The first email marketing blast was sent 43 years ago. Since then, email marketers have come up with various types of email campaigns in attempts to reach the customers’ elusive inbox.

As an email marketer, you certainly know the basics – personalisation, prominent call-to-action, email list segmentation, responsive design, optimization, etc. More often than not, we pay way more attention to the email campaign’s design rather than the types of email campaigns we must and should send our target audience.

“The ‘From’ line is what recipients use to determine whether to delete an email. The subject line is what motivates them to open the email.”  –
Loren McDonald 

When I say “email marketing”, you are probably thinking about email campaigns that will only drive sales. Yet, your target audience will get bored – and annoyed – if you primarily bombard them with sales email campaigns. Thus, to keep your recipients interested and engaged, you need to implement different types of email campaigns in your marketing strategy that go beyond the sales email. 

This article covers the following types of email campaigns:

  1. Welcome email
  2. Lead nurturing email
  3. Newsletter
  4. Product/service announcement email
  5. Order confirmation email
  6. Confirmation email
  7. Cancellation email
  8. Abandoned cart email
  9. Re-engagement email
  10. Testimonial email

Ready to dive in?

You have an email list. Maybe you have hundreds of subscribers or maybe it’s hundreds of thousands. Regardless, there are three crucial questions you need to ask yourself – 

1) What types of email campaigns should I send my target audience?
2) When should I send my email campaign(s)?
3) How do I build a long-term relationship with them?

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Just launching an email campaign on a whim is not a winning email marketing strategy. You need to know your target audience (i.e. their interests, needs, desires, occupation, etc.) and nurture them by delivering relevant email campaigns. 

With the fierce competition for the recipients’ inbox, sending just one or two types of email campaigns is not enough. You must send email campaigns that deliver an exceptional customer experience while simultaneously selling and provoking interest in your products and/or services. To achieve such a feat, you must leverage a number of different types of email campaigns.

Welcome Emails

Did you know that welcome emails have 50% higher open rates, 5 times more clicks and generate 3 times more revenue per email compared to any other type of email campaign? 

First impressions matter. Your welcome email will set the tone of your entire relationship with the recipient. After all, it is your newcomers’ gateway to your brand. Therefore, it’s your goal to benefit from the increased engagement and attention by introducing your brand and the awesome range of products/services you have to offer.

There is no formula for the perfect welcome email. What elements you will include solely depends on the specifics of what your email campaign is offering. However, there are 4 important factors you need to remember when crafting welcome emails – 

1) showcase your brand – make key features and benefits clear
2) keep it casual and concise – use a conversational tone and ensure the email is easy to read
3) give recipients a perk – offer your newcomers (i.e. subscribers, customers) a welcome gift like a discount or a perk of some sort (a FREE email marketing campaign checklist)
4) say ‘thank you’ – appreciated customers are repeat customers

Take this welcome email from Casper, for example. Apart from welcoming newcomers, the company invites recipients to get to know them and their products whilst also clearly outlining the perk – 100-night trial. From the design and relevant imagery to the catchy, unique copy and prominent call-to-actions (CTAs), they’ve nailed the welcome wagon email. 

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Lead Nurturing Emails

Did you know lead nurturing emails get 4 to 10 times more responses compared to standalone email marketing blasts? 

Lead nurturing emails are specifically designed to target “the undecided” customers. As the name implies, this type of email campaign is used to nurture leads through the marketing funnel and place them in a purchase-ready position. Your main goal with lead nurturing emails is to stay in touch with leads/subscribers and provoke them to purchase by showcasing all the benefits of your products/services.

For your lead nurturing email to be successful, you need to put the subscribers’ needs, interests, desires and pain-points first. Then, and only then, will you be able to deliver relevant, valuable content and, subsequently, achieve maximum ROI. Moreover, 51% of email marketers state email list segmentation is the most effective approach to personalise lead nurturing. You do want the right person to get the right email at the right time, don’t you?

When sending lead nurturing emails it’s important to clearly outline why recipients are receiving your email. For example: We noticed your interest in email marketing tips & tricks and thought you might enjoy having an email marketing pre-flight checklist at hand to help you proof EVERY campaign.” Once you’ve addressed the why, you can proceed with formatting your lead nurturing email similarly to the way you’d craft general marketing emails.

Take a look at Artifact Uprising’s lead nurturing email – 

The brand offers its recipients guides about creating captivating photo books, shares hacks about print display and excites them further with inspirational ideas emphasising the potential value they will gain from the brand. Nowhere in the email does Artifact Uprising mentions anything about making a purchase. Rather, they motivate the recipient to find out more about the brand’s products. From the concise copy complemented with relevant imagery to the minimalistic design and pastel colours, this lead nurturing email is eye candy.

Email Newsletters

Regularly sending email newsletters is a powerful and effective way to keep your target audience updated with the latest and most relevant news, promotions and events. Additionally, email newsletters help you drive your subscribers/customers back to engaging with your brand and maintain a thriving relationship with them.

The main goal of email newsletters, in addition to promoting your products/services, is to keep regular contact with your target audience and increase traffic to your website/blog/etc. To achieve this, your newsletter must be interesting, beneficial, well-structured, personalised and relevant to the target audiences’ interests/needs.

There are three essential tips to keep in mind – 

1) planning – a planned content calendar ready for your content to be plugged-in will make your job much easier.
2) bite-sized info – recipients tend to scan and skim through their emails. Thus, make your newsletter copy “snackable” – bold headlines with a few sentences would be a great way to make it easier for readers to pinpoint the content relevant to them.
3) mix it up – simply offering a list of news and/or updates won’t be enough to compel your target audience to take action. Offer them more – videos, images, guides, how-tos, ebooks, tutorials, etc. 

Email newsletters done the right way are not just sales pieces your target audience would likely get bored of with time. With careful, strategic planning this type of email will help you keep subscribers/customers in the loop with everything related to your brand – on top of educating and entertaining them.

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Skillshare has done a brilliant job with its weekly digest newsletter. They’ve combined videos with prominent headlines and a brief summary to further spark the readers’ interest. The simple, clear and concise design of their email newsletter attracts the recipients through visuals rather than text-heavy emails.

Product/Service Announcement Emails

Product/service announcement emails can be tricky. Usually, people prefer not to receive this type of email often. They are not as interesting or engaging as newsletters or sales and welcome emails. However, they are equally as important as any other type of email campaigns you send out. It informs your target audience that you’ve released some new product or features and functionalities worth their time.

For effective product/service announcement emails, you need to follow these guidelines – 

a) clearly state what the email is all about in the subject line;
b) reiterate the point at the top of the announcement email;
c) describe the benefits of the product/service announcement;
d) make the call-to-action (CTA) crystal-clear and strategically placed; and
e) carefully segment your target audience or you risk getting tons of unsubscribe requests.

Figma’s announcement email, for example, encourages recipients to try some of the company’s new plugins. Figma targeted its current customers only since they are already familiar with the service and much more likely to find the email useful and try out the new plugins.

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

The sharp minimalistic design mimics Figma’s main website style which immediately creates familiarity. The brief email copy makes the new feature function description easily digestible and accentuates the important parts – the advantages. 

Order Confirmation Emails

Did you know order confirmation emails have nearly 8 times higher open rates than regular emails?

You’ve already persuaded a customer to make a purchase. Congratulations! However, once you have the customer’s money, you may think all that’s left is to ship the product (deliver the service) and that’s it – you won’t have to worry about email marketing. You’d be wrong. After a customer makes a purchase, you need to make sure they know everything is going smoothly. Cue, order confirmation emails. 

Apart from including the necessary order number, tracking ID, product/service detailed info, delivery date, etc., there is no need to confine yourself to designing these emails for purely practical purposes. Rather, have fun with the design and be smart. Use this type of email to reinforce your branding, impress the customer and provider further value with relevant product recommendations or discounts on future purchases.

Check out ProFlowers’s order confirmation email. On top of all the “must-haves”, the email clarifies the next step with cute infographics, has an image of your order (bouquet), offers discounts and includes a reminder when the flowers will be delivered. A win-win design.

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Confirmation Emails

Has my subscription gone through? Did I make a typo when entering my email address? Do I need to confirm a subscription to receive emails? – questions people ask when signing up to your email list.

Are my subscribers real people? Spam email addresses? Do they actually want to hear from me?questions brands need to think about.

Confirmation emails are automated emails sent seconds after a double opt-in. They are the second step in a signup process. The first being collecting peoples’ email address and/or first name via your signup form.

This type of email is usually used as a method to eliminate incorrect/invalid email addresses or addresses entered by mistake. Sending subscription confirmation emails will not only ensure you maintain a clean email list and reduce spam complaints but it will also guarantee you will be dealing with engaged users only. 

Furthermore, sending subscription confirmation emails will improve email deliverability alongside your sender reputation

Lastly, your subscription confirmation emails must be concise with clean, short copy that will not distract the recipient from completing the signup confirmation process. You can use either a hyperlink or a CTA button or a unique code that has to be entered in the reader’s browser. Take a look at the wonderful job Republic has done with their email – 

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Cancellation Emails

I won’t sugar-coat it – saying goodbye sucks. Especially if you are saying farewell to paying customers you thought would be around for a long time.

Yet, just because someone wants to part ways it doesn’t mean they will be gone for good. If you craft the perfect cancellation email, you will not only manage to find out why they want to leave but also encourage them to stay. If the latter doesn’t work don’t keep them hostage, alright?

Remember, you don’t need Jedi mind tricks to get to the root of their cancellation request – just ask them.

With cancellation emails, your goal is to gently persuade subscribers/customers to stay by offering an additional incentive – a different pricing plan or access to more features on their current one (for SaaS), special discounts on products/services, etc. 

This cancellation email example from WP Stagecoach perfectly encompassed what subscription cancellation emails are all about. It’s personal, directly asks for feedback and, unfortunately for the business, confirms the cancellation.

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Abandoned Cart Emails

Did you know that 75.6% of online customers abandon their carts?

Don’t let your products/services be forgotten.

Since I don’t like bearing bad news, here is the good news – you can recapture those “lost sales” with the help of abandoned cart emails. Trust me, they are crazy effective with a 50% average click-through rate and 50% of “clickers” finalising the purchase.

Now, to utilise this type of email, you will need email marketing software to set up the necessary triggers, create your email and automate the process.

The primary goal of abandoned cart emails is to prompt the customer to finalise the purchasing process. However, to be ultimately effective, you need to send such emails within 24 hours of the moment the abandonment happened. Otherwise, the customer will easily forget all about their order and move on.

Best practice for abandoned cart emails include – 

a) send multiple emails the first within 24 hours;
b) craft a killer subject line;
c) list the goods abandoned;
d) [if there’s more than one item] show the total and individual price;
e) use an incentive – i.e. a discount; and
f) use social proof to create trust and urgency.

Dyson’s message is a great example of a winning abandoned cart email – 

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Re-engagement Emails

Did you know that email churn rate is around 25-30% per year? Or that 45% of recipients that receive a re-engagement email campaign from a brand will read further follow-up emails afterwards?

Dormant email lists with little to no engagement can be harmful and bring no value to your business. People change emails, companies change names – it’s all a normal part of any industry. Yet, Beardbrand has found an original, creative and unique way to re-engage inactive subscribers and bring the brand to the top of the subscribers’ minds.

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

With a subject line like How fast can you grow?, wouldn’t your interest be piqued? I know if I had a beard, I would’ve certainly opened such an email campaign. Moreover, instead of focusing on subscribers being inactive for two, three or four months, the brand built the entire re-engagement email on the fact that human hair grows about 0.5 inches a month and your beard grew 1.5 inches since your last visit.” 

An uber-creative way of saying – Where have you been?. The re-engagement campaign then goes for gold with product recommendations and a FOMO CTA – Check out what I’ve missed. 

Important: When sending re-engagement emails, segmentation is key. You wouldn’t want to bombard active, engaged subscribers/customers, would you?

The two primary goals of re-engagement emails are to – 

a) re-engage (re-activate) dormant subscribers/customers; and
b) establish if dormant subscribers/customers can be re-engaged.

If you cannot re-engage inactive people on your email list – cleanse it. Inactive subscribers can have a potentially harmful effect on your reputation and, subsequently, your deliverability rate. 

Testimonial Emails

More often than not, email marketers don’t give testimonials and social proof the attention they deserve. Sure, you will put reviews and testimonials on your website but how many of you consider the impact they can have when used in email marketing? This is where testimonial emails come into play. 

Right about now, you are probably raising eyebrows, scratching your head wondering why you would send such an email. But hear me out. I don’t mean you just slap a bunch of testimonials and/or reviews in an email and unleash it on your target audience.

We all know testimonials are customer proclamations (unsolicited ones) certifying and endorsing the value of your products or services. According to stats, 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase decision. Hence, testimonials have the power to influence hundreds or thousands of potential customers. Impressive, right?

Testimonial emails will help you persuade recipients that your product/service is valuable, credible, beneficial and therefore, a “must-have” for them. However, keep in mind the goal is for your customers to learn the value of your product/service and what better way to do it than from other satisfied customers. It’s simple psychology. A product/service recommended by others is considered “better” than a product/service without social proof. 

Moreover, testimonial emails are way more fun and less informational than other types of email campaigns. Thus, you can let your creative juices flow and create unique, engaging emails with eye-popping images and an energetic tone you wouldn’t normally use. 

Here is a great example of a testimonial email from Judy –

Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails |

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is the best, most effective and proven approach to acquiring and retaining customers, developing long-term quality relationships with your subscribers & customers whilst boosting ROI. 

Whether email marketing will make or break your business depends on the types of email campaigns you send and, of course, your email marketing automation strategy. So, it’s imperative to remember that by sending out different types of email campaigns, you will keep subscribers/customers happy, interested and engaged.

These are the crucial points you must remember – 

a) email marketing is the best path to marketing success;
b) every marketer needs to send these 10 types of email campaigns; and
c) [applies to all types of email campaign] segmentation and personalisation are the key to a successful email marketing strategy.

Bottom line, your email campaigns must be visually appealing AND valuable AND perfectly timed depending on the stage the subscriber/customers are in the buyer journey. After all, what good is a crazy-awesome email campaign if it doesn’t deliver value to the recipient?

Are you ready to start maximising your email marketing’s effectiveness?

Highly recommended further reading – 

1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
2) Email Design Trends 2021
3) Email Marketing and Landing Pages
4) Top 10 Email Campaign Examples That Convert
5) Turn Your Emails Into Lead-Gen Machines
6) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)

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