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What Is An Email Campaign?

Blog / What Is An Email Campaign?

What is an email campaign?

We can’t talk about what an email campaign is without talking about what email marketing is.

At its core, email marketing is just an email that you send to your subscribers. Which is industry lingo for people who have agreed to receive these messages from you.

But broadly, it is a set of marketing activities that you execute between you and your customer or prospects through emails. Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

In this article, we will assume that you know nothing about what email marketing is. Let’s understand what is email marketing all about and how can you get started with it.

What is an Email Campaign?

An email campaign is a set of single or multiple emails planned, executed, and distributed over a period of time to achieve specific marketing goals.

These email campaign marketing goals mostly involves customer conversion actions like:

  • buying their preferred items from you,
  • get to know about your recently launched product-line,
  • receive a special invite to your upcoming webinar, event or festive-party
  • could be general tips, answering what’s new to expect, or a simple DIY idea

For Example

Let's say, you want to sell a new line of apparel introduced in your store.

Obviously, you would want to tell your subscribers everything about it – from where it has been sourced, its fine quality, what are the colors and designs, which is the best design among them all, which is a hot seller, what is the price, what are the offers you are running, when will the offer end and so on.

Clothing Store Introducing New Clothesline via Email

Now, you could send all of this information in just one email. But good email etiquette will tell you that these need to be different emails sent one after the other.

The objective of all of these emails is to get the subscriber to your store and get them to buy.

Therefore, effectively, you are sending a campaign with the objective of store walk-ins.

That is what an email campaign is.

Who do you Send Your Email Campaigns to?

You send these campaigns to your subscribers, those who have volunteered to be a part of your email list through any of your subscriber forms. That first part is important, as you should never send a campaign to a person who did not agree to receive it. Check out the following two good reasons for this.

Two Reasons – Why Not to Send an Email Without Having a Consent?

  • In many countries there are legal restrictions (like GDPR in EU countries & US regions), it’s illegal to send marketing emails to people who have not specifically consented to receive them.

    Keep in mind that agreeing to receive a transactional email (i.e. receipts for goods purchased, etc.) does not always constitute consent.

  • Your platform might disable your account if they think you’re spamming. Email marketing providers have spent a long time making sure their emails get into the inbox and aren’t flagged as spam.

    If your emails get labeled as spam by users frequently it can cause problems for your provider, and that will affect all their subscribers, not just you. So, it’s in their best interest to make sure their users toe the line.

Now that we’ve covered who you can email. What is an email campaign?

A campaign is simply a sequence of marketing efforts (in this case mostly emails, though you can run a dual email and online ads campaign) designed to reach out to your subscribers and drive action.

This action is usually them downloading something, engaging with your website or brand, or most commonly purchasing something.

All of these sequences of marketing efforts can be carried out using an all-in-one email marketing tool. The tool allows users to create and send impactful email marketing campaigns to their audience.

The tool also supports all your online campaign needs. You can create landing pages, embed forms, discount coupons, etc. from within the tool and deliver them to your audience through not just emails but also through SMS.

Also, while it can be a single email, it’s usually multiple emails sent over a period of time.

Types of Email Campaigns

We’re going to break down campaigns in two ways, based on purpose, and based on timing.

First, let’s look at what is an email campaign's purpose? It’s what you’re trying to achieve by putting the time into creating it. Goals can vary by business but usually lead to one of three big categories of campaigns.

Email Campaign Types Based on Purpose

  • Transactional Campaigns

    • Welcome Emails - thank your subscribers for subscribing
    • Confirmation Emails - let customers know that it’s on the way or that it’s reserved (usually with updates on progress)
    • Update/change Emails - has something changed with a product or service a customer has reserved or bought? Are your business hours changing? Is anything else changing that might affect that customer’s experience? Let them know.
    Good to Know

    A welcome email is one of those low-risk email campaign examples to look at if you’re just getting started with email marketing. They’re hard to get wrong and users expect them. If you’re new to this, begin by building your welcome email first.

  • Informational Campaigns

    • Newsletters - basic but still popular. Let users know what’s new with a short newsletter every month. Hubspot has a great checklist if you’ve never created a newsletter before.
    • New Content Announcement - this is different than promoting a digital good as the goal is to get them to visit a page or read through an article not download something (so the barrier to entry is lower.
    • Product or Service Update - has something changed, have you made progress towards introducing a product you announced a while back? This is the campaign for you.
    Good to Know

    Most services will have extensive libraries of email campaign templates for all these kinds of emails for you to use or customize so creating one of these is a snap once you get the hang of it.

  • Promotional Campaigns

    • Promote a whitepaper, eBook, PDF (a free digital good that the user needs to download)
    • Promote a new product or a new service
    • Special offers, discount codes or other purchase incentives
    Good to Know

    People mostly think about this last category when being asked “What is an email campaign?”. That’s because these are the emails that stick out most since they’re the most “salesy”. They are also likely to be part of a multi-email campaign, usually 2-6 emails sent over a couple of days (or weeks) that aim to get the customer to perform an action.

It’s very important to remember to segment out customers that have already performed the action, especially if sending more than two emails as you don’t want to annoy customers who are responsive by asking them to do something they’ve already done.

Most email campaign tools will allow you to easily do this when setting up the sequence.

CTA button settings in email creator

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Now let’s look at the types of a campaign by delivery, this time we have two main categories.

Email Campaign Types Based on Delivery Schedule

  • Traditionally Timed

    • Campaigns that have a set delivery date. If there are multiple emails, delivery dates for all of them are planned in advance and all targeted individuals get them at roughly the same time.
    • Campaigns designed for holidays or events that happen on a certain date are best here. What is an email campaign for Christmas or Valentine’s Day? It’s usually a product announcement or two, followed by a series of promotional emails announcing sales and discounts.
  • Drip Campaigns

    • Like traditional campaigns these are usually sequenced. But the sequencing here depends on user interaction. These can also have branching points depending on what the user does.
    • A good example of drip marketing is a campaign that sends the second email two days after the first was opened, not two days after the first was sent. Or alternatively that sends you a different message two days later if you didn’t open the first one.
    • Drip campaigns usually have more focus on what the user does or doesn’t do, Zapier has this great drip getting started guide if you want to learn more.

If you're looking for more inspirational ideas to create your next email campaign, explore these 13 Best Email Campaign Types and start impressing with your target email subscribers.


The answer to 'What is an email campaign?' is easy - it’s just an email or series of emails sent by a business to achieve specific marketing conversion goals. The more important and harder to master, the question is 'How to create an email campaign?'. We hope we’ve taught you the basics about different types of campaigns and now you're ready to send your next email campaign to your target recipients.

But there’s no replacement for experience, the best way to learn how to create a campaign is by doing it. Fortunately, most modern email marketing tools have easy-to-use interfaces that guide you through the process from mailing list creation to post-send reporting. The steps are basically the same in all of them, so we’d recommend picking a tool and getting started.