. It considers segmentation, timing, frequency, and outcomes—a holistic approach to engaging your email list. 

12 best email marketing strategies in 2023

1. Welcome email campaigns

A welcome email onboards new customers to your email list and provides a warm introduction and expectations. This allows you to acquaint new subscribers with your brand, encourage them to engage, and supply them with valuable tips to maximize their experience with your products or services.

The perfect welcome email does 3 things:
  • Remind: Let recipients know why they subscribed in the first place (and thank them for doing so).
  • Invite: Encourage your subscribers to take action with a well-placed and relevant CTA.
  • Establish: Set the tone for future communications by establishing expectations around content, frequency, and outcomes.

2. Win-back campaigns

Sometimes, customers will stop engaging with your emails. It's not personal—it's the reality that every brand faces. Continuing to send emails to unengaged recipients can hurt your email deliverability, but that doesn't mean you necessarily need to remove them immediately.

That's where a win-back campaign comes in handy.

Win-back campaigns (or reengagement emails) allow you to engage your customers before you remove them from your active email list. The purpose of this campaign is to entice your subscriber to engage once again.

3. Abandoned cart emails

Shoppers often fill up their digital shopping carts but leave the site without checking out. Sometimes, the added tax or shipping costs deter them—or they might find an attractive alternative from a competitor.

However, just because someone leaves your site doesn't mean you've failed. While you can't chase customers out of a physical retail store (or shouldn't), you can follow up with shoppers through abandoned cart emails.

Abandoned cart email campaigns let you send follow-up email reminders to your potential customers that didn't complete their purchases. You might remind them about a product of interest to them or give them an added incentive to complete their purchase (like free shipping, a discount, or a gift item).

4. Email newsletters

For a regular opportunity to engage your subscribers with the latest and greatest company news, try email newsletters. You could feature your most recent blog posts, product launches, deals, or customer stories. 

Here are a few reasons your brand should use an email newsletter:
  • Foster engagement: Email newsletters provide a platform for meaningful interaction with your community, allowing subscribers to actively engage with your brand. However, avoid sending newsletters (or any email) from a do-not-reply address, as it prevents back-and-forth communication.
  • Create consistent touchpoints: A newsletter gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience regularly without bombarding them with aggressive sales pitches or overwhelming coupons. It's a chance to meet them in their inbox and maintain a friendly relationship.
  • Cultivate lifetime value: Newsletters help keep your subscribers engaged for the long haul, increasing their chances of interacting with your brand and making repeat purchases.

5. Customer stories

Sometimes, your would-be customers need to see firsthand how your product or service will solve their problems. While you can tout all your nifty features and competitive advantages, nobody says it better than your real-life customer stories

Share case studies with your subscribers for them to see your product in action. Seeing relatable examples can give them the motivation they need to make a purchase and get started.

6. Product updates

By launching email campaigns whenever you update or release new products, you encourage customers to revisit your products or be the first to make a purchase. Here's how to more appropriately use product update email strategies:
  • Segment your audience: Understand your customers' behaviors and preferences to help you segment and send better product update emails. For example, if you know your customer is interested in biking, you can let them know when a new bike launches rather than telling them about the latest paddleboard. 
  • Highlight the value: Steer away from informing your audience about features and instead let them know how your product will benefit them. Even if you just update your website user interface, communicate with your customers how it'll improve their shopping experience.
  • Watch your timing: Incorporate product update emails into your overall email marketing program to ensure the timing and frequency work. For example, you don't want to send a product update email on the same day you send a newsletter—nor do you want to overwhelm customers with every nitty-gritty update you make.

7. Discounts and deals

Customers will often subscribe to a brand's email list to get exclusive deals and discounts. Reward your subscribers' loyalty by giving them first access to bargains.

8. Trigger-based emails

How about incorporating trigger-based emails (automation) into your email marketing campaigns? Trigger email marketing strategies could include the following:
  • Welcome emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Chatbot conversation follow-ups
  • Event registration follow-ups
  • Birthday deals

9. User-generated content highlights

Instead of investing thousands of dollars in creating new content, what if your audience willingly created it for you for free? 

That's the power of user-generated content (UGC).

Here's how you can incorporate UGC into your email marketing strategy:
  • Encourage customers to share: Ask your customers to share their content and tag it with certain hashtags.
  • Curate and choose the best content: Find the best content to share in your email campaigns.
  • Get permission (of course): Ask for approval from the customers.
  • Showcase UGC in emails: Highlight the best-of-the-best content in your emails.
  • Add social sharing: Empower your recipients to share the email with easy-to-use social buttons.

10. Feedback request campaigns

Why not ask your customers and subscribers to share their feedback with you? You could ask them what they think about your product or services, or you might ask about their favorite (and least favorite) parts of your email messages.

Make it a conversation and show your subscribers that you listen. Then, incorporate their feedback into future campaigns to improve performance.

11. Upsell and cross-sell emails

Sending segmented messages to your customers to try and upsell or cross-sell them on other products and services is another tried-and-true email marketing strategy. You could do this through 2 different approaches:
  • Subtle: Share customer stories or blog posts that talk about the benefits of upgrading or combining different products.
  • Not-so-subtle: Tell your customers how an add-on could enhance their experience and provide them with extra value. You can also offer them a discount or deal to upgrade.

12. Seasonal campaigns

The changing seasons and holidays are the perfect excuse to send your audience relevant content. You could provide hot deals or clearance items during this time or highlight why a product might be better at a particular time of year.

For example, Twilio SendGrid markets our Marketing Campaigns product more during the end of the year because we know how crucial Q4 can be for business sales (and email plays a big part in the process).

Make your email marketing strategy a reality with Twilio SendGrid

Now that you have plenty of inspiration for your email marketing strategies, it's time to bring your campaigns to life. That's where we can help.

Sign up for a free Twilio SendGrid account to start sending emails and see how easy it is to create engaging campaigns for your subscribers.

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