What Brands Need to Know About Email Marketing Strategy

The single greatest driver of email marketing success is subscriber engagement. Without customers who look forward to opening and interacting with your emails, you won't be able to deliver results.

So what's the secret to subscriber engagement? It comes down to one thing: Telling a story that is relevant to each individual recipient and addresses their unique needs.

While brands sometimes try to use email as an acquisition channel, it's most effective when used to strengthen engagement among existing customers. Its real value lies in maintaining, deepening, and nurturing relationships. And no amount of investment in the technical side of things can overcome a lack of authentic, meaningful connection.

How to Deliver Customer Value Through Email Marketing Strategy

There has to be a reason for your subscribers to open, engage with, and keep reading your email campaigns. And no, it doesn't always have to be a coupon. But it should be something of value, whatever that means at the individual level.

You may be surprised to discover that what it takes to deliver value is actually pretty simple.

Rule #1: Do what you say you’re going to do.

Any time brands send content that is inconsistent with what they’ve promised or any time they send content to people who are not expecting it, deliverability and email marketing metrics start to suffer.

Successful email marketers are those who start the relationship out on the right foot by setting expectations from the very beginning. This means being transparent at the time of email sign-up about what type of content your brand plans on sending and how often you plan on sending it.

The next step? Meet those expectations.

Rule #2: Stop guessing. Start asking.

Do the work to figure out which customers actually want to hear from you, and what they want to hear about. Otherwise, you're just guessing.

If you don't know what your customers want, ask what's important to them over email, or by using a preference center. But don’t hide those preference options from your subscribers. Most senders make the mistake of waiting until subscribers are already heading for the exits before letting them know they could opt for fewer or different messages. Show them a shortlist of compelling options at the beginning of your relationship, and give them a real say in what appears in their inbox.

Rule #3: Stop talking about yourself. Instead, talk about the customer.

Marketers fail when they forget they are in a conversation. Have you ever been on a bad date where the other person just can’t stop talking about themselves, and you can’t get a word in edgewise? Did you give them a second date? Email is the same way.

When marketers talk about themselves in email, they’re talking about what marketers need—a sale, a conversion, or just beating their chest about how awesome they are. Your audience doesn’t care about any of that, even if you really are awesome. Your email should lead recipients down a path towards a solution they need.

Rule #4: Be empathetic.

Brands forget: They aren't sending campaigns to recipients. They're communicating with real people. The more email marketing campaigns can speak to the individual on the other end, the better. Research that Forrester conducted on behalf of Braze found that when consumers perceive a brand as human, they’re 1.6X times more likely to complete a purchase.

That's why the most successful brands are those that have navigated from batch and blast emails to 1:1 conversations.

Rule #5: Recognize when email isn't the right channel.

Today's marketer has many channels to choose from. It's important to recognize that email isn't always the best channel for every type of message or customer. In fact, email is most effective when it's part of a broader cross-channel messaging strategy.

Braze Email Inspiration Guide

Braze Inspiration Guide

In every successful marketer’s playbook, email is a must-have channel that packs a mighty punch. No matter the industry, the proof is in the metrics: Brands that send email drive stronger business revenue, such as a 16X increase in purchases per user. So, how can modern brands make the most of email?

Learn more

Email Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Keep up with leading marketers who are at the top of their email game by following these steps to ensure strong deliverability and even stronger engagement.

  1. Build an organic email list, without renting or buying subscribers

  2. Practice good email list hygiene to avoid spam traps and a damaged brand reputation

  3. Make sure to clearly define your email marketing goals to be able to track your performance

  4. Use dynamic segmentation to deliver emails to hyper-targeted audiences

  5. Leverage send-time optimization to deploy campaigns based on ​​each individual user’s personalized high-engagement windows

  6. Take advantage of automated message personalization to include relevant content based on individual preferences and behaviors

  7. A/B test your email marketing campaigns to see what's moving the needle (and what's not) to inform future efforts

  8. Analyze your email campaign results and calculate the revenue your emails are generating to understand the impact of your efforts

Best Email Marketing Campaigns from Top Brands

  • Babylon Pioneers AMP for Email to Achieve a 20% Increase in Engagement

    Babylon Pioneers AMP for Email to Achieve a 20% Increase in Engagement

  • Grubhub Creates Buzz And Engages Diners With Personalized Emails

    Grubhub Creates Buzz And Engages Diners With Personalized Emails

  • How Canva’s Email Strategy Increases User Engagement

    How Canva’s Email Strategy Increases User Engagement

  • Pizza Hut Adds Key New Channels and Drives a 21% Increase in Revenue With Machine Learning

    Pizza Hut Adds Key New Channels and Drives a 21% Increase in Revenue With Machine Learning

  • KFC Ecuador Boosts Revenue by 15% With Cross-Channel Marketing

    KFC Ecuador Boosts Revenue by 15% With Cross-Channel Marketing

Email Marketing Strategy From Our Experts

How Email Can Stay Relevant in the Era of Mobile and AI

"In the marketing space, automation and artificial intelligence can make it possible to provide experiences with a greater degree of personalization and individualization, but these tools depend on your ability to capture real-time information about your users in an always-on, always updating live customer profile." —Magith Noohukhan, Braze Evangelist

Dynamic Content Personalization

Sometimes, the information that you need to customize your messages in the most effective possible way isn’t contained in your customer profiles. With dynamic content personalization (AKA Connected Content), you can customize the messages you send with information taken from public APIs and your brand’s own proprietary servers.

Principles Email Marketers Should Live By

Strong customer relationships are built on a foundation of trust, respect, and care—and taking a thoughtful approach to the emails you send it a key first step in building that foundation.

Happn Used In-App Messages to Boost Email Deliverability by 3X

By leveraging in-app messaging, Happn was able to swiftly transform their email collection strategy and solve for frustrating deliverability problems. By embracing the benefits of cross-channel messaging, they were able to communicate more effectively with their audience, leading to an immediate improvements in their email marketing metrics while also setting the stage for successful campaign in this channel over the long haul.

Compared to the other customer messaging channels out there, email has easily the longest track record of success and the biggest impact on ROI—resulting in a 3.4X lift in LTV. But not all email campaigns and practices are created and executed equally.

For email to really deliver results, it must be responsive, personalized, and part of a comprehensive customer engagement strategy.

Best-In-Class Email Marketing

Even the best-designed email containing the most engaging content can still fail to deliver results. If it fails to arrive in your subscribers' inboxes, that is. That's why it's crucial to adhere to the latest email collection and management guidelines, focus on the right metrics, and know how to avoid spam complaints.

9 Tips and Tricks for Email Deliverability