The Recipe for Successful Email Marketing

Successful email marketing campaigns are a vital component for any company interested in connecting with customers or other businesses. Just as the perfect cheeseburger needs a few quintessential ingredients, here’s looking at you Jimmy Buffet (“I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, big kosher pickle and a cold draught beer”), so too will your email marketing campaign need a few must-have ingredients.

Ingredient #1: An Objective

Many marketers get hung up solely on open rates and in doing so focus on creating a “click bait” worthy subject line. While the subject line is important (more on this later), you need to ensure that there is a connection between that opening line and the rest of the content of the email. If people open an email and don’t find the content that they expect, then they are more likely to immediately delete or unsubscribe. Just as good content is vital to the success of a blog post, so too is good content imperative to a successful email marketing campaign.

Ingredient #2: Your Target Persona’s Pain Points 

Before you can click send you must first determine who you are targeting. As you build your audience persona, keep in mind that they will have different needs that should be addressed by your email campaign. However, this is not to say that you have to address each need in the first email. Instead, the needs can be addressed in different stages throughout your entire campaign. When you understand your target persona’s pain points you are more likely to keep them engaged throughout the email, which can result in higher conversion rates.

Ingredient #3: Personalized Content For Each Recipient

We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s so important we want to bring it up again … personalization is a critical ingredient for a successful email marketing campaign. Did you know that only 11 percent of email campaigns customize their content for the intended recipient? This is an astounding statistic. You don’t pick up the phone and say “hey you” or “hi sir or madame” to the client. So don’t make this mistake in emails. Personalize, personalize, and personalize some more if you want a personalized (aka a positive) response to your email marketing efforts.

Ingredient #4: A Clear Subject Line

A clear subject line might be described as “click bait;” however the two descriptors are not synonymous. Instead a clear subject line should have the following components:

  • Eye-catching.
  • Succinct.
  • Tells the reader exactly what to expect from the email.
  • Delivers a benefit (or at the very least the promise that a benefit occurs when the email is opened and read).
  • Creates an immediate emotion that acts as a call to action. This could be fear, curiosity, expectance, happiness, excitement, a sense of urgency, or whatever emotional response directly correlates to the content waiting inside of the email.

Ingredient #5: Direct Copy And A Call to Action

The average professional receives over 120 emails per day. When it comes to an email marketing campaign brevity is key. However, just because you are being concise doesn’t mean that you want to forget about the all important needs of your target audience. In other words, you can and should write direct copy that responds to the needs of your audience, but you should also leave room to include a time sensitive call to action. You want to grab the attention of your audience and encourage them to take a specific action (downloading the attached PDF, visiting your site, making a purchase, acting on a sale, the options are limitless).

Ingredient #6: A Clean List

You can’t have a successful email marketing campaign without a clean list. Speaking of a clean list, take the time to make sure that you are working with manageable target segments that will allow you to properly analyze data and adjust your tactics to maximize results. From ensuring that you have the correct email addresses to grouping identified audience personas into their appropriate target segments, a clean list is essential for any short or long term email marketing campaign.

Ingredient #7: A/B Test

This ingredient is applicable to large email blasts. Before you send out a large email campaign, take the time to run an A/B split test on a smaller segment. This test will require you to think of two concepts, test each concept, measure the results, and analyze the data. Once you have analyzed the data you can choose what concept is best matched for the larger group (remembering of course that you will still have to add recipient-based personalization).

Ingredient #8: Measure Opens To Send Ratio

This ratio should be high in a successful email marketing campaign. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at someone else’s benchmark. Instead, you should set your goals, measure your results, and use best practice approaches to increase your opens to send ratio throughout the entire length of the campaign. Finally, remember that with a properly segmented and clean list your opens to send ratio will naturally increase.

Ingredient #9: Measure The Click To Open Rate (CTOR) On Your Call to Action

successful email marketing campaign will have ingredients that all work together. Just as the open rate will rely on the effectiveness of your subject line and targeted audience personas, so too will your CTOR depend on your embedded call to action. You should measure and evaluate your CTOR to determine its effectiveness throughout the entire campaign. After all, you could have a great subject line, your content could be brilliant, and the design could be stellar, but if your call to action doesn’t inspire clicks then you are missing out on valuable results.

Ingredient #10: Measure Success Based On Your Objectives

While it is true that email marketing success can be measured (in part) on gathered data, it is equally true that only you can define the “success” of your efforts. How should you define success? Success for your email marketing campaign should be based on your established objectives.

And just like that our list of ingredients has come full circle, which just goes to show that a successful email marketing campaign is built from ingredients that work together to achieve the desired result. Instead of dreaming of “your cheeseburger in paradise,” go out and find it by using the above list of ingredients to build an email marketing campaign that will strongly resonate with your target audience.


Vuepak is a sales enablement platform that presents the products and services you offer. It features detailed tracking, media content distribution and sales automation. It helps turn prospects into customers and get more attention while growing your business.


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