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So, you’ve heard a lot about “email marketing” and thinking about how it works! Well, email marketing has been around for some time, right from the advent of the internet, and for good reason. It’s the most direct and effective way of connecting with your leads, nurturing them, and turning them into customers, consistently winning out over all other marketing channels.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire process of getting started with email marketing for beginners, all the tips and strategies you’ll be needing to succeed.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is simply the process where you send a commercial email message to your ‘email subscribers’ — contacts who have signed up to your email list and given express permission to receive email communications from you.
Email marketing is used to share information, drive sales, and build a community around your brand (e.g. with a newsletter). Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and instead focuses on consent, segmentation, personalization, and lots more.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
Email marketing is procedural, in the sense that it involves a series of processes. To start with, you need to
- DEFINE OBJECTIVE: You need to give your campaign a name and subject header and other important details
- TEST: After drafting your campaign, you need to test it across different browsers and email clients to ensure that your campaign template is responsive across different devices.
- SEND: After testing, the next thing is to send to your subscribers. Now you can decide to send immediately or schedule it for later, depending on your email service provider.
- MEASURE: The success or failure of an email campaign can easily be determined by measuring the campaign metrics which include “Opens, Clicks, and replies”.
- REPORT: The report metrics will help you discover the bounce summary or unsubscribe percentage if any.
Email marketers use what’s known as an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails. An Email Service Provider is software that sends and manages email marketing campaigns. It’s also referred to as an email marketing platform, email marketing tool, email marketing service, or email marketing software.
Now you might be wondering, can’t I just send marketing emails with my regular inbox provider? Do I really need to pay for this additional email service? Technically, it’s possible but you’re likely to run into problems with limited email bandwidth, design, and more importantly, email deliverability. I will tell you why:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc. are designed for personal use — not for email blasts. So when mass email or bulk mail is sent from an ISP, it’s easily flagged by spam filters and your account can be disabled for suspicious activity.
ESPs on the other hand have the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure email deliverability — the ability to land emails in the inbox. If you want to set yourself up for email marketing success from day one, get yourself a dedicated email marketing service.
Why Is Email Marketing Important?
Email is accessible to all age groups. It opens the door to a wide range of audiences — even the not-so-tech-savvy ones among us. We might live in the digital age but not everyone is that comfortable using the internet. However, most people do know how to check their email. This makes it the most mainstream form of marketing.
Email marketing is extremely cost-effective. Most email marketing tools offer pricing packages to suit all budgets. In reality, the barrier to entry has never been so low. Many email tools — SendPulse included — offer free plans without any commitment. These are ideal for beginner email marketers who want to get a hang of the software before purchasing. With nothing to lose, there’s no excuse not to give it a go.
Freedom: You own your email list
Think about it: Your social media could disappear in the morning and take all your followers with it. You’d be left with nothing. But therein lies the beauty of an email list — it’s yours. So if all else goes belly up, you’ll still have a direct line of contact with the people who are most interested in your brand. And the intimacy of email as a one-to-one channel will bring you even closer to that audience.
Benefits Of Email Marketing
From order confirmations to newsletters, emails are an essential aspect of the growth and management of your business.
Email marketing will help fulfill 3 primary objectives:
1. Conversions (selling your products and services)
Launching a sale or promotion? You can send an email marketing campaign to your subscribers to drive sales. Other email marketing techniques known to increase conversion rates include:
- Emailing a discount or special offer (birthday/anniversary emails, welcome emails, re-engagement emails)
- Abandoned cart emails (triggered whenever a visitor abandons a cart at your online store)
2. Brand awareness
What’s great about email is that it lets you reach someone directly. It’s one-to-one communication at its best. And besides, people don’t just let anyone into their inbox these days. It’s a curated space reserved for favorite brands and publications.
Showing up in someone’s email inbox will help your brand stay top of mind. A personalized marketing email is more impactful than a social media post where you can’t be sure if someone has actually seen your message.
One of the major benefits of email marketing is its scalability. This means that emails can be sent to a large number of recipients for a relatively low cost (compared to other marketing channels).
3. Customer loyalty
Email drives customer loyalty at every stage of the buyer journey: lead-nurturing, conversion, onboarding, and retention. It’s a great tool for building a community. You can create excellent newsletter content so well that subscribers will be waiting for it to arrive each week.
Email Marketing Metrics
Email isn’t a new technology. In fact, it was one of the very first means of digital communication to arrive back in 1971. But get this: Email marketing — almost 50 years old — is more widely used today than ever.
The phrase ‘Email is dead’ gets bounced around the marketing echo chamber every now and then. But don’t believe it. Email is only getting bigger. Just check out these statistics:
- In 2019, there were 3.9 billion global email users (source: Statista)
- 80% of Americans check their email at least once per day, with nearly a quarter of them checking their personal email several times a day (Fluent Inbox Report, 2018)
- 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention (Emarsys, 2018)
- 91% of people check their email daily
- For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average ROI is about $44.25
- At least one email is sent every 0.00000035 seconds, that’s about 247 billion emails per day.
- Mondays have the highest revenue per email
- Subject lines with “Profit, Revenue, Money” performs the best
- 33% of email recipients open an email based on subject lines alone.
- 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
Given the figures, it’s not surprising that email is hailed as the most effective channel in B2B marketing. Not having an email marketing strategy means missing out on sales opportunities and the chance to strengthen ties with customers. You can also check out these 18 fascinating facts about email marketing on InternetAdvisor for more reasons why email marketing remains one of the best forms of digital communication.
Types Of Email Marketing
Emails can either be promotional or informational and fulfill a specific purpose in the buyer’s journey.
Marketing campaigns are used to promote, whether it’s to promote a special offer, a new product release, an ebook, or a webinar. A campaign could consist of 3 – 10 emails sent over several days or weeks.
Promotional emails have a clear call-to-action — or CTA for short. The CTA represents the specific action you want the reader to take, whether it’s visiting a webpage or make a purchase.
This type of marketing email is sent as and when required, in line with the rhythm of your business.
Newsletters: A newsletter, as the name suggests, share news related to your business (new milestones reached, new product capabilities) or to highlight a product use case. Sent according to a set schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), newsletters help maintain a consistent connection with your subscribers.
But did you know? Newsletters don’t just have to be about ‘news’. As email guru Neil Patel says, focus on the letter aspect. Imagine you’re writing a personal letter to your subscribers about something that interests them. Simply put a newsletter is an opportunity to share insights, thoughts, tips – whatever brings the most value to your audience.
Announcements: Email is the perfect way to inform customers of company announcements, new releases, changes to the service, etc. As a medium, email has the necessary formality for delivering important messages. This would explain why email was the medium of choice for brands sending crisis communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Do I Start Email Marketing? What Requirements Do I Need?
Keeping it simple, there are two main things you need to run an email marketing campaign.
- Email marketing software
As we’ve just explained, a dedicated email marketing provider is the way to go. Sending marketing emails through an ISP will only put your brand and email sender reputation at risk.
- An email list
Before getting started, you need to build an email list, and we discussed how to do this in our email list-building tips guide. This list contains the email addresses of interested subscribers who have opted-in to receive email communications from you.
Yes, that’s right — opt-in. Because here’s the thing about email contacts:
Everyone on that email list needs to have given their express permission to be there.
What does that mean?
It means they agreed to receive emails from you when they entered their email address into an email signup form on your blog, website, landing pages, social media, or anywhere else. In email terms, this process is referred to as ‘opting in’ (‘opting out’ would be an unsubscribe). Permission-based marketing is required to conform to data protection laws and safeguard the integrity of your brand. After all, nobody likes a spammer.
Would you like to learn more about email marketing best practices and how to create your first email marketing campaign? Check out the concluding parts of our email marketing for beginners series below.