Top 10 tips for building an email marketing strategy

10 mins read

LAST UPDATED 10th June 2024

PUBLISHED 3rd October 2023

email marketing strategy - graphic

Is email marketing fading out?

This debate has been getting a lot of traction recently but we can confirm it’s still a very effective channel for lead generation and nurturing your customers. 4.2 billion people have active email accounts and email marketing revenue was estimated at 10.89 billion globally in 2023.

Whether it’s B2C or B2B you can depend on email marketing for clear lines of communication to your customers. You can nurture their beliefs, offer incentives and capture a huge audience with one email. You can consistently target them directly and share the latest updates from your brand.


  • How do you build a strong email marketing audience?
  • How do you plan an email schedule?
  • How do you write persuasive emails?
  • How do you generate valuable leads?

 All of these burning questions will be answered.

Our top 10 tips for email marketing

1. Understand the principles of email marketing

Whether you have a pre-existing email marketing process or are just starting out, these simple steps are important to understand:

  1. Find your audience
  2. Segment your audience into lists
  3. Create automation
  4. Build relationships
  5. Refine your sales

It’s easy to miss any one of these steps in your email marketing process. Many forget the simple principles and get caught up in sales, sales and more sales emails.

2. Hot and cold cognitive states & the persuading and nurturing divide

This is top-secret… just kidding but it is an important ingredient to any email. Understand what a cognitive state is, and you’ll convert more leads into sales.

Hot Cognitive: Emotion, Feelings, Impulsive, Desire and Driven

Cold Cognitive: Analytical, Thoughtful, Rational, Sensible and Doubtful

If you are in a hot cognitive state you are driven to act on your emotions and desires. This makes it easier to convert a lead to a sale. The secret is storytelling, as it is human nature to tell and hear stories. Tell your story, nurture them and avoid persuading them all of the time, build a relationship with stories and get them in a hot cognitive state.

If someone is in a cold cognitive state they are doubtful and will think before they make their next move, analysing all options. They are difficult to convert from a lead to a sale. The easy option for them is to not make a decision, which is where you’ll find most of your customers.

The rule of thumb with email marketing is that:

25% is persuading and 75% is nurturing

email marketing

3. Segment your audience into lists

Ask yourself, have you segmented your audience into advocates? Repeat buyers? Or any type of category? This is a key step to mastering email marketing, segmenting your lists out can help you understand your audience and what content to provide them with.

It is important to build a list that is strong, but just because you have a large list of customers doesn’t mean that you will be getting a high number of sales.

The quality of your list needs to be considered and who your valued customers are. You want to spend time touching base with these customers the most. Why spend all your time sending emails to people who aren’t ready to purchase? Segment this audience out, get them into the hot cognitive state, and look at the bigger picture with them. This is your pool of customers to target in the long term.

If you target customers who are your advocates you will retain your quality of leads, and see new and repeat sales.

Work smarter, not harder and you will see the results. Spend your time and resources on the right lists.

4. Persuade without hard-selling

Buy Now! Offer Now!! Discount Today Only!!! All buzzwords that… truthfully none of us read. They don’t create a lasting hook or show off what your brand is about, they put your customers in a cold cognitive state and they analyse whether this is LIMITED! or if it is TODAY ONLY and if any of it is true … and then look at your competitors for similar deals.

This is considered hard-selling in a cold cognitive state, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll resonate with them and convert them into a sale, let alone a lead.

Ask yourself, what is the added value in that? Are we just flogging our product or service? Does this cheapen our brand? Am I in a secret price war?

Why not ask yourself the following:

Can I build a lasting relationship with these customers and make them feel understood?

This will break the false beliefs your customers might have about you and your product. It will lead to a sale or keep them in your sales pipeline and ready to purchase soon.

We get it, you want sales and need action quickly, so go after that with your advocate list and with a strategy. Don’t go after this in your new or non-buyer list as it won’t be as impactful as you think.

5. Create a lead magnet

We want to move customers into our advocate list and a great way to do this is by offering them a reason to connect with you. Offer them a lead magnet:

  • Free trial
  • Limited time access
  • Free product or gift
  • Invitation to talk

This gives them something without them owing you anything in return. A foot-in-the-door technique, to get them into a hot cognitive state.

6. Understanding different types of sales techniques

As we move towards 25% persuading and hard selling, you should consider different techniques now you have your customers in the right list, in a hot cognitive state, with a lead magnet and not owing you anything.

This is the perfect time to sell your product or service with persuasive language. What different techniques are there that you can use?

  • Ask campaign – Ask them what they want. What are they missing and how can you fulfil any of their needs or desires?
  • Scarcity – Limited amount of stock (if true), you only have a certain amount of spaces left in a class. You are telling them you are popular and only responding now will secure them a place or the product.
  • Foot in the door – A lead magnet is a great place to start. Contact forms can help you build your list and relevant information about your customers, starting with email automation. The more information you have about your customers the more you can target them.
  • YES – Ask your customers questions that they are going to say yes to every single time. The more they say yes, the more they are going to stay in the hot cognitive state and say yes to the bigger questions. This might be a good way of getting people to commit subconsciously, if you can get them to say yes 6/7 times you’ve increased your chance by 3x times of saying yes to buying your product or service. It also works the other way, if they are saying no, they are more likely to say no to your product or service down the line too.

7. The five human cores & types of buyers

‘ People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies ‘ – Blair Warren (Five human core needs)

  • Justify their failures – everyone fails, show your transparency
  • Allay their fears – show what you are fearful of
  • Confirm their suspicion – tell them a secret
  • Help them throw rocks at their enemies – a deeper meaning, agree with their opinions without abandoning your own

Tightwads – negative view on sales, 24% of all consumers fall into this buyer type and move into and out of it during economic difficulties. Focus on:

  • Value of your products and services, numbers, charts
  • Fluffy language won’t work for them
  • Tell them what they will lose, and the negative emotion of not buying

Impulse buying – spending helps them cope with emotions and typically will not budget. They feel good about spending money.

Average spenders – make the best decisions for themselves, and like to do it effectively and efficiently but the hardest to target. Focus on:

  • Basic budget but they know what they can afford and try to stay within those boundaries
  • It usually takes them a bit more time as emotions are a big part of it but not all the time.
  • They are logical and know the emotional side of their minds.
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8. Email automation

Create automation, design templates and build a process for your new and existing lists. When you generate a new lead, create an automated ‘welcome email’ with personalisation.

Once they have opened the welcome email, what happens next to them?

Automation is all about building your customer journey out and where you want them to go. Ideally, down the automation line into a sale.

Below is a basic email automation template so you can understand where to start. Map out your automation like below and revisit it every 3 months to see if your lists are getting traction.

email automation

9. The art of storytelling & secret to email marketing

Storytelling is the single most effective way to get a human into a hot cognitive state and has been used since the dawn of time as a way of connecting humans. You will build lasting relationships with storytelling.

Sharing is the best way to break false beliefs and resonate with people, emotionally and get customers excited. Follow this simple guide to storytelling:

  • Achieve your ‘goal or desire’ – what is the big obstacle that’s in your way?
  • ‘Light Bulb Moment’, or ‘Big Realisation’ – How to overcome the big obstacle?
  • ‘The Big Action’ – What plan of action did you take?
  • ‘The Big Achievement’ – after you’ve overcome the obstacle, what is life like now?
  • ‘The Big Change’ – how did this change the person and who are you now?

Apply this to your brand and tell your story via email marketing to nurture your audience. Then persuade them to buy into your brand and product.

10. Establish a 3-month strategy

The final step is to have a plan for the next 3 months and stick to it. After this, review the whole process using the principles of email marketing to make sure you are covering each section with purpose. Address any areas for improvement and implement them for the next 3 months. Repeat and stay relevant.

Plan out your emails based on E + P, in a good old-fashioned spreadsheet.

E = Engagement
P = Promotion

Remember what we’ve already discussed, do not fill your month with ‘P’ which a lot of us can do and go for the hard-selling approach. Invest time into ‘E’ and engage with your audience and understand their needs and desires, segment them into types of buyers and find your advocates. Target them with E + P, and find your non-buyers and target them with E than P.

Nurture your customers and get them into a hot cognitive state, then persuade them with lead magnets and use sales techniques to get them over the line.

Remember the principles and tell your brand’s story.

You are now equipped with everything you need to know about email marketing. Now go out and test it, then test it again, and then test it some more, and finally, keep testing…

Or have us take a look at your email marketing for you. Get in touch.

Recommendations: Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign, Stripo, Canva, Hubspot.

Find email marketing software here

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