What Your House Can Teach You About Email Marketing

An effective email marketing campaign requires framework. Successful marketers will always be the first to tell you that their campaigns are the work of careful planning and diligent consideration.

It’s actually much like building a house. There’s no way you can construct a building haphazardly, without direction, and turn out a flawless finished product. The result would be chaotic!

The same goes for email. You can’t randomly send messages to your clients and prospects without establishing expectations and formulating a plan, or they will tune out and unsubscribe due to your lack of organization.

Follow these guidelines for constructing a well built house and you’ll be on your way to creating a profitable and manageable email campaign in no time.

You Need a Solid Foundation

The strongest buildings are built from the ground up on a rock-solid foundation. For your email campaign, the foundation is your message content.

The whole point in sending email is to solicit an action. You want readers to click through your messages, buy products and respond to surveys. In order to engage subscribers and inspire those actions, you must consistently send subscribers interesting, relevant and incentivizing content.

  • If you are using email as a sales tool, you want to wow readers with your products and your knowledge, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
  • If you’re using email as a retention tool and are primarily sending informational updates and newsletters, you want to create content that builds relationships.

Sources for Content

  • If your business has a blog, you already have one valuable content resource well within your reach. Try restructuring older posts for your new messages and pick posts with lots of comments – they obviously piqued the interest of your readers and will be relevant and helpful to new subscribers on your email list.
  • Don’t have a blog? Look through old emails from your customers. If you see the same questions about your product or service over and over again, take that as a hint. You could probably create a whole follow up series addressing the FAQs.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content you need to create? Check out sites like Lateral Action and Copyblogger for inspiration and words of wisdom.

Plenty of Windows

Windows let light into your home. They give you different views of your yard and help you keep watch when the kids play outside. They also let your neighbors see in.

Instead of drawing the curtains tight on your email campaign, take the opportunity to give your readers a look inside. Be transparent. Build their trust by making yourself available.

Don’t make subscribers dig for your social networking sites. Instead, purposely link to your Facebook and Twitter pages so that they can’t miss them.

If you put all of the information about your company out there for subscribers to see from the get-go, you will never need to Windex the windows on your campaign or backtrack to make yourself more transparent.

Marketer Bill Gammell relates transparency to an episode of Seinfeld:

KRAMER: Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door, so you can see in.

JERRY: But then anyone can just look in and see you.

KRAMER: Our policy is, we’re comfortable with our bodies. You know, if someone wants to help themselves to an eyeful, well, we say, enjoy the show.

So reverse your peepholes! Get comfortable with your brand’s body and let your subscribers enjoy the show week after week through your emails.

Curb Appeal

Anyone who takes pride in their home understands the desire to make your property as clean and beautiful as possible.

You landscape, paint and generally spruce things up from time to time to keep your house in tip-top shape. After all, your home is a reflection of you.

Your email campaign should be an extension of your business in the same way. You should take pride in its appearance, and realize that a neat and approachable design will only contribute positively to the perception of your brand.

Using beautifully designed message and web form templates is the perfect way to put a professional face on your campaign. With hundreds to choose from, there’s bound to be at least one or two that fits your style.

An Impenetrable Roof

The roof on your building protects your structure and everything inside. Email deliverability requires the same amount of protection.

There are a few things you can do to safeguard your list:

Confirm Subscribers

Confirmed opt-in ensures that you only send messages to people who specifically request them from you. It also protects you from false spam complaints, and ISPs and spam filters give priority to senders who use confirmed opt-in.

Get Whitelisted

Ask subscribers to add your email address to their address books. While emails sent from AWeber customers already whitelisted on an ISP level, it’s important to reduce the likelihood of your mail being filtered to a junk folder on an individual level.

Don’t Take Permission For Granted

Remember that subscribers are interested in a certain type of information, which is exactly what they signed up for when they gave you their email addresses. Send only valuable, relevant information that relates to the topics the reader expressed interest in.

A Maintenance Plan

Even impeccably built homes require maintenance. While autoresponders allow you to “set it and forget it,” the best email campaigns have owners that are extremely involved with their clients and their product.

Keep a close eye on the performance of your emails. Split test your subject lines and use analytics to track open and click through rates.

When necessary, do a little spring cleaning. Your campaign can never be too tidy!

Building your Own Campaign?

Do you have a basic blueprint for your email marketing campaigns? What does it look like?


  1. Steinar Knutsen

    6/22/2010 9:31 am

    This is a great analogy packed with great tips for newbies and some helpful reminders for experienced email marketers to shore up our tactics.

  2. Peter O'Rourke

    6/22/2010 1:01 pm

    Nice analogy. My wife does something similar when discussing marketing strategy with an audience. She usually has a spade and a roof tile with her and she asks her audience to consider which they would use first when building a house? Foundations, in just about every venture in life, are important.

  3. Email Marketing Mighty fine house, slackers & crossing over | The eMail Guide - The search engine for eMail marketing

    6/22/2010 3:55 pm

    […] What your house can teach you about email marketing An effective email marketing campaign requires framework. Successful marketers will always be the first to tell you that their campaigns are the work of careful planning and diligent consideration. […]

  4. Jey

    6/22/2010 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the post, which is what we all need to do.

    Sales = Relationship = Conversation.

    Thanks again for the post.

  5. Mike

    6/22/2010 6:20 pm

    It’s probably a good idea too to poll your readers and ask them what they’d like to see, or any questions they’d like answered. That way, you can be more on target with the interesting, relevant content.

  6. Vickie Smith-Siculiano, PMP

    7/2/2010 8:49 am

    I love the analogy to building a solid foundation first. Especially the impenetrable roof! Great job on posting interesting relevant content for us all – proof in the puddin! đŸ™‚

  7. 3 Tips on Avoiding Leaning Tower of Pisa Online Marketing | Social Media Marketing Blog

    7/2/2010 9:36 am

    […] building online marketing campaigns with a solid foundation (the most recently related to a post by AWeber’s email marketing channel.

  8. Angie Gore

    11/28/2010 7:01 pm

    Excellent article on the fundamentals of email marketing. When I first started I struggled to put together effective, valuable content for my subscribers.