Creating a plan for your email marketing strategy may seem challenging at first, but by following the steps above you’ll have an effective and easy-to-follow email campaign plan in no time. This means you will be a lot closer to hitting your goals of increasing revenue, attracting new customers, and strengthening relationships with your existing audiences!
Did you know there are organizations dedicated to combating email spam? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer. Similarly, things called spam traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they're set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it's old or no longer valid, but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh?
A web-based interface is often available to allow people to subscribe, unsubscribe, and change their preferences. However, mailing list servers existed long before the World Wide Web,[1] so most also accept commands over email to a special email address. This allows subscribers (or those who want to be subscribers) to perform such tasks as subscribing and unsubscribing, temporarily halting the sending of messages to them, or changing available preferences - all via email. The common format for sending these commands is to send an email that contains simply the command followed by the name of the electronic mailing list the command pertains to. Examples: subscribe anylist or subscribe anylist John Doe.

First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy -- which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed's content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce and other CRM data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a predesigned template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
The downside of just making offers is that they’re not useful on their own. People on your list won’t receive any value from you unless they buy what you’re promoting, so they have little reason to stay subscribed. That’s why this email marketing strategy doesn’t work alone. And it’s why many e-commerce sites struggle to keep people interested. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Groupon) that rely entirely on making offers—but then the reason people joined the list was specifically to receive those offers.
The ideal type of opinion (unrelated to your expertise) is one that doesn’t offend anyone, but makes some people relate to you more. For example, I’m a vegetarian. I used to protest whenever there wasn’t a big piece of meat on my plate. But when I tried eating just veggies for a couple of months, I realized I felt a lot more energetic. Sure, it’s more ecological. And often animals are treated cruelly. But those aren’t the things I emphasize if someone asks why I’m a vegetarian. No one in their right mind has a strong negative reaction to someone eating food that makes them feel energetic, right? But for some vegetarians it’s a very meaningful choice, so it might have a positive impact on those people. That said, I highly doubt that my choice of diet have any direct impact on my sales.
This tool provides multiple templates for almost every purpose, including; newsletter, greetings, promotion templates, giveaways, etc. With the intuitive visual editor tool, you can add your own HTML and CSS to give more personalized look. With the built in spam filter, you can cross check your template and make sure it doesn’t contain any objectionable material.
On a more basic level, AI improves email marketing mechanics such as A/B testing and smarter audience segmentation. This can have immediate benefits in terms of optimizing your marketing strategies for different customers and sending the right content to the right people. On a more advanced note, AI can actually optimize email content for specific audiences and product campaigns. Additionally, it can help with personalizing email content right down to the individual customer level, depending on how much information you can feed it from your CRM and sales systems. AI delivers strong capabilities, which means determining exactly how a potential email marketing service has implemented AI should be key criteria for most marketers before purchasing.
Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a revie... See Full Bio

Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.

As a growing business, you may also be looking for a CRM solution, and you'll find that the more advanced email marketing services have begun to crossover into CRM. It makes sense: Both types of software deal with managing and communicating with customers. A handful of these services are one-stop shops, either offering both email marketing and CRM out of the box or as add-on services.
Combines personalization with automation so you can send personalized emails at scale through your own email client, and manage responses through your OutreachPlus inbox. Provides the ability to personalize both standard (name, company) and custom fields (industry, product interest), with full reporting of opens, clicks, replies, etc. Automatically stops all follow-up emails once a response is received.
ToutApp is a great email marketing tool specifically for sales teams. It enables users to create emails fast and follow up on email marketing promotions (via a unique email and marketing tracking feature). Users can view opens, clicks on attachments (e.g. PDFs) and website links and when they’ve responded to an email all in one dashboard. ToutApp also functions as a lead nurturing tool as it allows sales teams to send content to the right people at the right time.
A significant element of email marketing is relationship. Does a recipient trust you? Does a recipient even know who you are? When an email jumps the gun by forcing familiarity too soon, the personalization comes across as skeevy. Intimacy is earned in real life, and it would appear to be the same way with email. Take this example from my inbox; no one has called me lowercase kevan l lee in years.
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