Strategy

Email Marketing Strategy in 2024: Things I See Working Right Now

Robert BrandlInka Wibowo

By Robert & Inka

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Email strategy

This is kind of a big topic: what even belongs to an email marketing strategy?

When I looked at the content that was available on Google, I didn’t find too many useful articles. Most of those articles were simply discussing quick hacks and tactics 🙄

To create a better guide for you, I read through many articles and even purchased a video course on Udemy on email marketing strategies. Because a solid strategy is so essential for successful email marketing, I thought it’s worth the effort, even if we only end up using this guide internally at EmailTooltester 😅

In this article, I will show you how you:

  • How to 10x your subscriber list
  • Automate most of your email marketing
  • And make it super relevant to your audience

Before telling you about the things you should do, let’s look at a faulty email marketing “strategy” that is all too common, unfortunately.

What you shouldn’t do in email marketing

Before we get into the things that work, let’s talk about typical email marketing mistakes you should definitely avoid:

1. Not having a list building strategy

Far too many businesses think, it’s enough to put a signup box on their website and subscribers will come. But if they can’t identify the benefit of subscribing to your newsletter, why would they?

That’s why you need other ways to attract signups, which I will discuss in the main part of this article.

2. Not using permission-based marketing

If you are from Europe, getting a double-opt-in for your subscribers is a must. This means that after they sign up, they need to confirm their subscription by first clicking an email link before they are added to your list.

In the US, things look differently, as the CAN-Spam Act (USA) doesn’t oblige you to confirm your subscribers. And for a long time, the general advice was not to use double-opt-in, as you might lose a small percentage of your potential subscribers.

The problem, however, is that you invite automated signups and spam into your email list, which, in turn, can lead to problems with your email’s deliverability.

Email providers have tightened their spam policies and will just mark all your emails as spam if they detect something abnormal.

3. Send too many emails (that are too long)

Once they have collected a few email addresses, these website owners just bombard them with generic promotional messages.

These are not only irrelevant to many of their subscribers, but often are a lot of effort to produce. I’m sure you’ve come across big retail newsletters covering 10 different topics in one really long email. Producing that takes time, and isn’t much fun either!

If you can avoid these three mistakes, you are already ahead of 95% of website owners.

Fortunately, it isn’t all that complicated to be a good email marketer.

Let's find out how!
email marketing free ebook

How to 10x your subscriber list

So if the boring old signup box on your website doesn’t work, what does?

Ecommerce stores usually offer a discount coupon for first-time buyers. While this is not terribly original, it does work. The only issue is that it usually captures people who are very close to a purchase anyway.

And wouldn’t it be great to also capture the email addresses of people who may not be quite as ready to purchase?

1. Offering Lead magnets

At EmailTooltester we’ve seen tremendous success with our two lead magnets: our Email Marketing Crash Course ebook and also our Email Deliverability Checklist. These have already received several thousand signups combined.

As you can see on these landing pages, we clearly state the benefits of each of them. Since they are free, there is a very low barrier to signing up for them.

lead magnet example

Over the years, I’ve made an important observation: relatively simple content is often much more effective as a lead magnet than ebooks or white papers with 20+ pages.

The problem with these longer form lead magnets is that it takes quite a bit of effort to read through them. So only a fraction of people actually get through them.

5-page checklists, on the other hand, are short enough to be consumed in one sitting. And this is critical:

If you set it up the right way, you can send an automatic series of emails (I’ll explain more about that later) after the download happens with additional, laser-targeted information.

This disadvantage with long-form content (like that 20-page ebook) is that if your subscribers haven’t gotten through it all, it becomes more challenging for them to follow the rest of your content. It might actually be smarter to sell the in-depth ebook because then people will value it much more than something you give them for free.

For that reason, I would focus on checklists, short guides, cheat sheets, 5-day email courses, an exclusive video or the aforementioned discount coupons if you do ecommerce (also see our ecommerce email strategy guide here).

👉 We have a full post with 27 lead magnet ideas

2. Webinars and Other Video Content

If your product is complex, like a B2B software for example, webinars can be an effective way to create some buzz, and while you’re at it, also collect email addresses.

The magic of webinars is the direct response you can deliver. People can ask questions via the webinar chat, which then directly becomes new content for your webinar. An interesting email marketing service that has an integrated webinar tool is GetResponse. In addition to that, you can use your webinar recordings as a lead magnet.

And of course, any other video content that is not publicly available can also work really well (YouTube, for example, lets you private host videos that can only be accessed if you have the exact link).

It can be a single video with a clear value proposition, or a whole video series. But again, don’t provide too much for free, as you’ll run into the risk that people just won’t finish those videos.

3. Quizzes

Quizzes are a widely underused way to generate email addresses. The great thing about quizzes is that they are a playful and fun way to interact with your content. We use them as a way to determine the best newsletter service for you.

email service provider quiz

But there are many other ways to use them. An ecommerce store could use a quiz to find the best type of product for their customers (e.g. What type of bicycle is best for you?). Or a nutritionist could offer a quiz that talks about different meal plan types.

👉If interested in setting up a quiz yourself, here are some of the best quiz makers.

4. Consultations

Thanks to Calendly and its alternatives, it’s super easy to set up an online appointment calendar. If you are in the consulting, coaching or mentoring business, you could, for example, offer a 30-minute free consultation.

Admittedly, collecting email addresses this way isn’t very scalable. However, it can be a great way to get quality leads for your business. People often want to reciprocate when they get something free, especially when they get to know you personally.

5. Add a newsletter sign-up wherever you can

This is something we work with a lot here at EmailTooltester. Wherever there is a form, we try to also add a newsletter subscription box. These are places where you can find new newsletter subscribers:

  • Contact Form: Include a checkbox for newsletter sign-up. This way, people who are reaching out to you can easily opt into regular updates. See how we do it here.
  • Registration, Account Creation, and Checkout Process: This integrates seamlessly into a process your most engaged users are already completing.
  • Live Chat: after finishing a live chat with a visitor, send a message that prompts them to sign up to your newsletter.
  • Meeting Platform: When users register for online meetings or webinars on your platform, include a checkbox for newsletter subscriptions. It's a great way to engage an audience already interested in your content or services.
  • Comments: When users leave a comment on your blog, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter for more related content.
  • Email Signature: Include a link to your newsletter subscription in your email signature. It's a subtle yet constant reminder for everyone you communicate with via 1:1 email. Don’t underestimate this one!
  • Feedback Forms: On feedback forms, add an option for users to subscribe to your newsletter. This can be a way to keep those who are interested in your improvements and updates engaged.
  • Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, X): Provide relevant and engaging posts about your business topic. Whenever you have a post that gets some traction, you can ask people to sign up to your email list to get more of that good stuff. It’s also possible to add a newsletter subscription to Instagram and TikTok via a bio web page (e.g. Linktree).

How to get traffic to your landing pages?

In order to get signups for your lead magnets, webinars, free consultations etc. you are going to need traffic.

That’s a huge topic we can’t fully cover here. But I’ll give some useful tips:

Free strategies

  • SEO: in many cases, SEO is going to be a great way to drive consistent free organic traffic to your landing pages. This is our preferred channel. But make sure to understand the mechanics. You’ll only rank on Google if your content is uniquely useful. Here’s a useful SEO guide to get started.
  • Forums and groups: try to find active groups that discuss your specific topic. You can find them on Facebook, Reddit and also on WhatsApp and Slack, though they are harder to find. The crucial thing here is to engage with useful posts and not just to spam your links around.

Paid strategies

  • Paid ads: the most common channels are Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter (X), LinkedIn but also Instagram and TikTok, depending on your audience. I would recommend using the channels you are most familiar with, as it’s crucial you understand its ins and outs. We are currently running a LinkedIn campaign, which is showing promising results, though it is very costly compared to the other channels.
  • Influencers: for certain lead magnets, it can also work well to use influencer marketing (try these ad platforms). You would pay them to talk about your offer.
  • Competitions: in B2C markets, price draws can be an effective way to have people sign up for your email list. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll generate relatively a high number of low-value leads who will show little engagement with your content.

The Different types of emails you should send your subscribers

Now that you know how to generate email addresses, what are you going to send them? Let’s look at the most successful types of email:

1. Welcome Emails

This one is often overlooked! If you let people confirm their subscription (as you should!) they will receive a double-opt-in email. But what often follows is … nothing.

That’s when the Welcome Email comes in. These emails have amazing open rates – more than 63% and click-through rates of 14.3% as GetResponse found in a recent study. The reason is simple.

Right after signing up is when people are most interested in what you have to offer. Here are some tips on what to include:

  • Links to your best content (which you can also use to further segment them based on their clicking behavior)
  • What they can expect
  • A discount code if you run an ecommerce store
  • A call to action
  • Giving them a chance to ask questions by replying to the email (a two-way interaction will help to improve your deliverability with Gmail, Outlook etc.)

welcome email emailtooltester

This is an example of our own newsletter welcome email

2. Automatic email series (autoresponders / drip emails)

The fantastic thing about these emails is that they run on autopilot and can be combined wonderfully with the lead magnets I discussed before.

To use EmailTooltester’s example here, when you download our Email Marketing Crash Course or the Deliverability Checklist, you’ll receive a series of emails that’ll provide additional helpful information.

Depending on whether you run an online store (information that we collected in the initial sign-up form), we will also use this information to customize your journey with us.

Brevo automation

Part of the email automation we have set up in Brevo

Ideally you should make this an essential part of your email marketing strategy.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Do regular check-ups: Yes, it runs on autopilot. But sometimes you need to check if the information is still relevant. You might be linking out to outdated blog posts for example. Some prices may have changed (better not to include any in the first place), or a discount code may not be valid anymore.
  • Don’t make the automation cycle endless: Every automation should also have an end point that makes sense. The goal shouldn’t be to make every subscriber click Unsubscribe eventually.
  • Experiment with the timing: it’s very individual. Usually, you can send more frequent emails in the beginning, even daily emails in some cases. But do your own experiments to see what works and don’t be shy to try out A/B testing.

3. Triggered or retargeting emails

If set up correctly, these emails can be ultra-successful. The most popular variant for ecommerce store owners are abandoned cart emails. These will recover potentially lost sales by emailing people a reminder of the products they have put in the shopping cart.

american market example

An example of an abandoned cart email

The basic idea is to look at people’s browsing behavior on your website and send perfectly customized emails.

Just don’t make it sound like you are spying on them:

creepy sales email

A (rather unsettling) retargeting email that was sent to me

Here are some ways to use this technique:

  • Email people who have visited your pricing page several times. Maybe something’s unclear with your prices? Just offer them your help.
  • If you are discussing several topics in your newsletter and one of the links details a product or service you offer, send a targeted follow-up offer to the people who clicked that link.

4. Newsletter

A newsletter is a great tool to engage with your subscribers on a regular basis. As Steve McLeod puts it: “By far the most important aim of your newsletter is to remind current and past customers that you exist”.

So while it’s important WHAT you send, it’s equally important THAT you send regularly. Small brands are forgotten all too quickly unfortunately. Your newsletter will help to prevent that.

But what to write about?

A great starting point is to use actual questions that came from your customers or readers. If you have heard the same question at least twice, it might be suitable newsletter content.

Depending on your brand, personal stories can be a great hook when they relate to your business one way or another. Use these to build real connections with your audience.

If you are active on social media you should also try to use this content for your newsletter. Don’t worry too much about people having seen it already. Just add additional details to your newsletter content and people will appreciate it.

Make sure you read our full guide to writing email newsletters – written by Lizzie Davey, who runs her own successful freelance newsletter.

5. Promotional or sales emails

I don’t know if I have to tell you this, but don’t be shy to send sales emails.

For some business types, e.g. ecommerce, this can be the main type of email you are sending. I don’t mind if my bicycle shop sends me their latest offers once a month. Or my coffee roaster.

For other businesses, you should be a bit more careful. Think about ways to add extra value.

In addition to promoting their classes, a yoga studio could probably also send things like exercises to do at home and relaxation tips. Of course, they can also send a sales email if they offer a new service or run a promotion.

What’s key for promotional emails?

  • A clear value proposition: whether it’s a discount, a special offer, or exclusive content, make sure the value proposition is front and center.
  • Personalization: if you can, personalize your emails based on the recipient's previous interactions with your business. Use their name, reference past purchases, or tailor the content to their interests.
  • Use a call to action (CTA): whether it’s to shop now, learn more, or take advantage of a limited-time offer, your CTA should be easy to find and act on. An orange button can do the trick.

Conclusion

Mastering your email marketing strategy isn't just about sending out a monthly newsletter. It's about knowing how to build a list of engaged subscribers, using automation to your advantage, and really getting what your subscribers appreciate.

Here's the deal: It's not the quantity of emails that wins the game; it's their quality. Now, it's up to you to take these insights and mold them to fit your style and your audience's needs.

Before you press send next time, ask yourself if what you're sending is something you'd be excited to open.

I want you to remember: email marketing is not a one-off sprint. It's a long-term relationship with your audience. Stay curious about them, adapt to their changing needs, and always be the genuine voice they look forward to hearing from.

 

Let me know if you have any questions! 

The authors

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Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hello! I'm Robert, an email marketing expert with over 15 years of experience. After honing my skills at an agency by serving major corporations, I founded EmailTooltester as a passion project to help small and medium-sized businesses. Connect with me on LinkedIn where I regularly share my best email marketing knowledge.

Inka Wibowo

Senior Content Manager

Hi, I'm Inka! I spent the earlier part of my career in agency land, helping businesses of all sizes get their email marketing campaigns up and running. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm using my experience to help businesses like yours find the best email marketing services for your needs.

Learn more about us

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11 Mar 2024 – Complete rewrite of the article

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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

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