Email marketing success in six (fairly simple) steps

6 minute read

Thank you to everyone who came to my presentation yesterday at the 123-reg 123Conf, ‘Help your business succeed online’ Small Business Conference. Held at the fabulous Google Town Hall in central London, as the title suggests the event was aimed at start-ups, developing and established businesses looking to either get or grow online. Packed audience, great venue, great agenda – thanks guys.

6 steps


I joined speakers on the subjects of selecting a business domain, designing, building and managing a website and driving traffic via SEO and PPC activities.

25 minutes is always a tricky presentation call – it’s too long for a speed pitch or 100 miles up overview, but too short for a more in depth subject development. Being practical minded I opted to focus on 6 ‘must’ do and fairly simple actions for anyone looking to be successful with email marketing. Even selecting just 6 was hard but with the ticking clock in mind I chose to focus on the following ‘take home’ topics:

1. Forget data – collect insights
2. Email marketing is mobile marketing
3. Analyse to continually improve
4. Integrate your apps
5. Create a ‘welcome’ email
6. Make it personal

1. Forget data – collect insights. I borrowed this from KPMG who documented that “High performing businesses don’t simply gather data, they gain insights from the data they possess”. It’s true. Data itself has no inherent value. The value is locked into how it allows you to understand your customers better and most importantly, how you use that intelligence. Think of collecting insights as the first step in being able to precision target your campaigns (we’ll come to that in point 6).

2. Email marketing is mobile marketing. With over 50% of emails being opened on a mobile device (and that’s an average) we must accept that email marketing and mobile marketing are now one and the same. Addressing the need is relatively easy – responsive design allows your emails to automatically adapt to a range of desktop and mobile devices. Other than use a responsive editor and understanding a few simple design concepts, there’s nothing more to do. It’s taken care of.

3. Analyse to continually improve. It’s easy to think of email marketing as a linear step-by-step process. You assemble your data, create you campaign, send and analyse. In reality it’s more of a repeated cycle and the analysing your performance is a critical step in refining your future campaigns. It allows you to quantifiably assess what works and what doesn’t, at a quite granular level, and is the intelligence you need for both improvement and demonstrating return on investment.

4. Integrate your apps. Good email marketing relies on good data and even for relatively small businesses it’s likely that this data either originates or is used in other in-house applications. Integration allows you to synchronise your data across applications like CRM systems, reservation and booking systems, eCommerce and surveys. It means that your data is mobilised across all of the functions in your business and each application always has the most up to information to work from. Integration is one of the most valuable actions you can take and is a critical step in scaling out your business.

5. Create a ‘welcome’ email. Actually this is about the slightly wider topic of Marketing Automation. It’s the key to being super-productive and super-efficient. It’s not rocket science, just simple rule-based trigger and responses that can be used to automate repeated tasks. Welcome emails are a good example (and a huge business opportunity), but birthday campaigns and abandoned basket recovery are also common applications. Along with your ‘insightful’ data automation is a second important step in powering real-time 1-1 messaging.

6. Make it personal. The right message to the right person at the right time. If there is a secret to successful email marketing then this is it. Personalisation ensures relevance which in turn encourages engagement, and engagement drives business. Things have moved on a lot from simple name personalisation. These days it’s easy to use your data insights (see section 1) to actively target and present highly personalised content to different segments (even individuals) in your audience.
There are lots of other topics of course, but if you conquer these 6 then you’re already doing better than many. With nearly 200 billion emails every day out there for you to compete with you’re going to need to be on your game.


If you came to the presentation – thank you. If not, and you’d like a copy of the slides, then drop me a line ( I’ll be happy to send them on to you. Have a great day.