3 Elements Every Successful Email Campaign Must Have: The Art of Email Science

A computer monitor and envelope showing how to write successful marketing emails.

Email marketing is an art form—an art form underpinned by data and science. But before we get into the abstract of marketing theory, let's look at the numbers and cover the basics, such as the different genres of email campaigns and their practical uses. After that, we’ll get into how no matter the industry, no matter the subject, there are three key ingredients that every company, firm, restaurant, or whatever, must prepare before launching an email marketing campaign with any likelihood of success. 

Email strategy pro-tip icon. The average email open rate for a successful campaign should be between 15% and 20%. 
The average click-through rate for a successful campaign should be about 2.5%. 
The average click-to-open rate for a successful campaign should be between 20% and 30%.

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E. says: We don't do average here at Foster Web Marketing, but you should know the benchmarks!

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What Is Your Email's Purpose? Who Is Your Email Campaign's Target?

First, We Must Determine Which Castle Bowser Is in, Then We Hatch the Plan to Get the Princess. 

Perhaps you want to follow up with previous clients to make sure they’re doing just as great as you left them? Or maybe you'd like to check in with former peers, colleagues, or classmates with a spicy humblebrag? That would be a great and organic way to keep yourself and your firm top of mind. This is an example of the beginnings of a Referral Campaign. Maybe you'd like to reach out to prospective clients to alert them about changes in virtual hearings and how it might affect their cases or those similar. That would fall under an Informative Campaign—the staple 1st and 10 play for every marketer. 

Email Campaign Types Include

>The Welcome Email Campaign: "Oh shoot, there they are, positions everyone! This is not a drill!!" 

"Hey, guys!" This is the standard greeting email. Commonly used as the initial response at the beginning of a campaign, it’s the appetizer. Keep it short and not too filling, you know, like an appetizer.  

>The Seasonal/Holiday Email Campaign: "Happy BirthdayChristmasKwanzaHanukkah!"

This is a feel-good check-in. It shines a little light on the prospect and reminds them that you exist. Win/Win. 

>The "Follow Us on Social" Email Campaign: Wherefore Art Thou Influencer? A follow by any other name would smell as sweet.

Social media has been growing exponentially more important with each passing year. Facebook was the rock, Instagram and Twitter are the wheel, and LinkedIn...LinkedIn is definitely fire. When you're building your social media emails, remember: show, don't tell. There's no harm in being colorful, and don't be afraid to be yourself. To get the most juice from the squeeze, each social media channel should be used for a different purpose. 

Email strategy pro-tip icon.

LinkedIn accounts for 97% of businesses' social media leads!

Digital marketing email word bubble with “psst!” inside.

 E. Says: Each Social Channel Has a Different Use!

Facebook logo

 Focus on your firm or business on Facebook. Link articles and blogs relevant to your practice or focus and follow different themes each week or month. Giveaways, raffles, referral contests also work well. There are even slot machine based apps for lead generation. Get creative with the prizes, get it built, and throw that link into Facebook. 

Twitter logo Twitter is a little bit more about personality. When starting out, you should follow every peer within a 200-mile radius and any supporting organizations and retweet them. Retweet them a lot. After you've gained some traction and some follow backs, start to tweet reactions to relevant news stories or add thoughts to anything relevant you retweeted. Then, and finally, post about yourself and your firm. Personality counts, so be yourself—just multiply your essence by two.

LinkedIn logo LinkedIn has overtaken Facebook and Twitter as the number one referral source for businesses. This is the arena where you put your best foot forward. Build a showcase page, put all of the lipstick on your page headers, and get your stuff out there. Similar to Twitter, follow first, then lead. Follow every peer and relevant association in your state, share their posts, and reply to 5 or 10 posts a day. A sentence is enough. After getting some likes and comments and page/profile views, start posting about things and events that pertain to your firm or business's relevant interests.

A blue circle with “fun facts are fun!” written inside.

  • There were 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide in 2019 (45% of the world’s population).
  • 11 new people start using social media every second.
  • The average American has 7.1 social media accounts.
  • Facebook Business Pages now number more than 60 million.
  • As of 2018, 35% of marketers use live video on social media.
  • 93% of all marketers cite more exposure for their business as the number one benefit of social media marketing.
  • 200 million Instagrammers visit a business profile every day. 
  • 75% of Instagram users take action—like visiting a website or making a purchase—after seeing an ad.                                                                               
  • LinkedIn generates 277% more leads than Facebook and Twitter.
  • YouTube mobile ads receive viewers' attention 83% of the time.

>The "Glad to Have You, You're Lucky to Have Us" Campaign: "You're Great." "No! You're Great!" "No, You Are." "No, You!"

Screenshot of an attorney email marketing campaign focused on veterans affairs.

These emails serve as a not-so-subtle reminder about how happy you are to be a part of your client or prospect's journey and how happy they should be to work with you. They can also be sent after a service has been rendered or a product has been purchased. It’s also an ample opportunity to request a review.

>The "Where You Been?" Newsletter Campaign: Dear prospective client, where have you been? You've missed all these great blogs and super relevant articles! Here are your hyperlinks—read them now, then go get washed up for supper!

Okay, that was over the top, but oh so valid. Newsletter emails can be about your firm directly, but the true purpose is the section covered below, that should be included in every end of month communication: The Top Blogs of the Month section.

Email strategy pro-tip icon.

The blog of the month section can and should be topical. For example, one of my clients who deals primarily with Veterans has a "Mission Brief," which lists his better blogs from the past month. 

Digital marketing email word bubble with “psst!” inside.

E. Says: Unique Calls to Action Don't Hurt Either! "Learn More" sounds like homework. "Learn How to Cope" is more personal, and for some, it might even read like the universe is speaking directly to them, which is waaay cooler than homework.

The Purpose of the Newsletter Email Is Twofold 

First, we want to make sure people keep you top of mind in case of referral opportunities.
Second, we want an additional touchpoint for the people who fall under the spooky "I ghost my lawyers" category (which is covered in the next campaign). People get distracted all the time, and this email is a good kind of distraction. It begins with a "meh" and an email open, and it ends with a frantic click through to The 7 Things Your Ex-Spouse's Divorce Lawyer Will Most Definitely Use Against You.

> The Re-Engage Email Campaign: Or as I like to call it, the "Ghost Buster" campaign.

Every online entity, law firms included, has clients or potential clients that have ghosted them either at the start or somewhere along the intake funnel. Sometimes that can be a "Whew! Bullet dodged!" situation, but for all the others, this type of campaign is one way to get a client back on the hook. Whether it's "Free Consultation!" or "We Now Offer Tele-Law Services Through Our Robust Video-Conferencing Suite," this is the carrot, not the stick. Your mama was right; this campaign has proven that you do catch more flies with honey.

> The Reaction Email Campaign: At last, the time has come to put your sitcom dad pants on and tell your readers, or prospective clients, what you, in all your folksy wisdom, would do in a given situation (or in this case, legal challenge).

Take the chance to answer the implicit question, "What should you do in this situation?" with a story. Score.

Digital marketing email word bubble with “psst!” inside.

E says: A cool reaction email idea would be an estate lawyer doing a mock analysis and probate plan for Patrick Mahomes' record-breaking 500 million dollar contract. 

Google Alerts is an excellent source of steady content to react to. Simply choose a query like "New Hampshire case settlements" or "DUI arrest Oklahoma City," settle into your mid-90s La-Z-Boy, and get to it! 

> The Informative Email Campaign: This is your chance to be the academic your parents always wanted you to be. Do your readers’ homework for them. It’s also a good opportunity to break up dense information into digestible chunks. Be it weather updates for insurance law enthusiasts or local case results for those who focus on DUI appeals, keep your finger on the pulse so your readers don't have to.

Screenshot of an insurance attorney email marketing campaign focused on breaking news.

The Central ThemeThe word “second” with blue and purple drop shadows.

You Can't Have a Story Without a Plot.

Every marketing campaign, email or otherwise, must follow a coherent theme. Just like your marketing collateral should follow your brand's color guide, your strategy for each channel should be concise and in lockstep with your overall campaign objective, which is driven by your predetermined KPIs. 

Is your KPI dependent on generating more traffic? Highlighting blogs might be a great way to go. A reaction email is another tool that’s great when used in conjunction with your email campaign to educate or inform. 

Screenshot of an attorney email marketing campaign focused on veterans affairs.

The example shown above comes from a client who specializes in veteran's law. A story broke about a 2016 arrest of a disabled black veteran, who despite having a valid medical marijuana card, was sentenced to 60 months or 5 years in prison for possession. Taking the current political climate into account, we deployed an email informing other veterans of the dangers of long trips with a controlled substance, regardless of legal standing, while also highlighting that there is an ongoing fight to expand veteran access to those treatments. A relevant news flash coupled with a rallying cry. Nice. We concluded the email with a reminder that virtual hearings are ongoing, and “if you have an appeal that needs to be filed, we can help."

Blue square and envelope with “Veterans affair attorney’s final email stats: 27% open rate 34% click through rate compared to the national average of 17% open rate & 2.5% click through rate” inside.

The word third” with blue and purple drop shadows.

Calls to Action

Okay, You've Got a Plan to Deal With Bowser, You've Got a Great Idea Where the Princess Is, AND You Have a Story With a Smashing Plot. Now it's Time to Put a Moral at the End. (Or the Beginning, Or Smack Dab in the Middle)

  The call to action is the single most crucial element when it comes to digital marketing. Crafting a story about a product or service with a wonderful plot and thrilling theme means nothing if there is no moral at the end. Happily ever after doesn't count. After all, if your client prospect was perfectly happy, why would they be seeking a product or service? The call to action is the must-have moral at the end of your email. 

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Now that we’ve established that rule, let's break it! 

Having a call to action in the middle of your email is totally legal. Leading off with one is okay too. In fact, in this day and age, I'd say it's a requirement to walk up and down the path a few times, then create one of your own. People rarely read what you put in front of them in its entirety. We are a nation of skimmers; so chopping up your email (much like I've chopped up this article) with bite sized-blurbs, tonal shifts, and sentences of varying length can grease the wheels of the reader, sending them ripping through a whole lot of words relatively fast while also coming away with a laugh or two—and an emotional response or a dozen. When you're sure you've got something that might be a catalyst for an emotional response, that's when you pounce with a call to action.

Screenshot of an attorney email with a strong call to action.

For this example, let's take a look at a client that specializes in insurance. For this email blast, we lead with the subject line: "Breaking: 50 Years of Payment? Roof Fight Uncovers Truth about Denied Claims," filling the reader in on the story and highlighting that these things can happen to everyone regardless of half a century of payments and loyalty. Cue self-preservation, cue fight or flight response. The reader is faced with three scenarios. One, they can ignore that little kernel of doubt burrowing its way to the back of their amygdala and do nothing. Two, they trust their insurance provider and also have a thorough understanding of what their insurance policy's fine print entails. Or, finally, three, they figure a free consultation can't hurt.

Gray square and envelope with “Insurance attorney’s final email stats: 19% open rate 6% click through rate compared to the national average of 17% open rate & 2.5% click through rate” inside.

Digital marketing email word bubble with “psst!” inside.

E Says: Try a Call to Action Sandwich! A call to action sandwich is when you start with a call to action, throw in a micro-moment-inducing blurb, then follow up with a call to action! They are super tasty and good for you too!

So, dear readers, there you have it—easy as one-two-three! Bowser won't know what hit him! I mean, apply the principles outlined in this blog, and your email campaigns will do more with less and a behemoth amount with more. 

So get out there and rescue a few princesses!



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