Molly Ploe

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Email is one of the most important channels in your marketing strategy.

There are tons of reasons for this:

  • The ROI is just right: $42:1, according to Litmus. Or, if you always A/B test, up to $48:1.
  • It’s super easy: Once you have an email list and a process in place, sending out new messages is just a matter of drafting copy, scheduling the launch and perhaps doing some basic segmentation.
  • It works: 55% of marketers rate their email performance as “good” or “excellent,” Upland Adestra’s 2019 Email Marketing Industry Census found.
  • It’s versatile: You can put just about anything in an email: sales promos, pretty pictures, personalized messages, interesting content and tons more.
  • It fills the sales funnel: A survey of B2C marketers rated email newsletters as the No. 1 type of content to secure and nurture leads, and the No. 2 way to convert them.

As beneficial as email marketing can be, it does take a good amount of effort and planning to get your strategy to a place where it’s actually delivering on business and marketing goals.

And that’s where so many marketers struggle to see the ROI and performance that statistics like the ones above promise. Some of the biggest challenges to achieving success through email include insufficient internal resources, lack of data and little to no strategy.

Each of these challenges can be overcome, and by doing so, any organization’s email marketing strategy – and specifically, its newsletter – can begin delivering on important business and marketing goals.

Specific goals to target through email newsletters

While every organization’s newsletter will be unique, its goals likely are not.

Here are some common objectives marketers aim for with their email newsletters, and methods by which you can achieve them:

Drive more sales

Sales are by far the most universal objective for email marketing strategies. To increase sales through your newsletter, you can take a direct or indirect approach.

A typical indirect approach would be to drive people from your newsletter to content on your site, most likely on your blog or resource section. There, the reader sees a CTA for a commercial landing page where they can make a purchase or complete another bottom-of-funnel type of conversion.

A more direct way to influence sales through your newsletter is to actively promote your products. When you add a new offering to your catalog or make improvements to existing ones, say so in your newsletter.

Alternatively, add personalization to your newsletter such as by reminding recipients of products they’ve viewed on your site but have yet to purchase.

Improve brand awareness & strengthen relationships

As the second-most common objective for email marketing programs, increasing brand awareness is a high priority among email marketers. Luckily, an email newsletter has everything you need to do just that.

The design of your newsletter sets the tone of the email and should make a strong impression on the reader. Consistent branding in your marketing assets, including your newsletter, helps to establish brand recognition and promote recall.

The content also plays a key role in building brand awareness. You should be sharing the types of content your readers want, whether that’s informational articles, product coupons, video tutorials or something else.

Deliver content that’s relatable, enjoyable and shareable. Doing so will establish your brand’s newsletter as one message in their inbox they won’t delete.

How do you find out what your readers want? By analyzing your data – more on that in a moment.

Acquire & nurture leads

Newsletters are great for lead acquisition and nurture for two reasons:

  1. It’s a low barrier to entry. It takes zero effort to sign up for a newsletter.
  2. The people who elect to get updates from your company will probably also be interested in buying things from your company at some point down the line.

Most marketers already create content for various stages of the sales funnel. Use your newsletter, as well as a segmentation strategy, to distribute that lead nurture content to the right people at the right time.

Strategies for reaching newsletter goals

We’ve now covered the ways you can tailor your newsletter to meet specific goals. But a strong marketing newsletter involves strategy that goes beyond the design and content of each edition.

Here are some tactics to give your organization the best chance at meeting the goals you’ve set:

Make signing up easy

If your blog readers don’t know you have a newsletter, that needs to change ASAP. Signing up for the newsletter should be an easy and obvious thing to do.

You can encourage people to sign up for your newsletter by placing CTAs throughout your website (especially your blog) and using a simple sign-up form.

We found that a pop-up form worked wonders for our newsletter list. Within 3 weeks of adding the pop-up to the blog, our daily subscribers count increased 523%. Here’s more about how that happened.


Save blanket-style marketing messaging for your billboards. With email, you can get super specific about the messages you send to targeted groups of people.

Most marketers already do some form of segmentation, even if it’s just differentiating between people who have spent money with your organization and those who haven’t (yet). 84% of marketers say they practice basic segmentation in their email marketing programs, and 12% said they plan to, according to the Email Marketing Industry Census.

Meanwhile, 35% of in-house marketers and 37% of agency marketers operating on their clients’ behalf say they use advanced segmentation techniques. 47% of in-house marketers and 37% of agency marketers say they plan to begin doing so.

Here are some examples of basic and advanced segmentation:

Basic segmentation:

  • Gender.
  • Geographic region.
  • Client/customer vs. prospect/lead.

Advanced segmentation:

  • Browsing behavior – e.g. whether they’ve visited a particular product landing page.
  • Engagement – e.g. whether they clicked on a link in a previous email.
  • Custom parameters – e.g. whether they’ve filled out a specific form on your website.

Data analysis

Every marketing campaign – email or otherwise – should be guided by data. Your email automation program should provide some sort of data collection and analysis capabilities so you can review metrics like:

  • Open rates.
  • Click-through rates.
  • Click-to-open rates.
  • Unsubscribe rates.

Lean on your data to plan your next campaigns. Use what worked and adjust what didn’t.

Also, check how your email readers respond to your website by tracking how many site visits you can attribute to email in Google Analytics. While you’re there, see how your email readers react to your website by looking at:

  • Bounce rate.
  • Time on page.
  • Pages visited.
  • Conversion rate.

Follow-up messages

No matter how good your email marketing program is, you can count on your emails getting buried in someone’s inbox. Your readers are busy, just like you.

So: Follow up. If someone is engaged with your brand (and you can tell based on the data), they probably won’t mind being reminded of a promotion they clicked but didn’t convert on, or being asked what they thought of an asset they downloaded from your newsletter.

Your newsletter may be your “in” with a prospect, but the way you nurture that lead is what matters to your bottom line. Follow up with them in a strategic way to keep your brand at the top of their mind and inbox.

Next step: Reach those goals

Once you have a process established, your email newsletter should be a low-effort, high-value marketing asset. Now that you know how to set and meet your newsletter goals, it’s up to you to build or improve upon your newsletter strategy.

Need more info about getting your newsletter strategy off the ground and delivering results? Check out our full guide here.