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Targeted Email Marketing: 4 Steps To Making it Work

Nov 092020


Email marketing, not unlike most direct marketing efforts, will only work if you put some thought behind it. Not doing so will ensure whatever time and effort you did put in is wasted.

Think about the email you’ve received today. Chances are, there were a few that missed the mark. Maybe they got your name or industry wrong or they mentioned tradeshow season in July, when for you it starts in September. Untargeted email campaigns are, unfortunately, very common.

There’s good news: targeting your email campaigns is easier than ever because of the technology available. With some assistance and a good plan you can target your emails and get a better response rate.

First, start by segmenting your audience properly. If you’ve gone through the process of setting up an inbound marketing campaign via your website, you have already done this part. However, if not, then segmenting your audience into actionable groups like, “ready to buy” or “frequent website visitor” versus just “customer” is the first step. Ideally, these segments will be set-up artfully, in a way that allows you to speak directly to a specific segment with a specific message.

Second, know that all emails are not created alike. Be prepared to create more than one at a time. You just segmented your customers—it should be easy for you to see that “frequent website visitors” need to be communicated to differently than a list of targets you purchased and don’t know anything about.

Third, choose an email program/smtp client that allows you fully leverage the work you did in the first two steps. Meaning, it should allow you to create multiple campaigns and audiences at any given time. Timing is an important part of targeted email marketing. If you do not have the capability to create a campaign on demand for a specific audience, you are losing the strength behind the immediacy of email.

Fourth, measure your email results each time. It’s not enough anymore to see who opened your email—you have to be able to see who clicked on each link, whether or not they forwarded the information to someone else, if they downloaded an attachment or visited your website.

Also important – who didn’t open your email? Were there any bounce-backs? This information is just as important as knowing where the click-through traffic occurred.  You should be checking and fixing these errors immediately after every campaign. Ideally, you want less than 10 percent of your database to generate errors.

While it is hard to give exact success percentages because each campaign is different; be it a large or small campaign—if you make a thoughtful effort to target your emails to specific audiences, regularly measure the results, and tweak the content and contact database based on the information your research turns up—you’ve taken steps in the right direction. A good marketing consultant will also be able to tell you what success looks like for you specifically.

Just keep in mind: it should work more often than not. Special circumstances notwithstanding a targeted email marketing campaign will generate leads and drive traffic to your website.

About Christine Pietryla

For more than 11 years Christine Pietryla has been helping B2B companies use public relations and copy to become leading experts and forces in their industries. See how Christine can help your business get more business at

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