The Top 4 Email Marketing Lessons of 2018

Email campaigns are great channels to generate traffic to websites and keep existing customers engaged with a brand or business, and in 2018 there were four email marketing lessons that stood out. Recent research shows that marketers currently rate email marketing as one of the most effective digital media channels. It competes with organic and paid searches amongst the main channels driving orders, and it delivers far higher volumes than pay per click or display. So, how do we integrate effective emails to your marketing mix? Automation, segmentation, personalization, and design are the four keys to any successful campaign and some of the most important factors to staying relevant.



Automated emails are personalized emails that are relevant to each subscriber. They’re even sent within the most effective timeframe so you can make sure your emails are being viewed. It’s one of the best performing emails that a company could have and integrating them in your marketing campaign can make your customer’s experience more meaningful.

According to Chief Marketer, subscribers who receive a welcome email show 33 percent more long-term engagement with the brand.  

A welcome email gives the subscriber a peek into the brand. Sending an email as soon as the person subscribes allows the brand to thank them for subscribing as well as making an initial connection. Welcome emails should be simple and straight to the point with an eye-catching hero image. Turning the welcome email into an automated welcome series is a great idea to gather data about the subscriber and make your automation efforts more successful.



In an automated welcome series, the first email should welcome the subscriber and offer them a discount code or free download. The second email should request additional information from the subscriber. Inviting them to fill out their preference center so you can provide them with the emails they want to see is essential to maintaining long-term engagement. Finally, a third email that is tailored to their preferences, purchase history, or engagement data should showcase promotions or highlight products that the subscriber will be interested in purchasing.

Birthday or anniversary emails are examples of automated emails that show the customer the company cares. Including a coupon code or free item in the birthday or anniversary email is another great touch and further personalizes your brand.

Tracking viewed products on the website, purchases, and browsing history will also allow you to create a successful automation flow that will engage the subscriber at the correct time with relevant information.

Finally, choosing the correct email marketing platform is crucial for a successful automation campaign. Some email marketing platforms have limitations when it comes to automation. However, platforms like ActiveCampaign will allow you to create intricate automations to deliver the correct message at the right time to all subscribers.



Segmentation is a crucial part in any successful email marketing program. Instead of trying to target every single one of your customers with a single message, segmentation goes more in-depth and divides your existing or potential customers into targeted groups. Emma, an email marketing platform, reports that campaigns that are segmented can lead to a 760 percent increase in revenue.

Aside from basic demographics like age and location, segmentation needs to go more in depth for an email marketing campaign to be successful. Segmentation needs to be based on information that has been gathered from the subscriber. This information includes topics they are interested in, email frequency, etc. Fifty-six percent of people who unsubscribe from emails say it’s because the content is no longer relevant to them. By giving the subscribers the control of picking what types of email they want to see from you, you reduce the chances of unsubscribes.



You can make your subscribers feel valued and increase their chances of converting by paying attention to what they like and what they interact with. This personal information can be gathered from the location on the website they sign up from, frequency of purchases, purchased items, clicks on the email, engagement, and more.

CAN-SPAM regulations are used to protect the customer from receiving unwanted communications and give them the opportunity to stop communications at any point. However, by using careful segmentation, we can tailor messages individually so every email is received positively.

By collecting all possible data on each subscriber, smart audience segmentation can make every email marketing campaign successful.



Email personalization has been a trend for many years, and companies began by adding the customer’s first name to the subject line or body of the email. In 2018, email personalization grew and became more popular than ever. It has now moved away from a simple name on the subject line or a “Hello, John” in the body of the email. Consumers want a personalized experience; they want a message tailored to them. If they feel like an email is not relevant specifically to them, you will lose that subscriber.

Personalization now goes beyond addressing a person by their name. Reminding subscribers that they have items abandoned in their cart, as well as items they were looking at on the website but didn’t engage with, are essential features of an effective email automation campaign.

Product recommendations were one of the most successful forms of personalization in 2018. Products are recommended to the subscriber based on the data gathered about their purchase history, browsed items, and click activity. Emails that include promotions and offers, as well as adding related items that pair well to a purchased item in a post-purchase email, can convince a customer to engage with your brand or website in the future.

Sending emails to subscribers that are tailored specifically to their interests will increase your conversion rate. Email marketing platforms such as Salesforce allow companies to personalize emails through dynamic content and data collected from each subscriber.


Email Design

The design of the email is one of the most important aspects of an email campaign. If an email is confusing to look at or difficult to navigate, subscribers are less likely to continue reading. The best approach when designing an email is to keep it clean and simple. Remove as much text as possible and choose appropriate colors and compelling images that make sense to the reader. The purpose of the email needs to be easily recognizable. If the discount code is hidden in paragraphs of text, it will be skipped over, and the email marketing campaign has a lower chance of success.

A clear and prominent call to action (CTA) is also a crucial part of the email template. CTAs are actionable parts of your email, such as where you invite the reader to shop, read more about your brand, etc. The CTA needs to be clear, easy to find, and in the form of a button. Also, adding social links to the bottom of the email is another key component of a template. Adding a follow button to an email can lift click rates by 150 percent, and it ties all of your marketing platforms together.

Responsiveness is another vital feature of good email design. Email is first opened on a mobile device 51 percent of the time, with the number constantly rising. No matter the audience, it is highly likely that your customers are reading emails on a mobile device. Emails should now automatically adjust the width and images to each screen size. This includes tablets and all mobile devices. MailChimp found that unique clicks amongst mobile users for responsive emails rose from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent, a nearly 15 percent increase.

With all of these new developments, 2018 has shown that email marketing is here to stay. When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving marketing messages, email has the highest conversion rate when compared to social, direct mail, and others.

To create a successful email marketing campaign, companies need to keep up with the constant changes and modify their approach to reach their customers. Segmentation and personalization work together so that the customer gets the email that is right for them with relevant content they want to see. Presenting the personalized email campaign in a visually appealing way allows the customer to connect with the message quickly. Clean, clear templates that will automatically adjust to any device a customer uses is now common practice as well. Finally, companies should automate their marketing campaign to ensure that their messages are reaching the right customer at the right time. Attention to all of these details will increase engagement and chances of conversion.

Choosing the correct email platform and an email marketing partner is also important in making sure the company can apply their new email marketing strategy. A platform should be able to provide all the features necessary for the brand to apply their vision and make their email marketing strategy come to life and succeed.

A great email marketing campaign will keep up with the changes in the industry while catering to the way people want to interact with your brand.