How to create a powerful EDM marketing strategy

Newsletters and electronic direct mail (EDMs) are great ways to stay in touch with your target market, prospects and clients, and keeping you top of mind and support your sales efforts.

But if you approach an email marketing campaign without the proper know-how and research, it can be costly and won’t serve your brand any good.

Let’s discuss ways to create an email marketing strategy that will get leads in the door.

Beautiful woman seriously writer some notes in a notepad and filling the desk with crumpled paper

Start with a plan

Before you start typing away your email on Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor or whichever platform you choose, ask yourself these questions first:

WHY send out emails? What is it you want to achieve with newsletters? Do you have useful information you want to share with prospective and existing clients? Is it to grow your position as a thought leader in your industry, or to create awareness of your services? Is it to promote certain products, or merely to engage your audience and increase brand visibility? Before you start, your WHY must be crystal clear – this will inform the rest of your campaign.

If a newsletter isn’t worthwhile, people will unsubscribe and if that happens too often, it can flag the newsletter provider to put you on a report. This means that you’ll need to send a confirmation-of-subscription campaign to your entire database before you can contact people again. If they don’t confirm, the provider will mark them as an unsubscribed contact… let’s avoid this at all costs!

WHO will read your emails? Is it intended for your existing customers, or are you targeting new ones? Who are they and what are their needs? Are you thinking of segmenting your audience, or does everyone always receive the same email?

WHEN are you going to send emails? When is the best time of the month, week or day to send your newsletter out, based on your audience demographics? How often? Have you set an expectation for your readers on when they’ll receive which type of emails from you? Important to remember here – consistency is key when creating a newsletter campaign. Beware of overcommitting and then finding you cannot keep delivering. Only email when you have something useful to say.

WHAT does your audience expect to read? When they see your brand name, what will they expect to learn from you? Have you told your readers which type of information they’ll get and why you’re sending it? Will your newsletter content be helpful, educational or entertaining for them? Most importantly, what do you want to say to your prospects and client that’s of great value?

HOW will you define success for your campaign? Will you be able to measure success in terms of metrics like open rates, click-through rates and active engagement? It’s really important to be able to gauge the campaign’s success. What will be your benchmark of success and do you have the resources in place to measure those diligently?

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Tips to increase newsletter campaign success

One of the most important goals when sending out newsletters is to avoid landing in your subscribers’ junk, spam or promotional folders. Steer clear from those digital wastelands by doing the following:

Act with integrity 

Only use email addresses you have obtained through genuine interaction with someone – not a paid list or going through service directories. You must have reasonable cause to make contact with everyone you email or it can be flagged as ‘unsolicited’ which again, puts your entire database in jeopardy.


Use a reputable EDM provider 

This ensures the security of information (both yours and those you are sending to). There are many EDM providers that allow free communication up to a generous database limit. It will also allow easy database management, for example,  if someone has unsubscribed, you will not accidentally email them in the future as they will be automatically removed from the live lists.

Write a killer subject line

Did you know that 47% of emails are discarded based on the subject line alone? Your subject line should stand out among a sea of other emails without being clickbaity. It needs to communicate the promise of great value and tell your subscribers that what’s inside will benefit them. That’s a tall order to achieve in just a few short words… that’s why it’s a great idea to leave this to a professional content writer.

Write like a friend

Don’t write like a marketer. Write like a friend – the same way you’d write to someone in real life who you care about. The more engaged your readers are with your email, the more likely you’ll steer clear of their spam folders and they’ll actually enjoy reading the email! Emails to a friend have a 100% open rate – so write as if you’re writing to a friend. Your newsletter is there to engage – not to sound salesey.

Newsletter word typed using a typewriter

Avoid spam trigger words

Yes, this is a real phenomenon, and it’s good to stay on top of what the internet considers spam words. This list has grown over recent years. Words like CASH, FREE, BONUS, SALE, MAKE MONEY… and recently even words like AMAZING, OPPORTUNITY and FREEDOM can all cause your email to end up in countless spam folders across your database. While we’re on this topic – avoid over-usage of text links and buttons – this can also trigger the spam police.

Don’t forget about the non-obvious optimisations

Paying attention to the more techy ways you can boost the number of people who actually see your email will be well worth your time. This includes methods like email authentication, regular database list maintenance and smart segmentation. Again – this might be something you would feel comfortable leaving to your digital marketing team.

Be strategic

Plan your newsletter goals, topics and content in advance. This will allow you to create a seamless flow in your newsletters without looking like you’re haphazardly adding topics and recycling old content just for the sake of sending something out. Familiarity and brand consistency across your email marketing campaign help build trust and engagement.

Engage a professional agency that knows what they’re doing

As we’ve discovered, designing, writing and optimising newsletters or EDMs require various skillsets and expertise. Paying a professional digital marketing agency to strategise your email campaigns and write them for you – preferably as part of a cohesive online marketing plan – will be your biggest chance of newsletter success.

At Brilliant Digital we speak the language of newsletters fluently. The open rates, click-through rates and engagement we achieve for our clients’ EDM campaigns are way above the industry averages. Contact us to find out how our team of professional digital marketers and content creators can assist you.

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