Outstanding Email Marketing (20 years and counting)

This article will be overviewing all aspects of email marketing.

  • Questions like is it still relevant?
  • What is an email marketing strategy?
  • How can email marketing fit within my broader digital marketing strategy?

We are going to dig into some of our favourite platforms to give you seen-shots on how to set up campaigns, manage lists, create landing pages and automations!

Finally this article will breakdown the email marketing ‘must haves’.  We will describe and layout the process that are the industry best practices to ensure that your list is growing and your providing maximum value to your audiences.

Within this article we will also include FREE Downloads of ‘done it for you emails’ covering many of the topics we will be touching on.  These can be simply copy and pasted into your chosen platform, dramatically bringing your email marketing game up to an expert standard.


The short answer to the question is ABSOLUTELY! 

In fact, email marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing tools for all of my companies.  For one company selling physical nutrition product, it is returning a 13,300% ROI on a monthly basis.  

Email Marketing

Compare that to any other social media marketing.

All of the marketing gurus around the world know that your database is gold.  Something to cultivate over time, because it will be the money tree that just keeps printing.

What’s interesting is how many business are not using email marketing.   Over the last few months I have had marketing meetings with several service and product companies such as:

–  Salons

–  Physiotherapists

–  Laboratory testing services

–  Supplement companies

–  Local cafes

Can you believe, many of them collect emails but, do not use them!

As an email marketer this is simply unbelievable, so read on to find out why.


An email strategy would fall under a wider marketing strategy and specifically in the digital marketing strategy.

Specifically there are three main components of any email marketing strategy and generally only 2 get used.

1.  Emailers (that are crafted and sent)

2.  Automations


The 3rd strategy is uncommonly used or known.  It is Partnerships, and we will visit this later on.

Mass Emailers

Mass Emailers are usually sent to an entire database or specific segments of a database.  It will most likely follow your broader company marketing theme, which could be seasonal, promotional or educational.


The goal is to retain high open and click through rates that lead to conversion.

It is critical to know what are ‘standard rates’ in your industry and as a minimum starting point, to be better than standard.


Here is a table with some breakdowns:

Email Open Rates

In order to get amazing traction like this, you will most likely be adding value to your clients by way of:

–  Teaching with new content,

–  Showcasing – special events or sneak previews or

–  Making things enjoyable!


Automations are the second part of an email strategy and are incredibly powerful because they will continue to work for you, when you stop.

Automations are trying to capture a client in the moment to get them to perform a very specific task.  This is referred to as a customer journey.

Examples of automations are:

–  dropped cart emails

–  inactivity emails

–  follow up emails

–  confirmation emails

–  request for review

–  birthday or key time of the year emails

–  pathway emails that are based on actions or responses

–  back in stock emails

–  waitlist emails

More advanced automations use, if/then sequences.   

We will dive into exact examples of all automations later on in this article, as well as provide the ‘done it for you templates’.


Email marketing platforms fall into two categories:

– Primary platform. This is where your entire database will be sent

– Secondary platforms. These should connect to your primary platform, but these platforms are tools that can be used to target different tactics of email marketing (outlined below).

How does a primary platform connect to a site:

How does secondary platforms interact with either the site or a primary platform?

Primary Platforms

As an email marketer, you grow used to using a certain platform.  Our main selection criteria is:

–  How many tools/ features does it have?

–  Can it integrate well with the other systems I use?

–  What are the costs?

Here is a breakdown of our top 3 platforms based on the above criteria

Mailchimp – This is the platform that I personally enjoy using.  It is a huge company, connects to most sites that you will build on, such as Shopify, WordPress, WIX, Squarespace etc.  As you can see above it is full of features and is a great price!

Klaviyo – This is an emerging platform with a different UI than Mailchimp.  You can see it is very comparable on features and there are a growing amount of additional plugins for this platform

Constant Contact – This has been a platform that I have used a number of years ago.  It is also a market leader and very robust with a number of features, integrations and plugins.  You can see how it compares above.

Given Mailchimp is our current platform of choice, ALL of the examples below will be using Mailchimp as the example.


 If you would like to see example breakdowns within other platforms, drop a comment at the end of this article and we will get our team onto it!


On any site there are only 3 categories of people:

1.  Purchasers

2.  People who have some level of interest

3.  People who have no interest and who will never purchase


Given the above categories


Purchasers should have their details captured at checkout and ‘pushed’ to your email list.   These people are validated users.   These people can be:

–  re-marketed to

–  help you to grow by recommending (social proof) and are valuable!

Leads of Interest

For the most part we want to capture the leads of those interested. Here are just some examples of lead capture:

–  something free to download that adds value

–  Entry to a club or another exclusive part of your site

–  a free trial or sample

–  a notification when your back in stock, or a waiting list


You could set up a ratio of – Number of site visits/ Leads captured

This ratio should be improved over time.


We will dive into the mechanics of the above under the Process section, later in this article.

Un-Interested Site Visitors

Those who are not interested are an opportunity!

This is where some leg workout may need to come in. If you have a live chat, you can ask a person why they came or what were they expecting to find?

Remember – amazing companies have been made through a simple pivot.

Take Twitch, the gaming streaming service for an example.

These guys started by offering live streaming (of everything). After almost going bust (many times) they zoomed in on a small but highly engaged market of gamers streaming. Twitch is now the industry leader in streaming gaming!

There may not be a gem in your dataset to find. But if you do it can transform your entire business!


Each of these 3 elements are things you need to manage in order to push up action taking from emails.

1.  Design

2.  Psychological aspects

3.  Value (including relevancy)


All of the leading email marketing platforms will have templated designs that you can modify to get you up and running fast.  However, if you want to be amazing at email marketing, design does not have set rules.  Although there are elements that make design great, a far more robust structure for anything digital is through A/B testing.

A/B testing simply allows you to split your email (in two different formats – knows as A & B) to your audience. By measuring metrics like:

– open rates

– click through rates

– Purchase events

AB testing

You will develop a specific knowledge about what your audience likes over time.

The faster you can test the above and quicker you can iterate, the better the results will be!

Psychological Techniques of Email Marketing

Psychological aspects are HUGE and way beyond the scope of this article dedicated to email marketing.  We will produce a future article dedicated to this topic and will link it here.


Here are some tactics that work:

–   Scarcity – by making your product or service ‘scarce’ it adds perceived value. Think of a ‘limited time offer’ or an event with ‘limited capacity’

–   Time – closely linked to scarcity is time-bound. By creating an artificial time limit to get a discount or deal, before its gone

–   Reminder – there is a rule in sales called top-of-mind. Usually people will make a selection of any one of 3 brands. Most people cannot even name more than 10 brands for a category. Try it, for something like burger franchises. Sometimes your email is just servicing the purpose of remaining fresh is people’s minds, for the time they actually NEED or WANT your service.


Playing with money tricks like:

–   Setting relative value, such as: would you rather 1. have a toaster for $35, 2. bread for $2.50, or 3. the toaster and bread plus a free warranty for $35? Of course it’s illogical, but it’s most likely the toaster only usually sold for $25. So you just got reframed.

–   Price discovery. What would you pay for a pink elephant? This is an issue because you have no frame of reference on what a pink elephant should cost. If I told you a white Rhino is $1million and a green dolphin is $1.25million then I have already set a bar. You will email they believe the value or not.

As a golden rule:


Never use the same psychological technique in two emails in a row.

 People will see through it’s fast!


This works with other laws such as, ‘The Law of Reciprocity’ and become a ‘domain field expert’.

Give, and give, and give MORE until you ask for something. The more you have given, the higher likelihood someone will feel obligated to purchase.

Example: I once heard of a couple who loved candles. They had a blog doing reviews and digging into the entire industry. They have hundreds of thousands of subscribers who couldn’t wait for the next issue. After over a decade of building VALUE and TRUST, one day they decided to create their own range of candles, based on everything they knew about the best candle making and experience.

They put a shop on their site. What happened was what many refer to as ‘an overnight success – selling millions of dollars worth of candles per month!


Value is also closely tied to relevancy.


Let’s say we have a dinner party coming up, and we want to impress our guests. All of a sudden, the wine email I subscribe to, will get opened and I’ll look for something special.

Smart companies will KNOW these triggers.  Here are some examples:

–   6 Months you need another dental appointment so the reminder email is sent

–   Your car company may let you know your tires need to be replaced

–   A protein company may know how long a normal person uses a tub of protein – which triggers a ‘do you need a top up’ email


When combining the above 3 overarching principles and all of the things that can be done within each, email marketing is a science unto itself.

The key is to simply:

To want to do well with it, have fun, watch the numbers and be happy with small gains over time.


The following section is a how-to guide to set up each of the processes of Email Marketing.   We do not cover writing a basic ‘emailer’ as this should be straight forward.  

Within this section there are downloads that you can take for free, that have:

–   Completed email text

–   Example of things that work


A/B testing is often referred to as split testing.  It is the process of comparing two versions of an email and measuring the difference in performance.

Simply they are experiments.  There is one ‘control’ and one variation.  Looking at key metrics, such as open rate, click through rate or lead to purchase rate, you can then allocate a winner, based upon your specific audience.

Another way of looking at it; you pitting two versions of your email against one another, to see which comes out on top.


Split testing


AB testing on Layout

Symbols, specifically around trust

Trust Symbols

Offering a money back guarantee


AB testing

Calls to action

The key with A/B testing is to be able to run it frequently and change fast


Automations of an email marketing strategy are very key.  For small business owners, it helps to free up time, while delivering more value to your clients and expanding your business.

Dropped Cart Emails

For anything to do with the abandoned cart there are some key metrics you NEED to know before you formulate a strategy.  For my own sites, our abandoned cart re-capture rate sits around 25–32% month to month.

Dropped Cart Email

So what do we know and do?


Start at the key numbers asking – “what”:

–   Is the lifetime value of customers on your site?

–   Is your average order value?

–   Margin do you have on your products?

Lifetime value

Once you have answered the above questions you have a great reference range to start working on an abandoned cart email.

Before we do, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. The key is to understand why they dropped the cart in the first place?

You need to ensure that your checkout process is as seamless and as transparent as possible.

–   Do you accept major credit cards?

–   Do you offer ‘other’ payment options like Apple Pay, or Paypal?

–   Are you asking too many questions?

–   Does your site ‘require’ people to make an account?

–   Do you have certifications like SSL and other security checks in place to ensure card safety?

–   Are there basic errors like spelling mistakes that do not promote trust?

As a starting point ensure there are no ‘blocks’ that are causing bottle-necks in your checkout by fixing any of the above issues.

Once that’s clear, you can focus on what to give.

At this point you probably fall in one of two situations:

1.   You sell low margin items

2.   You sell high margin goods/ services

If you sell low margin items, rather than trying to get people back to the cart immediately, you may choose to offer them something free, like a how-to guide, or recipes. Only when they take action on that, is when you offer a discount

If you sell high value items you may be happy to offer a discount up front.


Lifetime value is also very important at this point.

If someone is likely to spend many thousands with you company once they have made the first purchase – then it make sense to sell it at a huge discount or CHEAP. This is why many GURU’s will sell tickets to ‘learning events’ for almost nothing. Because at the event, you will be up-sold to their next package (usually at a fantastic discounted offer)


Again, if your lifetime value of a customer is a ‘one-off’ such as a luxury vacuum, then you may offer something like a free trial, or some level of proof, to help push the sale. Perhaps attend an exclusive webinar for your product – full of testimonials etc.

The key to all strategies is VALUE!

Click here to download our FREE templates for amazing abandoned cart re-engagement for service and product businesses!

Once it’s all said and done:

–   Your google and Facebook pixel should retarget non-purchases over the next month. Showing validating ads and pressing on pain points

–   These people should be added to a special email list that offers MORE. Start having a relationship. Maybe they will come back, maybe they won’t. But at least you attempt to make a difference in their lives

Inactivity Emails

There are going to be many customers who have purchase once, or twice, but then become inactive. It is KEY to note:

“Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.

Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%”

Source – Outboundengine.com

Given this fact, trying to re-engage existing customers, or customers who are on your database, is very cost effective and can be a key source of business growth!

Confirmation Emails, Tracking and Status Updates

Once again, the goal of email marketing automation is to decrease the friction between you and your customers so then there is:

–   Less customer support requests

–   Accuracy and timeliness of information

With regards to a physical product or booking of a service, the confirmation, tracking or update emails ensure you offer exceptional customer service!

As some rules:

–   Keep the purpose of the email in mind. Lead with it, and get to the guts of the email quickly

–   Ensure links are updated and working. There is nothing worse than broken links!

–   Send enough emails to ensure customers are informed, without blowing up their inbox.

Repeat the mantra – Service, Service, Service

Birthday or Key Time of the Year Emails

Sometimes birthday or key time of the year emails such as Christmas can be overused.

Many companies are jumping on Canva and pulling a stock standard photos saying – Wishing you a happy XXX

If you want your automated emails to stand-out then you need to play with some variables.   Here is an example of a Birthday email, with a twist:  

Hey (Clients first name),


I know we are a day early, but we are also super excited! – Happy Birthday for tomorrow 

As a treat, here is a special offer that will last for One Day Only (tomorrow). It is our little gift from us to you


[Name of Company] [Name of Person] [Current Date]



Do you remember reading those AWESOME pick a path books as a kid?

Perhaps you’re a GenZ and you may have seen the Netflix show Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Well, pick a path is contextual, interactive and FUN!

And we can make it happen in an email marketing series which we call If/ Then sequence.

A if/then sequence would be used to:

–   Optimize campaigns

–   Push customers into focused journeys and increase value of an email marketing campaign for the client

–   Keep your database clean

–   Build a relationship

–   Press on different emotions of the client

Planning an email series out requires a pad and paper, or a specific tool to create a ‘tree’.   Here would be a couple of examples of an If/then situation:

Based on a client action:

  • If a client clicks on this link, then
  • Add them to the ‘learn more about XX sequence’

Or if your trying to keep a database clean.

  • If a client does not open any re-engagement email, then
  • Delete them from the database

The variety of If/Then options you could use are almost endless!  Given that we are whipping up a Cookbook that you can download here. 

But that’s not all.  Within this cookbook, we are going to introduce an entirely NEW tool that you can use that is going to literally lift the word off the page (on your if/then sequence) and put a person on the screen.  

Check out our download above to stay on our email list for updates!


Request for a Review Email

Social Validation is a powerful marketing technique.

Our goal is to reward current customers for giving us reviews and this can be automated!

Reviews come in a few flavours:

–   Good/ Great reviews. Suitable for reposting

–   Negative reviews. Ideal for internal teams to compile to see if there is an issue in a company’s process, or where product development needs to happen

–   Missing-Product alert. Sometimes systems go wrong.  When customers gets a request for a review and they DON’T HAVE their product, this is a fantastic communication tool to have your team spring to action!


Here are the two tools we use for our review compilation, Yotpo, Orkeno.  Here are some details at a glance:

Back In Stock, Digital download or Waitlist Emails

We mentioned earlier in the article, there will be a huge amount of people that come to your site who may not buy right now.  Do we just let them go and hope our Google retargeting or pixel picks them up down the road!

Of course not.  Capturing email is the GOLD.

Scarcity creates demand.

A powerful way to build your database on autopilot is to have a 3rd party app that captures customers details, and auto reminds them when it.s ready.

One of our sites, that sells physical products, we want to provide amazing customer service.   So when the product hits our warehouse, clients who are on a waitlist, get the auto email, plus one reminder.  This app is called ‘Back in stock’

Here are some features and how we set it up

The back in stock interface makes it super easy for you to track:

–   Notifications created

–   Those that have been sent

–   & How much money you have made (on auto-pilot)

Back In Stock

The Back In Stock App is clean and has a load of features to ensure that you maximize the potential sales of every shipment that comes in!

Here is an example of some of the notification ‘policies’ that can be set up:

Back In Stock App

We hope this article has been a valuable resource for you. 

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–   Run small businesses

–   Are marketing agencies and look after email marketing

–   Or just an interested individual

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