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Email Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

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In 1978, Gary Thuerk, a Digital Marketing manager was the first person to send the first commercial mass email to promote his company’s new product. This was the birth of email marketing. 

Fast forward to today’s digital era, brands still use email marketing as an effective channel to identify and interact with their customers. Even after more than 40 years, email marketing is an established marketing channel used for lead generation and conversions. It is the preferred choice of over 87% of B2B marketers who consider it the best organic distribution channel. 

It is one of the most profitable and cost-effective marketing channels that is used to promote products and foster a healthy relationship with the customer. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates an average ROI of $36. 

Do you also want to leverage the power of email marketing to elevate your business to new heights? Fret not, this how-to email marketing guide will help you get started and grow your business. 

Let’s get started. 

What is Email Marketing?

You must be thinking, how is email marketing going to help my marketing strategy when most of my audience is on social media? While social media is a useful marketing channel, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of emails. 

Do you know that there are 3 times more email accounts than Facebook and X(formerly Twitter) accounts combined? Surprising, right?

But what is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves sending promotional emails and newsletters to your email list. The objective of email marketing is to send emails to potential prospects to convert them into customers and turn existing customers into loyal buyers. 

In 2024, it will be one of the most effective marketing channels due to its measurability, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and the customer attention it provides. Creating and running an email marketing strategy is integral to a brand’s success. The only problem is that most brands fail to do it right.

How to Get Started With Email Marketing? The Process of Email Marketing

The process of email marketing is not complex if you understand it properly. For starters, let’s focus on the primary aspects- 

  • Building an Email List
  • Choosing an Email Service Provider

Building an Email List

It is important to create an opt-in signup form if you want to build and grow your email list quickly. Consumers who register on your platform and like your products will want to stay informed and updated about your offerings. 

You can also create a separate form for the newsletter and deploy it through pop-ups on your website. However, make sure the pop-ups don’t hamper the user experience of your website as this could potentially drive customers away. 

Once you have started building your email list, it is a good practice to use lead magnets to attract more customers. A lead magnet is a free resource like PDFs, whitepapers, or case studies that you offer in exchange for a customer’s email address and contact information. 

Selecting an Email Service Provider

Choosing an email service provider early on will help you as it is the foundation of your email marketing strategy. It is quite hard to create campaigns, triggers, and track performance without a dedicated ESP. 

However, there are a plethora of ESPs available. How do you know which one is the best for you? Here are certain features to look for when choosing an ESP- 

  • Email builder
  • Subscription forms
  • Inbuilt email templates
  • Segmentation and Personalization features
  • Analytics and Reports
  • Trigger Emails
  • Integrations

Before you finalize an ESP, make sure that the services provided by it are in line with your business needs. 

Segment Your Email List

For maximum efficiency in your email marketing campaigns, make sure to segment your email list and categorize your audience according to specific criteria to target them better. This will help you send relevant and personalized emails to subscribers, which leads to higher conversions. 

Email segmentation is an important practice that can significantly improve your click-through rates, and open rates, and even reduce unsubscriber rates. Based on your business, you can segment your email list according to the following- 

New Subscribers: They receive a series of welcome and onboarding emails to help them get accustomed to your offerings. 

Preferences: Analyze customer data and categorize customers according to their preference

Open Rates: Send personalized offers to your more loyal customers

Inactivity: Send re-engagement emails to subscribers who have been inactive for a long time. 

Cart Abandonment: If you run an e-commerce website, you can send reminder emails that customers have not checked out their cart yet. 

Choose an Email Campaign Type

There are many types of email campaigns and trying to decide between them can be intimidating. Should you send promotional emails? Should you share new blogs? Should you send a weekly newsletter? 

The answer is, that it depends! There’s no formula for success and your email campaign will depend on your type of audience. 

Start by understanding the various types of email campaigns then decide which will drive the maximum engagement with your audience. 

Another thing you can do is set up different lists for different types of emails, so customers can willingly sign up for emails that are relevant to them. 

Create a Schedule

Make sure to create a schedule and stick to it. 

Spamming your customers with tons of emails without any proper schedule is the perfect way to end up in the spam folder and increase unsubscribe rates. You want to avoid that. 

Create a schedule and follow it religiously. It will build trust and also ensure that you stay in your audience’s mind. 

Evaluate Your Results

Lastly, it is important to analyze your results and make adjustments where needed. As a digital marketer, it is only natural to be meticulous about every key metric and optimize it for better results. 

There are four primary key metrics to pay attention to 

Deliverability: It measures the rate at which emails reach your target audience

Open Rate: The percentage of people that open your email once it reaches their inbox

Click-through Rate: The percentage of people that click on your CTAs

Unsubscribe Rate: The number of people who opt out of your email list

How to Do Email Marketing? Writing a Marketing Email

Now you know how email marketing works, but how exactly do you write a marketing email? Well, we have got you covered. Here are a few steps that will help you write and design a personalized marketing email. 

Create an Email Marketing Strategy

Before you can write a marketing email, you need to define your marketing strategy. Think about what you want to achieve with your first marketing campaign. You could have a specific goal or maybe you just want to start your campaign. 

Here are some common ones- 

  • Promoting a new product launch.
  • Sharing discounts and offers with customers.
  • Get more downloads for your new app.
  • Updating subscribers about a company event or news.

Having a clear goal in mind will make it easier to create relevant email content and target your audience. 

Design the Marketing Email

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need expertise in editing software like Photoshop to design a marketing email. You can use a drag-and-drop online editor and create sophisticated emails. 

However, make sure to keep the design professional and avoid extravagant and elaborate emails. Plus, make sure the email reflects the theme of your brand. It is better to start with something simple and make adjustments along the way according to the engagement you receive. 

Here are a few key tips to get you started- 

  • Keep text to the point
  • Use images and on-brand visuals
  • Leave breathing room for the eyes
  • Include a clear CTA
  • Use your company logo and branding
  • Use responsive templates to optimize for mobile

Use Pre-built Email Templates

If you are not willing to design your email, you can also leverage pre-built email templates. 

Just pick a template you like and customize it according to your brand. Plus, you can also use it for future email newsletters by updating the content. 

There are a ton of free email templates available online. 

Subject Line, Sender Name, and Preview Text

Subject Line

The subject line is one of the most important elements of your email as it can determine whether your email will be read or not. And with a highly competitive marketing industry, it is crucial to make an intriguing subject line that forces the customer to open your email. 

Here are a few pointers to help you create a subject line that stands out 

  • Maximum 50 characters
  • Highlight your best offer
  • Appeal to your customer’s emotions
  • Use your brand value
  • A/B test your subject lines
  • Avoid overly promotional language
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS
  • Don’t use extra punctuation
  • Use 1 or 2 emojis if it fits the theme of your brand

 

And if you are still unsure about your subject line, use content-generation AI tools for maximum efficiency. 

Sender Name

The sender’s name is another integral element of a marketing email. Whenever you receive an email, the first thing you check is the sender’s name. It tells the recipient whether the mail is spam or not. 

The best way to avoid ending up in the spam folder is to use the brand’s name as your sender name. There are several ways to achieve this- 

  • Your company/newsletter name on its own
  • A combination of your brand name and first name(eg. Nidhi at DGTG)
  • A distinct sender name to differentiate the type of email content (eg. DGTG Product Launch)

Make sure to use the same sender name and address to be easily recognized by the customer. Lastly, avoid the no-reply email address as it diminishes brand trust and prevents the customers from reaching out to you. 

Preview Text

The email preview text is the text that appears after the subject line, especially on mobile devices. 

The preview text complements your subject line and can significantly improve your open rates. 

Similar to the subject line, make sure to create an intriguing preview text that compels the user to read more. 

Write Your Marketing Email

The content of your email should be relevant and provide value to the customer. Try to offer topics and promotions that catch the audience’s attention and also embody the theme of your brand. 

Here are a few tips for writing a marketing email- 

  • Identify “what the audience needs from you?” or “How can you help them?”
  • Imagine you are writing to a single person
  • Showcase your brand’s personality
  • Tell a story
  • Instil curiosity in the reader- starting from the subject line
  • Use a conversation tone
  • Use short paragraphs and bullet points(nobody wants to read a thesis paper)
  • Use the name of a real person for the email signature instead of a brand logo

How to Improve Your Email Open Rates?

The open rate is one of the most crucial metrics of your marketing emails. If the recipient never opens the email, they can’t interact with the content of your mail. Here are a few measures that can ensure a high open rate for your marketing emails. 

Avoid Spam Filters

One of the most obvious factors is avoiding the spam filter. As a marketer, it sucks to end up in the spam folder after you spent so much effort creating the perfect email. Here is how you can avoid this- 

  • Establish your brand’s sending reputation by increasing the number of emails you send daily
  • Use dedicated IP addresses instead of a shared pool of IP addresses
  • Confirm domain existence so the user is not shown an error when clicking on your CTAs
  • Show customers how to whitelist your emails
  • Update your email list periodically to avoid sending emails to inactive email addresses
  • Provide valuable and relevant information
  • Offer customers the option to unsubscribe

Remove Inactive Subscribers from your Email List

It is important to revise and evaluate your email list regularly and remove any subscriber who has not been active for the past 6 months. 

Another way of doing this is to request your subscribers to update their preferences and data after a period. This will help ensure engagement and also build brand loyalty among customers. 

Send Emails at the Best Time

Yes, there is a perfect time to send emails. The timing of your emails can significantly impact your open rates. If you are wondering when is the best time to send emails, it depends on your target audience. 

But in general, Fridays are the best for open rates and Saturdays are the best for conversion rates. But as mentioned above, it will largely depend on your target audience. For instance, if your target audience consists of business executives, weekdays during work hours might be the best option for you. 

On the other hand, if you are a restaurant chain, sending a mail with a promotion on a Friday afternoon could yield the best results. 

How to Automate Your Marketing Emails?

Now that you know the whole process of email marketing, let’s learn how to automate your emails with autoresponders. An autoresponder is a series of specific emails that are sent to customers when they trigger a specific event. These triggers can be assigned by you and generally include things like joining your email list, buying a product, downloading, or more. 

Here is how you set an efficient autoresponder for your emails- 

Select the Autoresponder’s Goal

Autoresponder goals or triggers can vary according to your preference. Generally, these are the most common ones- 

Send a welcome email to new subscribers: Welcome emails are a series of emails that are sent to new subscribers. It usually leads them to a message thanking them for subscribing, or a CTA. 

Use it as a lead magnet: Autoresponders can also be used to provide free and valuable content to consumers.

Make sales automated: With an autoresponder sequence, you can also create a sales funnel. This sequence could consist of product videos and follow-ups to sell your products. 

Promote cross-sells: An autoresponder sequence can be used for cross-selling products. Depending on the products your customer buys, you can show them “customers who bought XYZ, also bought ABC” and send them new offers. 

Draft an Email Sequence

The next step is to create an email sequence by figuring out the length of your sequence and the duration between two email sends. 

You will also have to balance the volume of sales and informational emails. Use the 80/20 rule, provide value with 80% of your emails, and use 20% to make a sale. 

Create an Autoresponder Series

One of the hardest things is to create an autoresponder series that offers high conversions. While this may differ from business to business, here are three pointers to follow- 

  • Focus on the customer’s needs
  • Use personalization techniques
  • Write intriguing subject lines

Track Results and Adjust Accordingly

While autoresponders focus on automation, it is still important to monitor the results for maximum efficiency. Track the essential metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates and make adjustments accordingly. 

Tips for Email Marketing

When it comes to email marketing, even the smallest things can make a huge impact. Everything from the time you send the mail to the device in which your email could be opened matters for your email marketing campaign. 

Your objective is to increase engagement and generate more leads, which makes email marketing a very involved process. 

Here are some tips to help you achieve success in your email marketing campaign- 

Components of Your Email

The components of a successful marketing email include- 

Copy: The copy of your email content should be consistent with your voice. Avoid passive voice. 

Images: Select images that are optimized for mobile devices and are relevant to the content of the mail.

CTA: The call-to-action should lead to a particular section of your website. 

Timing: The timing largely depends on your target audience. However, if you are unsure, try to send your email either on Friday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon. 

Responsiveness: More than half of the emails are opened on mobile devices. Make sure to optimize the content according to mobile devices. 

Personalization: Be personable and address your audience like you are interacting with a friend. 

Subject Line: Use clear and intriguing language that compels the user to open the email. 

Avoid Buying Email Lists

You might be tempted to buy an email list but believe me, it is better to stay away from it at all costs. It can be detrimental to your business as it is considered unethical and could get you blacklisted. 

Here are some reasons why you should avoid buying email lists- 

  • It is illegal to send unsolicited emails and store user data in the CRM without the user’s consent
  • People are most likely to move unwanted emails to the spam folder, hurting your brand reputation. 
  • Most email service providers will avoid working with you as buying an email list is unethical and illegal. 

A/B Test Your Email

Are you confused between two subject lines? Can’t figure out what to include in your email and what to remove? You can A/B test your email to find out which one works best. It is also a great way to optimize your marketing campaign’s click-through and conversion rates. 

Try testing different email formats, subject lines, CTAs, email templates, and more to see what works best and gets the most engagement.

Optimize for Mobile

Over half of the emails are opened through mobile devices. In this case, it is important to optimize your email for mobile devices if you want to maximize your lead generation and click-through rates. 

Here are some key points to do this- 

Use fast-loading media: Unnecessary media in the form of large photos can limit email deliverability

Don’t rely on images: The Android OS removes images by default for faster loading. 

Make sure the CTAs are large and away from other media: Two links close together can redirect the customer to the wrong address

Final Words

Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, using email marketing is cost-effective and profitable to connect with customers and generate leads simultaneously. While there are many rules to email marketing, it is important to treat the reader like you are writing to a friend. 

Ensure that the subscribers have opted-in before sending them emails. Provide high-value and relevant content that satisfies your customer’s needs. And, make sure to track performance metrics to see the results of your marketing campaign and make improvements accordingly. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  1. What are the regulations on email marketing?

Ans. CAN-SPAM and GDPR for Europe require businesses to protect users’ privacy and avoid using purchased email lists.

2. What is email automation?

Ans. Email automation allows you to set autoresponders that automatically send emails based on the actions of the customers. For example, if a subscriber buys an item, an automated email with order confirmation is sent to them. 

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