The Internet’s growth has been rapid over the years and it has become the main medium for people to obtain and share information. Businesses have taken the leap to replace marketing and promotion over traditional mediums such as TV and radio for different types of online promotion. Social media marketing and search engine optimization are increasingly popular modes of online promotion but what about the age-old email marketing?

Email marketing is a very cost-effective marketing tool that is highly targeted and is also shareable and measurable. There were 3.9 billion email accounts around the world in 2013 and by 2017, the number is expected to rise to 4.9 billion.

From a volume perspective, emails have great potential as a communication and marketing tool. Successful email campaigns offer outstanding ROI on marketing dollars. Moreover, the huge amount of data received from emails can assist marketers in creating a cohesive customer journey. Hence, it comes as no surprise that emails are the top source of analytic data for marketers.

However, the rise of spam and junk emails remain a huge concern among consumers. Marketers are beginning to question if email campaigns are effective. Thus the next logical step is to consider, how to run a successful email marketing campaign without being marked as spam..

Good email marketing…

  1.           Has an irresistible title.

This is the singular most important element of email marketing. A catchy title not only grabs the attention of the user but also increases the chances of it being opened. After all, you are fighting for attention in a sea of emails since an average office worker receives up to 121 emails a day. Understanding what makes your customers tick can help you create intriguing subject titles that resonate with them on a deeper emotional level. For instance, a luxury hotel in Phuket targeting its database comprising mostly mothers could use a title like “A tired mum’s guide to a luxury vacation”. Keep it short and sweet though. It should be clear, concise and can sometimes even execute a sense of urgency. For instance, “30% off your next workshop when you book today”. Lastly, definitely do not mislead with trigger words like “Free!” when there is a minimum spend required.

  1.           Is visually captivating.

Visuals are powerful elements in email marketing. Your readers will likely hit the delete button if the email appears cluttered and information is disorganised. Visuals should enhance the message you want to bring across and is a combination of legible fonts, balance of white spaces and appropriate use of images. The use of a clear and clickable call-to-action button can go a long way to increase click-through rates and is an immediate visual representation of what you want your audience to do. Make sure it leads them to the right landing page of your website as there’s nothing more frustrating than to click through to an empty page. Lastly, go easy on the caps. It appears like you are screaming and can be a turn-off to readers since nothing on your email should be screamed out loud. That’s what the clickable call-to-action button is for. Here is an example of an email marketing done right by Uber. The subject title is clear, concise and there is a good balance of white spaces all around the email with visuals that are quirky yet complement the overall message. A simple call-to-action button at the end of the email completes the message and encourages readers to take the next step.


  1.           Sets the right tone for the stage.

Crafting messages in your email campaigns in a tone that’s unique to your brand will make them resonate with your customers much more than a generic template. When done consistently, email marketing builds familiarity among your audience and a unique tone sets you apart from competition. How you communicate it is just as important as what is being communicated. A great example is one from Dropbox who chose a simple yet quirky manner of voice suggesting that an account that hasn’t been used is feeling kind of lonely. The message is clear, short and simple yet captured the brand’s unique voice succinctly.


  1.           Is personalised.

Personalisation increased open rates by 26%. Successful personalisation involves segmentation. Customers can be categorised based on their demographics, purchase history, browsing activity or interests. Tailoring your message to each group of audience means they’ll receive a message that’s more relevant for them, resulting in higher chances of opening the email. Segmented campaigns drive a 760% increase in revenue so it definitely pays to personalise your email. Spotify shines in this example: the message is personalised, targeted at a top listener of Lady Antebellum and a special offer awaits with a clickable call-to-action button.

  1.           Embraces mobile.

Digital connectivity in Asia is at its all-time high largely due to the widespread access to internet-enabled smartphones and portable mobile devices. As of 2015, there were an estimated 1 billion smartphone users in Asia Pacific as mobile penetration continues to increase in developing Southeast Asia countries. There are already more mobile subscriptions than people around Southeast Asia. Smartphone users in Singapore and Hong Kong show distinctly high smartphone usage especially to check emails. This is clearly the digital age of marketing and good marketers embrace mobile by adopting it in marketing campaigns especially email marketing because about 53% of emails are being opened on mobile devices today.[8] Mobile-responsive email templates also increased click-through rates by up to 15% according to MailChimp.[9] You definitely want your readers to open your mails but you absolutely want to avoid them opening up to a gnarly mess of texts and images.

  1.           Is democratic.

Great email marketing campaigns start with empowering your customers to choose what they want to receive from you. They must be given options to indicate how frequent they would like to receive the emails – daily, weekly or monthly – as well as what type of emails: product updates, promotions or third-party updates. By giving your customers control of what they want, it enables you to send highly targeted on-message emails to a captive audience that want to receive updates from you. This is why email marketing is a highly powerful marketing tool.

To sum it up, here are some questions to answer before sending out your emails:

  • Is your subject headline short and concise? Will it mislead your audience?
  • Do the images enhance content or serve no purpose?
  • Will readers understand what is the purpose of this email?
  • Is it optimized for mobile?
  • Is this the email the intended recipients would like to receive?

If you want to learn more about effective e-mail marketing, ALPHA Camp is hosting a workshop on crafting e-mail marketing.

Interested to dig deeper? E-mails are just one tiny part of digital marketing efforts. ALPHA Camp is launching a full-time bootcamp on digital marketing skills that you need to hack and accelerate your company’s growth. Apply now for our intake in January 2017!