Email Marketing Strategy Guide
NewZapp.co.uk - 2007
In recent years Email Marketing has seen huge growth in the UK and worldwide.
In this document we’ll look at the key areas of an Email Marketing Strategy and
provide you with some guidance on how to produce your own in-house strategy.
This document covers the following areas
Where are you now?
Setting targets and goals
What you will need – Your Email Marketing Toolkit
Define your campaign and plan for content
Testing, monitoring and feedback
Creating a strategy timetable
Where are you now?
It’s important that you start by identifying where you
are now. This will involve looking at the types of
marketing you already do and the resources you
have available. Performing a quick stock take of
your marketing will enable you to reap the rewards
Start by creating an email marketing summary. If
you are already email marketing then you will be
able to look at all the areas identified below. If you’re
not currently sending email campaigns, all you need
to do is consider points 1, 3 and 4:
o How many email addresses do you have? Break this down into customers
and prospects if you can;
o How did you acquire them? Or, if you do not currently have a database,
how do you plan to acquire them in the future?
o What are your best sources of new data? Is it your website, exhibitions,
data purchase or referrals?
o What types of people are in your database? Are there clear groups that
you can segment your list into? Prospects and customers is a good start.
2) Current email marketing activity
o If you already send email marketing campaigns or newsletters. How
frequently do you send?
o What types of email do you send? Include campaigns, sales promotions
o What's your current email marketing budget?
o How does your email perform? Include in this open, click and unsubscribe
3) Access to resources
What do you know about your overall marketing efforts?
What works and what doesn’t work in your market?
What staff or outside expertise do you have access to?
Who manages the email marketing process?
How do you determine what gets sent to whom, when, and how often?
4) Other marketing
o What other online marketing are you doing? Do you market your business
via a website, display advertising or search engine marketing?
o How well do your other forms of marketing perform?
o Can you integrate your other forms of marketing with your email
Setting Targets and Goals
It is vitally important that you set clear and achievable
goals before starting any email marketing campaign.
This area is often neglected due to the low cost and
ease of sending email marketing campaigns. If you
identify your goals early on in the process you can
more easily allocate budget and greatly increase your
chances of long term success. Don’t forget that the
key to email marketing is Return on Investment (ROI).
So start by forming an ultimate goal. This may seem
loose and frilly but the ultimate goal will help you
identify milestones for your campaigns.
The key question to ask yourself is what do you want email marketing to do for
For example your ultimate goal may be:
“To increasing customer loyalty and promote better communication
between your company and your customers.”
Once you have identified your ultimate goal you can start to look at what needs to
be done to achieve that goal. At this point you will need to start thinking
quantitatively. Consider the following:
o Database growth – how quickly do you need your list to grow and what
size will it need to be in order for you to meet your ultimate goal?
o What is the aim of your email marketing? Is it acquisition of new
customers or retention of current customers? What figures do you expect
to achieve, 80% retention or 20% sales growth for example?
o Which email marketing metrics are important to your success? Open,
click-through or conversion rates?
Once you have considered these points you should set clear targets for each
area. These targets should have time frames and be easily monitored by you or
the person responsible for your email marketing.
What will you need – Your Email Marketing Toolkit
The next thing you need to do is plan your email marketing toolkit. You will need
Item 1 - The Data
o The database;
o Online sign-up forms to collect new contacts;
o Data capture sheets for exhibitions, meetings and networking
events. Procedures for staff collecting data;
o Opt-in/permission policies. Tell people that you wish to send them
email marketing communications. Remember to keep it legal and
follow best practices.
You can build up information about individuals over time. Consider
asking for the essential data only to start with and then build. People are
often very protective of their personal information until you have built up
their trust. You can use the thank you pages on your website to collect
additional data after the essential information has been collected.
Item – 2 The Data Manager
o You’ll need someone to be responsible for managing your data;
o They will need to perform regular data cleansing tasks like bounce
o Most email marketing software will de-dupe and report on bounces.
If you are not going to use email marketing software, how will you
manage this process?
Item 3 – The template design or designer
o You may need someone to design your emails who has in-depth
knowledge of creating HTML email marketing campaigns.
o Your email marketing software may be able to help you create a
branded template design that you can re-use.
You need to test your designs to ensure that they view correctly in all of the
different types of email client. For example Outlook, Outlook 2007, Lotus Notes,
Yahoo, Hotmail, G-Mail etc.
You also need to consider how your design will complement your website and
other offline marketing materials. Email Service providers like NewZapp can help
you do this.
Item 4 - Delivery Software
o Most email marketing software will deliver your emails in addition to
helping you design and track. If you do not have email marketing
software, how will you deliver all of your emails in a timely fashion?
One of the benefits of email compared to other marketing channels
is its speed of delivery. Can you send emails on mass and if so how
many? If you want to deliver emails quickly it’s always a good idea
to use a recognised email marketing provider like NewZapp;
o You’ll need an unsubscribe process. Ideally this will automatically
remove recipients that no longer wish to receive your emails. Most
email marketing software will automate this process for you and
protect you from accidentally sending to these people again.
You are legally required to provide an unsubscribe process. Failure to do
so can cause many issues for your business, such as IP blacklisting or at
worst a fine and imprisonment.
Item 5 - Tracking and reporting software
o You can track who opens your HTML emails and who clicks on the
links. To do this you will need software that can create the tracking
links and report on who did what, when and how many times. Most
email marketing software will provide these tools.
You can use the tracking data to help learn more about your customers.
You can also use this as a sales qualification tool.
Item 6 – Forward to a friend tool.
o The NewZapp design team can add a forward tool to your email
designs. This will capture additional data and build your database
through viral marketing;
o If you are designing your own forward tool, allow the friend to add a
personal message to the email before you forward it. This helps
personalise the message for the new recipient and explain why they
have received the email. It is also possible to add the option to sign-
up to your email database; again this will help build your database.
Define your campaign and plan your content
It’s important that you decide what type of
email you will be sending and the content aims
before starting your campaign. Although
content is not always king in email marketing
there is little doubt that it can make and break
a campaign. There are two main types of email
that you can use. These are:
There are distinct differences between editorial email and promotional email.
Editorial informs and educates your subscribers about your business and the
industry in which you work. Promotional email is primarily concerned with
promoting your products and services from a sales angle. Both have their place
in the email marketing mix.
Which type of email should you use?
Like many marketing questions, the answer to this is “it depends”. If your overall
target is to produce new leads for your sales team or convert more browsers into
buyers then you may consider focusing on Promotional email. If your goal is to
retain a greater number of customers and build your brand then you’re best to
focus on editorial.
The truth is there’s no right and wrong answer. Use your experience of the
market to lead your decision. Most companies will run there email campaigns
with a mix of both promotional and editorial emails. To help you make your
decision we’ve created an email type table. This may help you identify what is
best for your email campaigns.
Table 1: Email Type
Email Type Examples / Description Pro’s Con’s
Alerts, press releases, tip of the day Drives traffic to your Can suffer from poor
or week and product launches website performance if the target is
to acquire new customers.
These messages are short and to the Can be used to re-
point. They inform your subscribers qualify leads. Limited space for additional
about news and tips. The content information about your
should be focused on editorial rather Builds relationships with business offers.
than promotion. A suggested balance is your customers.
around 70% editorial 30% promotion. Message must always focus
“THIS IS NOT A SALES HAMMER” Can be used to build on editorial. Limits options
your brand for selling
Email newsletters, long press Drives traffic to your Can suffer from poor
releases and industry guides. website. performance if the target is
to acquire new customers.
This type of email allows you to write a Re-qualifies leads
little bit more about your business. Message must always focus
Many companies choose to send long Builds your brand on editorial. Limits options
form editorial to customers and for selling
prospects. Although this is not a sales Allows you to position
pitch, you can utilise space on the email yourself/company as an Requires a large amount of
to promote offers and buying expert. management because it
information. needs fresh copy each time
Can carry additional you send.
sales information and
E-Cards, sale announcement and Drives traffic to specific If over used this can lead to
reminders. offers you are high unsubscribe rates.
Keep this type of email short and sweet. Easy to over work the
The aim is to get the reader off the Creates direct sales. content and lose the key
email as quick as possible. Take one message.
key message and promote it. For Re-qualifies your leads.
example “Buy this week and save 50%”. More likely to cause issues
This type of email must have a clear Encourages reader with deliverability. Always
benefit to the recipient. Simply sending interactivity. test your email creative
your standard priced product promotion before sending the email.
will not work and could lead to high Adds value to your
unsubscribe rates. You can use this overall email strategy. Produces limited value for
type of email to remind people that have your brand unless your
dropped out of a sales process or Unique Sales Proposition is
abandoned an online sales basket. your offers.
Sales Letter and Catalogue email. Good for direct sales. Difficult to build long term
relationships with your
This style of email allows you to present Allows you to explain subscribers.
many benefits of your product or more complex products
service. It also allows you to present or services. Focus on direct sales alone.
many products on one email creative.
This is ideal for products or services Allows you to present Can easily become too long
that require more explanation. This form more information on and much of the information
of email is direct sales driven so your your email creative. will not be viewable in the
copy should reflect this. Think about preview screen.
what you sell and the benefits of it.
Each of these email types has its place in your Email Marketing Strategy. The
most important thing to consider is your targets and goals. Use the table to help
guide you in the right direction. We always suggest using a combination of email
types to maximise your success. Just like offline marketing it is important to
create a full mix of communications; each of these communications should have
an aim and always focus on meeting your specific targets.
Testing, monitoring and feedback
It is very important that you monitor your campaigns and feedback this
information into your Email Marketing Strategy. This section introduces you to
what you should monitor, what you should test and how to integrate feedback
into your strategy.
What you should monitor:
Sales from email;
You should monitor each campaign on an individual basis. It is also important to
look back at your campaigns and try to identify any changes to each area listed
What you should test:
Timing of email delivery. E.g. time of day, day of week, week of month;
Size of database. E.g. all contacts versus segmented database;
Type of email. E.g. promotional versus editorial;
Length of email. E.g. long promotional versus short promotional;
Subject line. E.g. branded subject line versus creative style subject line;
Sender name. E.g. Branded (Pepsi) versus individual name (John Smith).
Useful questions to ask yourself:
How quickly is your database growing or shrinking?
Are your read rates increasing or decreasing?
Are your click through rates increasing or decreasing?
Are your opt-out rates increasing or decreasing?
Are your bounce rates increasing or decreasing?
What is the value of sales made as a result of your email marketing?
Has your customer retention rate improved as a result of email marketing?
Are some types of email performing better or worse than others?
Which variables have a positive effect on email performance? E.g. time of
delivery, type of email, database size.
Integrating feedback into your
The aim of monitoring is to identify clear
patterns in your email marketing performance.
Once you have identified these patterns you
need to integrate them into your future
strategy. The best way to do this is by adding a
review stage to your strategy timetable. The
next section of this document covers “creating
a strategy timetable”. Before that we will look at
how you can structure your review.
Question everything! Where you have identified strengths and weaknesses you
should seek to incorporate feedback into your strategy. This can be done by
including improvement and best practice notes in your review documents. These
will help you maintain a clear focus on what works best and what needs
Here are five questions you should ask yourself during your review:
1. Which email type contributed the most to achieving your targets?
2. Which email type has the highest opt-out rate?
3. What was your biggest email marketing success?
4. Did you make any blunders and why did they happen?
5. Which variables have you tested and what were the results?
Answering these questions may not be quick or easy. However, doing so will
enable you to re-focus your strategy and ensure that you continue to improve on
your results year after year.
Creating a strategy timetable
The timetable forms a key part of planning your strategy. It’s very important that
everyone knows what to do and when to do it. Essentially the strategy timetable
needs to include the following information.
The tasks to be completed;
The time/date that each task must be completed by;
Who is responsible for the task;
Relationship between each task. Does one task rely on another?
It’s a good idea to plot out when you will be sending emails, the type of email and
the target audience. Some companies go as far as publishing a content calendar
to their database. This can be very beneficial as it tells your subscribers what
they can expect from your email marketing over the coming months. It can also
form an excellent motivator for internal staff to ensure that the communications
are sent on time, every time.
It’s vitally important that you stick to your timetable. Don’t forget to include time
for reviewing your strategy. Once every six months should be adequate. This
time can be used to reality check your strategy and to make any adjustments to
There’s a fine line between strategy and planning. It’s important to
understand the difference between the two. Strategy is what you will be
aiming to achieve and the overall structure of you plans. Planning is
what you will do and when you will do it. Strategy incorporates planning
and the two are vitally important to each other. Without a strategy there
is no plan and without planning the strategy will never be realised.
So, we’ve covered the various areas of creating,
implementing and reviewing your own Email Marketing
Strategy. There is no doubt that this will require hard work
and commitment. However, the rewards for this time can
be huge and in our experience Email Marketing is an
excellent marketing channel and one that provides a wide
range of opportunities to generate sales and improve your
- Ends –
If you would like to find out more about the products and services that NewZapp
offer please visit our website at www.newzapp.co.uk or call 0845 612 5544.
NewZapp have been providing email marketing software since 2000. Based in
the UK, NewZapp offers more than great Email Marketing Software, we also
create branded templates that are tested through all major email clients and
provide advice to each of our customers on maximising the success of their email
marketing campaigns. The NewZapp software provides everything you need to
create, send and track branded email campaigns for your business. Our
customers choose NewZapp for its usability, reliability and excellent customer
service. We hope this document has been of use to you and look forward to
welcoming you as a NewZapp customer in the future.