3 Email Marketing Strategies and How to Make Them Work

email marketing strategies

You need to know the 3 most important email marketing strategies if you want to make email marketing work.

Email marketing is usually claimed to be an incredibly effective marketing tactic. And it can be.

But a lot of people don’t seem to get the promised results. Instead, their subscribers demand more and more free content, reply with critical comments when they aren’t pleased, and unsubscribe in hoards the moment they see a link to a sales page.

Don’t blame the tactic—learn to use it.

If you don’t know how to use different email marketing strategies, you can’t expect good results. And if you only know how to use one of them, your results won’t be as good as they could.

Typically you should use three different email marketing strategies. You can emphasize some more than others, but you shouldn’t just stubbornly stick to one strategy.

What makes email marketing so effective?

Email marketing has some significant advantages compared to most other marketing methods:

  1. High reach: When you get people to join your email list (aka “subscribe to updates” or “opt in”), you can actually reach them. If they just like your Facebook page, for example, it’s quite unlikely that they’d actually see your updates. Sure, not everyone opens your emails, but the numbers are usually still in favor of email compared to other communication methods.
  2. Great flexibility: Email marketing can work for pretty much any kind of business. It doesn’t matter whether you sell houses, lingerie, or consulting; you can get lots of sales as long as you use the right email marketing strategy in the right place. And you can promote practically anything relating to your business—you aren’t limited to sending links to your sales pages.
  3. Minimal risk: Some top marketers expect to burn through $10,000 of advertising budget before even knowing if they can make a campaign profitable. With email marketing, the costs are much, much lower. A simple system like AWeber is very affordable even if your business isn’t a huge success yet. And even if you go with something advanced like Infusionsoft, you’re still far away from the kinds of investments many other marketing tactics require. Sure, email marketing and advertising aren’t directly comparable (advertising is mainly used to reach new prospects), but you get the point.
  4. Low barrier of entry: Besides being comparatively cheap, email marketing doesn’t take such a steep learning curve as many other tactics. Even if you’re not an expert, you can see great results when you learn to use the different email marketing strategies—great execution of the strategies improves your results a lot, but even if you make some mistakes, you aren’t wasting your time.
  5. Full control: Most other marketing tactics are at the mercy of policy changes (e.g., Google and AdWords) and other decisions beyond your control. Sure, some laws affect how you can use email marketing, but laws rarely change with short notice and they even more infrequently radically change what you can do.

1. Email marketing strategy: Offers

Many e-commerce businesses rely heavily on making offers in their emails, but regardless of what kind of a business you run, you should know how to make offers in your emails.

The basic idea is to urge people to get something they really want. That can mean giving them a discount coupon for a product they’ve indicated they’re interested in. Or it can mean a general promotion that goes out to everyone on your list.

When you promote something, you always run the risk of seeming “sales-y.” However, if you seem sales-y, you’ve done something wrong.

A good offer doesn’t feel sales-y. It doesn’t feel pushy. It doesn’t feel manipulative.

Instead, a good offer feels helpful. So, when you promote something via email, do it as a friend who wants to help the recipient.

That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions wouldn’t ever create results—as Internet marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be.

People buy when they feel that they have good reasons to do so. So, you need a strong value proposition (=great reasons for buying what you sell) in order to be able to give people good reasons for buying.

But if people don’t believe those reasons, they don’t buy either. As long as you seem like a friend who’s trying to help them, people are likely to believe that you’re sincere and that buying from you is a good decision.

The downside of just making offers is that they’re not useful on their own. People on your list won’t receive any value from you unless they buy what you’re promoting, so they have little reason to stay subscribed. That’s why many e-commerce sites struggle to keep people interested.

However, if you never make any offers, you’ll struggle to make any sales, so don’t forget or shy away from this email marketing strategy. Rather, learn to combine it with the next strategy, so even your promotions have value to your subscribers.

2. Email marketing strategy: Content

SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses and bloggers often use content email marketing strategy more than other strategies.

They create a piece of content (e.g., report, infographic, video, article) and tell people about it with an email. Or the emails might be content-rich on their own.

Some of the content is available publicly (e.g., blog articles), but some content should be behind an “information wall.”

The information wall works just like a “pay wall” except it doesn’t require a monetary payment, but instead it asks for information from the visitor. The simplest information wall is an email opt-in form that requires people to join the business owner’s list in order to get the content.

But if you want to make the most of this email marketing strategy, an opt-in form shouldn’t be the only information wall you use because once people have joined your list, asking them to do it again doesn’t make much sense.

For example, you can ask people to share a link to the content in social media before getting access to it. Or you can ask for more information about them (e.g., specific interests or their company’s size).

The additional information gives you a better chance to tailor your email marketing to match what they’re most interested in. And that gives you a better chance to convert them into customers.

Content email marketing is a great tool that you should learn to use regardless of what kind of a business you run. When you use it well, people will start to see you as a trusted source, which makes them more likely to buy what you sell.

But you shouldn’t stick to just content. You should also make offers—and build relationships with the people in your list.

3. Email marketing strategy: Relationship building

For many businesses, building a relationship with their leads is the primary reason for sending any emails. That said, very few marketers rely solely on this email marketing strategy. But some trust it more than is healthy for their businesses.

You could think that you build relationships automatically if you make offers and provide useful content (the previous email marketing strategies).

To some extent that’s true. But it’s not all there is to this strategy.

For example, you can ask your subscribers to reply to your emails or ask them to fill a survey. And you can tell what’s going on in your life or about your personal beliefs and opinions to create a stronger emotional connection.

Note that whenever you share an opinion or belief, you need to be willing to distance everyone who has an opposing view.

Most people don’t mind if you don’t share their worldviews, but some do. So, talking about things that don’t directly relate to your business (and topics around it) is always a risk.

Unless you want to play with fire, avoid dipping into politics, religion, sexuality, and other topics where many people have fundamentalist views.

If, however, you know that most of your audience shares your opinion on a topic that’s important to them, you can instantly seem more trustworthy by pointing it out because people trust people who are similar to them.

But most importantly, you should always remember relationship building as an email marketing strategy. No matter what kind of an email you send.

If you forget that you should build a relationship with your subscribers, your offers will feel pushy and your content distant.

Remember that you’re not a company. You’re a person. Act and write like one.

How to build your email list—fast

Whenever I write about email marketing, several people ask about how to build your email list quickly. Kind of makes sense; writing masterful emails doesn’t make much of a difference if no one’s reading them.

You can choose from four list-building tactics:

  1. Advertising. The issue with advertising is that it can get very expensive—even before you see any results. But when it works, it can create incredibly good, consistent results.
  2. Affiliates. If you have lots of connections to people in your field who have large emails lists and willingness to promote something of yours, you can get almost any results you want.
  3. Speaking. As long as you get in front of large, new audiences on a regular basis, you can grow your email list by asking audience members to sign up. However, making this tactic work takes a lot more work and is harder than most people think.
  4. Guest blogging. It’s the only low-cost, effective way to grow your list if you don’t have a massive advertising budget and you’re not well connected. That said, most people don’t get almost any subscribers with guest blogging because they don’t know how to write effective guest posts.

In case you’re wondering, I have yet to hear of any other reliable way to quickly grow your email list without relying on luck, but if you know of some, do let me know.

All of these list-building tactics work regardless of which email marketing strategy you use the most. So, you can choose based on your resources.

And please share what is your favorite email marketing strategy in the comments. Or if you have any questions, let me know.

Peter Sandeen

Do you want to improve your value proposition or conversion rates?

Or create an effective marketing strategy based on your strengths?

Click here to see how I work with businesses and how I can help you.


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  1. I like that you’ve thrown in “make the offer,” Peter. At some point, if not right out of the gate, you are going to want to let your audience know that you are running a business.

    Sound advice, my friend 🙂

  2. I’d love to see my list convert better 🙂 And after applying some of the juicy tips in this article, I’m sure it will.

    Peter, you really go in-depth with these reviews — thanks man.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks, and I’m glad I could help 🙂

  3. Peter,

    Fantastic post that sums up how to build a list, what it takes to get your emails opened and how to create great content within those emails.

    Email will become more important over the next few years. Instead of competing with hundreds of tweets and status updates on the social networks, email marketing messages are only competing with a persons other emails. The amount of emails one gets is far less then then tweets and facebook updates they see.

    It’s also more intimate and it highly qualifies a lead.

    Thanks for a great step by step guide Peter!

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Jordan,

      You’re right, email will become even more important in the future (or at least that’s what I expect will happen…). But there will be more emails in people’s inboxes too, so you’ll have to be great at email marketing to succeed.

  4. Peter…

    Killer advice dude… Yet another article of your that I’m storing away to use on my own process tonight or this weekend.

    Thanks buddy,

    ryan H.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks! 🙂

      I’m happy to hear my ideas are helpful. If you have any questions, you know you can just ask them here (or via email 😉 )…

  5. Fern Lee said:

    Peter, you have nailed the essence of what DR101 preaches. At my boutique agency, THOR Associates (www.thorassociates.com) we provide insight and tactical advice all the time. In my recent blog at http://www.fernlee.net I wrote about Using Offline Direct Marketing Strategies to Increase Online Traffic and Sales. I’d love your take on it!!!

    Thanks again for your wonderful writing and for making a marketing strategists work easy.

    Fern Lee

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Fern,

      Thanks 🙂 I’m happy to hear I could help.

  6. Peter,

    Great write up on email marketing. I’ve found my list to be a great and very responsive group. I actually have two lists on different systems and I do find that one far outperforms the other. I think a key point is the source of the subscribers – if they’re people who are typically interested in your niche, that’s great. If they have a different personality or niche that they prefer, then no matter what you do, your responses will be low.. Thanks for the write up!

    • Peter Sandeen said:


      The “quality” of the list you send emails to is as important as is what you write about. You’ll have a hard time selling iguanas to a LOL cat fanatics’ list…

      Have you tried different approaches to different lists? I could imagine that you’d get a better conversion from the quiet list with a direct response approach.

  7. Peter,

    Great stuff and nice step-by-step instructions!

    I’m still in the early stages of list building, but this advice is solid and worth remembering (especially understanding the copywriting part).

    I have used your headline formula PDF for a while and my headlines have improved by leaps and bounds 🙂


    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Timo,

      I really do feel that if you don’t understand copywriting at all, your email marketing can’t create great results. I tried to give the broad strokes with this post, but I’ll post a bit more about it next week…

      Thanks, it’s really nice to hear you enjoy the book 🙂

  8. Peter, fantastic article – very good depth and very precise action points. Not only will I be using this myself, but I will be sharing it with all of my clients.

    Thank You!

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you so much; I can’t think of a better vote of confidence than that. It means a lot to me – really 🙂

  9. Very thorough post..again!! 🙂 Nicely done and email is the golden nugget for all business. I think it gets overlooked often with all the social media talk. Thanks for sharing some great tips.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Chris, that’s a very good point. Social media is “sexy”, email isn’t. But I doubt anyone can get similarly great results with social media than what you can get with good email marketing…

  10. Jackie said:


    Fantastic resource for developing your email strategy, I’ll be sure to bookmark this and share it .

    I’m actually in the process of revamping my regular communication process with my lists, as a result of a recent survey its given me some really clear insights into what my readers are looking for.

    Its something I recommend that every should do from time to time.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Jackie,

      May I ask how you did the survey? Did you send an email to your list asking them to take a survey, or did you write a post about it? And what did you ask to get so useful insights?

      I’ll post something about this in the not-so-distant future and I’d appreciate your input 🙂

  11. […] There's a significant difference between spamming and sending quality direct response …affectselling.com/2012/email-marketing-3-strategies/ Tweet Category: Direct Response Marketing 06/06/2012 at 2:05 am No comments Hannah […]

  12. […] 3 Strategies for Email Marketing and How to Succeed with Each (Affect Selling) […]

  13. […] example “3 Strategies to Email Marketing and How to Succeed with Each” makes a very clear promise of the value it’ll […]

  14. Fantastic resource for developing your email strategy, I’ll be sure to bookmark this and share it .

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Thanks 🙂

  15. […] The following steps can be used for any type of business and for any goal, but they’re written with the assumption you’re trying to capture people’s email addresses. That’s a reasonable goal for a home page, and email marketing is very effective if used well. […]

  16. Oscar said:

    This is truly a masterpiec on Email marketing, i’m glad I came across your blog and this article was quite useful. Thumbs up and I hope you check out my blog. Do have a nice day Peter.

  17. Imane said:

    Thanks Peter, I’ve been following some of your articles, and they are really fruitful, I just need strategies for gathering e-mails from my websites, could you help?

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Imane,

      Thanks 🙂

      The usually best way to get subscribers is to offer an opt-in incentive—something people can only get by joining your list—but there are exceptions. Have you already tried offering a freebie?


  18. superb strategy ……… I liked it very much

    Thanks for sharing


    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Ruby,

      Thanks, glad to hear that 🙂


      • Hello Peter,

        I want to ask you about online promote sites……. I mean to say orthopedic dog beds sites……

        Please can you suggest me about http://www.comfort-flow.com, how It’ll be promoted for best results.


        • Peter Sandeen said:

          Hey Ruby,

          I’d go after dog-lovers in pet-related blogs/site with either guest posts or ads. You could also try print advertising. And trade shows could work well…

          What do you think?


          • Great idea Peter for comfort-flow.com

            Thank you so much


  19. 1+ for #3. Building that relationship before selling anything is huge. To many people going straight to the marriage proposal before any conversation.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Rheo,

      Yep, that’s really true. They seem to be in a rush to make the sale, and that’s clear to the other side…


  20. Hi Peter
    Hope you are going good today, No Doubt you have introduced a nice stuff But i am practicing E-mail marketing from a last 1 month on consistent basis, Dont know why the results are not according to my wish. Really your post is great,what i should do that results could come according to my specific requireemnts? Im new to email marketing. Here Above are some important tips, surely would apply. Thanks

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Robert,

      I can’t really tell why things aren’t working for you without knowing a lot more about how you use email and what you do otherwise with your marketing. But in general, if you’ve only been doing email marketing for a month, it’s not too surprising you’re not getting remarkable results, yet.


  21. rajon said:

    Peter, fantastic article – very good depth and very precise action points.

  22. I run a website and have lots of content and knowledge to share, really, however I am always looking for better results so thank you. This can really help!

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Bogdan,

      Glad to hear I could help 🙂


  23. Mellie said:

    Thanks for the tips. I do have a very tiny list that I’ve never sent them anything except for the freebie optin report that they originally signed up for.

    But I’m working on it.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Mellie,

      Hope these ideas were helpful 🙂


  24. Bree said:

    Peter, if I could bold the words “thank you” I would.

    I’m very tired of businesses and people within them spouting personal opinions and beliefs about the areas you mentioned here (politics, sexuality, etc.), claiming that their business is “better” for believing such things. How?

    Even though I definitely have my own views about those topics, I know that many of them do not have direct impact or importance in my business. Therefore, I don’t bring them up. I wish other businesses would, too; in fact, I tend to avoid the ones that are overly expressive of opinions/beliefs because I don’t trust that they understand how to run a business.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Bree,

      I think you actually could bold it if you used the and tags, though I’m not sure… 🙂

      Sometimes sharing political etc. opinions is a good idea—but that’s usually only true if the view clearly relates to your business. So, I agree. I, too, get often a bit annoyed when people share their opinions; especially if they don’t have good logic to back up the ideas and they don’t even relate to what they do.


  25. Gennaro di Martino said:

    Good resource, but the difficult is to create great content and how to write email. Form theory to practice

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Gennaro,

      Yep, that’s the tough part. But at least knowing the strategies should help 🙂


  26. research and analysis services said:

    I recently laucnched my email marketing campaign but after reading this post, feeling like i missed many thing. Many thanks for good ideas.

  27. Linda said:

    Although it is the first time I left a comment, I’ve been reading all your posts and like all the others, this is very helpful, filled with unique ideas. Although I’ve tried allot of them already (even giving an incentive) and now AWeber, I still have NO subscribers. But having enough people visit your blog is also important, less visitors = less chances of people subscribing.
    I also dislike those newsletters where in each and every one of them the people just want to sell me something. I soon realize that they never give any useful info and just try to sell something different in each and every email = unsubscribe.
    I love the look of your site too, every time I come here, I feel so relaxed and welcome.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the very nice comments 🙂

      And yeah, without subscribers, email marketing doesn’t help you much 😀 Have you tried guest blogging?


  28. Points well taken.
    The relationship with your list is very important and I have found that sending out valuable content before the “Pitch” is a key to that trust and creates better conversions.
    When I build a campaign I make sure all the info I send out (E mail, Social Media etc) is well mapped out . This way I can create the demand for the product / service which means higher conversions and most important a new subscriber.
    I will be sharing this article…I quite enjoyed it.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Bruce,

      Yep, the valuable content before the pitch is the part too many people forget. And then people think that “selling in emails is pushy.” Well, yeah, it’s pushy when there’s no content 🙂


  29. Excellent post!

    The success of email marketing depends upon the strategy you have applied. You are always required to understand the behavior of your customers and prepare a solid strategy. The above mentioned points will lead you to make an effective campaign and gain success. Here is a big thank to you for this outstanding work.
    Keep it up…..

    Best regards

    Margarida Fonseca

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Margarida,

      Thanks, glad to hear that 🙂


  30. Hi Peter, the above post is truly exceptionally and helpful for email advertisers. As it gives some creative thoughts and tips which could be utilized to upgrade their email advertising strategies.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Laura,

      Thanks, glad to hear you found it valuable 🙂

  31. sumit sharma said:

    sir please confirm to me how to work start email marketing. i have no knowledge about these concept. please send full information my email.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Sumit,

      You can do a Google search.

  32. I was looking for something unique in the email marketing techniques. Thanks a lot Peter for explaining the strategies so well, impressed!

  33. I have done lot of SEO to increase traffic to my blog but never tried Email Marketing because I thought it was useless. After reading your post, I have changed my mind and decided to do Email Marketing for my blog. I hope it will work. There is only one problem for me. How can I get good list of Email for email marketing.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Saidul,

      You should build your own email list. In many countries (USA included) it’s illegal to send mass email to addresses acquired otherwise. I suggest guest blogging when you want to grow your email list.


  34. I like your thought. It really great to me. Today when i was trying to write about email marketing tips, then i just search about it. Got what? Got knowledge and tips about marketing. It really helped me to improve my strategies. Also i will try your strategies for building lists but i believe and real way is building list from blog.

  35. Martins said:

    Hi Peter,

    Great write up, i am truly inspired. I would require your advise on what exactly i can do regarding taking up E-marketing as a career path, I have a BA in marketing and was thinking on furthering on E-marketing, as to understand the basics and get the knowledge how to run a successful E-marketing business. Please advice what exactly should i focus on/ course.


    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Martins,

      Sorry, I can’t tell you what you should focus on. That depends on what you’re interested in and what you’re naturally good at. There are countless options to choose from. But whatever you choose, pick something specific; don’t try to do everything at once.


  36. hey i want also start email-marketing . but know how to star email marketing .

    • Paul Smith said:

      First you should get email marketing software to help you with your newsletters. I’m using GetResponse in my opinion is the best one, but if you’re not sure it’s a possibility to try free trial version of it. Good luck!

    • Jesson said:

      First Gather E-mail List for email marketing campaign, Once you done then approach the people with your product

  37. […] P., (2013), 3 Email Marketing Strategies and How to Make Them Work, [Online], Available at: http://www.petersandeen.com/email-marketing-strategies/ , [Accessed 8 December […]

  38. […] Peter Sandeen 2013. Email marketing strategies [online] [accessed December 12th 2014] http://www.petersandeen.com/email-marketing-strategies/ […]

  39. Hamayon said:

    Peter, I must agree relationship building is the most important thing, provide value, deliver your promises. Once your subscribers start trusting you, they will buy anything you sell them.

  40. Hey Peter!
    I’m honored to come across your post about email marketing. I like writing and sharing.

    Looking at how things are going on the net, I decided to turn my mind toward email marketing.

    I just want to know after how many number of email I should send my offer to my list? I’m in Affiliate marketing ( Selling subscription: The products are marketing tools and personal development training).

    Thanks for all!

  41. Jesson said:

    Thanks Peter, I am Planning of email marketing strategies for my website and this article definitely help me. What is CTR of Successful email marketing campaigns.

  42. chandana said:

    This article is really helpful to build email list for a new SEO like me.please post some more tips like these.you really did a fantastic job.
    Thanks peter.

  43. […] and focus on targeting the highest ROI targets and groups. With such high reach and flexibility, email marketing has significant advantages over other marketing tactics […]

  44. michael said:

    This is really great article I can do for my new website in email marketing strategies.

  45. Pallavi said:

    For email marketing to work our successfully i recomeded following procedures.

    1. First collect good database(preferred if you collect through linkedin)
    2. Choose collrect email marketing platform, like mailchim, constant contact.com , Verticalresponse.com,sendingmail.in.
    3. See compare pricing with email marketing and open rates
    4. Spam keywords
    5. Tming when you send email? Morning 10:00 a.m to 11:30 a.m is always good time.
    6. 3:30 p.m to 4:00 p.m cam also work.
    7. bounce processing
    8. Your headlines
    9 Your message should be eye catching
    10. avoid cheating in email language.
    11.highlight the key points.

    many more points to be discussed, but it will take time and space on internet.

    We use sendingmail.in, since we have 300000+ email database in our list. we get good open rate.also sendingmail.in is very less cost.

    another platform vertical repsonse with 1000 free email credits
    another is zoho mail, it is also 2000 free email credits as like to mailchimp offers.

  46. […] 3 Email Marketing Strategies and How to Make Them Work By Peter Sandeen […]


  1. […] There's a significant difference between spamming and sending quality direct response …affectselling.com/2012/email-marketing-3-strategies/ Tweet Category: Direct Response Marketing 06/06/2012 at 2:05 am No comments Hannah […]

  2. […] 3 Strategies for Email Marketing and How to Succeed with Each (Affect Selling) […]

  3. […] example “3 Strategies to Email Marketing and How to Succeed with Each” makes a very clear promise of the value it’ll […]

  4. […] The following steps can be used for any type of business and for any goal, but they’re written with the assumption you’re trying to capture people’s email addresses. That’s a reasonable goal for a home page, and email marketing is very effective if used well. […]

  5. […] P., (2013), 3 Email Marketing Strategies and How to Make Them Work, [Online], Available at: http://www.petersandeen.com/email-marketing-strategies/ , [Accessed 8 December […]

  6. […] Peter Sandeen 2013. Email marketing strategies [online] [accessed December 12th 2014] http://www.petersandeen.com/email-marketing-strategies/ […]

  7. […] and focus on targeting the highest ROI targets and groups. With such high reach and flexibility, email marketing has significant advantages over other marketing tactics […]

  8. […] 3 Email Marketing Strategies and How to Make Them Work By Peter Sandeen […]

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