If you have grown your email list and now planning to do email marketing but are still confused about how to effectively do it? This beginner’s guide will explain what email marketing is, how it works, and how to get started. By the end, you’ll have a solid grasp of the basics along with the know-how to launch an effective email marketing strategy for your business!
Tables of Contents
- What Is Email Marketing?
- Email Marketing Best Practices
- How to Do Event Email Campaigns?
- Email Marketing Samples
- Choosing the Right Email Marketing Provider
- 5 Best Email Marketing Providers
- Quick Recap
The use of email within your marketing efforts to promote a business’s products and services, as well as incentivize customer loyalty. Email marketing is a form of marketing that can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services. It can also be a softer sell to educate your audience on the value of your brand or keep them engaged between purchases. It can also be anything in between.
Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers by integrating them into your marketing automation efforts. It can also play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy with lead generation, brand awareness, building relationships, or keeping customers engaged between purchases through different types of marketing emails.
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 at 50 years old, event email marketing is used today more than ever before.
You may be thinking, “Do people really still use email? Isn’t social media where it’s at for marketing today?” While it’s true that social media is an important channel for any digital marketing strategy, email has several advantages.
First, email marketing campaigns can be personalized to a greater extent than those on social media. Next, costs are considerably lower than for other channels, especially considering the reach and conversion rate associated with email marketing. This is part of what makes email marketing so ideal for small businesses.
Finally, what makes email marketing so powerful and lucrative is that it gives you direct, individual access to your audience’s inboxes.
The email has become such a popular marketing tool for businesses partly because it forces the user to take some kind of action; an email will sit in the inbox until it’s read, deleted, or archived. But email is also one of the most cost-effective tools available, too. In fact, a 2015 study by the U.K.-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that for every $1 spent, email has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38. For more on the power of email marketing, check out our event email marketing statistics by industry.
Event email marketing can really help you build a relationship with your audience while also driving traffic to your blog, social media, or anywhere else you’d like folks to visit. You can even segment your emails and target users by demographic so you’re only sending people the messages they want to see most. Here are some event marketing campaign tips to get started.
Email marketing also allows you to run A/B tests of a subject line or call to action to identify the best-performing message by using email marketing software that can also be configured to easily send out emails.
According to the Fourth Source website, 92% of internet users have at least one email account. That is, practically everyone has an email unlike what happens with social media, not everyone has an account, which can be difficult and minimize the reach and coverage of the desired segment.
To contradict the rumor that dictates the death of email marketing, according to The Radicati Group, the number of email users will grow to 3 billion in 2020.
These statistical indicators leave no room for doubt about the potential of this tool, which should be included in the digital strategy of a company since 3 out of 4 affirm that they obtain good results through this (Econsultancy).
Among its advantages is the possibility of communicating through a more personal and personalized approach and the fact of allowing and facilitating the analysis of data, which in turn helps to understand if the company’s objectives are in accordance with the results obtained.
This tool also allows you to perform A / B tests, helps you to understand which email works best, allows you to target your public, and increases company awareness, by sending emails weekly or monthly.
The recipient will remember the company and allows you to do re-marketing in order to reach people who, for example, have abandoned the website’s shopping cart. They will be reminded via email that they have products in the cart.
As for the tendencies for 2020, it is starting to grow the use of geolocation, which will allow hyper-segmentation and can reach, for example, people that are in the same area as the physical store. Video will be a good option to consider because it has a more positive response.
Thus, in the year 2020, email marketing is far from dying and brings with it advantages and potential to be explored by companies. With good practice and a well-planned strategy, developed by successful digital marketing agencies, the results will be out there.
Email marketing can be one of the most effective marketing campaigns in your toolbox especially when you have a data-based strategy and the right tools in place. It can also be one of the best marketing investments you can make because you are in control. You manage your list of subscribers and compared to other marketing channels, you don’t have to depend on search engines or social media algorithms to get the word out for you.
To maximize your budget and see improved ROI, use email marketing best practices to deliver high-quality, relevant content to users who can’t wait to open your messages. Here are the email marketing best practices you need to do precisely that.
- Email Marketing Software
When you want to start using or improving your email marketing, best practices are your map of the ways to get there. Once you understand the overall landscape, you can chart a course that avoids pitfalls and speeds your progress toward your goal. In short, you can develop an overall email marketing strategy.
No matter how comprehensive your strategy, you need the right tools for the job. A regular email client such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail isn’t enough for business communication because you don’t get metrics such as opens, bounces, and click-through rate, and it doesn’t scale to send tens, thousands, or millions of messages at once. These clients also aren’t compliant with email marketing laws such as CAN-SPAM in the U.S., GDPR in Europe, CASL in Canada, and CCPA in California for sending to mailing lists.
To legally land your emails in recipients’ inboxes — and get them noticed — you need an email service provider. Not only does this software help with legal compliance and measuring your success, but some come with automation tools that allow you to scale your email marketing with less effort. Your marketing software should also include access to a dozen or more additional email marketing tools.
Once you have the right email marketing software, your amped-up campaign strategy, based on tested email marketing best practices, can begin.
- Email Subscriber List Best Practices
Creating an email subscriber list in your email software is generally simple. Often, all it takes is a few clicks and a descriptive title. The challenge is growing, segmenting, and maintaining your lists.
Grow your email list organically. This means you need to seek out leads who are genuinely interested in your brand, perhaps using the demographics research tools available on Facebook. You can offer these potential subscribers incentives, such as contests, a loyalty program, or free webinars, to encourage them to sign up for your list.
To ensure your email subscribers receive only the content most relevant to their needs, segment your list by demographics, interests, geographic location, or other factors that make sense for your business. From there, you can create drip campaigns and other automated messaging for these segments using your email marketing software.
Although it might seem like an easy way to jump-start your reach, never buy an email list. These leads have not opted into receiving your emails, which puts you out of compliance with most anti-spam laws. Furthermore, you’ll likely end up with terrible open rates, high bounce rates, and recipients marking your message as spam. Without a proper opt-in system, you can’t be sure your messages will ever be seen. This may be the most important email marketing best practice for companies.
Finally, regularly scrub your subscriber list of fake, incorrect, bouncing, or inactive email addresses. Keeping subscribers who aren’t interested anymore or who have invalid addresses only skews your metrics and drains value from the insights that your email marketing software provides. After you try to reengage subscribers who may have gone quiet for a while, pause communications for those who remain unresponsive.
- How to Design an Email
When a recipient opens your email, they should know they’re about to see high-quality, enjoyable content from your brand. A well-designed email is among the best ways to accomplish an instant impression of quality.
Start with an email design template that’s flexible, but allows you to create consistency across messages. One crucial email marketing best practice is to choose a template that’s responsive. That way, your content renders correctly on desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Responsive email design is essential because subscribers move seamlessly between desktop and mobile devices when they check their email. They expect the message to display properly no matter which device they use. Your email engagement rates depend on your messages being easy to read and navigate, and responsive designs play a large part.
When it comes to the visual appeal and leading your readers’ eyes to key components of your message, color choices are critical. Align colors with your branding, but be flexible, too. Choose contrasting colors and use them to direct attention to buttons and clickable text. Your email templates will help make sure your designs are easy to read if you don’t have a graphic designer on hand to help create a visually interesting email campaign.
Finally, any images in your email need to be accessible to your entire audience, so add descriptive alt text that helps visually impaired subscribers understand your content. This alt text also helps in the event the graphic doesn’t display or load when the recipient opens the email.
- Elements of the Email Message
When you’re competing for inbox attention, details matter. In addition to using your email marketing software, maintaining a healthy email subscriber list, and using effective design elements, use psychology to optimize your emails and reach even more readers.
- Email Marketing Metrics and Testing
The perfect email is a moving target. Email marketing best practices make excellent guidelines, but what works for one business may not work for another, and these best practices change as technology and people change.
What works for your audience right now may evolve. Start with a strategy built from email best practices, and then measure and test your way to even better email marketing results.To determine how successful your campaigns are, make sure your email marketing software measures and tracks, at the minimum, these key metrics:
- Open rate
- Click rate
- Click to open rate (CTOR)
- Bounce rate
- Delivery rate
- Spam percentage and complaint rate
- Unsubscribe number and rate
Once you have a baseline for key email metrics, start tweaking elements of your emails to see what improves your numbers. The best way to learn what works best is A/B testing. With this strategy, you create two versions of the same email campaign, each with only one aspect that’s different from the other. You’ll send email A to one half of your audience and version B to the other half, then track which performs better.
A/B testing works best when you make one small change at a time, so be patient and keep track of your learnings, and know that you’re getting closer to a better email each time you press send.
- Responding to Email Marketing Errors
Every email marketer makes mistakes. Your first error is like a rite of passage, and sometimes these issues are out of your control. Don’t let the possibility of making a mistake keep you from hitting the send button. Instead, know how to deal with email marketing errors: Prevent as many as you can and correct the ones that happen.
First, become familiar with some of the most common email marketing mistakes. One of the biggest pitfalls is forgetting that email is part of a relationship with your subscribers. Keep this in mind to help ensure your messages are respectful, relevant, and useful for recipients.
For mistakes that occur in just one or two emails, have a response action plan. Know when to let small errors, like a typo or a formatting issue, go. For larger mistakes, triage them by how much impact they’ll have on your audience. When necessary, don’t forget the power of a sincere apology for rebuilding any relationships an error may have impacted.
Email marketing pays off whether you’re looking to nurture leads, convert prospects or reward repeat customers. To maximize your time, effort, and budget, stick to these tested email marketing best practices. These tips will get you started on optimizing your email marketing.
Businesses use what’s known as email service providers (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 a product on top of that?
Technically, it’s possible. (We even explain how in our guide to sending a mass email with Gmail.) Beware, though. You’re likely to run into problems with limited email bandwidth, design, and more importantly, email deliverability. Here’s why:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc. are designed for personal use — not for email blasts. Although they’re free to use, they’re not free bulk email senders. So when a mass email 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 good email deliverability rates — i.e., the ability to land emails in your subscribers’ inboxes. If you want to set yourself up for email marketing success from day one, get yourself a dedicated email marketing service.
Obviously, you don’t want to spam people with multiple emails every day, but don’t be afraid to send them one or two a week in the months leading up to your event. If you host the same event every year (or multiple events each year), you could even send emails to your list indefinitely, constantly your event promotion.
Here are some samples you can take a look at to get an idea of how to create your event emails before advertising or doing your event promotion.
The above are just samples or snippets of what an actual event email would look like once it's created. Always make sure that your output complements your brand voice.
With hundreds of ESPs on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for your business.
Here are some questions to help narrow down your options:
- What’s your budget? If it’s very limited, then cheap email marketing services should be your starting point.
- What kind of emails do you plan to send, and how often? This will give you an idea of your required email volume (i.e. number of emails sent).
- If you’ve already got a list of opt-in contacts, how many are there?
- What’s your skill level when it comes to designing emails? If you’re a complete beginner, you will want a drag-and-drop email editor. Email templates will also come in handy. On the other hand, if you prefer to code emails from scratch, you’ll be on the lookout for an HTML editor.
- Do you plan to set up automated email workflows? See what the ESP offers in terms of email marketing automation. Some solutions only offer basic auto-responders.
- If your business communicates with different buyer personas, what contact list segmentation capabilities are offered?
- Will your business be sending transactional emails? (Note that these are not considered email marketing.) Some folks like to manage these emails with a separate service, while others prefer all emails under the same roof using a single tool.
It’s also a good idea to consider your future needs. Found an ESP you like? Do some simulations: “If my list grows to x, how much will this ESP cost? If I want to add x to my strategy, does this ESP have the feature set to support me? What sort of integration or apps will I be able to add on?”
Optimism for the future is a good thing, but don’t get carried away. Of course, stay focused on the essentials for now.
Before you email anyone, you need 2 things:
- Their permission
- A business email set up
If you started with an opt-in, you got that permission, so hooray! If you didn’t use an opt-in, we don’t recommend sending marketing emails to them unless you have their permission. You risk them flagging your emails as spam. So not only will they not buy from you, but you can also face negative consequences.
Instead, you can use a tool to create smarter opt-in forms. You can collect leads and subscribers who want to get your marketing emails.
Then, you need to select an email service provider. These providers give you the right infrastructure to send broadcasts and bulk business emails.
If you send bulk emails without this, it will be flagged as spam. Your subscribers won’t receive your emails, and what’s worse is that your regular emails to your team and clients will also be affected.
That means you won’t be able to email clients as consistently as you should be to get the highest conversions/sales as possible.
Email service providers handle all the formalities and expensive technicalities involved. All you need to do is sign up and use their service.
Here are the best email marketing services that we recommend:
Put email marketing to work in your business through TruVISIBILTY's Messaging software.
Messaging is professional-grade email marketing software offering user-friendly design tools, stunning templates, and first-class deliverability. We help small and mid-size businesses:
- Reach the right audience
- Create compelling content
- Automate marketing tasks
- And take data-driven action
Draft engaging, pixel-perfect emails that display flawlessly on all devices in minutes.
If you need inspiration, use one of their purpose-driven email templates, or choose from several high-converting pre-designed templates.
Make any template your own using TruVISIBILITY's simple-to-use drag and drop editor. Customize the layout in countless ways. Modify the content and colors to fit your brand guidelines. Even add images and calls-to-action.
Marketing automation will become your auto-pilot business strategy.
Whether your objective is generating newsletter subscriptions, closing a sale, or onboarding a new customer, the process can be automated.
Simply map out the typical customer’s journey to your brand, product, or service. Then create a series of email messages that engage, nurture, educate and serve them.
You pre-planned the process of converting them. All they will see is a brand that is constantly communicating and focused on helping them.
Sendinblue is not only a complete email marketing software for businesses, but also an SMS marketing software. And it’s all in an easy-to-use marketing platform with drag and drops tools you can use to create highly-engaging emails, build automated workflows, and segment users.
You can send up to 300 emails per day for free with Sendinblue’s branding. Paid plans start at $25/month and you can add on SMS for an additional cost that’s based on your sending needs.
HubSpot is known for its CRM platform, but they also offer powerful email marketing software for small businesses. With the drag-and-drop editor and ready-made templates, you can easily create beautiful emails without the help of a designer. The software also comes with personalization features, A/B testing, and more.
You can send up to 2,000 emails per month for free with HubSpot. If you want to send more emails and remove HubSpot branding, you can upgrade to a premium plan starting at $45 per month.
Drip is a marketing automation tool that allows users to create complex email automation workflows and conditional statements within email messaging. Campaigns, workflows, and triggers are well-organized and Drip is as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Creating lists and nurturing leads is even easier using Drip + OptinMonster.
Drip plans start with Basic at $49/month for up to 2,500 subscribers and Pro at $99/month for up to 5,000 subscribers, both with a 14-day trial period. Enterprise users (5,000+ subscribers) need to get a quote.
Mailchimp is a popular email marketing software. It is great for people who are just starting out, as it is easy to set up and it provides an intuitive user interface. You can also add new subscribers to specific segments using Mailchimp Groups + OptinMonster.
Mailchimp has a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers making it the best free email marketing service.
However, if you want to use autoresponders or any other powerful feature, then you will have to switch to a paid plan. Paid plans start as low as $10/month and can go up to $30 for 2,500 subscribers. The bigger your list size, the more you’re going to pay.
Along with an email marketing strategy, we also recommend adding web push notifications to your website. This is another powerful way to connect with your visitors after they leave your website.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the United States.
This is because email marketing is easy to manage, gives you full control, and allows you to establish direct contact with your customers.
It’s important to understand that a lot of your success with email marketing depends entirely on the email marketing software you choose because they are responsible for making sure that your emails actually get delivered.
If you aren’t careful, then you will end up paying a lot more money for fewer marketing features and terrible email deliverability rates (which causes you to lose even more money).
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