5 Types of Email Campaigns for Your Business

By Consumer Dummies

How do you create email campaigns that move your customers along the customer journey in a way that creates long-term brand engagement? And how do you do so without spamming or annoying your customers the way so many brands can do? The following information walks you through five types of email campaigns so that you know how to build email campaigns that will work for your business.

A campaign structure page will help you keep track of each campaign and the purpose of each email in the campaign.

email campaign storyboard
A sample campaign storyboard.

Indoctrination campaigns

An indoctrination campaign is a triggered campaign sent immediately following an initial subscription. This campaign is designed to teach new subscribers about your brand and convince them that they’ve made a good decision by joining your email list and, by extension, becoming a part of your community.

indoctrination email
An example indoctrination email that welcomes a new subscriber.

Customers don’t sign up for your email lists on a whim. Instead, they probably were introduced to your brand and then considered the value of your email list. Perhaps they were given the opportunity to get value in advance with a gated offer. Or perhaps they were signed up as they made a purchase or engaged with your website. In all cases, an indoctrination campaign reaffirms positive action and shows your customers that they made the right choice.

The fact that customers made a positive choice to join your email list, however, doesn’t mean that they’re fully engaged with your brand. They don’t know you well enough to anticipate your every word. They may not recognize your name in their inbox and are still unsure about the value they can expect from you.

A carefully crafted indoctrination campaign can help move customers down the path of their customer journeys. In the aggregate, when you add an indoctrination campaign, you see a positive effect on the open and click-through rates of the email you send to these subscribers in the future because they know, like, and trust you better.

Indoctrination campaigns generally run one to three emails and introduce customers to the brand on a deeper level. These campaigns help you put your best foot forward with new subscribers, introducing them to who you are and what you stand for.

Your indoctrination campaign should do the following things:

  • Welcome and introduce new subscribers to your brand.
  • Restate the benefits of being a subscriber.
  • Tell subscribers what to expect.
  • Tell subscribers what to do next.
  • Introduce subscribers to your brand voice or personality.

Engagement campaigns

An engagement campaign is an interest-based, triggered campaign sent immediately following a subscriber action. It’s designed to make a relevant offer and potentially a sale to subscribers. The role of an engagement campaign is to turn subscribers into converts by prescribing the next logical step based on what you know those people are interested in.

Before you craft an engagement campaign, ask yourself two questions:

  • What next step do you want your customer to take? You may want her to make a purchase, opt in to a gated offer, or engage with your brand on your website.
  • Do you believe that the customer is ready to take that next step? If the customer isn’t ready, you only annoy and alienate her if you push her to take that step.

    Sometimes it does hurt to ask — especially when you’re asking too much too soon from a valuable customer.

Your engagement campaign should do the following things:

  • Turn subscribers into converts. A conversion might be buying a product or service, scheduling an appointment, or registering for a webinar.
  • Consider what the customer is interested in now and what will interest him next. Refer back to your customer journey and design your engagement campaigns to move the email subscriber to the next stage in that journey.
  • Reference the previous positive action.
  • Overcome or inoculate against known objections to converting.
  • Prescribe the next logical step.
  • Ask for an order or a next step.

Ascension campaigns

An ascension campaign is a triggered campaign sent immediately following a purchase to start the value loop designed to turn ordinary buyers into buyers who purchase from your brand again and again.

If a customer just bought a tent and four sleeping bags, for example, you could assume that she’s looking to head out to the campground, and you could send her a coupon code for a camp stove. If a customer just bought a subscription to a social media training event, you could offer him follow-up training on email marketing.

An ascension campaign is a great way to move customers along the customer journey and build a long-term relationship with them. In an ascension campaign, you give customers what they want and then a bit more.

An ascension campaign should do the following things:

  • Overcome or inoculate against known objections.
  • Prescribe the next logical step.
  • Increase the average value of customers by selling more to them, more often.
  • Increase customer trust.
  • Make customers ascend to fans.

Segmentation campaigns

A segmentation campaign is a manual campaign sent to your entire database as a promotion designed to segment your subscribers by interest.

Consider a small publishing company that sells high-interest nonfiction books to teachers and librarians. That company is releasing a series of science books on gardening and plant growth. The books have similar content, but some target early learners, others middle-school students, and still others high-school students. The marketing department, being wise and astute in the best practices of email marketing, decides to send out a segmentation campaign.

The department staff craft an email listing the books that are available, with clear guidance on what age level each book is appropriate for. Then the staff sends the email as a broadcast campaign to the company’s entire mailing list. This campaign makes the company’s entire list aware of the new product, and possibly more important, the resulting click data allows the company to segment the list by which subscribers are interested in early-learning content, which are interested in middle-school content, and which are interested in high-school content. The marketing department can create audience segments and send additional emails that meet those customers’ exact interests.

The image below shows a segmentation email from Home Depot. The email lists six categories in which subscribers can get savings. When a subscriber selects one of these categories, the marketing team knows that this person responded to this email and clicked a particular product category. That person would then be segmented, and Home Depot would likely send follow-up emails on the product the subscriber selected.

segmentation email
Example of a segmentation campaign email.

Reengagement campaigns

A reengagement campaign is a triggered campaign sent to any subscriber who has not opened or clicked an email in the past 30 to 60 days. This campaign is designed to reengage those subscribers with the brand. Perhaps subscribers got extremely busy and didn’t check their email diligently. They may have gone through life changes and now have different interests. Or maybe they got frustrated with you and chose to disengage. A reengagement campaign can help those customers get back on the customer journey.

reengagement email
An example reengagement campaign.

Email deliverability is greatly affected by disengaged users. Best practices in email list management require that customers who aren’t engaged be reengaged or removed from the list. If you run a reengagement campaign and still don’t get a response from some customers, you can unsubscribe those customers and protect your email list from deliverability issues.