Promotional Email Campaign: 12 Revenue Driving Elements

Posted May 9, 2018 by   in Digital Marketing, Ecommerce Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Welcome to the 21st century, where cars drive you, realities can be virtual and where you can buy literally anything online. It is clear eCommerce stores have been growing at rapid rates; not only in the number of online businesses but in the amount of overall retail sales. Smart Insights reported the total amount of eCommerce sales in the United States accounted for 10% of total retail sales. But unfortunately, simply creating a website and adding products is not enough to maintain long-term profitability for your eCommerce store. You will need to drive traffic to other channels to ensure consistent revenue, and one of the best ways to initiate steady traffic that provides a high ROI is through promotional email campaign efforts.

Here at Springboard Marketing, we frequently see our promotional email campaign efforts accounting for 10-15% of our clients’ total sales. However, promotional emails can be tricky; you need to market the right message to the right people at the right time. We can boil down promotional emails to a science, with a number of elements that feed into the complex algorithm that maximizes revenue. Overlooking even one of these critical elements could lead to a loss of potential revenue. Here are the 12 most important elements that drive revenue in a successful email campaign.


The email campaign offer is the most important aspect of any eCommerce promotional email. Whether you are promoting an actual discount, free shipping or just simply information, you need to make sure the recipient is receiving something from the email.

The most effective offer is a discount with a coupon code. Recipients will be more inclined to buy your product/service when they see there has been a price reduction. The coupon code aspect, adds an element of exclusivity that makes the customer want to take advantage of the offer. Reports from VoucherCloud conclude that 57% of shoppers are more likely to complete a first-time purchase when they are able to redeem a coupon.

But offers can be made without including a discount. For example, if your company is looking to increase prices on all/specific products, a promotional email marketing “Last Chance to purchase before prices increase!” is a great way to drive sales without even offering a discount. Campaigns like these are great for companies with discount limitations; you can still establish a clear offer.


Another one of the most important, but often overlooked, aspect to a successful email campaign is the design. Email designs can easily be over-designed, over-complicated and over-promoted. With such limited real estate in an email, it can be difficult to include all the information without overcrowding content and confusing the message.

The best mindset to have before diving into an email campaign design is “simplify.” White space is your friend when it comes to email. Only use graphics when they have intention and a specific purpose that supports your message. Too many colors, themes, fonts and graphics can over-complicate the readability of the email. Stay within brand style guidelines and make sure each element of the design has a specific purpose.


CTA’s, or Call-To-Action’s, are a simple feature within an email campaign but can easily be over-complicated. The Call to Action, usually a button or link, should be easily identifiable and correlate with the email offer. It should be appropriately placed within the email to suggest it holds the most importance. This CTA button is what guides the recipients of the email to your site to complete a purchase.

The wording within a CTA should be short, clear and explain where it will take the recipient upon clicking. If your promotion is ‘15% Off Sitewide’ and the CTA button underneath the offer says “Browse the Catalog” this can leave recipients confused and wondering ‘What catalog?’. A more appropriate CTA for a sale like this would simply be ‘Shop Now’.

The location of the CTA button should be underneath the offer and stand out from all the other email elements. The overall goal of the email is to get your recipients to understand the offer, identify the CTA, and make a decision to click in less than 10 seconds (which is the average amount of time spent reading an email campaign.) Such a short time frame leaves little to no room for hidden CTA’s.


Sending your email campaign to the right people will also greatly impact the revenue generated from email marketing efforts. Taking the time to customer segment and weed out inactive profiles can increase overall engagement rates as well as target the customers who are truly interested in your products. Deleting or excluding inactive profiles from promotional campaigns could also decrease the amount you pay monthly for your marketing automation tools. It’s best not to waste the time and money marketing to inactive users via promotional emails; these users would best benefit from a “Tire-Kickers” automated email funnel. (Learn more here about Tire-Kicker funnels)

Product/Service Suggestions

Here at Springboard, we are seeing higher amounts of revenue being generated per email from campaigns that have product features. Featuring your top-selling products relevant to the offer can be extremely enticing to recipients, as they are able to browse products on the email level instead of searching through your website. Featuring products is convenient for the customer and reduces the number of steps they have to take to complete their purchase.

Best practices for featuring products would be making sure the products you highlight are relevant to the offer. If you are advertising ‘25% Off Shoes’ but feature your top selling sweatshirts, you won’t be receiving your highest potential revenue return on the shoe sale.

Email Campaign Product Feature

Subject Line/ Pre-header

The subject line and pre-header are critical to the open rate. Closely tied to open rate is click rate and overall revenue generated from an email. These can be a bit touchy and even come off as spammy if you are not careful about your word choices.

For a subject line, you want to describe the offer in as little words/characters as possible. If you are offering a percentage/dollar amount discount, this is the best place to put it. Don’t be misleading about what the email has to offer in the subject line, clearly state the offer and try to indicate why the recipient would want to open it.

Pre-headers are a way to fit extra information in the headline that wouldn’t fit in the subject line. The pre-header is a great place to include more specifics about the sale, such as the end date, the inventory availability, applicable products, etc. The pre-header should also be relatively short; anything over a sentence’s length is generally too long.


Timing seems to be a commonly overlooked aspect of an email campaign in the marketing industry. There are peak purchasing times of the day and peak days of the week that customers want to buy. This information is specific to your eCommerce store and is invaluable while planning campaigns. By using tools such as Google Analytics and your Email Marketing Software, you will be able to see when your traffic is heaviest and send emails based on the time your customers are naturally wanting to shop. It’s easy for recipients to neglect, or even immediately delete, poorly timed emails due to their lack of priority in the moment. Advertising to your customers at the right time is of utmost importance when it comes to revenue performance.


If you are wondering why it seems like you may have gotten the same email twice within one week advertising the same promotion, it’s because you probably did. Humans are forgetful, even if consumers want to make a purchase they can easily forget to take advantage of a discount before the sale is over.

Resend/ Reminder emails are essentially a second chance for both the customer and the company. A second chance for the recipient to take advantage of the sale and a second chance for your company to maximize your efforts on that email campaign. Since it takes relatively no effort (to simply duplicate an email, tweak the subject line and pre-header, and send again) and usually offers a high return, resending your email campaign is a no-brainer.

“Above the Fold”

What fold you ask? The fold of the email refers to the size of the screen the recipient is viewing your email on without having to scroll. Ideally, all the important features of the email (such as the offer, coupon code, CTA, etc.) are at the very top of the email – so the recipient does not have to scroll.

Above the fold applies to both desktop and mobile recipients, so you will want to make sure you are formatting the email correctly for each device. Considering the average time spent viewing an email is under 10 seconds, this does not leave much time for extensive scrolling. Your recipient should immediately understand the offer and be able to take action once they open the email without having to scroll. Any additional information requiring the recipient to scroll should just provide extra information about the sale or product features.

Email Campaigns Fold Line


A study conducted by ConversionXL saw a 332% increase in their conversion rate by introducing the element of scarcity/urgency. If customers know they have limited time to take advantage of a sale they will be more inclined to immediately purchase, instead of putting off the purchase until later or forgetting altogether.

A great place to increase the urgency is in the resend. The resend/reminder email many times outperforms the initial send when there is an increased amount of urgency. By indicating ‘Sale Ends TONIGHT!’ or that ‘Stock is Running Low!’ you can instill a sense of urgency for the sale in the recipient. is an amazing free tool that generates a real-time countdown clock to feature in your email campaign to further increase urgency.

URL Linking

Appropriate URL linking is another overlooked aspect to promotional emails that can directly impact the amount of revenue generated. Similar to product features reducing the number of steps it takes to get a customer to complete a purchase, linking the appropriate URL’s in your email will offer the same “shortcut.”

If you are having a ‘25% Off All Shoes’ sale, and your CTA button links to your homepage (or worse a different category page) you run the risk of the consumer losing interest as they not only try to shop but learn to navigate your website. User experience is not just critical within your website but in all the channels, such as email, you use to drive traffic to your website. In conclusion, convenience maximizes revenue.

Copy-able Coupon Code

Lastly, a less important but still a revenue impacting element to promotional emails is the ability to copy (and paste) a coupon code. This ties into the convenience factors that reduce the number of steps a recipient must take to complete a purchase. Ensuring your coupon codes are live text is especially important if you are generating unique coupon codes that include a variety of letters, numbers, and characters in random order. This eliminates the need for the recipient to remember or even write down the code and focus on making the purchase.

And there you have it, our 12 most important revenue driving elements to an email campaign. Applying most, ideally all, of these elements to your campaigns will ensure you are maximizing your promotional campaign efforts and generating the most revenue as possible with each send.