4 Keys to Email Marketing Success

When it comes to email marketing success, the answer is almost always, “It depends.”

You ask: What’s a good open rate? What should I write on my opt-in form? What works best as an incentive?

And you hear: that depends on your industry, depends on your audience, depends on the role that your company plays.

But there are a few things that don’t “depend.” They’re core ideas that apply to every situation. Without them, you’re likely to flounder. With them, you pretty much can’t help but flourish.

Keep reading to discover the keys to email marketing success. Then if you want to explore them further, check out the article that inspired this post by Loren McDonald.

01 Know Your Goals

What, specifically, are you trying to accomplish with your business? And how, specifically, will successful email marketing get you there?

If you can’t answer these questions clearly, it’s time to take five, grab a pen and do a little brainstorming.

And if you need a place to start planning your strategy, use this article as a map.

02 Measure By the Right Metrics

If you’re trying to develop a cult following in a radical, narrow niche, you wouldn’t focus on keeping your unsubscribe rate low. If you’re trying to spread a message and build a like-minded community, your sales rate is perhaps not as important as how many unique opens your messages get.

So take a look at all the ways you can measure what your emails are accomplishing. Which show your progress clearly and directly?

03 Build Relationships

Yes, we write about this one a lot. Because if your subscribers don’t have a relationship with you, they won’t care what you have to say.

So design your emails to spark their interest. Then grow their trust.

How? Find ways to make your marketing transparent. Invite your readers to your social profiles. Listen to what they want.

And watch this video interview of lifestyle revolutionist Chris Guillebeau to find out how to use your emails to build a community.

04 Streamline Your Efforts

To get ahead, you’ll need to cast any clunky or broken processes overboard. So search them out. Can you replace them with methods that produce the same results faster? Better? At less cost?

Finding ways to create emails efficiently can help. So can automating how your lists interact.

But the real secret here is to never declare this task finished. Your target is “being better.” And every time you hit it, you’ll find a new distance to aim for.

Charting Your Course

Thinking about your campaign on this abstract level will shift your perspective. Instead of mindlessly traveling along your current course, you’ll know just where you are and where to step next.

How often do you take time as a marketer to think about the big picture? What questions do you ask yourself?

Start Your Email Marketing Campaign Today

Now that you know the keys to successful email marketing, isn’t it time to start building profitable relationships with your customers and prospects?

Try AWeber today for $1.


  1. Jack Leblond

    3/30/2011 9:09 pm

    Nicely done. I like your statement about always doing better. The list is never perfect and neither are your emails, there is always room for improvement.

    Thanks for the link too!

  2. juliet neguwon

    3/31/2011 4:26 am

    oh Aweber,

    This is excellent stuff and i love reading all your articles that have helped my business flourish.

    Keep sending me more.

  3. Aaron Schulman

    3/31/2011 10:28 am

    For some of our clients, building relationships has been the key – I do not think that relationship building should come secondary to anything else in marketing simply because-

    If you are focused on making solid relationships, you will have their best interests in mind at most “Strategy” times and your tracking, forms, split testing will me motivated with the heart to serve them as human beings instead of revenue resources or ATMS –

    I like what one copywriter said (and probably parroted by many) –

    You should write your copy (and focus on your campaigns) as though you were writing to a friend. . .

    If # 3 above is the foundation, I have seen and believe that it comes through in all of your messages, intent, as well as strategies and motives behind improvement.

    Thanks for this post.

  4. chariboy

    3/31/2011 8:47 pm

    Enjoy reading and learning from it..

  5. umar sidik

    4/2/2011 8:29 pm

    thank for your help, i m learning everything.

  6. Darrell R McIntyre

    4/4/2011 6:38 pm

    You have started to open my eyes as to how difficult internet marketing really is. Thank you.

  7. R

    4/5/2011 3:11 pm

    Well…I would be really happy if its easy as it seems to be.
    Its still the same story.

  8. Matt Alston

    4/9/2011 4:44 pm

    Excellent guidelines. They are core ideas for sure.

    I want to speak for a moment about building relationships as opposed to building just numbers.

    In both online and offline marketing the key component is TRUST. A client buys from a PERSON not a company when you build relationships. I used this simple truth in offline marketing to generate $50M in revenue.

    In so many online marketing campaigns I see list building being done for volume not for quality.

    My core beliefs are these:

    Know your niche

    Offer them what they need.

    Build a relationship and build trust.

    Recommend products that are of value to them.

    That is the underlying methodology for success in my world.

    Your Aweber system provides a perfect platform to locate, and then build online relationships in this way.

  9. Stephanie

    4/13/2011 7:50 am

    Good article! I have also wrote an e-mail marketing program
    Please have a look and tell me what do you think about it.

  10. Amanda Gagnon

    4/13/2011 8:18 am

    Aaron ~ “as though writing to a friend.” That sounds about right.

    Stephanie ~ You’ve got some really strong statistics there! The only thing I might suggest is linking to the original sources, and maybe linking some of your big ideas (click tracking) to articles that explain them in depth. Good work!

  11. Matthew Alston

    4/13/2011 3:14 pm


    I was looking at your program and find the content to be a simplistic yet useful guidline for a campaign. The stats lend some credibility.

    I have a comment on graphical style.

    I find light text on a very dark background hard to read.

    Also the Dark color gives the site a dreary feel in my opinion. Email and blog colors are a big part of the message an must engage the reader.

    I always use brighter, uptone, excting color for business email marketing.

    If you are however marketing a disco or a bar then the dark colors may appeal just fine to the clients that frequent those types of sites.

  12. Jessica Johnson

    5/23/2011 12:11 pm

    These are four really good steps. I believe that they really will help any email marketing campaign. I do also think that you will always have things to improve upon but if you try your best to stick by these rules it will greatly enhance any email campaign you are working on.