1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. SEJ Show

How to Build Successful Email Marketing Campaigns With Cynthia Price of Emma

In this Marketing Nerds episode, Cynthia Price of Emma talks about what works best in email marketing, as well as some brands who are doing it right.

How to Build Successful Email Marketing Campaigns | SEJ

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

In this Marketing Nerds episode, Cynthia Price, VP of Marketing at Emma, joins SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones to talk about what works best in email marketing. Cynthia also shared a couple of brands who are doing their email marketing campaign right.

Thin line flat design of Email marketing

Here are a few transcribed excerpts from Cynthia and Kelsey’s discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

What Makes a Good Subject Line?

It depends because you do have to know your audience.

The thing about subject lines is that it’s the first hurdle you have to tackle with any email marketing project. You can build a great looking email that does all the things you want it to do, but unless you get their attention with the subject line it’s a lot of waste of time.

There’s no magic formula but the key is to test your audience. Almost any good email service provider is going to provide you with the testing tool that allows you to test different subject lines.

You also really want to make sure that you’re making use of that pre-header text, the text is just below the subject line and the inbox. It gives you a great opportunity to give them a preview, especially if they’re reading on a phone, of what they might find inside. A lot of people forget to use that space to extend the marketing message beyond the subject line.

Using Emojis on Your Email

I think the key there is you want to use them sparingly. You want to really use them to get someone’s attention.

We’ve been searching for hard stats on what impact they have, and I think it depends on the audience. I think certain audiences are going to respond really well to Emojis, probably a more millennial-focused audience, whereas an older audience might not.

Some email clients will not render them properly and will give them a little black box. It just confuses the recipient and probably does not encourage them to open.

What Email Marketers are Doing Wrong

I think the key thing we see people doing wrong, as far as email marketing goes, is just sending irrelevant emails.

Our in boxes are so crowded these days and you’re not just competing with other brands. Sometimes, we get so lost in our email marketing world that we forget that we’re not competing with each other so much as we’re competing with things that really matter to the recipient. Things like their families, their bosses, their work colleagues, and everything else.

What you’re doing for them, by communicating with them via email, has to be something that’s incredibly relevant. You have to remember, they’ve invited you into their personal email zone. They’ve given you a privilege of an invitation to communicate with them directly and it feels off-putting almost, as an audience member, if a brand sends me something that is not easy to navigate, not easy to look at or to understand.

Optimizing Your Email for Mobile

I think the top mistake people make is just not optimizing for mobile. 53%, in some studies, of emails are opened on mobile device these days.

You’d be surprised how many smart brands who have great budgets are not necessarily thinking of mobile first. They’re designing for the desktop and then backing it up in the mobile. That can get you into trouble because it just doesn’t render correctly, and the experience itself isn’t taken into account.

You want it to be clean and simple and easy to understand, and lead you back to a place that is also mobile optimized.

Revamping Your Email Marketing Campaign

I think simplicity is often the thing that works the best in email marketing. You just want to make sure that the email looks good, that it feels like it’s part of your brand message, that it’s telling the same story that you’re telling elsewhere, and then it doesn’t have the standard template.

You rarely see things that feel like they’re a stock template in your inbox anymore, because it does feel like an extension of the website or an extension of your brand story.

You might want your CTA to be strong. You want it to be a big, nice button, so that on the mobile phone they’re not trying to click a tiny link. You want it to have an action oriented language that takes them back to whatever you want them to do.

Ultimately, what you’re trying to do with an email that you’re sending is to get them to do something. Focusing first on what it is you want them to do and what your best bet is to get them to do that, and working your way back from there and creating a pathway to that through nice design and—in most cases—pretty simple copy to the conversation about reading on a mobile.

Brands That are Doing Email Marketing Right

One is the Dogfish Head Brewery. They’re not necessarily trying to get you to buy beer with their email, but they’re trying to create a relationship. They have great automated welcome series that leads you into the conversation with them. They probably make their customers feel like they’re part of the club, which is ultimately part of the goal.

We also love GoldieBlox. They do engineering toys that cater to girls and they have a great brand story. They do a good job of balancing out the sales opportunities with the community building aspects, and just the education as a brand. They know what their audience expects them to do for that community and they play up to it.

Having Unique Proposition vs. Building Relationships

I will say for my own purposes that my number one reason for signing up for any retailers is that I want that introductory coupon. There’s a little bit of incentive on the front end that typically gets the sign up to happen. It sometimes works well.

I think it requires a balance and it also just requires knowing your audience.

When you have a thoughtful audience like GoldieBlox does, it gives you some different opportunities to play with content and education and community building in ways that aren’t necessarily just about buying a product.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds Podcast with Kelsey Jones and Cynthia Price:

Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Kelsey Jones on Twitter, or email her at kelsey [at]

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

elements-of-good-email-marketing-1Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post Photo: darkovujic/

Category SEJ Show
Aki Libo-on

Aki is a content strategist, marketing consultant, and former assistant editor of SEJ. When not at work, she is busy ...

How to Build Successful Email Marketing Campaigns With Cynthia Price of Emma

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.