Why Design an Email Marketing Strategy?

Sarah made a massive breakthrough when she understood how email structured her marketing strategy.  Like many others, she assumed email is out of date.  She had an account flooded by promotional emails but kept it going as a means of communication until she designed her email marketing strategy.

Sarah reads very few promotional emails and spends more time deleting them. What made the ones she read stand out from the others?  They were informative, interesting and entertaining.  Why did these writers rarely attempt a sale?  Sarah probed further and reached conclusions like these:


You can spend a lot of money on social media, buying ads.  This is not a bad thing, so long as the ads open up new leads.  But what happens to those leads?  You need a strategy to hold the interest of people who express opt-in.  Even if they make a purchase directly as a result of the ad, what happens next?  Satisfied customers may buy again but only if you build a relationship with them.

Email marketing helps structure your business with a small financial investment.  The only payment you need is to your email service.  You have an email account in any event, so there is no extra charge there.  If you use MailChimp, you get a free service for up to 2000 email addresses.  Note, the offer is limited and you may need to pay for some services.

You can’t do as much with an email service as you can with Customer Relations Management (CRM) software but you can do a lot and CRM too early maybe a waste.  Find out the limitations of your email service and then seek out what you need.


With an email service, it makes little difference whether you have 100 or 10 000 addresses, apart from higher fees.  Many businesses boast about the size of their lists but quality is more important than quality.  What you need is warm supporters, not cold leads.  100 warm supporters may bring more business than 10 000 cold leads, who lost interest months ago.  Track who opens emails and follows links, to periodically cull your list, especially if the cull reduces email service fees. 

Segment your list.  The email service automatically segments your list, eg by marking new additions, those who open emails, etc.  Manually tag email addresses to record where they came from, their interests, past purchases, etc.  With a bigger list, you rarely send the same email to everyone.  You can write an email for any segment.


This enables you to systematise marketing.  You know where everyone is in your sales funnel and whether they have made a purchase. 

As you grow your list, work out your main sources of new members.  Tag new members and decide what contact you want with new members.  Consider an autoresponder email sequence to introduce them to your business. 

Send emails regularly, so your list don’t forget you.  Even a deleted email fulfils that purpose.  At least one email a week helps keep people aware.  If it contains quality content, the chances are some will habitually open them.  Then, when you make an offer, include a link to the offer on your website. 

Segmentation helps you make targeted offers.  You may offer reduced prices to previous customers, for example.


With an email strategy, integrate other online or offline facilities into your marketing strategy.  Sources of new list members might be social media, PPC, business networking, SEO via your website, manually entered.  This way everything you do integrates into your email strategy.  If something goes wrong with one source of new prospects, concentrate on others until you fix the problem. 

Knowing what you seek means you switch to new methods with ease.   There’s no prescription for exactly what you do.  Every business is different. Once you understand the basics, develop your own approach.

And that’s not all!  Email strategy includes design of products and services.  I’ll show you how next time!

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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