If you’re a savvy shopper, chances are you already understand the power of joining a mailing list. Discount codes? Yes, please. Exclusive offers? Yup. Private flash-sales? Please and thank you.

This is a prime example of effective email marketing.

Before you even realized you needed that sleek, leather jacket, or that designer handbag, or that shiny new Bluetooth accessory – there it is. In stock, 20% off, and free shipping for the next 24 hours.

*AKA hook, line, and sinker.

Email marketing isn’t magic, but the way it enchants us is just as mystifying. No surprise, there are quite a few Jedi mind tricks at work behind the scenes – after all, top marketers spend billions of dollars researching calls-to-action, trigger words, and enticing imagery. The takeaway for you though, is how much influence well earned rapport and targeted messaging can have on your consumers (when channeled appropriately.)

Smart companies know that while social media still ranks supreme for generating brand awareness, when it comes to actual conversions – real, tangible return on investment – having an effective email marketing campaign is an indispensable asset.

The catch is, what exactly is an effective email marketing strategy? What differentiates a welcomed pitch from annoying spam? How do you craft a campaign that organically grows your following and maximizes conversions?

So What is Email Marketing? A Little Clarity…

By definition, email marketing is essentially any form of marketing that uses electronic mail to promote, advertise, or communicate commercial opportunities to a potential customer.

And yes, you could technically consider just about any form of email sent to a consumer as “email marketing” – however ineffective that may be – but that’s not our goal here, right? No proper business model thrives off being spammy. Aim a little higher, chief.

To grasp what makes email marketing so effective, you first need to understand that it’s a privilege (not a right!) to be granted access into your customer’s inbox. Treat it as a sacred space. Rest assured, if you’ve already crossed this first threshold, you’re doing something right. Whether you’re offering something of value, you’ve got a great newsletter, or you forward the best funny cat memes – you’re in.

Don’t abuse it by screaming at the top of your lungs to buy something. Nobody likes that guy. Be cool.

Begin thinking of emailing marketing as an opportunity to enhance your relationship with your customer. It’s a chance to sidestep the umbrella sales pitch to be personal, dynamic, and laser-focused. Successful businesses achieve this by cultivating an air of exclusivity with their email campaigns – something that isn’t easily replicated on social media platforms.

For example, trendy clothier John Varvatos offers early access to seasonal discounts in the form of “private sales” for its recipients. Crafted to resemble formal invitations to a black-tie event, these emails include a “guest” name, a secret promotional code, and hours of attendance.

Personal? Check. Dynamic? Check. Laser-focused? Check.

How to Use Email Marketing Effectively

The key to using email marketing effectively is to match your customer’s expectations. Think to yourself, why did they sign up in the first place? What did you offer to get invited into their inboxes? Discount codes? Upcoming promotions? Product updates? Being consistent with your delivery is the first step to building a positive relationship with your consumers – and it’s essential for cultivating brand loyalty.

Next, if you want your email marketing to succeed (i.e.: out of the spam folder) you have to know your audience. That’s going to look different depending on what your business is: a boutique fashion designer will have a different look, feel, and voice than an up-and-coming real estate developer.

That’s okay.

But also consider that a customer looking to receive bullet-point updates on a product is probably not going to tolerate a lofty narrative about your company’s mission statement; likewise, an occasional coupon isn’t going to sway someone looking to understand your brand’s story from your bigger, flashier competitor.

Be conscientious of why customers have chosen to be included on your mailing list. And be sure you can deliver on your promises. In other words, meet their expectations.

No matter your industry, you can optimize your email marketing strategy by following three steadfast rules:

Have a clear purpose. Be specific. Be concise.

A. Have a Clear Purpose

It should go without saying that you never pester your customers without something of value in tow. Whether it’s an announcement for an event, a limited time offer, or an inventory update – it’s bad form to pop into their inbox without a clear purpose.

Your readers should be able to identify your “why” at a glance.

B. Be Specific

What are you offering? How much? For how long?

In short, this is where you need to be as direct as possible with your reader. Nobody gets upset about the chance to save money, but it’s up to you to deliver in a way that doesn’t sound gimmicky or waste time on irrelevant details.

C. Be Concise

Take the time to draft a clear, consistent template that all your email announcements can follow. Structure is crucial! Nobody should have to scroll through a chunky block of text to understand why he or she is hearing from you.

Why Email Marketing Works

Think back to high school, when one of the popular kids let you “in” on what was going on in their circle. Be honest, did you get giddy feeling like you were part of something exclusive? Did it make you like the person who included you even more?

Email marketing is effective because when it’s done right, it speaks to the customer like a good friend cueing them in on something spectacular. As social creatures, we can’t help but bridge friendship with loyalty.

By committing to meet expectations by providing consistency and value, your rapport with your consumers will flourish like a friendship. Every brand has a story, a voice, something that makes it unique – and targeted messaging can help customers associate you with a cause, belief, or narrative they personally align with.

In terms of growing and maintaining a successful eCommerce business, email marketing is also the most cost-effective method of achieving (and charting) conversions.

With email marketing, your exact return on investment can be tracked and recorded.

Accessing analytic tools (which are included by most service providers) allows you to hone in on potential weakness and adjust your strategy accordingly. Are you seeing a high bounce rate? Emails aren’t reaching their intended destination – refresh your list and remove invalid or old addresses. Low open rates? Your emails are DOA (deleted on arrival) – tighten your scope and re-evaluate expectations. Low click-through-rate? Your copy is likely not concise enough, or poorly organized – improve the structure and be more specific.

Reports have shown that email marketing surpasses social media marketing by a significant margin, and innovative businesses are beginning to shift with the digital tide.

Crafting an effective email campaign can reach a broader audience at a fraction of the cost, delivering personalized, targeted messages directly to consumer inboxes.

Successful vs Unsuccessful Email Marketing?

An effective email marketing campaign doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes considerable planning and effort to craft a conversion strategy suited to your unique business model. There are numerous insightful resourcesthat claim to narrow down the optimal frequency, time of day, and day of the week to send emails, however this data can often be too generalized to implement effectively.

Ultimately, the best approach to managing a successful email marketing campaign is to dive in using analytic toolsthat provide you with in-depth performance metrics.

Learning to interpret hard data is crucial to formulating action steps to address weaknesses (or in some cases, outright failure.) Keep in mind, analytic tools are effective in outlining a dependable send schedule, but it will be up to youto decipher next steps to increase your open and click rates.

An excellent alternative is to outsource this task to a professional who is already well versed and proficient in developing successful email campaigns. Hiring a marketing agency can expedite your email campaigns success and ultimately save you time and money.

Full-service marketing agencies, such as Dreamentia Creative Laboratories, specialize in utilizing a myriad of analytic tools to formulate strategies that are efficient, effective, and personalized to your business.

Professional marketing agencies like Dreamentia offer comprehensive consultations to ensure your brand’s success in all aspects of email marketing – including copywriting, graphic design and development, and social media integration – allowing you to focus your time on more essential matters, like running your empire.