The 6-Step Email Marketing Strategy For 2020 [Template Included]

Bonus Material: Email Performance Tracking Template

Today you’re going to learn exactly how to create an email marketing strategy in 2020.

In fact:

This is the exact strategy we used to make $1,142,557 in six months for our customers using FAM (a new tool that writes, designs, and sends your emails for you).

Screenshot of revenue generated in six months for Sumo customers using FAM

The best part?

This strategy is proven to work across different ecommerce businesses (food, fitness, clothing, tech gadgets, etc.).

Let’s see how it’s done.

Step #1: Segment Active/Inactive Subscribers

This is the most important step.

The goal is to consistently get your open rates to 20%+.

Here’s how to do it:

Add anyone to your active list who:

  • Opened any email in the last 120 days OR Subscribed to your list in the last 120 days.

  • Is not suppressed (opted-out or unsubscribed from getting future emails).

Screenshot of list segmentation in SumoMail

Add anyone to your inactive list who:

  • Didn’t open any email in the last 120 days.

  • Did not subscribe to your list in the last 120 days.

  • Is not suppressed (opted-out or unsubscribed from getting future emails).

Screenshot of list segmentation in SumoMail

Note: If you don’t have enough data to segment by 120 days yet, wait until you do have the data to segment active and inactive subscribers. Don't worry; you can still use some of the emails we outline below if you don’t have 120 days of data yet.

Now you’re ready to send revenue-generating emails.

Step #2: Pick An Email Type To Send

About 80% of FAM customers' email revenue comes from four types of emails:

  • Product

  • Promotional

  • Holiday

  • Instagram Products

Screenshot of email type revenue pie chart

Note: Email Blast is any email that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories.

Here are examples of all four (plus two more) you can copy:

Welcome Email

This email is your cash cow. Here’s an example:

Screenshot of Bare Performance Nutrition Welcome Email

Subject line: You’re on the list; Enjoy 10% Off

Preview text: Welcome to the Bare Performance Nutrition family

Segment: New email subscribers.

Sent: 6,685

Opens: 2,765 (41.4%)

Clicks: 282 (4.2%)

Orders: 530 (7.9%)

Revenue: $14,275 per month (on average)

Note: Orders are higher than clicks on this email due to new subscribers copying and pasting the code from the email to the checkout (instead of clicking) and how we attribute revenue to FAM.

Product Email

With this email, you pick one product and promote it.

Here’s an example:

Screenshot of SuperFat product email

Subject line: These nuts are great together 

Preview text: -

Segment: 120-day inactive subscribers

Sent: 13,380

Opens: 1,460 (10.9%)

Clicks: 115 (0.9%)

Orders: 47 (0.4%)

Revenue: $4,115.95

Promo Email (Flash Sale)

With this email, you:

  1. Pick one day to run a flash sale for 24-48 hours.

  2. Make an offer in your email (e.g., 20% off).

  3. Tell people to go shop for it.

Here’s an example:

Screenshot of promo email (flash sale) by Bare Performance Nutrition

Subject line: 24 HRS: Celebrate Earth Day with 20% off Strong Greens 🌎 

Preview text: Offer Ends Tomorrow!

Segment: 120-day active subscribers

Sent: 21,076

Opens: 4,295 (20.4%)

Clicks: 302 (1.4%)

Orders: 62 (0.3%)

Revenue: $3,393.74

Instagram Product Email

With this email, you:

  1. Take one of your Instagram product photos.

  2. Add it to your email with the product name and what someone said about it.

  3. Tell people to go shop for it.

Here’s an example:

Screenshot of Instagram product email by Bare Performance Nutrition

Subject line: How does it taste like candy? 

Preview text: -

Segment: 120-day active subscribers

Sent: 23,292

Opens: 6,995 (30.0%)

Clicks: 298 (1.3%)

Orders: 98 (0.4%)

Revenue: $12,874.16

Holiday Email

With this email, you:

  1. Pick a holiday (e.g., 4th of July, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, etc).

  2. Make an offer in your email for the holiday (e.g., 10% off).

  3. Tell people to go shop for it.

Here’s an example:

Screesnhot of holiday email by Espresso Machine Experts

Subject line: 48 hours: Independence Day Deals on Machines 

Preview text: -

Segment: 120-day active subscribers

Sent: 2,939

Opens: 726 (24.7%)

Clicks: 105 (3.6%)

Orders: 4 (0.1%)

Revenue: $6,242.96

New Product Email

With this email, you:

  1. Show a hero image of your new product.

  2. Tell people the product name and include a short description.

  3. Give one call to action to go shop for it.

Here’s an example:

Screenshot of new product email by Suavs

Subject line: Dreams do come blue

Preview text: You voted, we listened. Introducing: The Navy Zilkers

Segment: 120-day active subscribers

Sent: 19,757

Opens: 4,007 (20.3%)

Clicks: 476 (2.4%)

Orders: 44 (0.2%)

Revenue: $4,516.25

If you use any one of these six email types...

You’re almost guaranteed to make sales.

Now let’s go over how to optimize every element in your emails.

Step #3: Optimize Your Email For Clickthrough Rate

Here’s every optimization we make to FAM customers' emails:

Screenshot of optimization made to FAM customers

  1. Start of email

    • Avoid spammy subject lines with words like “free” and “$$$.” We use the Send Check It Subject Line Tester to test for spammy words.[*]

    • Use preview text with a teaser of what’s inside the email.

    • Avoid too much text (give a teaser to click back to your site; don’t write an essay).

  2. Hero image

    • One image.

    • Shrink all images to less than 250kb. Use Squoosh to do this quickly.[*]

    • Use alt text on images.

  3. One call to action

    • Easy to tap on mobile (i.e., text blocks stacked below each other).

    • Stands out with a contrasting color.

    • Matches the same call to action format you use on your site.

  4. Email testing

    • See how a test email looks on mobile vs. desktop.

    • Make the call to action easy to click.

    • Verify images load quickly.

    • Check all your links and make sure your images are linked.

    • Spam test all your emails. We use Litmus to spam test.[*]

    • Use an unsubscribe link in the footer and regularly test it’s not broken.

  5. Increase sales conversions

    • Resend emails to non-openers after 48 hours.

Done those five things?

That’s everything you need for sending sales-generating emails to your active subscribers.

Now let’s go over how to make sales from your inactive subscribers.

Step #4: Email Your Inactive Subscribers

There’s one proven email type we send to inactive subscribers to get them opening, clicking, and buying from our emails again:

A winback email.

Here’s an example of a winback email we sent for a FAM customer that made over $1,000 in sales:

Screenshot of a winback email using FAM

Subject line: We miss you, here's a friendly gift 🎁

Preview text: you don't want to miss this

Segment: 120-day inactive subscribers

Sent: 19,228

Opens: 903 (4.7%)

Clicks: 250 (1.3%)

Orders: 31 (0.1%)

Revenue: $1,300.64

Step #5: Track And Measure Performance

Now it’s time to see how well your email marketing strategy is working.

At the end of the day, sales is the only metric that matters.

But there are three leading metrics we look at to give FAM customers the best shot at making sales:

  1. What emails got the highest open rates?

  2. What emails got the highest click rates?

  3. What emails got the high unsubscribes?

Here’s an example from one FAM customer:

Open Rates

If no one opens your emails you’re not going to make any sales, so you want to analyze what emails get the most opens:

Screenshot of open rates of each email

You can download the email performance tracking template we use below.

It’s filled with data so you know exactly how to fill it out.

Email Performance Tracking Template

With this data, you now need to ask yourself:

Why are these emails getting the highest open rates?

From eyeballing the top subject lines and preview texts I can see:

  1. The best subject lines don’t give away what’s inside the email.

  2. Two of the top three subject lines are questions.

So if I want to get higher open rates on future emails, I now know I should ask questions and use short, curiosity-filled subject lines.

Click Rates

Here’s that same analysis looking at click rates:

Screenshot of click rates of each emails

With click rates, I can’t look at the subject line or preview text.

Instead, I need to analyze the email design of the highest click rate (6.0%) email:

Screenshot of email with the highest click rate

Two things are immediately obvious:

  1. There is a big, clickable hero image with a play button at the top.

  2. Directly beneath the hero image is a call to action button.

If I want higher click rates on future emails, I should incorporate these two elements into my emails.


Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribes can be a good thing.

You don’t want people on your list who don’t want to receive your emails.

But you also need to keep a close eye on your unsubscribe rate.

A normal unsubscribe rate is around 0.3% to 0.5% per email.

As long as you’re seeing unsubscribe rates below 0.5%, like this:

Screenshot of unsubscribe rates

It means you're doing things right and your list is clean.

If your unsubscribe rate increases above 0.5%, it can be a sign your emails are:

  • Too frequent.

  • Spammy.

  • Repetitive.

You need to figure out which one of these it is, and adjust your email marketing strategy accordingly.

Then you’re ready for the last step...

Step #6: Scale Your Email Marketing

At this point your email marketing is raking in new sales.

So the next question is:

How do you scale?

We recommend scaling in three stages:

Stage 1: Email 2x Per Week

If you’re only emailing your list once a week (or less), the best thing you can do is start emailing two times a week, consistently (using the email types we went over in this post).

Here’s an example of a twice-weekly emailing schedule:

Screenshot of a twice-weekly emailing schedule

Notice how every second day is promoting a different product.

Every second day is also a different type of email:

  1. WEDNESDAY: Standard product email (with hero shot of a product).

  2. SUNDAY: Instagram product email (with hero shot of a product from Instagram in a natural environment).

This schedule prevents list fatigue and puts cool products you offer in front of your email subscribers who may have never seen those products before.

Once you master 2x per week emailing, it’s time to move onto stage two...

Stage 2: Email 3x Per Week

At this stage, you’re going to experiment with more frequent emails (3x per week) to see how your list responds.


People join your list for a reason.

They want to hear from you and engage with you.

Here’s an example of a 3x per week emailing schedule:

Screenshot of a 3x per week emailing schedule

Notice how there is an extra email for “Content.”

These are emails with a blog post or video that educates and sells, like this:

Screenshot of a blog post email

Now you’re really adding value to your email list, with:

  1. Cool products (Wednesday, Sunday). 

  2. Content they love (Friday).

Content types we love to send include blog posts, videos, and giveaways.

Basically any content our customers are creating that we think the list would love.

After that, you can move to stage three...

Stage 3: Email 3x Per Week (Plus 2x Promo Emails Per Month)

During this stage, you’re going to email 3x per week, plus:

  • Plan out what monthly promotions you’re going to do sales for.

  • Schedule at least two emails for each promotion (one to announce the sale, and one last-chance offer).

There are two types of promo emails we send for FAM customers:

  1. Holiday promotions (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Black Friday, 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc.).

  2. Flash sales for 24-48 hours.

Here’s an example of what an announcement email for a promo looks like:

Subject: Gifts ready for Mom and ready to ship βœ…

Preview: Hurry, Mother's Day is May 12th!

Screenshot of an announcement email for a promo

And here’s what a last-chance email looks like:

Subject: exactly what mom wants- delivery in time for Mother's Day πŸ’—

Preview: TODAY's the Day! Still time for Mother's Day

Screenshot of a last-chance email

And here are the results:

Screenshot of statistics for emails

Schedule one promotion per month like this, and you will have mastered stage three.

Take Your Email Marketing Performance To The Next-Level With FAM

If you’d like to do what we do for FAM customers, you can follow step-by-step what I’ve shown you in this post.

I’ve even put together a template for you to track your email performance — the same one we use.

Email Performance Tracking Template

However, if you want all of this done for you, we built a simple tool to do it all for you.

You simply:

  1. Sign up for FAM.

  2. Select the types of emails you want to send.

  3. Set the weekly schedule you want to send.

FAM will do the rest to make you sales (almost like magic).

The best part?

You only get charged a small commission WHEN SALES ARE MADE.

Get FAM Now