3 Virtues of Successful Email Marketing

Tom Tate
by Tom Tate 20 Feb, 2017
Successful email marketing campaigns are tough to achieve. Establishing a program that's functioning at its maximum potential and thriving in all its glory requires conquering a lot of different moving parts.

What these moving parts can be attributed to are three must-have virtues: proper planning, patience and persistence


Without proper planning, an email marketing program never really reaches its maximum potential to succeed. It's not enough to say it will be used to reach customers and attract new ones. Planning for a thriving email marketing program requires asking thought provoking and actionable questions. 

They become actionable by focusing on the expected outcomes such as how email marketing will ultimately help to expand the business, whether the purpose is to drive awareness or to drive sales, and what the target audience looks like. When this step is bypassed, the email marketing program is essentially set up to fail. Or, at the very least, it will face many hurdles along the way. 

Without knowing the expected outcomes, email content becomes scattered. Without a target audience, it never becomes clear if the emails are working. And without purpose, the point of it all becomes a moving target that's incapable of being hit. 

The planning phase of email marketing is also where content should be thought out and the first three months accounted for. By far, one of the biggest challenges email marketers face is figuring out what to write. Without a steady stream of content at the ready, an email marketing program will most likely lose steam before it's even gotten off the ground.


On the other hand, with proper planning comes an email marketing program that's ripe to flourish and even brings in actual revenue for a business. Yet patience is still required. 

All email marketing programs have the same starting place; zero subscribers. This means growth will not come overnight and that it will demand a great deal of nurturing. Even acquiring just the first 10, 20, 30 subscribers will command strategy and patience.

First, there's attracting sign-ups. A sign-up form on a business's website is one thing; getting people to the sign-up form is another and getting them to actually use the sign-up form is yet another. Testing where a sign-up opportunity appears, what it says, incentives, and so much more will take time to try and to analyze. But the results will yield tried and true tactics that are proven to resonate with the target audience and that can be used to go after and attract even more.

Yet list quantity isn't the end goal, nor does it signify a successful email marketing program. In fact, if awareness or sales were identified as the expected outcomes, list size is just the very beginning. 

It then becomes about learning the likes and dislikes of the subscribers on the list and what motivates them to engage with or purchase from a business. Even for a list as small as 10 subscribers, this is no small feat. This leads to the final attribute that's necessary for successful email marketing.


Patience and persistence go hand-in-hand. At the end of the day, a successful email marketing program comes down to endurance and not giving up. Trying new things, sticking with it, maintaining focus on the goals that were set in the planning stage; these are the key differences between a profitable email marketing program and one that isn't.

Here is a seven-point inspection to get started with email marketing the right way.

  1. What is the purpose?
  2. Is the expected outcome to drive awareness or to drive sales?
  3. How does it fit into the overall marketing strategy?
  4. Who is the target audience?
  5. What is the first three months of written content?
  6. How will subscribers be acquired?
  7. Can and will the proper time be allotted to nurture the email marketing program?

Tom Tate is the Product Marketing Manager at AWeber where he is passionate about helping customers grow their businesses with email marketing tools and tips. He is also the host of the Ask Me About Email Marketing podcast.