The top 3 Pillars of email marketing [videos & templates included]

Email Marketing isn’t about virality, algorithms or vanity metrics. Which is why many SMBs don’t always see the value in it, leaving relationships underdeveloped.

You can avoid this by creating email marketing content pillars. I know, you have several questions right now including:

  1. What is a content pillar?
  2. Why do I need content pillars in my email marketing strategy? 
  3. What does personalized email content look like?
  4. How does segmentation boost content effectiveness?

I can’t wait to answer these questions for you, provide examples and walk you through each process.

If this is exciting for you, keep reading because I’m going to breakdown:

  • What content pillars are & their value.
  • Why you need content pillars for your email marketing strategy.
  • The top 4 content pillars of email marketing

What is a pillar in email marketing ?

A pillar in email marketing outlines the foundation of your email marketing strategy.  Through defining your pillars, you understand at a basic level how you plan to use email, how it benefits you, how it benefits your readers, organizing your data and your content.

Pillars in email marketing give you clarity on what needs to be done, why, how and the consequences of not doing so. This is why every single email strategy you make needs pillars, otherwise it’d all just fall apart.

Also, content pillars help you send content to the right person, with the right message, at the right time. And doing this with the right rhythm produced optimal results and an environment for conversions.

With this in mind, here are the top 6 pillars your email marketing strategy needs:

  1. Planning
  2. Behavioral Segmentation & Personalization
  3. Reviewing Data driven analytics to improve design & increase optimal metrics

The top 3 content pillars of email marketing 

The top 3 content pillars of email marketing

Segment #1: Email content Planning

Email marketing requires a content strategy for successful campaign send. Within that strategy, you should be planning your email content for 4-6 weeks at a time. This helps you create the content with a clear vision, goals and clarity on optimal outcomes.

Planning email campaigns also helps you send content in order of what’s required to nurture your audience. With good planning you can see when your content becomes too salesy or shares too much for free. Which also helps you lower unsubscribe rates, Increase open rates & increase your reader engagement. 

When planning campaigns, I like to do a full 5 week plan, then break each week down. 

During the weekly breakdown, you should identify:

  • what days you’re sending what
  • send time
  • subject line
  • graphics
  • call to actions
  • topics
  • segments to send to 
  • your goals.

To help you get started, here’s an example of an email calendar plan:

5 week Email content planner

5 week Email content planner

You can also download this 5 week email template here: Download 5 Week Planner Freebie


Behavioral segmenting in email marketing

Behavioral Segmentation & personalization 

If you aren’t familiar with behavioral segmentation, it simply means that you group your email subscribers together based on similar actions they take.

These segments are created by using “tags” on customer profiles that let you know what actions they’ve taken. This helps you understand what to send, to who, why and what value it adds to their life.

For example, if you send a blog about how to use a new tool or product, you’d tag everyone who clicked to read as “interested in __________” or “Read ______ blog”. 

Now, you know you should send them industry insights, customer reviews, tutorials, product highlights and content specific to this tool. Doing this increases their likeli of converting by 80%!

Plus, your email unsubscribe rate decreases significantly when you start sending content that’s relevant to their needs, instead of generalizing everyone’s goals & desires.

Enjoy this 2 min. Crash course that explains the basics of email segmenting:


Once you master behavioral segmenting, you’re ready to start sending behavioral specific content. This type of content is called behavioral personalization, so they only receive content relevant to actions they’ve taken.

When you’re doing this, it makes your audience feel like you made content specifically for them. This is how you build a long term relationship outside of social media and additional 3rd party apps. 

These relationships are important because it makes your readers feel like you actually care about them and you aren’t just in it for the money. Plus, it increases the chances of them replying to your emails, which helps improve your deliverability and open rate long term.

 Here’s a few examples of emails your subscribers would receive after taking certain actions.

Email sequence behavioral workflow

The easiest way to start using this method is with the AIDA model:

  • Attention (you catch their attention by sending helpful content, using live chat customer service, & making your content easy to find) 
  • Interest (you build engagement by building relationships, providing solutions for wants & goals, nurturing with authentic content & success stories over time) 
  • Desire (using FOMO - fear of missing out- to build a sense of urgency around your offer, create an offer with so much value the price seems like a worthwhile investment).
  • Action (close the sale, inquire for service)

Using data in email marketing

Reviewing Data driven analytics to improve design & increase optimal metrics

2-3 days after each campaign you send, you need to review your campaigns analytics. 

By doing this consistently, you give your customers what they need to continue the conversation with you, better understand their needs and how to create the best content for them.

A successful email campaign analysis requires:

  • Track metrics that matter: open rates, deliverability, clicks, unsubscribes.
  • What do those metrics indicate about success: did you meet your goals? Why or why not? What numbers need to improve?
  • Apply findings & optimize: now that you know the numbers, understand what went wrong, it’s time to create a strategy to improve using this data.

Here’s a few examples of how to use campaign metrics to improve outcomes:

  • Low open rate: run a 30 day study on subject lines. Use A/B testing and groups of 500-1,000 subs to see what POV, tone, emojis, send times and email frequencies work best over time.
  • Low click thru rate: create 4 new email designs, with new copy and 4 new CTAs. Experiment with email length, image placement, gifs, text only emails and CTA placement.
  • Send frequency: you’re sending emails too often, leading to more unsubscribers than usual. Now, you need l create an email preference center + create a schedule where segments only receive 1-2 emails a week maximum. You can also download this 5 week email planner to help you get started: Download 5 Week Planner Freebie

Now, you’re ready to start experimenting, tracking results, and identifying the best strategies for your brand. This will take time, so try to stay consistent and set reminders to review campaigns for best chances of improving.

Since you’ve made it through this article, I know you’re ready to start using email marketing as the affordable marketing channel that it is. To help you get on the right track, register for this free email marketing training to learn the basics and start building relationships via email.

Register for email marketing training 


1 comment

Adewunmi Oluwabunmi Abigail

I want to learn about email marketing

Adewunmi Oluwabunmi Abigail

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