Making a Lean Email Marketing Strategy for Your Startup


Every day, more than 300 billion emails get sent. This is 300 billion emails per day for a global population exceeding 7 billion people.

Email marketing is a must-have for any startup. Email marketing has many positives. It doesn't require a large, expensive communication team to create and implement an effective strategy. So, how do we do it?

Email stacks that are lean

Before we can send promotional emails efficiently, email marketing campaigns must be created. Although this may seem daunting, it is not difficult to set up early.

You will need to connect the email signups that you receive to an email marketing strategy platform in order to get started. These are the most common places where email addresses will be ingested quickly:

  • Google Sheet

  • Customer Data Platform (CDP).

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

It allows you to connect email campaigns that have been ingested into Google Sheets to your email marketing platform. Segment CDPs have the ability to connect the target audience to hundreds of integrations. Email marketing will be integrated into CRMs (i.e. Hubspot), which makes it easy to get started.

Consider these key email types

Once the email stack has been set up, you can start to think about the content of emails that customers or prospects will receive. These are just a few of the key themes, but it is not an exhaustive list.

  • Informational

  • Social proof

  • Feel-good

  • Get Discounts

The informational email address field is a great way for startups with long flows to drive users through the funnel. Postmates had an email list for each stage of their driver acquisition process. We remember being a Postmates employee. These emails covered everything from consenting to background checks to uploading a valid driver’s license. We looked at the most important steps in the funnel and tried different messaging styles to alleviate any concerns.

Social proof is a great example of a message which can significantly increase a customer's willingness and purchase. Imagine yourself on the verge of buying a skin-care product, and then getting three email content with testimonials and success stories from people who have used powerful tools of the product. It is likely that you would be less skeptical about the product and more open to trying it out for yourself.

Although it is not essential when trying to convert potential customers, the feel-good segment can increase customer retention by validating their use. Instacart, a grocery delivery company, shows this segment in action with their clever use, after placing an order, of a time-saving counter.

Discounts are a great way to win, keep, and even win-back customers. It's the perfect trifecta. To fully understand the propensity of these discounts, it is important to test them methodically. While the amount of testing we did during our time at Uber would have made everyone's heads spin it was necessary to improve the conversion rate.

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Segmenting is a goldmine

It is more important to ensure that messages are sent to the correct email subscriber user segments than the content of the message. Let's continue the Uber example. Below are the types we would reach to the lapsed user groups:

  • 7+ days no rider activity

  • No riding activity for 30+ days

  • Since Covid, there has been no rider activity

  • Opened the app, but no ride

Although there were many other user segments being tested as well, this shows the level of detailed email marketing efforts we used.

Although this may seem extreme for startups, it will help you get your creative juices flowing about how to segment users for your unique product or service. Recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) is another great model for segmentation. These are the three questions you need to answer using this model:

  1. Recency When was the most recent purchase made by a user?

  2. Frequency - How often does this user buy?

  3. Monetary What is the user's spending?

How to determine success

For email marketing success, there are three important metrics: click-through (CTR), conversion (CVR), and unsubscribe rates. Although it's tempting to create the perfect email marketing tools system from scratch, we would rather have an imperfect campaign that was already in place.

Iterate and launch. email marketing service provider is all about iterating. You can get more creative with segments as your email marketing develops. This will allow you to measure incremental lift, regression, and other data points.

Last thought: You'll probably have received several additional marketing emails in the time it took to read this article. Companies know that they work. It's possible to make it work.